Stocks, Yields Tumble As Quad-Witching Fears Add To Broader Market Slide
Stocks, Yields Tumble As Quad-Witching Fears Add To Broader Market Slide
US futures tumbled after hitting an all time high less than 24 hour ago, as the favorable if paradoxical bounce in risk from the hawkish FOMC pivot faded from memory and as investors questioned whether global stocks are due for a rough ride on the backdrop of growing risks from inflation and the omicron virus variant. S&P 500 futures slumped about 0.5% Friday morning, while the U.S. 10-year Treasury yield fell for a second straight day to 1.394%, the lowest since Dec. 6.
Futures were dragged down by tech stocks as volatility surged amid mounting concerns about monetary tightening and the omicron coronavirus variant.
“Rates hikes do not end bull markets, but reversal of central banks’ liquidity means less speculative froth and more volatility,” said Barclays strategist Emmanuel Cau. “Policy angst may be here to stay, but following months of unclear guidances and conflicting signals, the direction of travel is clear now.”
Investors are also bracing for the quarterly rebalancing of the S&P 500 Index after the market close and the triple witching expiration of equity derivatives that could magnify market moves.
General Motors dropped in premarket trading after the company said Cruise unit Chief Executive Officer Dan Ammann is leaving the company. Here are some of the other notable premarket movers today:
Tesla (TSLA US) shares fall as much as 2.4% in U.S. premarket trading as CEO Elon Musk sells another chunk of shares in the electric vehicle maker.
FedEx (FDX US) boosted its adjusted earnings-per-share forecast for the full year, with the guidance beating the average analyst estimate. Shares rose about 4.8% in premarket trading.
Spruce Biosciences (SPRB US) shares soar as much as 30% in U.S. premarket trading after Oppenheimer initiated coverage with an outperform rating and a $15 price target that implies 500% upside in the stock from Thursday’s closing price.
Cerner (CERN US) shares rise 17% in U.S. pre- trading hours amid a report that Oracle is in talks to buy the medical-records company for about $30b.
Rivian Automotive (RIVN US) shares slump 9% in U.S. premarket trading after the electric pickup maker reported results. Piper Sandler says that after- hours share-price loss is “noise,” and remains positive following earnings call.
General Motors (GM US) dropped postmarket after it said Cruise Chief Executive Officer Dan Ammann is leaving the company.
Steelcase (SCS US) declined in the after hours session after the furniture company reported 3Q revenue that missed the average analyst estimate due to supply chain disruptions.
U.S. Steel Corp. (X US) shares declined premarket after it warned fourth-quarter results will be lower than Wall Street had been expecting.
In Europe, technology companies and carmakers were among the worst-performing industries, dragging the Stoxx Europe 600 Index down 1%. Tech, autos and utilities are the weakest sectors. Miners and travel are the only Stoxx 600 sectors in small positive territory. Cellnex slumped 4.1% to a six-month low after a British regulator said the Spanish company’s purchase of CK Hutchison Holdings’s European telecommunication towers raised “significant” competition concerns.
Asian stocks slid, as a risk-off mode resumed amid concerns over tighter monetary policies and ongoing tensions between the U.S. and China. The MSCI Asia Pacific Index dropped as much as 1%, set for the fifth decline over the past six days. Technology shares around the region took a hit, led by Chinese giants including Tencent and Alibaba Group, as a global sector selloff continued on higher rate fears. China was among the region’s worst performers after the Biden administration added 34 Chinese targets to its banned-entity list, weighing on sentiment. Japanese stocks held their losses after the Bank of Japan lengthened its cautious withdrawal from emergency pandemic aid. Asia’s benchmark was set to cap a more than 1% slide this week as central banks around the world attempt to curb inflation, dampening prospects for the usual year-end rally. The Federal Reserve plans to double the pace of its asset-tapering program and the Bank of England hiked interest rates, prompting investors to edge away from riskier assets. “I expect the choppy price action to continue to spoof fast-money players into the year-end, both in the U.S. and elsewhere,” said Jeffrey Halley, a senior market analyst at Oanda.
In Australia, the S&P/ASX 200 index rose 0.1% to close at 7,304.00, snapping a three-day losing streak. Material and energy shares led the advance on the back of strong commodity prices. Gold miner Norther Star was the best performer on the benchmark. Domain Holdings was the worst performer, followed by Afterpay, after the U.S. government said it launched a regulatory probe into buy now, pay later companies. In New Zealand, the S&P/NZX 50 index fell 0.5% to 12,717.94
In rates, treasuries were mixed with the yield curve flatter as U.S. trading begins, retracing a portion of Thursday’s bull-steepening move that unfolded as futures further marked down likelihood of Fed rate increases beyond mid-2022. Yields out to the 10-year are within 1bp of Thursday’s closing levels, with longer maturities lower by 1bp-2bp; 5s30s is flatter by ~2bp after steepening 7.2bp Thursday, remains ~4bp steeper on week. Yields remain lower on week led by the 5Y, which declined 8.1bp Thursday. Bunds bull flatten a touch, long-end richer by ~2bps, brushing off some hawkish comments from ECB’s Muller. Peripheral spreads tighten slightly. Gilts are bear steeper, cheaper by 2.5bps at the back end.
In FX, the Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index was steady and the greenback was mixed versus its Group-of-10 peers, with most currencies confined to narrow ranges. Treasury yields rose by up to 2bps, led by the belly. The euro was flat at $1.1330 and bund yields were little changed. The pound steadied amid seasonal flows into the dollar and as the boost from Thursday’s surprise Bank of England rate hike wore off. U.K. retail sales last month rose 1.4% from October, when they grew a revised 1.1%, the Office for National Statistics said. Economists had expected an increase of 0.8%. Sales excluding auto fuel grew 1.1%. The yen edged higher on concerns about the risk that eventual draw-down in central bank liquidity could trigger a reversal in the rally. Japanese government bonds were in ranges as they shrugged off the Bank of Japan’s status quo outcome. Australian and New Zealand dollar led G-10 declines as falling stocks and mounting virus numbers sapped demand for risk currencies. Turkish lira once again goes sharply offered, briefly weakening over 9% to print through 17/USD before further central bank intervention.
In commodities, WTI dropped 1.5%, holding above $71 so far; Brent trades slips below $74. Spot gold holds Asia’s gains, near $1,804/oz. Base metals are in the green with LME tin outperforming. Bloomberg’s Markets Live team is running an anonymous survey on asset views for 2022. It takes about two minutes and the results will be shared in the latter part of December.
Looking at the day ahead, data releases include Germany’s Ifo business climate indicator for December, as well as November data on German PPI and UK retail sales. From central banks, we’ll also hear from the Fed’s Waller and the ECB’s Rehn.
S&P 500 futures down 0.8% to 4,635.00
MXAP down 0.9% to 191.41
MXAPJ down 0.8% to 618.58
Nikkei down 1.8% to 28,545.68
Topix down 1.4% to 1,984.47
Hang Seng Index down 1.2% to 23,192.63
Shanghai Composite down 1.2% to 3,632.36
Sensex down 1.5% to 57,011.01
Australia S&P/ASX 200 up 0.1% to 7,303.97
Kospi up 0.4% to 3,017.73
STOXX Europe 600 down 0.6% to 473.64
German 10Y yield little changed at -0.36%
Euro little changed at $1.1330
Brent Futures down 1.4% to $73.99/bbl
Gold spot up 0.5% to $1,808.56
U.S. Dollar Index little changed at 95.98
Top Overnight News from Bloomberg
Boris Johnson suffered a seismic political upset as his ruling Conservatives lost a key parliamentary election, a result that will heap intense pressure on the U.K. prime minister and may even call his position into question
Leading central banks made a big call this week, deciding that the coronavirus is no longer calling the shots in their economies, and inflation is now the bigger threat
Bank of France Governor Francois Villeroy de Galhau said the difference between the new forecast for 1.8% inflation in 2023 and 2024 and the ECB’s 2% target is within the “margin of uncertainty.” In a Bundesbank report showing German inflation will run above 2% through 2024, Jens Weidmann urged vigilance as he sees “risks to the upside” throughout the currency bloc
ECB Governing Council member Olli Rehn said “there’s considerable uncertainty about the path which inflation will take”
Germany’s main gauge of business expectations slipped to 92.6 in December, falling for a sixth month, according to the Ifo institute. That’s a bigger decline than predicted by economists in a Bloomberg survey. Current conditions were also assessed as weaker than in November
EU leaders failed to reach a deal on how to react to the unprecedented gas crisis that sent energy prices to record levels after Poland and the Czech Republic demanded stronger action to cap the costs of pollution
A more detailed look at global markets courtesy of Newsquawk
Asian equity markets were mostly lower with sentiment in the region downbeat after the tech-led declines in the US and yesterday’s central bank frenzy. Overnight US equity futures held a downside bias. The ASX 200 (+0.1%) traded positively amid notable outperformance in the commodity-related sectors which was spearheaded by gold miners as the precious metal reclaimed with the USD 1800/oz level and with sentiment also helped by the announcement of a UK-Australia trade deal. The Nikkei 225 (-1.8%) was the biggest laggard as exporters suffered from detrimental currency inflows and following the BoJ announcement to scale back its pandemic relief measures in March. The Hang Seng (-1.2%) and Shanghai Comp. (-1.2%) were lacklustre after further restrictive measures by the US on Chinese companies including the passage of the Uyghur bill aimed at China which bans imports from Xinjiang unless the US government determines they were not produced with forced labour, while tech suffered after the US included several Chinese companies to its investment and trade restrictions lists. Finally, 10yr JGBs were flat despite the steepening seen in the US and underperformance of Japanese stocks, with demand subdued amid the BoJ decision to scale back pandemic relief measures.
Top Asian News
Japan Expedites Virus Boosters for Some as Omicron Looms
Hong Kong Stock Exchange to Allow SPAC Listings Next Month
Thailand May Impose Stock-Trading Tax to Lift Government Revenue
Asian Stocks Drop as Worries on Global Policy Tightening Linger
European equities have succumbed to the weakness seen on Wall Street and across most APAC markets (Euro Stoxx 50 -1.1%; Stoxx 600 -0.6%) as global central banks turn hawkish and Quad Witching gets underway in holiday-thinned liquidity. US equity futures have also drifted lower, with the March 2022 contracts softer to the tune of 0.1-0.3% across the ES, NQ, YM and RTY. On the recent central bank pivots, analysts at Barclays suggest that rate hikes do not end bull markets, but reduced liquidity means “less speculative froth”. Barclays sees persisting inflation as a risk to markets and Omicron as an increasing downside risk to European growth, albeit the impact is contained thus far. Back to trade, Eurozone bourses see broad-based weakness whilst the UK’s FTSE 100 (+0.2%) holds its head above water – aided by outperformance in the basic materials sector and a softer Sterling. Overall sectors kicked off the day with a defensive bias, albeit that theme has since faded, with some cyclicals making their way up the ranks. Sectors are mostly in the red, however. Auto names are the laggards, with European car registrations -17.5% in November (prev. -30% MM). Tech also resides towards the bottom amid outflows from growth, and with the hefty valuations state-side also stoking some concerns. Chip names are also hit amid news Apple (-0.8% pre-market) is reportedly planning to build a new office to bring wireless chips in-house which may replace parts from Broadcom and Skyworks. STMicroelectronics (-3%), ASM (-2.4%), BE Semiconductor (-2.6%) are among the biggest losers in the Stoxx 600.
Top European News
European Gas Plunges After Russia Books Pipeline at Last Minute
Stellantis Revamps Auto-Finance Business With BNP, Santander
Cellnex Drops Most in 11 Months on CK Hutchison Deal Woes
Johnson Suffers Humiliating Defeat in U.K. Special Election
In FX, it feels like Friday fatigue has set in and markets are already in weekend mode as the Greenback sticks to relatively tight lines against most G10 peers and the index holds close to the 96.000 level within a narrow 96.118-95.875 band. Consolidation and sideways price action is hardly a surprise given this week’s extremely volatile trade on a combination of thin seasonal volumes and the abundance of final global Central Bank policy meetings for the year all scheduled within a few days. However, the Dollar and a few of its key counterparts may also be tied up in option expiry interest that ranges from large to huge in certain cases, awaiting comments from Fed’s Waller as the first official post-FOMC speaker.
CHF/EUR/GBP/JPY – The Franc remains above 0.9200 vs the Buck and is testing 1.0400 against the Euro again in wake of an unchanged SNB yesterday, while the single currency is holding above 1.1300 vs the Greenback even though Germany’s latest Ifo survey was downbeat and perhaps underpinned by hawkish remarks from ECB’s Simkus and Muller over the comparatively neutral/dovish Rehn. Elsewhere, Sterling retains an element of its post-BoE hike momentum, but not enough for Cable to breach the 30 DMA that comes in at 1.3344 today or stay above a Fib retracement at 1.3321 irrespective of Chief Economist Pill expressing the view that further tightening is likely. Conversely, the BoJ stuck to its dovish stance and balanced the termination of corporate and commercial QE by extending the COVID-19 funding facility for SMEs another 6 months, to leave the Yen meandering between 113.86-44, though nearer 113.50 amidst the latest bout of risk aversion. Note also, Usd/Jpy will likely be contained by a swathe of option expiries stretching from 113.00 up to 114.50 and the same can be said for Eur/Usd and the Pound given the sheer size of interest at various strikes rolling off today – see 7.24GMT post on the Headline Feed for details.
NZD/AUD/CAD – A further deterioration in NBNZ business outlook and decline in own activity have compounded the aforementioned downturn in overall sentiment to the detriment of the Kiwi more than Aussie or Loonie that is feeling the heat from renewed weakness in WTI crude. Hence, Nzd/Usd is nearer 0.6750 than 0.6800, while Aud/Usd is hovering within a 0.7185-53 range and Usd/Cad sits just above 1.2800.
In commodities, WTI and Brent futures have been trundling lower in tandem with risk appetite – with WTI Jan closer to USD 71/bbl (vs high USD 72.26/bbl) whilst Brent Feb resides under USD 73/bbl (vs high USD 74.98/bbl). The morning did see updates on the Iranian nuclear front whereby sources suggested the parties in the Vienna talks have been able to reach a new draft by incorporating Iran’s views, which, if finalised, will be the basis for upcoming talks. Although nothing is yet set in stone, this is much more constructive than had been the case this time last week. Further, the oil complex juggles the fluid COVID situation as the steeper rise in global cases backs the notion of stricter measures. That being said, reports thus far continue to suggest the lower severity of the Omicron variant. Analysts at Goldman Sachs said Omicron hasn’t had much of an impact on mobility and oil demand, while it sees strong oil demand in 2022 from rising CAPEX and infrastructure construction. Furthermore, it stated that average oil demand is to hit record highs in 2022 and 2023. Elsewhere, spot gold remains firm after topping the group of DMAs yesterday (21 at 1787, 100 at 1788, 200 at 1794 and 50 at 1798) alongside the USD 1,800/oz mark. LME copper hovers around the USD 9,500/t mark awaiting the next catalyst, whilst Dalian iron ore continued to gain overnight with traders citing a recovery in steel demand.
US Event Calendar
No economic events
1pm: Fed’s Waller Discusses the Economic Outlook
DB’s Jim Reid concludes the overnight wrap
Well this is my last EMR of 2021. Henry will be in charge on Monday and Tuesday of next week but by then I’ll be catching up on sleep to prepare myself for the onslaught of Xmas with three hyper excitable kids. Thanks for all your support and interactions over the past year. Hopefully you’ll continue to read in 2022. Try to have as exciting a holiday season as the virus permits and see you on the other side. As I have done most years, at the end today I’m listing my favourite TV series and films of the year. I used to do favourite albums of the year but I’m ashamed to say that the person who used to buy a few hundred albums a year and try out all sorts of new music has turned into someone who listens to playlists and old albums. All a bit dull. The odd film and lots of TV continues to keep me sane after a day working in financial markets. So I hope you enjoy the countdown.
Talking of countdowns, yesterday was probably the last active market day of the year with a slew of Central Bank activity over the last 36 hours. However the FOMC-inspired risk rally peaked out by lunchtime in Europe and the S&P 500 eventually shed -0.87% amidst significant declines in technology stocks (Nasdaq -2.47%). Meanwhile there was continued caution about the Omicron variant among investors, as many of the key economies await a fresh wave of cases over the coming weeks.
We’ll start with the ECB, who yesterday said that they would be ending net asset purchases under their Pandemic Emergency Purchase Programme (PEPP) at the end of March 2022, and that purchases over Q1 would be “at a lower pace than in the previous quarter”. Nevertheless, they also moved to soften the blow by confirming a step up in purchases by the Asset Purchase Programme (APP) to €40bn a month in Q2 2022, followed by a reduction to €30bn in Q3, and then €20bn a month from October “for as long as necessary to reinforce the accommodative impact of its policy rates.” They also said that they expected net purchases would conclude “shortly before it starts raising the key ECB interest rates.”
Overall this was a somewhat hawkish decision (see European economists’ recap here), since although APP purchases will be increasing, those volumes are fixed and will taper out, whilst expectations were that the ECB may retain more flexibility with the APP. That flexibility seems confined to PEPP reinvestments, which will grant policy optionality as the inflation outlook remains uncertain. That said, it seems like the ECB communicated a set path for policy during 2022, with rate hikes not coming until 2023, according to our economists.
Sovereign bond yields ended the day higher across most of the continent, although they gave up some of that increase towards the close, with those on 10yr bunds (+1.1bps), OATs (+2.2bps) and BTPs (+5.5bps) all rising. However, some shorter-dated yields did move lower, with those on 2yr bunds (-1.3bps) and OATs (-0.2bps) declining. When it comes to the ECB’s inflation forecasts, these were upgraded yet again, with the central bank now expecting 2022 inflation at +3.2% (vs. +1.7% in September), whilst their 2023 and 2024 projections now stand at +1.8%. However, the 2023 and 2024 projections are still beneath the ECB’s 2% target, and in their forward guidance they’ve said that they wouldn’t raise raises until inflation was seen reaching the target “durably for the rest of the projection horizon”, so even with the upgrade to 2023 they’re still forecasting inflation beneath target then.
The other central bank decision came from the BoE yesterday, who hiked rates by 15bps to 0.25%. The consensus had been expecting them to keep rates on hold given the Omicron variant, hence the decision came as something of a surprise to markets, although we should say that DB’s own UK economist made an out-of-consensus but accurate call for a 15bps hike. In the minutes, the decision was described as “finely balanced” due to the uncertainty around Covid, but an 8-1 majority on the MPC voted in favour, and Governor Bailey said afterwards in a BBC interview that “We’ve seen evidence of a very tight labour market and we’re seeing more persistent inflation pressures, and that’s what we have to act on”. It comes as inflation has continued to surpass the BoE’s own forecasts, and the summary of the latest meeting said that Bank staff were now expecting inflation to peak “around 6% in April 2022”, up from its current level of 5.1%.
Given the decision came as a surprise to many, there was a sharp rise in gilt yields in response, with those on 10yr gilts initially up +10bps before following the global bond rally which meant we only closed up +2.2bps to 0.75%. That move was entirely driven by higher real rates, and the 10yr inflation breakeven fell -5.5bps as investors moved to price in a lower trajectory for inflation, with the 5yr breakeven down by an even larger -12.3bps. Meanwhile investors also moved to price in a faster pace of hikes over the coming months, with the next 25bps hike fully priced in by the time of the March 2022 meeting, and a +73% chance of one priced in at the next meeting in February. In terms of DB’s own expectations, our UK economist writes in his reaction note (link here) that he now expects the next 25bps hike as soon as February 2022, followed by two further hikes in November 2022 and May 2023.
Against this backdrop there was a fairly mixed equity reaction on either side of the Atlantic. The S&P 500 fell -0.88% as mentioned, with the NASDAQ seeing a major -2.47% decline, erasing their post-FOMC gains. In Europe however there was a much stronger performance as they caught up with the US rally following the Fed’s policy decision, and the STOXX 600 advanced +1.23%. Separately, US Treasuries also diverged from their European counterparts, with the 10yr yield down -4.6bps at 1.41%.
In terms of the latest on the pandemic, there was a further record number of cases in the UK yesterday, with 88,376 reported, which beats the previous record set only the day before. Against that backdrop, France moved to restrict travel from the UK, with tourist and non-essential business travel prohibited. Separately in South Africa, hospitalisations now stand at 7,614, which is currently up +59% on the previous week.
When it comes to the economic impact, yesterday’s release of the December flash PMIs from around the world pointed to weakening growth momentum across the major economies. Indeed, the composite PMI declined on the previous month in the US, Euro Area, Germany, France, UK, Japan and Australia. The headline numbers were the Euro Area composite PMI, which fell to a 9-month low of 53.4 (vs. 54.4 expected), whilst the US composite PMI fell to 56.9. So both still above the 50-mark that separates expansion from contraction, but some way down from their peaks in the middle of the year.
Over in the US, it appears the gap between Democratic senators on President Biden’s Build Back Better bill is just too big, as Democratic leaders acknowledged that negotiations and votes could well drag over into next year. In a statement, President Biden said that “It takes time to finalize these agreements, prepare the legislative changes, and finish all the parliamentary and procedural steps needed to enable a Senate vote. We will advance this work together over the days and weeks ahead”. Obviously longer-term outlooks will hinge on whether or not the bill passes, but there’s implications for 2022 growth, too, as the bill was set to extend child tax credits that comprise a not-insubstantial portion of consumer income.
Overnight in Asia the main equity indices are trading lower, with the KOSPI (-0.33%), Shanghai Composite (-0.90%), Hang Seng (-1.28%), CSI (-1.31%) and the Nikkei (-1.75%) all declining amidst losses in technology stocks. Some of the main headlines came from the Bank of Japan however, which kept its main policy rates unchanged, announced that it would slowly reduce its corporate debt holdings, but also extended a special covid loans program by six months to end in September 2022, which aims to support small and medium-sized firms. Futures markets in US & Europe are also indicating a slow start, with those on the S&P 500 (-0.14%) and the DAX (-0.67%) both trading in the red.
In terms of yesterday’s other data, the weekly initial jobless claims in the US moved up from their half-century low the previous week to 206k (vs. 200k expected). In spite of the uptick however, it was still enough to push the 4-week moving average down to 203.75k. Otherwise, US industrial production grew by +0.5% in November (vs. +0.6% expected), housing starts accelerated to an annualised rate of 1.679m (vs. 1.567m expected), their highest level in 8 months, and building permits rose to an annualised 1.712m (vs. 1.661m expected).
To the day ahead now, and data releases include Germany’s Ifo business climate indicator for December, as well as November data on German PPI and UK retail sales. From central banks, we’ll also hear from the Fed’s Waller and the ECB’s Rehn.
Fri, 12/17/2021 – 08:07