It was a particularly bearish week for the European majors in the week ending 25th September. The CAC40 and DAX30 slid by 4.99% and by 4.93% respectively, with the EuroStoxx600, falling by 3.60%.
Another banking scandal, a fresh spike in new COVID-19 cases, geopolitics, and economic data left the majors deep in the red.
It was a relatively busy week on the Eurozone economic calendar.
Key stats included consumer and business confidence figures and prelim private sector PMIs for September.
Eurozone and German consumer confidence saw marginal improvements but not enough to impress. From Germany, business confidence also improved, while coming up short of forecasts.
Key in the week, however, was the prelim PMIs.
While manufacturing sector activity picked up in September, service sector activity slumped, raising concerns over the economic recovery.
France, Germany, and the Eurozone saw a contraction in the services sector. Partially offset by a pickup in manufacturing sector activity, private sector activity stalled in the Eurozone at the end of the quarter.
The Eurozone’s services PMI fell from 50.5 to 47.6, with the composite PMI declining from 51.9 to 50.1.
With the stats raising some red flags, the spike in new COVID-19 cases across Europe also weighed on risk sentiment. Concerns over the possible need to reintroduce lockdown measures left riskier assets in the deep red for the week.
From the U.S
It was a relatively quiet week. Key stats included the durable goods and core durable orders, weekly jobless claims, and September’s prelim private sector PMIs.
The stats were skewed to the negative, adding downward pressure on the majors later in the week.
While manufacturing sector activity picked up in September, service sector growth slowed at the end of the quarter. While steering clear of the 50 mark, the marginal fall in the services PMI was a red flag mid-week.
On Thursday, the jobless claims figures also disappointed. In the week ending 18th September, initial jobless claims came in at 870k, which was up from 866k in the week prior.
At the end of the week, durable goods and core durable goods orders delivered more disappointing numbers.
Durable goods orders and core durable goods orders both increased by 0.4% in August, falling well short of expectations.
While the stats provided direction in the week, central bank commentary also garnered plenty of attention.
FED Chair Powell delivered testimony through the 1st half of the week, calling for support from all levels of government. Powell also stated that plenty of uncertainty remains, with the containment of COVID-19 key to a sustainable economic recovery.
The Market Movers
From the DAX, it was a particularly bearish week for the auto sector. BMW and Volkswagen slid by 5.94% and by 5.47% to lead the way down. Continental and Daimler saw more modest losses of 0.42% and 2.33% respectively.
It was an even more bearish week for the banking sector. Commerzbank and Deutsche Bank tumbled by 10.71% and by 10.69% respectively.
From the CAC, things were not much better for the banks. BNP Paribas and Soc Gen tumbled by 12.57% and by 13.70% respectively, with Credit Agricole sliding by 11.60%.
For the banking sector, yet another scandal rocked bank stocks across the major exchanges. HSBC and Standard Chartered were among the banks that were in the news for the wrong reasons.
The French auto sector also struggled in the week. Peugeot and Renault ended the week down by 1.87% and by 4.73% respectively.
Air France-KLM was among the worst performers, however, tumbling by 19.1%, with Airbus down by 12.51%.
Rising new COVID-19 cases weighed heavily on travel stocks in the week, as concerns over the possible reintroduction of lockdown measures weighed.
On the VIX Index
It was back into the green for the week ending 25th September. Partially reversing a 3.87% fall from the week prior, the VIX rose by 2.13% to end the week at 26.38.
A 4th weekly loss for the S&P500 delivered the upside for VIX in the week.
For the week ending 25th September, the S&P500 and the Dow ended the week down by 0.63% and by 1.75% respectively. The NASDAQ ended the week up by 1.11%, with a 2.26% rally on Friday delivering the upside.
The Week Ahead
It’s a busy week ahead on the Eurozone economic calendar.
Through the 1st half of the week, prelim inflation figures are due out of France, Spain, Germany, and the Eurozone.
Following market concerns over deflationary pressures last time around, expect the numbers to influence.
Alongside Eurozone prelim inflation figures on Wednesday, German and French consumer spending and German unemployment figures will also influence.
The focus will then shift to September manufacturing PMIs for Italy and Spain. Finalized PMIs for France, Germany, and the Eurozone are also due out.
Barring deviation from prelim numbers, expect Italy and the Eurozone’s PMIs to have the greatest impact on Thursday.
Economic data from the U.S and from China will also provide direction in the week.
U.S consumer confidence, finalized GDP numbers, weekly jobless claims, ISM Manufacturing PMI and nonfarm payrolls, and the U.S unemployment rate are due out.
From China, September’s private sector PMIs on Thursday will also influence market risk appetite. The market’s favored Caixin Manufacturing PMI will have the greatest impact.
Away from the economic calendar, COVID-19 news, Brexit, and U.S-China chatter will also need monitoring.