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5 Defensive ETF Bets as Omicron Enters the United States

Let's look at some safe ETF plays that investors can consider keeping in mind the rising concerns emanating from the new omicron variant. The highly mutated new COVID-19 variant, omicron, has finally entered the United States. Dr. Anthony Fauci has confirmed that the first case has been detected in California in a traveler who had arrived from South Africa on Nov 22 and was tested to be positive on Nov 29 (per a CNN report). The new variant is feared to be carrying the combined features of the previous variants and can have high transmissibility and lower vaccine potency.Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell has also adversely impacted market sentiments by mentioning that the central bank will be discussing speeding up the tapering process from the $15 billion-a-month schedule decided previously, per a CNBC article. This move might be taken to control the persistently high inflation levels, given that the U.S. economy is strongly recovering from the pandemic-led slump.Against this backdrop, let’s take a look at some defensive ETF options that investors can consider like Vanguard Dividend Appreciation ETF VIG, Invesco S&P 500 Low Volatility ETF SPLV, iShares MSCI USA Quality Factor ETF QUAL, SPDR Gold Shares GLD and Vanguard Consumer Staples ETF VDC.Commenting over the new variant, Pasi Penttinen, public health emergency response manager at the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control, has recently said that “It looks like this particular variant has a very concerning set of mutations especially in the spike protein, which is needed for its transmission properties as well as its protection against the vaccines, so based on the genetic information we are quite concerned about it,” per a CNBC article.Moderna MRNA CEO Stephane Bancel’s comment to the Financial Times on Nov 29, claiming that he anticipates the existing COVID-19 vaccines to prove comparatively less effective against the new strain, has brought about a new wave of concerns (as stated in a CNBC article). The omicron variant has now been reported in the U.K., Israel, Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany, Italy, Australia and Hong Kong. Going on, the World Health Organization (WHO) has labeled the variant as a “variant of concern.” At least 70 countries and territories are believed to have put travel restrictions from several African countries to control the outbreak, per a CNN report.Going on, consumers also continue to remain concerned under the rising heat of inflation levels. The latest data from the Conference Board highlights the depleting consumer confidence levels, as the metric just touched the nine-month-low level in November. The Conference Board's measure of consumer confidence index stands at 109.5 in November, down from October’s reading of 111.6. October’s reading was almost in line with the consensus estimate of the metric, coming in at 111, per a Reuters’ poll. The metric continues to be below the pre-pandemic level of 132.6 in February 2020.Defensive ETFs in FocusGiven the current market conditions,we have highlighted some ETFs like:Vanguard Dividend Appreciation ETFDividend aristocrats are blue-chip dividend-paying companies with a long history of increasing dividend payments year over year. Moreover, dividend aristocrat funds provide investors with dividend growth opportunities compared to other products in the space but might not necessarily have the highest yields. These products also form a strong portfolio, with a higher scope of capital appreciation as against simple dividend-paying stocks or those with high yields. As a result, these products deliver a nice combination of annual dividend growth and capital-appreciation opportunity and are mostly good for risk-averse long-term investors.Vanguard Dividend Appreciation ETF is the largest and the most popular ETF in the dividend space, with AUM of $66.09 billion. VIG follows the S&P U.S. Dividend Growers Index. Vanguard Dividend Appreciation ETF charges 6 basis points (bps) in annual fees (read: Take Shelter in Dividend Aristocrat ETFs as COVID-19 Cases Rise).Invesco S&P 500 Low Volatility ETF Demand for funds with “low volatility” or “minimum volatility” generally increases during tumultuous times. These seemingly-safe products usually do not surge in bull market conditions but offer more protection than the unpredictable ones. Providing more stable cash flow than the overall market, these funds are less cyclical.Invesco S&P 500 Low Volatility ETF provides exposure to stocks with the lowest realized volatility over the past 12 months. The fund is based on the S&P 500 Low Volatility Index and holds 101 securities in its basket. Invesco S&P 500 Low Volatility ETF has AUM of $8.01 billion and charges an expense ratio of 25 bps, as stated in the prospectus (read: Low-Volatility ETFs in Focus on Virus & Fed Taper Worries).iShares MSCI USA Quality Factor ETF Quality stocks are rich in value characteristics with a healthy balance sheet, high return on capital, low volatility and high margins. These stocks also have a track record of stable or increasing sales and earnings growth. Compared to plain vanilla funds, these products help lower volatility and perform rather well during market uncertainty. Further, academic research has proven that high-quality companies constantly provide better risk-adjusted returns than the broader market over the long term.iShares MSCI USA Quality Factor ETF provides exposure to the large- and mid-cap stocks exhibiting positive fundamentals (high return on equity, stable year-over-year earnings growth and low financial leverage) by tracking the MSCI USA Sector Neutral Quality Index. With AUM of $24.79 billion, QUAL charges 0.15% in fees (read: ETF Asset Report of November: S&P 500 Wins).SPDR Gold Shares (GLD)Considering the current scenario, gold prices have been rising. The inflationary backdrop in the United States is favorable for gold as the metal is viewed as a hedge against inflation. The yellow metal has also earned its reputation as a safe haven asset.SPDR Gold Shares is the largest and most popular ETF in the gold space, with AUM of $56.99 billion. GLD reflects the performance of the price of gold bullion, less the Trust's expenses. At launch, each share of SPDR Gold Shares represented about 1/10th of an ounce of gold. The expense ratio is 0.40% (read: Gold ETFs to Gain on Omicron & Inflation? ).Vanguard Consumer Staples ETFThe consumer staples sector is known for its non-cyclical nature and acts as a safe haven during unstable market conditions. Moreover, like utility, consumer staples is considered a stable sector for the long term as its players are likely to offer decent returns. Investors can consider parking their money in the non-cyclical consumer staples sector during an economic recession. This high-quality sector, which is largely defensive, has been found to have a low correlation factor with economic cycles.Vanguard Consumer Staples ETF seeks to track the performance of the MSCI US Investable Market Consumer Staples 25/50 Index. With AUM of $6 billion, VDC has an expense ratio of 10 bps (read: ETFs to Gain on Strong Q3 Walmart Earnings). Want key ETF info delivered straight to your inbox? Zacks’ free Fund Newsletter will brief you on top news and analysis, as well as top-performing ETFs, each week.Get it free >>Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report Moderna, Inc. (MRNA): Free Stock Analysis Report SPDR Gold Shares (GLD): ETF Research Reports Vanguard Dividend Appreciation ETF (VIG): ETF Research Reports iShares MSCI USA Quality Factor ETF (QUAL): ETF Research Reports Vanguard Consumer Staples ETF (VDC): ETF Research Reports Invesco S&P 500 Low Volatility ETF (SPLV): ETF Research Reports To read this article on Zacks.com click here. Zacks Investment Research.....»»

Category: topSource: zacksDec 4th, 2021

Futures Jump In Volatile Session Dragged By Latest Twists In Omicron Saga

Futures Jump In Volatile Session Dragged By Latest Twists In Omicron Saga Much of the overnight session was a snooze fest with stocks drifting first higher then lower after surging on Tuesday, as the narrative meandered from "omicron fears ease" optimism to "vaccines won't work" pessimism, before futures took a sudden leg lower, dropping into the red just after 530am ET, following news that UK's Boris Johnson would introduce new restrictions in England to curb Omicron spread, sparking fears that Omicron is more dangerous that expected (and than futures reflected). However, this episode of pessimism proved short-lived because just an hour later, the WSJ confirmed that Omicron is really just a pitch for covid booster shots when it reported that even though the covid vaccine loses significant effectiveness against Omicron in an early study, this is miraculously reversed with a booster shot as three doses of the vaccine were able to neutralize the variant in an initial laboratory study, and the companies said two doses may still protect against severe disease. Futures quickly shot up on the news, spiking above the gamma "all clear" level of 4,700 in a move best summarized with the following chart. And so, after going nowhere, S&P futures climbed for a third day, last seen 12 points, or 0.3% higher, just around 4,700 after rising the most since March on Tuesday. Europe’s Stoxx 600 Index rose following the biggest jump in more than a year. In addition to the omicron soap opera, which as we noted yesterday turns out was just one staged covid booster shot advertisement (because Pfizer and Moderna can always do with a bigger yacth), sentiment was also lifted by Chinese authorities' reversal to "easing mode" and aggressive efforts to limit the fallout from property market woes which lifted risk assets in Asia even as key debt deadlines at China Evergrande Group and Kaisa Group Holdings Ltd. passed without any sign of payment. "Clearly in the very short term uncertainty has risen over the Omicron virus... but overall at this stage we do not believe it will derail the macro picture in the medium-term," said Jeremy Gatto, multi-asset portfolio manager at Unigestion. Treasury yields were little changed after rising across the curve Tuesday. The VIX spiked first on the FT news, then dropped back into the red, while the dollar was flat and crude rose after turning red. Besides macro, micro was also in play and here are some other notable premarket movers Apple (AAPL US) ticks 1% higher in premarket trading following a Nikkei report that the tech giant told suppliers to speed up iPhone output for Nov.-Jan, citing people it didn’t identify. Amazon.com (AMZN US) shares in focus after an Amazon Web Services outage is wreaking havoc on the e-commerce giant’s delivery operation Stitch Fix (SFIX US) tumbles 25% in U.S. premarket trading after a 2Q forecast miss that analysts called “surprising,” while customer additions also disappointed Pfizer (PFE US) shares drop 2% in U.S. premarket trading after an early study showed that the company’s vaccine provides less immunity to the omicron variant Dare Bioscience (DARE US) soars 41% in premarket trading after Xaciato gets FDA approval for treating bacterial vaginosis EPAM Systems (EPAM US) soars 8% in premarket after S&P Dow Jones Indices said co. will replace Kansas City Southern in the S&P 500 effective prior to the opening of trading on Dec. 14 Goodyear Tire & Rubber (GT US) upgraded to buy from hold and target boosted to Street-high $32 from $29 at Deutsche Bank with the company seen as a major beneficiary from the shift to electric vehicles. Shares up 4.3% in premarket trading NXP Semiconductor (NXPI US) shares slide 2.2% in U.S. premarket trading after the chipmaker got a new sell rating at UBS Dave & Buster’s (PLAY US) gained 3.5% postmarket after the dining and entertainment company reported EPS that beat the average analyst estimate and authorized a $100 million share buyback program "Every day that passes without a wave of severe cases driven by Omicron is offering more hope that this won't be the curveball to throw the recovery off course," wrote Deutsche Bank strategist Jim Reid in a note to clients. In Europe, the Stoxx Europe 600 Index initially drifted both higher and lower then bounced 0.3% on the favorable Pfizer and BioNTech news one day after posting its bigger surge in a year. European benchmark index earlier rose as much as 2%, dropped 2.1%. Health care sub-index leads gains, rising 1.2%, followed by travel stocks. The Stoxx 600 closed 2.5% higher on Tuesday, biggest gain since November 2020 Earlier in the session, Asia stocks also rose for a second day as concerns about the omicron variant and China’s economic slowdown eased. The MSCI AsiaPacific Index climbed as much as 0.9% after capping its biggest one-day gain in more than three months on Tuesday. Technology and health-care shares provided the biggest boosts. Benchmarks in New Zealand and India -- where the central bank held rates at a record low -- were among the day’s best performers. “The biggest point appealing to investors is that the Omicron variant doesn’t seem to be too fatal,” which is encouraging to those who had been going short to close out their positions, said Tomoichiro Kubota, a senior market analyst at Matsui Securities in Tokyo. “Worry that the Chinese economy will lose its growth momentum has subsided quite a bit.” Thus far, Omicron cases haven’t overwhelmed hospitals while vaccine developments indicate some promise in dealing with the variant. While vaccines like the one made by Pfizer and BioNTech SE may be less powerful against the new strain, protection can be fortified with boosters. The two-day rally in the Asian stock benchmark marks a sharp turnaround following weeks of declines since mid-November. Stocks in China also climbed for a second day. The nation’s central bank said Monday it will cut the amount of cash most banks must keep in reserve from Dec. 15, providing a liquidity boost and helping restore investor confidence In FX, news on the Omicron variant rippled through G-10 currencies after a report the Pfizer vaccine could neutralize the Omicron variant boosted risk appetite. The pound underperformed other Group-of-10 peers, extending declines after reports that the U.K. government is poised to introduce new Covid-19 restrictions.  A gauge of the dollar’s strength fluctuated as Treasuries pare gains and stocks rally after a report that said Pfizer and BioNTech claim three vaccine doses neutralize the omicron variant. EUR/USD rose 0.1% to 1.1277; USD/NOK falls as much as 0.8% to 8.9459, lowest since Nov. 25 Sterling fell against the euro and the dollar, as traders pare bets on the path of Bank of England rate hikes following reports that the U.K. could introduce fresh Covid-19 restrictions such as working from home and vaccine passports for large venues. Money markets pare rate hike bets, with just six basis points of interest rate hikes priced in for the BOE meeting next week. GBP/USD falls as much as 0.6% to 1.3163, testing the key level of 1.3165, the 38.2% Fibonacci retracement of gains since March 2020. EUR/GBP gains as much as 0.7% to 0.85695, the highest since Nov. 11. “The market will probably see this as more U.K. specific and therefore an issue for the pound at least in the short term,” said Stuart Bennett, FX strategist at Santander. In rates, Treasuries were mixed with markets reacting in a risk-on manner to the Dow Jones report that Pfizer and BioNTech claim three vaccine doses neutralize the omicron variant. Yields remain richer by less than 1bp across long-end of the curve while front-end trades cheaper on the day, flattening curve spreads. Session’s focal points include $36b 10-year note reopening at 1pm ET, following Tuesday’s strong 3-year note auction. Treasury 10-year yields around 1.475%, near flat on the day; gilts outperform slightly after Financial Times report that further Covid restrictions will be announced imminently to curb the variant’s spread. U.S. 2-year yields were cheaper by 1bp on the day, rose to new 2021 high following Pfizer vaccine report; 2s10s spread erased a flattening move In commodities, crude futures turned red, WTI falling 0.8%, popping back below $72. Spot gold holds Asia’s modest gains, adding $8 to trade near $1,792/oz. Looking at the day ahead, and Olaf Scholz is expected to become German Chancellor in a Bundestag vote today. From central banks, the Bank of Canada will be deciding on rates, and we’ll also hear from ECB President Lagarde, Vice President de Guindos and the ECB’s Schnabel. Finally, data releases include the JOLTS job openings from the US for October. Market Snapshot S&P 500 futures up 0.2% to 4,693.75 STOXX Europe 600 little changed at 480.55 MXAP up 0.7% to 194.84 MXAPJ up 0.6% to 632.78 Nikkei up 1.4% to 28,860.62 Topix up 0.6% to 2,002.24 Hang Seng Index little changed at 23,996.87 Shanghai Composite up 1.2% to 3,637.57 Sensex up 1.8% to 58,654.25 Australia S&P/ASX 200 up 1.3% to 7,405.45 Kospi up 0.3% to 3,001.80 Brent Futures down 0.5% to $75.04/bbl Gold spot up 0.3% to $1,790.33 U.S. Dollar Index down 0.17% to 96.20 German 10Y yield little changed at -0.38% Euro up 0.2% to $1.1286 Brent Futures down 0.5% to $75.04/bbl Top Overnight News from Bloomberg The omicron variant of Covid-19 must inflict significant damage on the euro-area economy for European Central Bank Governing Council member Martins Kazaks to back additional stimulus “The current phase of higher inflation could last longer than expected only some months ago,” ECB vice president Luis de Guindos says at event The earliest studies on omicron are in and the glimpse they’re providing is cautiously optimistic: while vaccines like the one made by Pfizer Inc. and BioNTech SE may be less powerful against the new variant, protection can be fortified with boosters U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson is set to announce new Covid-19 restrictions in England, known as “Plan B,” to stop the spread of the Omicron variant, the Financial Times reported, citing three senior Whitehall officials familiar with the matter. French economic activity will continue to rise in December, despite another wave of the Covid-19 pandemic and fresh uncertainty over the omicron variant, according the Bank of France The Kingdom of Denmark will sell a sovereign green bond for the first time next month to help the Nordic nation meet one of the world’s most ambitious climate targets Tom Hayes, the former UBS Group AG and Citigroup Inc. trader who became the face of the sprawling Libor scandal, has lost his bid to appeal his U.K. criminal conviction Poland is poised for a hefty increase in interest rates after a spike in inflation to a two- decade high convinced central bankers that spiraling price growth isn’t transitory. Of 32 economists surveyed by Bloomberg, 20 expect a 50 basis-point hike to 1.75% today and 10 see the rate rising to 2%. The other two expect a 25 basis-point increase Australia is weighing plans for a central bank-issued digital currency alongside the regulation of the crypto market as it seeks to overhaul how the nation’s consumers and businesses pay for goods and services Bank of Japan Deputy Governor Masayoshi Amamiya dropped a strong hint that big firms are in less need of funding support, a comment that will likely fuel speculation the BOJ will scale back its pandemic buying of corporate bonds and commercial paper A detailed summary of global markets courtesy of Newsquawk Asian equity markets traded positively as the region took impetus from the global risk momentum following the tech-led rally in the US, where Apple shares rose to a record high and amid increased optimism that Omicron could be less dangerous than prior variants. This was after early hospitalisation data from South Africa showed the new variant could result in less severe COVID and NIH's Fauci also suggested that Omicron was 'almost certainly' not more severe than Delta, although there were some slight headwinds in late Wall Street trade after a small study pointed to reduced vaccine efficacy against the new variant. The ASX 200 (+1.3%) was underpinned in which tech led the broad gains across sectors as it found inspiration from the outperformance of big tech stateside, and with energy bolstered by the recent rebound in underlying oil prices. The Nikkei 225 (+1.4%) conformed to the upbeat mood although further advances were capped after USD/JPY eased off the prior day’s highs and following a wider-than-expected contraction to the economy with the final annualised Q3 GDP at -3.6% vs exp. -3.1%. The Hang Seng (+0.1%) and Shanghai Comp. (+1.2%) were less decisive and initially lagged behind their peers as sentiment was mired by default concerns due to the failure by Evergrande to pay bondholders in the lapsed 30-day grace period on two USD-denominated bond payments and with Kaisa Group in a trading halt after missing the deadline for USD 400mln in offshore debt which didn’t bode well for its affiliates. Furthermore, China Aoyuan Property Group received over USD 650mln in repayment demands and warned it may not be able to meet debt obligations, while a subdued Hong Kong debut for Weibo shares which declined around 6% from the offer price added to the glum mood for Hong Kong’s blue-chip tech stocks, as did reports that China is to tighten rules for tech companies seeking foreign funding. Finally, 10yr JGBs languished after spillover selling from T-notes and due to the heightened global risk appetite, but with downside stemmed by support at the key psychological 152.00 level and amid the presence of the BoJ in the market today for over JPY 1.0tln of JGBs. Top Asian News China Clean Car Sales Spike as Consumers Embrace Electric Gold Edges Higher as Traders Weigh Vaccine Efficacy, Geopolitics Paint Maker Avia Avian Falls in Debut After $763 Million IPO Tokyo Prepares to Introduce Same-Sex Partnerships Next Year Equities in Europe shifted to a lower configuration after a mixed open (Euro Stoxx 50 -0.7%; Stoxx 600 -0.1%) as sentiment was dented by rumours of tightening COVID measures in the UK. Markets have been awaiting the next catalyst to latch onto for direction amidst a lack of fresh fundamentals. US equity futures have also been dented but to a lesser extent, with the YM (-0.1%) and ES (Unch) straddling behind the NQ (+0.2%) and RTY (+0.2%). Sources in recent trade suggested an 85% chance of the UK implementing COVID Plan B, according to Times' Dunn; reports indicate such restrictions could be implemented on Thursday, with the potential for an announcement today. In terms of the timings, the UK cabinet is penciled in for 15:45GMT and presser for 17:30GMT on Plan B, according to BBC's Goodall. Note, this will not be a formal lockdown but more so work-from-home guidance, vaccine passports for nightlife and numerical restrictions on indoor/outdoor gatherings. APAC closed in the green across the board following the tech-led rally in the US. The upside overnight was attributed to a continuation of market optimism after early hospitalisation data from South Africa showed the new variant could result in less severe COVID, albeit after a small study pointed to reduced vaccine efficacy against the new variant. Participants will be closely watching any updates from the vaccine-makers, with the BioNTech CEO stating the drugmaker has data coming Wednesday or Thursday related to the new COVID-19 variant, thus markets will be eyeing a potential update this week ahead of the Pfizer investor call next Friday. Back to European, the UK’s FTSE 100 (Unch) and the Swiss SMI (+0.8%) are largely buoyed by their defensive stocks, with sectors seeing a defensive formation, albeit to a slightly lesser extent vs the open. Healthcare retains its top spot closely followed by Food & Beverages, although Personal & Household Goods and Telecoms have moved down the ranks. On the flip side, Retail, Banks and Travel & Leisure trade at the bottom of the bunch, whilst Tech nursed some earlier losses after opening as the lagging sector. In terms of individual movers, Nestle (+1.8%) is bolstered after announcing a CHF 20bln share repurchase programme alongside a stake reduction in L'Oreal (+1.0%) to 20.1% from 23.3% - worth some EUR 9bln. L’Oreal has shrugged off the stake sale and conforms to the firm sectoral performance across the Personal & Household Goods. Meanwhile, chip names are under pressure after Nikkei sources reported that Apple (+0.8% pre-market) was forced to scale back the total output target for 2021, with iPhone and iPad assembly halted for several days due to supply chain constraints and restrictions on the use of power in China, multiple sources told Nikkei. STMicroelectronics (-1.7%) and Infineon (-5.0%) are among the losers, with the latter also weighed on by a broker downgrade at JPM. Top European News ECB’s Kazaks Sets High Bar for Omicron-Driven Extra Stimulus Biden Is Left Guessing Over Putin’s Ultimate Aim in Ukraine Byju’s Buys Austria’s GeoGebra to Bolster Online Math Courses Scholz Elected by Parliament to Take Charge as German Chancellor In FX, the Dollar index continues to hold above 96.000, but bounces have become less pronounced and the range so far today is distinctly narrower (96.285-130) in fitting with the generally restrained trade in pairings within the basket and beyond, bar a few exceptions. Price action suggests a relatively muted midweek session unless a major game-changer arrives and Wednesday’s agenda does not bode that well in terms of catalysts aside from JOLTS and the BoC policy meeting before the second leg of this week’s refunding in the form of Usd 36 bn 10 year notes. AUD/EUR - Notwithstanding the largely contained currency moves noted above, the Aussie is maintaining bullish momentum on specific factors including strength in iron ore prices and encouraging Chinese data plus PBoC easing that should have a positive knock-on effect for one of its main trading partners even though diplomatic relations between the two nations are increasingly strained. Aud/Usd has also cleared a couple of technical hurdles on the way up to circa 0.7143 and Aud/Nzd is firmer on the 1.0500 handle ahead of the RBA’s latest chart pack release and a speech by Governor Lowe. Elsewhere, the Euro has regained composure after its sub-1.1250 tumble on Tuesday vs the Buck and dip through 0.8500 against the Pound, but still faces psychological resistance at 1.1300 and the 21 DMA that comes in at 1.1317 today, while Eur/Gbp needs to breach the 100 DMA (0.8513) convincingly or close above to confirm a change in direction for the cross from a chart perspective. CHF/CAD/JPY/GBP/NZD - All sitting tight in relation to their US counterpart, with the Franc paring some declines between 0.9255-30 parameters and the Loonie straddling 1.2650 in the run up to the aforementioned BoC that is widely seen as a non-event given no new MPR or press conference, not to mention the actual changes in QE and rate guidance last time. Nevertheless, implied volatility is quite high via a 63 pip breakeven for Usd/Cad. Meanwhile, Sterling lost grip of the 1.3200 handle amidst swirling speculation about the UK reverting to plan B and more Tory MPs calling for PM Johnson to resign, the Yen is rotating around 113.50 eyeing broad risk sentiment and US Treasury yields in context of spreads to JGBs, and the Kiwi is lagging after touching 0.6800 awaiting independent impetus from NZ manufacturing sales for Q3. SCANDI/EM - The Nok extended its advantage/outperformance against the Sek as Brent rebounded towards Usd 76/brl in early trade and Riksbank’s Jansson retained reservations about flagging a repo rate hike at the end of the forecast horizon, while the Mxn and Rub also initially derived some support from oil with the latter also taking on board latest hawkish talk from the CBR. However, the Cny and Cnh are outpacing their rivals again with some assistance from a firmer PBoC midpoint fix to hit multi-year peaks vs the Usd and probe 6.3500 ahead of option expiry interest at 6.3000 and a Fib retracement at 6.2946, in stark contrast to the Try that is unwinding recent recovery gains with no help from the latest blast from Turkish President Erdogan - see 10.00GMT post in the Headline Feed for more. Conversely, the Czk has taken heed of CNB’s Holub underscoring tightening signals and expectations for the next rate convene and the Pln and Brl are anticipating hikes from the NBP and BCB. In commodities, crude futures have been hit on the prospect of imminent COVID-related measures in the UK, albeit the measures do not involve lockdowns. Brent and WTI front month futures slipped from European highs to breach APAC lows. The former dipped below USD 74.50/bbl from a USD 76.00/bbl European peak while its WTI counterpart tested USD 71.00/bbl from USD 72.50/bbl at best. Overnight the benchmarks traded on either side the USD 75/bbl mark and just under USD 72/bbl after the weekly Private Inventories printed a larger-than-expected draw (-3.6mln vs exp. -3.1mln), albeit the internals were less bullish. Yesterday also saw the release of the EIA STEO, cut its 2021 world oil demand growth forecast by an insignificant 10k BPD but raised the 2022 metric by 200k BPD – with the IEA and OPEC monthly reports poised to be released next week. On the vaccine front, a small preliminary study of 12 people showed a 40x reduction in neutralization capacity of the Pfizer vaccine against Omicron, but early hospitalisation data from South Africa showed the new variant could result in less severe COVID. BioNTech CEO said they have data coming in on Wednesday or Thursday related to the new Omicron variant. The geopolitical space is also worth keeping on the radar, with US President Biden yesterday warning Russian President Putin that gas exports via Nord Stream 2 will be targeted and more troops will be deployed if he orders an invasion of Ukraine. Further, reports suggested, an Indian army helicopter crashed in Tamil Nadu, with Chief of Defence staff reportedly on board, according to Sputnik. Note, Tamil Nadu is located towards the south of the country and away from conflict zones. Elsewhere spot gold was supported by the overnight pullback in the Dollar, but the recent risk aversion took the yellow metal above the 100 DMA around USD 1,790/oz, with nearby upside levels including the 200 DMA (1,792/oz) and the 50 DMA (1,794/oz). Copper prices meanwhile consolidated within a tight range, with LME copper holding onto a USD 9,500/t handle (just about). Dalian iron ore extended on gains in a continuation of the upside seen in recent trade. US Event Calendar 7am: Dec. MBA Mortgage Applications, prior -7.2% 10am: Oct. JOLTs Job Openings, est. 10.5m, prior 10.4m DB's Jim Reid concludes the overnight wrap A reminder that we are currently conducting our special 2022 survey. We ask about rates, equities, bond yields and the path of covid in 2022, amongst other things, and also return to a festive question we asked in 2019, namely your favourite ever Christmas songs. The link is here and it’ll be open until tomorrow. All help filling in very much appreciated. My optimism for life has been shattered this morning. Not from the markets or the virus but just as I woke this morning England cricketers finally surrendered and collapsed in a heap on the first day of the Ashes - one the oldest international rivalries in sport. It was all I could do not to turn round and go back to bed. However out of duty I’m soldering on. After the twins nativity play went without incident yesterday, this morning it’s Maisie’s turn. Given she’s in a wheelchair at the moment she can’t get on stage so they’ve given her a solo singing spot at the start. I’m going so I can bring a bucket for all my wife’s tears as she sings!! If I shed a tear I’ll pretend it’s because of the cricket. The global market rebound continued to gather strength yesterday as investors became increasingly optimistic that the Omicron variant wouldn’t prove as bad as initially feared. To be honest, it was more the absence of bad news rather than any concrete good news helping to drive sentiment. Late in the US session we did see some headlines suggesting that the Pfizer vaccine may provide some defence against Omicron but also that the new variant does evade some of the immunity produced by this vaccine. This report of the small study (12 people!!) from South Africa lacked substance but you could take positives and negatives from it. More information is clearly needed. For the markets though, every day that passes without a wave of severe cases driven by Omicron is offering more hope that this won’t be the curveball to throw the recovery off course. Indeed, to get a sense of the scale of the market rebound, both the S&P 500 and the STOXX 600 in Europe have now clocked in their strongest 2-day performances of 2021 so far, with the indices up by +3.27% and +3.76% respectively since the start of the week. Meanwhile, the VIX fell below 25 for the first time in a week. On the day, the S&P 500 (+2.07%) put in its strongest daily performance since March, whilst the STOXX 600 (+2.45%) saw its strongest daily performance since the news that the Pfizer vaccine was successful in trials back in November 2020. Once again the gains were incredibly broad-based, albeit with cyclical sectors leading the way. The Nasdaq (+3.03%) outperformed the S&P 500 for the first time in a week as tech shares led the rally. Small cap stocks also had a strong day, with the Russell 2000 up +2.28%, on the back of Omicron optimism. This recovery in risk assets was also seen in the bounceback in oil prices, with Brent crude (+3.23%) and WTI (+3.68%) now both up by more than $5.5/bbl since the start of the week, which puts them well on the way to ending a run of 6 consecutive weekly declines. For further evidence of this increased optimism, we can also look at the way that investors have been dialling back up their estimates of future rate hikes from the Fed, with yesterday seeing another push in this direction. Before the Omicron news hit, Fed fund futures were fully pricing in an initial hike by the June meeting, but by the close on the Monday after Thanksgiving they’d moved down those odds to just 61% in June, with an initial hike not fully priced until September. Fast forward just over a week however, and we’re now not only back to pricing in a June hike, but the odds of a May hike are standing at +78.8%, which is actually higher than the +66.1% chance priced before the Omicron news hit. A reminder that we’re just a week away now from the Fed’s next decision, where it’s hotly anticipated they could accelerate the pace at which they’ll taper their asset purchases. With investors bringing forward their bets on monetary tightening, front-end US Treasury yields were hitting post-pandemic highs yesterday, with the 2yr Treasury yield up +5.8bps to 0.69%, a level we haven’t seen since March 2020. Longer-dated yield increases weren’t as large, with the 10yr yield up +3.9bps to 1.47%, and the 5s30s curve flattened another -1.8bps to 54.4bps, just above the post-pandemic low of 53.7bps. Over in Europe there was similarly a rise in most countries’ bond yields, with those on 10yr bunds (+1.4bps), OATs (+1.0bps) and BTPs (+4.4bps) all moving higher, though incidentally, the 5s30s curve in Germany was also down -2.2bps to its own post-pandemic low of 50.0bps. One pretty big news story that markets have been relatively unperturbed by so far is the rising tensions between the US and Russia over Ukraine. Yesterday saw a video call between US President Biden and Russian President Putin. The US readout from the call did not offer much in the way of concrete details, but if you’re looking for any optimistic news, it said that both sides tasked their teams with following up. Setting the background for the call, there were reports immediately beforehand that the US was considering evacuating their citizens and posturing to stop Nord Stream 2 if Russia invaded Ukraine. The Ruble appreciated +0.42% against the dollar, and is now only slightly weaker versus the dollar on the week. Overnight in Asia stocks are trading mostly higher led by the Nikkei (+1.49%), CSI (+1.11%), Shanghai Composite (+0.86%) and the KOSPI (+0.78%) as markets respond positively to the Pfizer study mentioned at the top. The Hang Seng (-0.12%) is lagging though. In Japan, the final Q3 GDP contracted -3.6% quarter on quarter annualised against consensus expectations of -3.1% on lower consumer spending than initially estimated. In India, the RBI left the key policy rate unchanged for the ninth consecutive meeting today while underscoring increasing headwinds from the Omicron variant. Futures markets indicate a positive start in the US and Europe with S&P 500 (+0.41%) and DAX (+0.12%) futures trading in the green. Back on the pandemic, despite the relative benign news on Omicron, rising global case counts mean that the direction of travel is still towards tougher restrictions across a range of countries. In fact here in the UK, we saw the 7-day average of reported cases move above 48,000 for the first time since January. In terms of fresh restrictions, yesterday saw Canada announce that they’d be extending their vaccine mandate, which will now require employees in all federally regulated workplaces to be vaccinated, including road transportation, telecommunications and banking. In Sweden, the government is preparing a bill that would see Covid passes introduced for gyms and restaurants, while Poland put further measures in place, including remote schooling from December 20 until January 9, while vaccines would become mandatory for health workers, teachers and uniformed services from March 1. One move to ease restrictions came in Austria, where it was confirmed shops would be reopening on Monday, albeit only for those vaccinated, while restaurants and hotels would reopen the following week. If you see our daily charts you’ll see that cases in Austria have dropped sharply since the peaks a couple of weeks ago, albeit still high internationally. In DC, Congressional leaders apparently agreed to a deal that would ultimately lead to the debt ceiling being increased, after some procedural chicanery. Senate Majority Leader McConnell voiced support for the measure, which is a good sign for its ultimate prospects of passing, but it still needs at least 10 Republican votes in the Senate to pass. McConnell indicated the votes would be there when the Senate ultimately takes it up, which is reportedly set to happen this week. The House passed the measure last night. Yields on Treasury bills maturing in December fell following the headlines. Looking ahead, today will mark the end of an era in Germany, as Olaf Scholz is set to become Chancellor in a Bundestag vote later on, marking an end to Chancellor Merkel’s 16-year tenure. That vote will simply be a formality given the three parties of the incoming coalition (the centre-left SPD, the Greens and the liberal FDP) have a comfortable majority between them, and the new cabinet will feature 7 SPD ministers, 5 Green ministers, and 4 from the FDP. Among the positions will include Green co-leader Robert Habeck as Vice Chancellor, Green co-leader Annalena Baerbock as foreign minister, and FDP leader Christian Lindner as finance minister. Running through yesterday’s data, the US trade deficit narrowed to $67.1bn in October (vs. $66.8bn expected), marking its smallest level since April. Meanwhile in the Euro Area, the latest Q3 growth estimate was left unchanged at +2.2%, but both Q1 and Q2’s growth was revised up a tenth. Over in Germany, industrial production grew by a stronger-than-expected +2.8% in October (vs. +1.0% expected), with the previous month’s contraction also revised to show a smaller -0.5% decline. In addition, the expectations component of the December ZEW survey fell by less than expected to 29.9 (vs. 25.4 expected), but the current situation measure fell to a 6-month low of -7.4 (vs. 5.7 expected). To the day ahead now, and Olaf Scholz is expected to become German Chancellor in a Bundestag vote today. From central banks, the Bank of Canada will be deciding on rates, and we’ll also hear from ECB President Lagarde, Vice President de Guindos and the ECB’s Schnabel. Finally, data releases include the JOLTS job openings from the US for October. Tyler Durden Wed, 12/08/2021 - 07:58.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeDec 8th, 2021

Stocks Soar On Optimism Omicron Is A Dud As Traders Focus On Growing China Stimulus

Stocks Soar On Optimism Omicron Is A Dud As Traders Focus On Growing China Stimulus U.S. index futures rallied, led by gains for Nasdaq 100 contracts, amid waning omicron worries and a booster shot of Chinese stimulus lifted world stock markets and oil on Tuesday and left traders offloading safe-haven currencies and bonds for the second day in a row. Emini S&P futures were up 61 point to 4,650.75 or about 120 points higher then where Gartman said "stocks are headed lower" some 24 hours ago. Nasdaq futures were up 1.8% and Dow futures rose 1% in premarket trading. In fact, futures are now just 50 points away from where they were below the Black Friday Omicron panic plunge. The FTSEurofirst 300 index was on track for its first back-to-back run of plus 1% gains since February while Asia saw record bounces from some of China's biggest firms such as Alibaba which soared by the most since its 2019 listing in Hong Kong, leading a rebound in Chinese tech stocks, as bargain hunters piled in amid improved sentiment following Beijing’s move to bolster the economy. The MSCI Asia Pacific Index climbed 1.7% while Japan’s Topix index closed 2.2% higher. The VIX dropped for a second day, sliding below 24, but remained above this year’s average. The risk-on mood also helped the dollar climb against safe haven currencies such as the Japanese yen, , which had lost 0.6% overnight, as the confidence-sensitive Australian dollar also found buyers. Safe-haven government bonds went the other way with yields  up 2.5% on Germany's benchmark 10-year Bund after falling to a three-month low on Monday. Reports in South Africa said Omicron cases there had only shown mild symptoms and the top U.S. infectious disease official, Anthony Fauci, told CNN "it does not look like there's a great degree of severity" so far. "Good news relating to the severity of Omicron should be taken with a pinch of salt. Faster transmission could offset the benefits of milder symptoms," researchers at ING said in a note. "More broadly, it is still early days, even if markets are starting to display Omicron fatigue." "While epidemiologists have rightly warned against premature conclusions on Omicron, markets arguably surmised that last week's brutal sell-off ought to have been milder," Vishnu Varathan, head of economics and strategy at Mizuho Bank, said in a note. "After all, early assessments of Omicron cases have been declared mild, spurring half-full relief." There are signs of “a fragile improvement in market mood,” said Ipek Ozkardeskaya, senior analyst at Swissquote. Still, “no headline addresses the major concern of the week: the rising U.S. inflation, which is a big threat to the investor mood, as the U.S. CPI data is due Friday, and the expectation is an advance to a strong 6.7%,” Ozkardeskaya wrote in a report. “We could see wild mood swings into the second half of the week.” The gains also came after China's central bank on Monday injected its second shot of stimulus since July by cutting the RRR - or the amount of cash that banks must hold in reserve. Then on Tuesday, the PBOC said that the Interest rate for relending to support rural sector and smaller firms will be cut by 0.25 percentage point, effective from today, with 3-mo, 6-mo and 1-yr relending rates will be cut to 1.7%1.9% and 2%. After pretending it would let the economy falter for months, Beijing is finally firmly in pro-growth mode with the Politburo stating that stability is the top priority ahead of next year’s Communist Party congress. Premier Li Keqiang also said China has room for a variety of monetary policy tools after yesterday’s reserve ratio cut. As a result, the beaten down financial and property stocks were the biggest winners amid the change in tone from policy makers. In Hong Kong, Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. soared by the most since its 2019 listing. Global markets are also getting a lift from the easing policy pivot in world’s second-largest economy which we first flagged more than a weeks ago. * * * In the premarket, Intel shares rose 7.7% in premarket trading after the chipmaker confirmed a WSJ report that it plans to float a minority stake in its Mobileye self-driving car business by the middle of next year. Alibaba jumped as much as 5.4% in U.S. premarket trading Tuesday, adding to a 10% rally on Monday as with Chinese tech stocks rebound. Alibaba’s climb in the U.S. comes after its shares posted their biggest gain since June 2017 on Monday. Cruise operators and airline stocks are trading higher for a second session as investors assess the severity of the omicron virus variant. American Airlines was among the notable outperformers after naming President Robert Isom to replace retiring CEO Doug Parker. AAL rose 3% in premarket trading, while UAL climbs 2.6% and JBLU jumps 2.7%; other gainers include: ALK +2.6%, DAL+2.3%, LUV +2.4%, Royal Caribbean and Norwegian Cruise added 3.3%, while Carnival increased 3.1% in premarket trading. Casino operators also rebounded, led by Las Vegas Sands +3.5%, Wynn Resorts +2.7%, MGM Resorts +2.3% after Hong Kong’s Carrie Lam said the city will prioritize quarantine-free travel for business people when its border with mainland China reopens. In Europe every industry sector rose, led by tech and mining companies, to push the Stoxx 600 Index to a 2% gain led by technology, mining and consumer companies. AstraZeneca was an outliker, falling 2% in London after the company agreed to pay Ionis Pharmaceuticals as much as $3.6 billion to gain rights to a promising medicine for a rare disease. European e-commerce stocks that benefited from increased demand during pandemic-related lockdowns rose in Europe on Tuesday, with many outperforming the benchmark Stoxx 600’s biggest gain since March. Among the names were Allegro +6.3%, Moonpig +5.3%, Global Fashion Group +5.3%, Asos +5.1%, Zalando +4.6%, THG +3.7%, Boozt +3.3%, Ocado +2.4%, Boohoo +1.9%. “As concerns grow over rising case numbers, we expect some people will prefer to shop online again to limit their visits to stores,” Fraser McKevitt, head of retail and consumer insight at Kantar, says in emailed comments. Asian equities advanced, on track for their best day in more than three months, following China’s latest moves to bolster growth in the world’s second-largest economy.  The MSCI Asia Pacific Index rose as much as 1.8%, poised for its biggest gain since Aug. 24. Consumer-discretionary firms contributed most to the market’s climb, led by Alibaba as bargain hunters snapped up recently rattled Chinese tech stocks. Benchmarks in Hong Kong and Japan led broad gains around the region.  China’s central bank said it will cut the amount of cash most banks must keep in reserve from Dec. 15, providing a liquidity boost. Meanwhile the Communist Party’s Politburo signaled an easing of curbs on the battered real-estate sector. “Anxiety over the Chinese economy is abating thanks to the cut in the banks’ reserve ratio and a partial easing of real-estate regulations,” said Hiroshi Namioka, chief strategist at T&D Asset Management Co. Plus, “an overall risk-on mood is being created as people turn increasingly optimistic about any impact from the omicron, leading to higher U.S. equities and long-term yields.”  Financials and industrials also boosted the region’s key equity gauge Tuesday as investors looked toward reopening prospects. The day’s rebound marks a sharp turnaround following weeks of declines since mid-November. U.S. equities overnight rebounded from Friday’s selloff after reports that cases of the omicron variant have been relatively mild. Japanese equities rose by the most in over a month, as investors were cheered by reports of Chinese policy makers moving to support the nation’s economy and that global omicron virus cases have been relatively mild. Electronics makers and telecoms were the biggest boosts to the Topix, which gained 2.2%, the most since Nov. 1. SoftBank Group and Tokyo Electron were the largest contributors to a 1.9% rise in the Nikkei 225. The yen extended its loss against the dollar after weakening 0.6% overnight. U.S. stocks climbed Monday after news from South Africa that showed hospitals haven’t been overwhelmed by the latest wave of Covid cases. Meanwhile, China President Xi Jinping oversaw a meeting of the Communist Party’s Politburo on Monday that concluded with a signal of an easing in curbs on real estate. “Cyclical stocks, China-linked names and automakers that had been sold on a stronger yen will likely be bought up following China’s change in policy stance,” said Hideyuki Ishiguro, a strategist at Nomura Asset Management in Tokyo. “This will alleviate worry over a slowdown in the Chinese economy.” India’s benchmark equity index bounced back from a three-month low on optimism that the global economic recovery may be able to withstand risks associated with the omicron virus variant.  The S&P BSE Sensex climbed 1.6% to 57,633.65, in Mumbai, while the NSE Nifty 50 Index also advanced by a similar magnitude. ICICI Bank Ltd. provided the biggest boost to both the gauges with a 3.5% gain. Out of the 30 shares in the Sensex, 29 rose and one fell. All 19 industry sub-indexes compiled by BSE Ltd. gained, led by a measure of metals companies. The uncertainty from the omicron variant, along with expectations of rapid tapering by the U.S. Federal Reserve have tested the risk appetite of investors in the previous two sessions in India. However, markets across Asia advanced Tuesday after China pledged measures to support slowing economic growth. “Indian markets mirrored the sharp buoyancy in global indices on the back of short-covering by market participants. The rally was backed by a sharp upsurge in banking and metal stocks, which had taken a severe hammering in recent sessions,” Shrikant Chouhan, head of equity research at Kotak Securities Ltd. wrote in a note.  Australia’s central bank -- at its monetary policy meeting Tuesday -- left its key interest rate unchanged and said that while the strain is a source of uncertainty, it’s not expected to derail the recovery. Reserve Bank of India will announce its rate decision on Wednesday.  In FX, the Dollar Spot Index inched lower as commodity currencies led gains among Group-of-10 peers. The volatility skew for the Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index shows bullish bets on the greenback over the one-month tenor stand near their lowest since August. This may change as soon as next week after Friday's CPI report. The euro reversed an Asia session gain to touch a December low of $1.1254 in early European hours. Bunds and Italian bonds slumped, led by the belly after ECB’s Holzmann yesterday said rate hikes are possible while still buying debt. Money markets continue to price the first 10bps rate hike in December 2022 but October pricing jumps to 7.5bps from 6bps on Monday. The pound was steady against the dollar, trailing other risk-sensitive currencies, with focus on next week’s Bank of England meeting and how officials will assess the threat of the omicron strain. The Norwegian krone and the Canadian dollar advanced amid rising oil prices and before the Bank of Canada meeting Wednesday. Australian bond yields extended gains and the Aussie dollar advanced versus all of its G-10 peers as central bank optimism that omicron won’t disrupt the economic recovery underscored bets on sooner-than-expected rate hikes. Australia’s central bank left monetary settings unchanged, citing uncertainties from omicron, while highlighting positive signs in the labor market and broader economy. Finally, the yen fell a second day after easing concern over the coronavirus omicron variant In rates, Treasuries were narrowly mixed with the front-end lagging ahead of today's 3-year auction. Treasury 2-year yields were cheaper by 2.2bp on the day, flattening 2s10s spread by 1.8bp and unwinding portion of Monday’s steepening move; 10-year yields around 1.436%, slightly cheaper on the day. Bunds lag by 1.3bp after ECB’s Holzmann says rate hikes are possible while still buying debt -- BTP’s cheapen 2.5bp vs. Treasuries in 10-year sector. U.S. TSY auctions resume with $54b 3-year note sale at 1pm ET, before $36b 10- and $22b 30-year Wednesday and Thursday; the WI 3-year around 0.973% is above auction stops since Feb. 2020 and ~22bp cheaper than November’s sale, which tailed the WI by 1bp. In commodities, oil prices jumped another 2% to $74.60 a barrel, adding to a near 5% rebound the day before as concerns about the impact of Omicron on global fuel demand eased; WTI rose about 3% near $71.50. Copper prices also ticked higher while gold was steady at $1,778.5 per ounce on expectations U.S. consumer price data due later this week will show inflation quickening. European natural gas futures rose on talk of fresh Russian sanctions. Spot gold is choppy near $1,780/oz. Base metals are well bid given the broader risk-on tone: most of the complex rises over 1% with LME zinc outperforming.  Looking at today's calendar, we have trade balance data for October at 8:30 a.m, while the EIA short-term energy outlook is published at 12:00 p.m. The US sells $54 billion of 3-year notes at 1:00 p.m. Biden and Putin talk from 10:00 a.m. Jeffrey Gundlach hosts his Total Return webcast from 4:15 p.m. Autozone Inc. and Toll Brothers Inc. report results. Market Snapshot S&P 500 futures up 1.3% to 4,650 STOXX Europe 600 up 1.7% to 476.71 MXAP up 1.7% to 193.18 MXAPJ up 1.7% to 627.71 Nikkei up 1.9% to 28,455.60 Topix up 2.2% to 1,989.85 Hang Seng Index up 2.7% to 23,983.66 Shanghai Composite up 0.2% to 3,595.09 Sensex up 1.6% to 57,657.07 Australia S&P/ASX 200 up 0.9% to 7,313.90 Kospi up 0.6% to 2,991.72 Brent Futures up 2.3% to $74.73/bbl Gold spot up 0.0% to $1,778.95 U.S. Dollar Index little changed at 96.36 German 10Y yield little changed at -0.36% Euro down 0.2% to $1.1268 Top Overnight News from Bloomberg The ECB said its supervision arm will focus its scrutiny in the coming three years on risks that lenders face from a potential spike in bad loans and their search for higher returns Hungary’s central bank is nowhere close to stopping a monetary tightening campaign that will make the country’s real interest rates the highest in central Europe, Deputy Governor Barnabas Virag said The U.S. and European allies are weighing sanctions targeting Russia’s biggest banks and the country’s ability to convert rubles for dollars and other foreign currencies should President Vladimir Putin invade Ukraine, according to people familiar with the matter China’s exports and imports grew faster than expected in November, with both hitting records as external demand surged ahead of the year-end holidays and domestic production rebounded on an easing power crunch. Some China Evergrande Group bondholders have not received overdue coupon payments after the end of a month-long grace period, putting the world’s most indebted property developer on the brink of its first default on offshore notes U.K. house prices hit a record in November, with values over the past three months rising at their fastest pace for 15 years, according to mortgage lender Halifax A more detailed look at global markets courtesy of Newsquawk Asia-Pac stocks traded mostly positive following the heightened risk appetite among global peers, including in the US, where the DJIA posted its best performance since March and all sectors in the S&P 500 finished positive. Omicron concerns abated throughout the session and resulted in notable outperformance across travel and leisure stocks, while the region also took its opportunity to digest the PBoC's recent RRR cut announcement and mostly better than expected Chinese trade data. The ASX 200 (+1.0%) was positive with broad gains across its sectors aside from utilities and with momentum helped after a lack of surprises at the RBA policy decision - which refrained from any policy tweaks. Nikkei 225 (+1.9%) outperformed and regained a firm footing above the 28k level as exporters benefitted from a weaker currency, and with the advances led by SoftBank which atoned for the recent declines in its portfolio companies. The Hang Seng (+2.7%) and Shanghai Comp. (+0.2%) were both initially lifted in early trade after the announcement of the PBoC’s RRR cut, which is said to likely calm markets amid increasing developer risks, although the mainland bourse then gave back its gains after the PBoC continued to drain liquidity in its daily open market operations. Furthermore, reports that the PBoC lowered its relending rate by 25bps for agricultural and small companies also failed to boost the mainland as this is viewed as a more targeted supportive measure. Finally, 10yr JGBs declined and re-approached the key psychological 152.00 level on spillover selling from USTs as stocks gained and Omicron fears abated. The results of the latest 30yr JGB auction were mixed with higher accepted prices and lower yield offset by a weaker b/c and wider tail in price. Top Asian News Asian Stocks Set for Best Day in 3 Months as China Tech Rebounds Alibaba Jumps Most Since H.K. Listing as China Tech Rebounds Malaysia Court Dismisses Najib’s Plea, SRC Verdict Due Wednesday LG Energy Seeks Up to 12.75t Won IPO, Biggest in Korea European stocks have conformed to the risk appetite seen across global peers (Euro Stoxx 50 +2.5%; Stoxx 600 +2.0%), which initially emanated from Wall Street, before seeping into APAC and reverberating in Europe. There is no clear catalyst behind the gains, although desks have been attributing the optimism to receding fears regarding the Omicron variant – with no recorded deaths thus far. That being said, some of the key tail risks to markets have not subsided, with liquidity also expected to be more anemic in the run-up to next week’s risk-packed docket before year end. Nonetheless, US equity futures are grinding higher with the NQ (+1.9%) in the lead, closely followed by the RTY (+1.7%), whilst the ES (+1.3%) and YM (+1.0%) see slightly less pronounced gains. Back in Europe, Euro-bourses see broad-based upside but the UK’s FTSE 100 (+1.1%) and the Swiss SMI (+0.7%) are capped by underperformance in the defensive sectors – with Healthcare and Food & Beverages towards the bottom of the bunch. Sectors are overall in the green with a clear and firm pro-cyclical bias. Tech leads the gains following its recent underperformance, with Basic Resources also among the winners as base metals post decent gains. In terms of individual movers GSK (+0.5%) remains supported after pre-clinical data demonstrate the potential for monoclonal antibody Sotrovimab to be effective against the latest variant, Omicron, plus all other variants of concern defined to date by the WHO. As a reminder, the co. last week said its COVID treatment Sotrovimab retains its activity against the Omicron variant. British American Tobacco (+2.1%) is firmer followed by a positive trading update alongside Babcock (+5.2%) and Ferguson (+4.0%). On the downside, AstraZeneca (-1.7%) resides towards the foot of the Stoxx 600 amid a downgrade at Jefferies, alongside the broader anti-defensive narrative. Looking at analysts’ commentary, Barclays suggests that the Fed is unlikely to over-deliver on the rate hikes that are already priced in, with the bank unphased by the recent Powell pivot and Omicron resurgence. Barclays maintains its positive view on 2022 equities and upgraded its European small caps to overweight on improving fundamentals but oversold performance, and downgraded Momentum to market-weight. Top European News U.K. House Prices Post Strongest Quarterly Increase Since 2006 Republicans’ Pecresse Ties With Le Pen in French Poll Ferguson 1Q U.S. Organic Revenue Beats Estimates EU Aims to Unveil Green Rules for Gas, Nuclear Projects Dec. 22 In FX, although the Buck remains bid on bullish US fundamentals and the index is finding plenty of underlying buying interest/support into 96.000, the overall market mood is constructive enough to help riskier currencies outperform, and shrug off another dovish RBA policy meeting in the case of the Aussie. Instead, Aud/Usd and Aud/Nzd are gaining more ground on the coattails of iron ore prices and favourable tradewinds, as Chinese imports surged beyond expectations and outpaced exports that also beat consensus to leave the surplus somewhat short of the mark. The headline pair reached 0.7101 before running into resistance and 1.2 bn option expiry interest at the 0.7100 strike, while the cross has breached 1.0450 convincingly to expose 1.0500 ahead of NZ Q3 manufacturing sales on Wednesday and following RBNZ Assistant Governor Hawkseby sticking to a considered line on further rate normalisation overnight. He also said the Kiwi is in a broad range of where it is expected to be and that a higher currency in the short-term will help us achieve objectives more quickly. Nzd/Usd is still rotating around 0.6750, while the Loonie is latching on to the latest leg up in WTI over Usd 71/brl to test offers protecting 1.2700 vs its US rival in advance of Canadian and US trade data, Ivey PMIs and tomorrow’s BoC, with the DXY fading following a fleeting breach of Monday’s peak within 96.447-168 confines, Note also, 1.1 bn option expiries reside between 1.2750-55 in Usd/Cad and could cap recovery rallies. Elsewhere, the Scandinavian Crowns continue to rebound from recent lows against the Euro, and Brent’s bounce to the brink of Usd 75/brl is helping the Nok probe 10.2000 rather than a somewhat mixed Norges Bank regional network survey, while the Sek is lagging circa 10.2400 amidst Riksbank concerns over the lack of liquidity and transparency in Sweden’s corporate bond market that needs to be addressed. CHF/GBP/EUR/JPY - The G10 laggards to varying degrees, with the Franc trying to pare losses from sub-0.9250 vs the Dollar and more successfully against the Euro from almost 1.0450 towards 1.0400, while the Pound is holding mostly above 1.3250 in Cable terms and Eur/Gbp is pivoting 0.8500 as the single currency remains under the psychological 1.1300 level vs the Greenback irrespective of supportive Eurozone macro impulses via better than forecast German industrial output and ZEW economic sentiment over bleak current conditions. Similarly, the Yen remains weak on risk and rate/yield dynamics and Usd/Jpy is now firmer within a loftier 113.40-74 range before a raft of Japanese releases including Q3 GDP revisions and October’s current account balance. EM - More easing in China, but resilience or even ongoing strength in the Cny and Cnh in wake of the PBoC shaving 25 bp off the relending rate for agricultural and small companies, according to sources in the Securities Times that also suggests in tune with the China Daily that an LPR cut may be in the offing. Conversely, weakness in the Rub awaiting the call between Putin and Biden and the Zar on the back of SA GDP missing already low-key expectations, but the Try is nursing some declines in what could be reasonably described as intervention fashion. In commodities, WTI and Brent front-month futures are firmer on the session, buoyed by the risk appetite across the markets. From a fundamental standpoint, the benchmarks remain underpinned by the lack of progress in Iranian nuclear talks coupled with the OSP hike seen by Saudi Aramco over the weekend for Asia and US customers – typically a reflection of firmer demand. The morning also saw some reports suggesting Yemen Houthis fired several ballistic missiles and 25 armed drones on Saudi Arabia, including Aramco facilities in Jeddah, but details remain light. Aside from that, the morning’s newsflow has been on the quiet side, with the macro environment currently dictating price action. WTI Jan is back on a USD 71/bbl handle (vs low 69.50/bbl) while Brent Feb topped USD 75.00/bbl (vs low USD 73.20/bbl). In terms of bank forecasts, Citi sees a dramatic fall in energy prices from Q4 2021 to Q4 2022 averages – with Brent seen at USD 62/bbl (from USD 79/bbl) and WTI seen at USD 59/bbl (from USD 75/bbl). Over to metals, spot gold and silver move in tandem with the Buck featuring the former around USD 1,780/oz and caged below that cluster of DMAs which today sees the 50, 100 and 200 at USD 1,793/oz, USD 1,790/oz and USD 1,791/oz respectively. Elsewhere LME copper takes impetus from the broader risk appetite, with prices back north of USD 9,500/t and extending on gains, with the Chinese trade data also supportive for the base metal complex. Overnight, Dalian iron ore futures gained focus as prices were bolstered by the recent liquidity action taken by the PBoC coupled with more sanguine commentary surrounding the Chinese housing market, according to some analysts. US Event Calendar 8:30am: 3Q Unit Labor Costs, est. 8.3%, prior 8.3% 8:30am: 3Q Nonfarm Productivity, est. -4.9%, prior -5.0% 8:30am: Oct. Trade Balance, est. -$66.8b, prior -$80.9b 3pm: Oct. Consumer Credit, est. $25b, prior $29.9b DB's Jim Reid concludes the overnight wrap It’s with much trepidation that I take an hour off work this morning to visit my 4-year old twins’ nativity play. They are by far the youngest in their Reception year and given they were premature, in reality there are technically older kids in the nursery year. As such my expectations were always well managed when the parts were being doled out that they wouldn’t be competing for the blockbuster roles such as Joseph! These expectations were met as they have been cast as “presents”. So I think they have to sit there with a bow around them and try to remember some of the words in the songs they have been given to sing. Success would be for them not to have a fight mid-performance as they do most evenings when I see them. Only when you have identical twins can you witness such love and hatred displayed within the space of a few seconds. Markets have been swinging between love and hate over the last 10 days with the former winning out yesterday as investors’ concerns eased around the Omicron variant. Obviously we’re still awaiting definitive data on a number of points, but more generally the suggestions that it could be less likely to cause severe disease has injected some optimism back into markets after the recent selloffs. As a result, we saw a decent bounceback among the major equity indices on both sides of the Atlantic, an advance for oil prices following 6 successive weekly declines, and investors even moved to marginally bring forward the likely timing of central bank rate hikes. We’ll start with equities, where risk appetite only increased as the day went on, with the S&P 500 (+1.17%) posting a broad-based advance that saw over 85% of the index’s members advancing. Europe also put in a strong performance, with the STOXX 600 up +1.3%, whilst many indices saw their biggest advances in months. That included the UK’s FTSE 100 (+1.5%), Spain’s IBEX 35 (+2.4%), and Italy’s FTSE MIB (+2.2%), which, outside of last Wednesday, were the best daily performances since July. European tech shares lagged the broader rally, with the STOXX Technology index down -0.33%, though US tech shares gained steam after the European close, with the Nasdaq up +0.93%, trailing the S&P by a more modest amount. Greater optimism about the new variant proved supportive for oil prices too, with Brent crude (+4.58%) and WTI (+4.87%) posting gains after a run of 6 consecutive weekly declines, having also been supported by Saudi Arabia’s move to raise oil prices to Asia and the US in January. Oil prices are up another 1% this morning. However, there was a big decline in US natural gas futures (-11.50%) yesterday, the worst daily performance since January 2019, as the mild weather outlook has served to dampen demand. Over in sovereign bond markets there was a fresh selloff in US Treasuries, and a steepening of the yield curve, as the optimism about Omicron led investors to bring forward their expectations of future rate hikes. Yields moved higher across the curve, with those on 10yr yields up +9.1bps to 1.43%, as both real yields and inflation breakevens moved higher on the day, whilst the 2s10s curve managed to steepen +4.7bps to 79.9bps. 10yr yields are up another +1.4bps this morning. Near-term, the first Fed rate hike is again fully priced by the June FOMC meeting. Over in Europe, yields were lower, with those on 10yr bunds (-0.1bps), OATs (-0.4bps) and BTPs (-3.8bps) all declining, though the greater risk appetite was reflected in the narrowing of peripheral spreads, with the gap between Italian and Spanish yields over bunds both tightening by the close. Overnight in Asia stocks are all trading up with the Nikkei (+2.09%), Hang Seng (+1.62%), CSI (+0.51%), KOSPI (+0.47%) and Shanghai Composite (+0.12%) all stronger. China’s RRR cut yesterday is certainly helping sentiment. On the data front, China's trade balance for November came in at $71.72 bn (consensus $83.60 bn and $84.54 bn previously), lower than expected as imports grew at +31.7% year-on-year against +21.5% consensus. Exports (+22%) were slightly higher than expected. Elsewhere the Reserve Bank of Australia held its benchmark interest rate unchanged while cautioning that price pressures remain subdued in Australia compared with other economies as the RBA expects it to reach 2.5% by 2023. Our economists put out a note suggesting that if you squint, the RBA commentary was slightly hawkish though. See more here if you’d like their review. Elsewhere futures are pointing to a positive start in the US and Europe with the S&P 500 (+0.34%) and DAX (+0.38%) contracts trading in the green. Looking ahead, one of the important events today will be the scheduled video call between US President Biden and Russian President Putin. The Biden administration, in concert with European allies, is reportedly weighing whether to bring economic tools to bear against Russia in response to the recent flare up on the Ukrainian border. Measures being considered included sanctions against President Putin’s inner circle, energy producers, and banks, as well as the more drastic option of denying Russian access to US-run international payments system, SWIFT. The Ruble depreciated -0.66% against the US dollar after having appreciated +0.50% in the morning before the headlines. In terms of other developments on the pandemic, the global case count has been moving higher for 7 consecutive weeks now, and we got fresh news of tougher restrictions in New York City yesterday. They’re set to place a vaccine mandate on private sector workers from December 27, whilst indoor dining and entertainment will be requiring those aged 12 and over to be fully vaccinated, and those aged 5-11 to have one dose. Here in the UK, over 50k confirmed cases were reported yesterday once again, and the average number of cases over the last week now stands up +9% on the week before. Turning to Germany, the main news yesterday was that the Greens became the final party of the incoming traffic-light coalition to approve the negotiated agreement, with 86% of members in favour. That follows similar moves by the SPD and the FDP, and today the parties are set to formally sign the deal, with Olaf Scholz set to become chancellor tomorrow in a Bundestag vote, which will also bring an end to Chancellor Merkel’s 16-year tenure. For a run down on what to expect from the new government, our research colleagues in Germany have put together a guide on the various policy areas (link here). Staying on Germany, data also showed yesterday that factory orders fell by a much larger-than-expected -6.9% in October (vs. -0.3% expected), with the decline driven by a -13.1% fall in foreign orders, contrary to domestic orders which actually expanded +3.4%. To the day ahead now, and data highlights include German industrial production for October and the ZEW survey for December, along with the US trade balance for October. Otherwise, US President Biden and Russian President Putin will be holding a video call. Tyler Durden Tue, 12/07/2021 - 07:59.....»»

Category: worldSource: nytDec 7th, 2021

Futures Rebound From Friday Rout As Omicron Fears Ease

Futures Rebound From Friday Rout As Omicron Fears Ease S&P futures and European stocks rebounded from Friday’s selloff while Asian shares fell, as investors took comfort in reports from South Africa which said initial data doesn’t show a surge of hospitalizations as a result of the omicron variant, a view repeated by Anthony Fauci on Sunday. Meanwhile, fears about a tighter Fed were put on the backburner. Also overnight, China’s central bank announced it will cut the RRR by 50bps releasing 1.2tn CNY in liquidity, a move that had been widely expected. The cut comes as insolvent Chinese property developer Evergrande was said to be planning to include all its offshore public bonds and private debt obligations in a restructuring plan. US equity futures rose 0.3%, fading earlier gains, and were last trading at 4,550. Nasdaq futures pared losses early in the U.S. morning, trading down 0.4%. Oil rose after Saudi Arabia boosted the prices of its crude, signaling confidence in the demand outlook, which helped lift European energy shares. The 10-year Treasury yield advanced to 1.40%, while the dollar was little changed and the yen weakened. “A wind of relief may blow the current risk-off trading stance away this week,” said Pierre Veyret, a technical analyst at U.K. brokerage ActivTrades. “Concerns related to the omicron variant may ease after South African experts didn’t register any surge in deaths or hospitalization.” As Bloromberg notes, the mood across markets was calmer on Monday after last week’s big swings in technology companies and a crash in Bitcoin over the weekend. Investors pointed to good news from South Africa that showed hospitals haven’t been overwhelmed by the latest wave of Covid cases. Initial data from South Africa are “a bit encouraging regarding the severity,” Anthony Fauci, U.S. President Joe Biden’s chief medical adviser, said on Sunday. At the same time, he cautioned that it’s too early to be definitive. Here are some of the biggest U.S. movers today: Alibaba’s (BABA US) U.S.-listed shares rise 1.9% in premarket after a 8.2% drop Friday prompted by the delisting plans of Didi Global. Alibaba said earlier it is replacing its CFO and reshuffling the heads of its commerce businesses Rivian (RIVN US) has the capabilities to compete with Tesla and take a considerable share of the electric vehicle market, Wall Street analysts said as they started coverage with overwhelmingly positive ratings. Shares rose 2.2% initially in U.S. premarket trading, but later wiped out gains to drop 0.9% Stocks tied to former President Donald Trump jump in U.S. premarket trading after his media company agreed to a $1 billion investment from a SPAC Cryptocurrency-exposed stocks tumble amid volatile trading in Bitcoin, another indication of the risk aversion sweeping across financial markets Laureate Education (LAUR US) approved the payment of a special cash distribution of $0.58 per share. Shares rose 2.8% in postmarket Friday AbCellera Biologics (ABCL US) gained 6.2% postmarket Friday after the company confirmed that its Lilly-partnered monoclonal antibody bamlanivimab, together with etesevimab, received an expanded emergency use authorization from the FDA as the first antibody therapy in Covid-19 patients under 12 European equities drifted lower after a firm open. Euro Stoxx 50 faded initial gains of as much as 0.9% to trade up 0.3%. Other cash indexes follow suit, but nonetheless remain in the green. FTSE MIB sees the largest drop from session highs. Oil & gas is the strongest sector, underpinned after Saudi Arabia raised the prices of its crude. Tech, autos and financial services lag. Companies that benefited from increased demand during pandemic-related lockdowns are underperforming in Europe on Monday as investors assess whether the omicron Covid variant will force governments into further social restrictions. Firms in focus include meal-kit firm HelloFresh (-2.3%) and online food delivery platforms Delivery Hero (-5.4%), Just Eat Takeaway (-5.6%) and Deliveroo (-8.5%). Remote access software firm TeamViewer (-3.7%) and Swedish mobile messaging company Sinch (-3.0%), gaming firm Evolution (-4.2%). Online pharmacies Zur Rose (-5.1%), Shop Apotheke (-3.5%). Online grocer Ocado (-2.2%), online apparel retailer Zalando (-1.5%). In Asia, the losses were more severe as investors remained wary over the outlook for U.S. monetary policy and the spread of the omicron variant.  The Hang Seng Tech Index closed at the lowest level since its inception. SoftBank Group Corp. fell as much as 9% in Tokyo trading as the value of its portfolio came under more pressure. The MSCI Asia Pacific Index slid as much as 0.9%, hovering above its lowest finish in about a year. Consumer discretionary firms and software technology names contributed the most to the decline, while the financial sector outperformed.  Hong Kong’s equity benchmark was among the region’s worst performers amid the selloff in tech shares. The market also slumped after the omicron variant spread among two fully vaccinated travelers across the hallway of a quarantine hotel in the city, unnerving health authorities. “People are waiting for new information on the omicron variant,” said Masahiro Ichikawa, chief market strategist at Sumitomo Mitsui DS Asset Management in Tokyo. “We’re at a point where it’s difficult to buy stocks.” Separately, China’s central bank announced after the country’s stock markets closed that it will cut the amount of cash most banks must keep in reserve from Dec. 15, providing a liquidity boost to economic growth.  Futures on the Nasdaq 100 gained further in Asia late trading. The underlying gauge slumped 1.7% on Friday, after data showed U.S. job growth had its smallest gain this year and the unemployment rate fell more than forecast. Investors seem to be focusing more on the improved jobless rate, as it could back the case for an acceleration in tapering, Ichikawa said.  Asian equities have been trending lower since mid-November amid a selloff in Chinese technology giants, concern over U.S. monetary policy and the spread of omicron. The risk-off sentiment pushed shares to a one-year low last week.  Overnight, the PBoC cut the RRR by 50bps (as expected) effective 15th Dec; will release CNY 1.2tln in liquidity; RRR cut to guide banks for SMEs and will use part of funds from RRR cut to repay MLF. Will not resort to flood-like stimulus; will reduce capital costs for financial institutions by around CNY 15bln per annum. The news follows earlier reports via China Securities Daily which noted that China could reduce RRR as soon as this month, citing a brokerage firm. However, a separate Chinese press report noted that recent remarks by Chinese Premier Li on the reverse repo rate doesn't mean that there will be a policy change and an Economics Daily commentary piece suggested that views of monetary policy moves are too simplistic and could lead to misunderstandings after speculation was stoked for a RRR cut from last week's comments by Premier Li. Elsewhere, Indian stocks plunged in line with peers across Asia as investors remained uncertain about the emerging risks from the omicron variant in a busy week of monetary policy meetings.   The S&P BSE Sensex slipped 1.7% to 56,747.14, in Mumbai, dropping to its lowest level in over three months, with all 30 shares ending lower. The NSE Nifty 50 Index also declined by a similar magnitude. Infosys Ltd. was the biggest drag on both indexes and declined 2.3%.  All 19 sub-indexes compiled by BSE Ltd. declined, led by a measure of software exporters.  “If not for the new omicron variant, economic recovery was on a very strong footing,” Mohit Nigam, head of portfolio management services at Hem Securities Ltd. said in a note. “But if this virus quickly spreads in India, then we might experience some volatility for the coming few weeks unless development is seen on the vaccine side.” Major countries worldwide have detected omicron cases, even as the severity of the variant still remains unclear. Reserve Bank of Australia is scheduled to announce its rate decision on Tuesday, while the Indian central bank will release it on Dec. 8. the hawkish comments by U.S. Fed chair Jerome Powell on tackling rising inflation also weighed on the market Japanese equities declined, following U.S. peers lower, as investors considered prospects for inflation, the Federal Reserve’s hawkish tilt and the omicron virus strain. Telecommunications and services providers were the biggest drags on the Topix, which fell 0.5%. SoftBank Group and Daiichi Sankyo were the largest contributors to a 0.4% loss in the Nikkei 225. The Mothers index slid 3.8% amid the broader decline in growth stocks. A sharp selloff in large technology names dragged U.S. stocks lower Friday. U.S. job growth registered its smallest gain this year in November while the unemployment rate fell by more than forecast to 4.2%. There were some good aspects in the U.S. jobs data, said Shoji Hirakawa, chief global strategist at Tokai Tokyo Research Institute. “We’re in this contradictory situation where there’s concern over an early rate hike given the economic recovery, while at the same time there’s worry over how the omicron variant may slow the current recovery.” Australian stocks ended flat as staples jumped. The S&P/ASX 200 index closed little changed at 7,245.10, swinging between gains and losses during the session as consumer staples rose and tech stocks fell. Metcash was the top performer after saying its 1H underlying profit grew 13% y/y. Nearmap was among the worst performers after S&P Dow Jones Indices said the stock will be removed from the benchmark as a result of its quarterly review. In New Zealand, the S&P/NZX 50 index fell 0.6% to 12,597.81. In FX, the Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index gave up a modest advance as the European session got underway; the greenback traded mixed versus its Group-of-10 peers with commodity currencies among the leaders and havens among the laggards. JPY and CHF are the weakest in G-10, SEK outperforms after hawkish comments in the Riksbank’s minutes. USD/CNH drifts back to flat after a fairly well telegraphed RRR cut materialized early in the London session.  The euro fell to a day low of $1.1275 before paring. The pound strengthened against the euro and dollar, following stocks higher. Bank of England deputy governor Ben Broadbent due to speak. Market participants will be watching for his take on the impact of the omicron variant following the cautious tone of Michael Saunders’ speech on Friday. Treasury yields gapped higher at the start of the day and futures remain near lows into early U.S. session, leaving yields cheaper by 4bp to 5bp across the curve. Treasury 10-year yields around 1.395%, cheaper by 5bp vs. Friday’s close while the 2s10s curve steepens almost 2bps with front-end slightly outperforming; bunds trade 4bp richer vs. Treasuries in 10-year sector. November's mixed U.S. jobs report did little to shake market expectations of more aggressive tightening by the Federal Reserve. Italian bonds outperformed euro-area peers after Fitch upgraded the sovereign by one notch to BBB, maintaining a stable outlook. In commodities, crude futures drift around best levels during London hours. WTI rises over 1.5%, trading either side of $68; Brent stalls near $72. Spot gold trends lower in quiet trade, near $1,780/oz. Base metals are mixed: LME copper outperforms, holding in the green with lead; nickel and aluminum drop more than 1%. There is nothing on today's economic calendar. Focus this week includes U.S. auctions and CPI data, while Fed speakers enter blackout ahead of next week’s FOMC. Market Snapshot S&P 500 futures up 0.7% to 4,567.50 STOXX Europe 600 up 0.8% to 466.39 MXAP down 0.9% to 189.95 MXAPJ down 1.0% to 617.01 Nikkei down 0.4% to 27,927.37 Topix down 0.5% to 1,947.54 Hang Seng Index down 1.8% to 23,349.38 Shanghai Composite down 0.5% to 3,589.31 Sensex down 1.5% to 56,835.37 Australia S&P/ASX 200 little changed at 7,245.07 Kospi up 0.2% to 2,973.25 Brent Futures up 2.9% to $71.89/bbl Gold spot down 0.2% to $1,780.09 U.S. Dollar Index up 0.15% to 96.26 German 10Y yield little changed at -0.37% Euro down 0.2% to $1.1290 Top Overnight News from Bloomberg Speculators were caught offside in both bonds and stocks last week, increasing their bets against U.S. Treasuries and buying more equity exposure right before a bout of volatility caused the exact opposite moves Inflation pressure in Europe is still likely to be temporary, Eurogroup President Paschal Donohoe said Monday, even if it is taking longer than expected for it to slow China Evergrande Group’s stock tumbled close to a record low amid signs a long-awaited debt restructuring may be at hand, while Kaisa Group Holdings Ltd. faces a potential default this week in major tests of China’s ability to limit fallout from the embattled property sector China Evergrande Group is planning to include all its offshore public bonds and private debt obligations in a restructuring that may rank among the nation’s biggest ever, people familiar with the matter said China tech shares tumbled on Monday, with a key gauge closing at its lowest level since launch last year as concerns mount over how much more pain Beijing is willing to inflict on the sector The U.S. is poised to announce a diplomatic boycott of the Beijing Winter Olympics, CNN reported, a move that would create a new point of contention between the world’s two largest economies SNB Vice President Fritz Zurbruegg to retire at the end of July 2022, according to statement Bitcoin has markedly underperformed rivals like Ether with its weekend drop, which may underscore its increased connection with macro developments Austrians who reject mandatory coronavirus vaccinations face 600-euro ($677) fines, according to a draft law seen by the Kurier newspaper Some Riksbank board members expressed different nuances regarding the asset holdings and considered that it might become appropriate for the purchases to be tapered further next year,  the Swedish central bank says in minutes from its Nov. 24 meeting A more detailed look at global markets courtesy of Newsquawk Asian equities began the week cautiously following last Friday's negative performance stateside whereby the Russell 2000 and Nasdaq closed lower by around 2% apiece, whilst the S&P 500 and Dow Jones saw shallower losses. The Asia-Pac region was also kept tentative amid China developer default concerns and conflicting views regarding speculation of a looming RRR cut by China's PBoC. The ASX 200 (+0.1%) was initially dragged lower by a resumption of the underperformance in the tech sector, and with several stocks pressured by the announcement of their removal from the local benchmark, although losses for the index were later reversed amid optimism after Queensland brought forward the easing of state border restrictions, alongside the resilience in the defensive sectors. The Nikkei 225 (-0.4%) suffered from the currency inflows late last week but finished off worse levels. The Hang Seng (-1.8%) and Shanghai Comp. (-0.5%) were mixed with Hong Kong weighed by heavy tech selling and as default concerns added to the headwinds after Sunshine 100 Holdings defaulted on a USD 170mln bond payment, whilst Evergrande shares slumped in early trade after it received a demand for payments but noted there was no guarantee it will have the sufficient funds and with the grace period for two offshore bond payments set to expire today. Conversely, mainland China was kept afloat by hopes of a looming RRR cut after comments from Chinese Premier Li that China will cut RRR in a timely manner and a brokerage suggested this could occur before year-end. However, other reports noted the recent remarks by Chinese Premier Li on the reverse repo rate doesn't mean a policy change and that views of monetary policy moves are too simplistic which could lead to misunderstandings. Finally, 10yr JGBs were steady after having marginally extended above 152.00 and with prices helped by the lacklustre mood in Japanese stocks, while price action was tame amid the absence of BoJ purchases in the market today and attention was also on the Chinese 10yr yield which declined by more than 5bps amid speculation of a potentially looming RRR cut. Top Asian News SoftBank Slumps 9% Monday After Week of Bad Portfolio News Alibaba Shares Rise Premarket After Rout, Leadership Changes China PBOC Repeats Prudent Policy Stance With RRR Cut China Cuts Reserve Requirement Ratio as Economy Slows Bourses in Europe kicked off the new trading week higher across the board but have since drifted lower (Euro Stoxx 50 +0.1%; Stoxx 600 +0.3%) following a somewhat mixed lead from APAC. Sentiment across markets saw a fleeting boost after the Asia close as China’s central bank opted to cut the RRR by 50bps, as touted overnight and in turn releasing some CNY 1.2tln in liquidity. This saw US equity futures ticking to marginal fresh session highs, whilst the breakdown sees the RTY (+0.6%) outpacing vs the ES (Unch), YM (+0.3%) and NQ (-0.6%), with the US benchmarks eyeing this week’s US CPI as Fed speakers observe the blackout period ahead of next week’s FOMC policy decision – where policymakers are expected to discuss a quickening of the pace of QE taper. From a technical standpoint, the ESz1 and NQz1 see their 50 DMAs around 4,540 and 16,626 respectively. Back to trade, Euro-indices are off best levels with a broad-based performance. UK’s FTSE 100 (+0.8%) received a boost from base metals gaining impetus on the PBoC RRR cut, with the UK index now the outperformer, whilst gains in Oil & Gas and Banks provide further tailwinds. Sectors initially started with a clear cyclical bias but have since seen a reconfiguration whereby the defensives have made their way up the ranks. The aforementioned Oil & Gas, Banks and Basic Resources are currently the winners amid upward action in crude, yields and base metals respectively. Food & Beverages and Telecoms kicked off the session at the bottom of the bunch but now reside closer to the middle of the table. The downside meanwhile sees Travel & Tech – two sectors which were at the top of the leaderboard at the cash open – with the latter seeing more noise surrounding valuations and the former initially unreactive to UK tightening measures for those travelling into the UK. In terms of individual movers, AstraZeneca (+0.7%) is reportedly studying the listing of its new vaccine division. BT (+1.2%) holds onto gains as Discovery is reportedly in discussions regarding a partnership with BT Sport and is offering to create a JV, according to sources. Taylor Wimpey (Unch) gave up opening gains seen in wake of speculation regarding Elliott Management purchasing a small stake. Top European News Johnson Says U.K. Awaiting Advice on Omicron Risks Before Review Scholz Names Harvard Medical Expert to Oversee Pandemic Policy EU Inflation Still Seen as Temporary, Eurogroup’s Donohoe Says Saudi Crown Prince Starts Gulf Tour as Rivalries Melt Away In FX, the Buck has settled down somewhat after Friday’s relatively frenetic session when price action and market moves were hectic on the back of a rather mixed BLS report and stream of Omicron headlines, with the index holding a tight line above 96.000 ahead of a blank US agenda. The Greenback is gleaning some traction from the firmer tone in yields, especially at the front end of the curve, while also outperforming safer havens and funding currencies amidst a broad upturn in risk sentiment due to perceivably less worrying pandemic assessments of late and underpinned by the PBoC cutting 50 bp off its RRR, as widely touted and flagged by Chinese Premier Li, with effect from December 15 - see 9.00GMT post on the Headline Feed for details, analysis and the initial reaction. Back to the Dollar and index, high betas and cyclicals within the basket are doing better as the latter meanders between 96.137-379 and well inside its wide 95.944-96.451 pre-weekend extremes. AUD/GBP/CAD/NZD - A technical correction and better news on the home front regarding COVID-19 after Queensland announced an earlier date to ease border restrictions, combined to give the Aussie a lift, but Aud/Usd is tightening its grip on the 0.7000 handle with the aid of the PBoC’s timely and targeted easing in the run up to the RBA policy meeting tomorrow. Similarly, the Pound appears to have gleaned encouragement from retaining 1.3200+ status and fending off offers into 0.8550 vs the Euro rather than deriving impetus via a rise in the UK construction PMI, while the Loonie is retesting resistance around 1.2800 against the backdrop of recovering crude prices and eyeing the BoC on Wednesday to see if guidance turns more hawkish following a stellar Canadian LFS. Back down under, the Kiwi is straddling 0.6750 and 1.0400 against its Antipodean peer in wake of a pick up in ANZ’s commodity price index. CHF/JPY/EUR - Still no sign of SNB action, but the Franc has fallen anyway back below 0.9200 vs the Buck and under 1.0400 against the Euro, while the Yen is under 113.00 again and approaching 128.00 respectively, as the single currency continues to show resilience either side of 1.1300 vs its US counterpart and a Fib retracement level at 1.1290 irrespective of more poor data from Germany and a deterioration in the Eurozone Sentix index, but increases in the construction PMIs. SCANDI/EM - The aforementioned revival in risk appetite, albeit fading, rather than Riksbank minutes highlighting diverse opinion, is boosting the Sek, and the Nok is also drawing some comfort from Brent arresting its decline ahead of Usd 70/brl, but the Cnh and Cny have been capped just over 6.3700 by the PBoC’s RRR reduction and ongoing default risk in China’s property sector. Elsewhere, the Try remains under pressure irrespective of Turkey’s Foreign Minister noting that domestic exports are rising and the economy is growing significantly, via Al Jazeera or claiming that the Lira is exposed to high inflation to a degree, but this is a temporary problem, while the Rub is treading cautiously before Russian President Putin and US President Biden make a video call on Tuesday at 15.00GMT. In commodities, WTI and Brent front month futures are firmer on the day with the complex underpinned by Saudi Aramco upping its official selling prices (OSPs) to Asian and US customers, coupled with the lack of progress on the Iranian nuclear front. To elaborate on the former; Saudi Arabia set January Arab light crude oil OSP to Asia at Oman/Dubai average +USD 3.30/bbl which is an increase from this month’s premium of USD 2.70/bbl, while it set light crude OSP to North-West Europe at ICE Brent USD -1.30/bbl vs. this month’s discount of USD 0.30/bbl and set light crude OSP to the US at ASCI +USD 2.15/bbl vs this month’s premium of USD 1.75/bbl. Iranian nuclear talks meanwhile are reportedly set to resume over the coming weekend following deliberations, although the likelihood of a swift deal at this point in time seems minuscule. A modest and fleeting boost was offered to the complex by the PBoC cutting RRR in a bid to spur the economy. WTI Jan resides on either side of USD 68/bbl (vs low USD 66.72/bbl) whilst Brent Feb trades around USD 71.50/bbl (vs low 70.24/bbl). Over to metals, spot gold trades sideways with the cluster of DMAs capping gains – the 50, 200 and 100 DMAs for spot reside at USD 1,792/oz, USD 1,791.50/oz and USD 1,790/oz respectively. Base metals also saw a mild boost from the PBoC announcement – LME copper tested USD 9,500/t to the upside before waning off best levels. US Event Calendar Nothing major scheduled DB's Jim Reid concludes the overnight wrap We’re really at a fascinating crossroads in markets at the moment. The market sentiment on the virus and the policymakers at the Fed are moving in opposite directions. The greatest impact of this last week was a dramatic 21.1bps flattening of the US 2s10s curve, split almost evenly between 2yr yields rising and 10yrs yields falling. As it stands, the Fed are increasingly likely to accelerate their taper next week with a market that is worried that it’s a policy error. I don’t think it is as I think the Fed is way behind the curve. However I appreciate that until we have more certainly on Omicron then it’s going to be tough to disprove the policy error thesis. The data so far on Omicron can be fitted to either a pessimistic or optimistic view. On the former, it seems to be capable of spreading fast and reinfecting numerous people who have already had covid. Younger people are also seeing a higher proportion of admissions which could be worrying around the world given lower vaccinations levels in this cohort. On the other hand, there is some evidence in South Africa that ICU usage is lower relative to previous waves at the same stage and that those in hospital are largely unvaccinated and again with some evidence that they are requiring less oxygen than in previous waves. It really does feel like Omicron could still go both ways. It seems that it could be both more transmittable but also less severe. How that impacts the world depends on the degree of both. It could be bad news but it could also actually accelerate the end of the pandemic which would be very good news. Lots of people more qualified than me to opine on this aren’t sure yet so we will have to wait for more news and data. I lean on the optimistic side here but that’s an armchair epidemiologist’s view. Anthony Fauci (chief medical advisor to Mr Biden) said to CNN last night that, “We really gotta be careful before we make any determinations that it is less severe or really doesn’t clause any severe illness comparable to Delta, but this far the signals are a bit encouraging….. It does not look like there’s a great degree of severity to it.” Anyway, the new variant has taken a hold of the back end of the curve these past 10 days. Meanwhile the front end is taking its guidance from inflation and the Fed. On cue, could this Friday see the first 7% US CPI print since 1982? With DB’s forecasts at 6.9% for the headline (+5.1% for core) we could get close to breaking such a landmark level. With the Fed on their media blackout period now, this is and Omicron are the last hurdles to cross before the FOMC conclusion on the 15th December where DB expect them to accelerate the taper and head for a March end. While higher energy prices are going to be a big issue this month, the recent falls in the price of oil may provide some hope on the inflation side for later in 2022. However primary rents and owners’ equivalent rents (OER), which is 40% of core CPI, is starting to turn and our models have long suggested a move above 4.5% in H1 2022. In fact if we shift-F9 the model for the most recent points we’re looking like heading towards a contribution of 5.5% now given the signals from the lead indicators. So even as YoY energy prices ease and maybe covid supply issues slowly fade, we still think inflation will stay elevated for some time. As such it was a long overdue move to retire the word transitory last week from the Fed’s lexicon. Another of our favourite measures to show that the Fed is way behind the curve at the moment is the quits rate that will be contained within Wednesday’s October JOLTS report. We think the labour market is very strong in the US at the moment with the monthly employment report lagging that strength. Having said that the latest report on Friday was reasonably strong behind the headline payroll disappointment. We’ll review that later. The rest of the week ahead is published in the day by day calendar at the end but the other key events are the RBA (Tuesday) and BoC (Wednesday) after the big market disruptions post their previous meetings, Chinese CPI and PPI (Thursday), final German CPI (Friday) and the US UoM consumer confidence (Friday). Also look out for Congressional newsflow on how the year-end debt ceiling issue will get resolved and also on any progress in the Senate on the “build back better” bill which they want to get through before year-end. Mr Manchin remains the main powerbroker. In terms of Asia as we start the week, stocks are trading mixed with the CSI (+0.62%), Shanghai Composite (+0.37%) and KOSPI (+0.11%) trading higher while the Nikkei (-0.50%) and Hang Seng (-0.91%) are lower. Chinese stock indices are climbing after optimism over a RRR rate cut after Premier Li Kequiang's comments last week that it could be cut in a timely manner to support the economy. In Japan SoftBank shares fell -9% and for a sixth straight day amid the Didi delisting and after the US FTC moved to block a key sale of a company in its portfolio. Elsewhere futures are pointing a positive opening in US and Europe with S&P 500 (+0.46%) and DAX (+1.00%) futures both trading well in the green. 10yr US Treasury yields are back up c.+4.2bps with 2yrs +2.6bps. Oil is also up c.2.2% Over the weekend Bitcoin fell around 20% from Friday night into Saturday. It’s rallied back a reasonable amount since (from $42,296 at the lows) and now stands at $48,981, all after being nearly $68,000 a month ago. Turning back to last week now, and the virus and hawkish Fed communications were the major themes. Despite so many unknowns (or perhaps because of it) markets were very responsive to each incremental Omicron headline last week, which drove equity volatility to around the highest levels of the year. The VIX closed the week at 30.7, shy of the year-to-date high of 37.21 reached in January and closed above 25 for 5 of the last 6 days. The S&P 500 declined -1.22% over the week (-0.84% Friday). The Stoxx 600 fell a more modest -0.28% last week, -0.57% on Friday. To be honest both felt like they fell more but we had some powerful rallies in between. The Nasdaq had a poorer week though, falling -c.2.6%, after a -1.9% decline on Friday. The other main theme was the pivot in Fed communications toward tighter policy. Testifying to Congress, Fed Chair Powell made a forceful case for accelerating the central bank’s asset purchase taper program, citing persistent elevated inflation and an improving labour market, amid otherwise strong demand in the economy, clearing the way for rate hikes thereafter. Investors priced in higher probability of earlier rate hikes, but still have the first full Fed hike in July 2022. 2yr treasury yields were sharply higher (+9.1bps on week, -2.3bps Friday) while 10yr yields declined (-12.0bps on week, -9.1bps Friday) on the prospect of a hard landing incurred from quick Fed tightening as well as the gloomy Covid outlook. The yield curve flattened -21.1bps (-6.8bps Friday) to 75.6bps, the flattest it has been since December 2020, or three stimulus bills ago if you like (four if you think build back better is priced in). German and UK debt replicated the flattening, with 2yr yields increasing +1.3bps (-0.7bps Friday) in Germany, and +0.3bps (-6.7bps) in UK this week, with respective 10yr yields declining -5.3bps (-1.9bps Friday) and -7.8bps (-6.4bps Friday). On the bright side, Congress passed a stopgap measure to keep the government funded through February, buying lawmakers time to agree to appropriations for the full fiscal year, avoiding a disruptive shutdown. Positive momentum out of DC prompted investors to increase the odds the debt ceiling will be resolved without issue, as well, with yields on Treasury bills maturing in December declining a few basis points following the news. US data Friday was strong. Despite the headline payroll increase missing the mark (+210k v expectations of +550k), the underlying data painted a healthy labour market picture, with the unemployment rate decreasing to 4.2%, and participation increasing to 61.8%. Meanwhile, the ISM services index set another record high. Oil prices initially fell after OPEC unexpectedly announced they would proceed with planned production increases at their January meeting. They rose agin though before succumbing to the Omicron risk off. Futures prices ended the week down again, with Brent futures -3.67% lower (+0.55% Friday) and WTI futures -2.57% on the week (-0.15% Friday). Tyler Durden Mon, 12/06/2021 - 07:51.....»»

Category: smallbizSource: nytDec 6th, 2021

Futures Surge After Powell-Driven Rout Proves To Be "Transitory"

Futures Surge After Powell-Driven Rout Proves To Be "Transitory" Heading into yesterday's painful close to one of the ugliest months since March 2020, which saw a huge forced liquidation rebalance with more than $8 billion in Market on Close orders, we said that while we are seeing "forced selling dump into the close today" this would be followed by "forced Dec 1 buying frontrunning after the close." Forced selling dump into the close today. Forced Dec 1 buying frontrunning after the close — zerohedge (@zerohedge) November 30, 2021 And just as expected, despite yesterday's dramatic hawkish pivot by Powell, who said it was time to retire the word transitory in describing the inflation outlook (the same word the Fed used hundreds of times earlier in 2021 sparking relentless mockery from this website for being clueless as usual) while also saying the U.S. central bank would consider bringing forward plans for tapering its bond buying program at its next meeting in two weeks, the frontrunning of new monthly inflows is in full force with S&P futures rising over 1.2%, Nasdaq futures up 1.3%, and Dow futures up 0.9%, recovering almost all of Tuesday’s decline. The seemingly 'hawkish' comments served as a double whammy for markets, which were already nervous about the spread of the Omicron coronavirus variant and its potential to hinder a global economic recovery. "At this point, COVID does not appear to be the biggest long-term Street fear, although it could have the largest impact if the new (or next) variant turns out to be worse than expected," Howard Silverblatt, senior index analyst for S&P and Dow Jones indices, said in a note. "That honor goes to inflation, which continues to be fed by supply shortages, labor costs, worker shortages, as well as consumers, who have not pulled back." However, new month fund flows proved too powerful to sustain yesterday's month-end dump and with futures rising - and panic receding - safe havens were sold and the 10-year Treasury yield jumped almost 6bps, approaching 1.50%. The gap between yields on 5-year and 30-year Treasuries was around the narrowest since March last year. Crude oil and commodity-linked currencies rebounded. Gold remained just under $1,800 and bitcoin traded just over $57,000. There was more good news on the covid front with a WHO official saying some of the early indications are that most Omicron cases are mild with no severe cases. Separately Merck gained 3.8% in premarket trade after a panel of advisers to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration narrowly voted to recommend the agency authorize the drugmaker's antiviral pill to treat COVID-19. Travel and leisure stocks also rebounded, with cruiseliners Norwegian, Carnival, Royal Caribbean rising more than 2.5% each. Easing of covid fears also pushed airlines and travel stocks higher in premarket trading: Southwest +2.9%, Delta +2.5%, Spirit +2.3%, American +2.2%, United +1.9%, JetBlue +1.3%. Vaccine makers traded modestly lower in pre-market trading after soaring in recent days as Wall Street weighs the widening spread of the omicron variant. Merck & Co. bucked the trend after its Covid-19 pill narrowly gained a key recommendation from advisers to U.S. regulators. Moderna slips 2.1%, BioNTech dips 1.3% and Pfizer is down 0.2%. Elsewhere, Occidental Petroleum led gains among the energy stocks, up 3.2% as oil prices climbed over 4% ahead of OPEC's meeting. Shares of major Wall Street lenders also moved higher after steep falls on Tuesday. Here are some of the other biggest U.S. movers today: Salesforce (CRM US) drops 5.9% in premarket trading after results and guidance missed estimates, with analysts highlighting currency-related headwinds and plateauing growth at the MuleSoft integration software business. Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE US) falls 1.3% in premarket after the computer equipment maker’s quarterly results showed the impact of the global supply chain crunch. Analysts noted solid order trends. Merck (MRK US) shares rise 5.8% in premarket after the company’s Covid-19 pill narrowly wins backing from FDA advisers, which analysts say is a sign of progress despite lingering challenges. Chinese electric vehicle makers were higher in premarket, leading U.S. peers up, after Nio, Li and XPeng reported strong deliveries for November; Nio (NIO US) +4%, Li (LI US ) +6%, XPeng (XPEV US) +4.3%. Ardelyx (ARDX US) shares gain as much as 34% in premarket, extending the biotech’s bounce after announcing plans to launch its irritable bowel syndrome treatment Ibsrela in the second quarter. CTI BioPharma (CTIC US) shares sink 18% in premarket after the company said the FDA extended the review period for a new drug application for pacritinib. Allbirds (BIRD US) fell 7.5% postmarket after the low end of the shoe retailer’s 2021 revenue forecast missed the average analyst estimate. Zscaler (ZS US) posted “yet another impressive quarter,” according to BMO. Several analysts increased their price targets for the security software company. Shares rose 4.6% in postmarket. Ambarella (AMBA US) rose 14% in postmarket after forecasting revenue for the fourth quarter that beat the average analyst estimate. Emcore (EMKR US) fell 9% postmarket after the aerospace and communications supplier reported fiscal fourth-quarter Ebitda that missed the average analyst estimate. Box (BOX US) shares gained as much as 10% in postmarket trading after the cloud company raised its revenue forecast for the full year. Meanwhile, the omicron variant continues to spread around the globe, though symptoms so far appear to be relatively mild. The Biden administration plans to tighten rules on travel to the U.S., and Japan said it would bar foreign residents returning from 10 southern African nations. As Bloomberg notes, volatility is buffeting markets as investors scrutinize whether the pandemic recovery can weather diminishing monetary policy support and potential risks from the omicron virus variant. Global manufacturing activity stabilized last month, purchasing managers’ gauges showed Wednesday, and while central banks are scaling back ultra-loose settings, financial conditions remain favorable in key economies. “The reality is hotter inflation coupled with a strong economic backdrop could end the Fed’s bond buying program as early as the first quarter of next year,” Charlie Ripley, senior investment strategist at Allianz Investment Management, said in emailed comments. “With potential changes in policy on the horizon, market participants should expect additional market volatility in this uncharted territory.” Looking ahead, Powell is back on the Hill for day 2, and is due to testify before a House Financial Services Committee hybrid hearing at 10 a.m. ET. On the economic data front, November readings on U.S. private payrolls and manufacturing activity will be closely watched later in the day to gauge the health of the American economy. Investors are also awaiting the Fed's latest "Beige Book" due at 2:00 p.m. ET. On the economic data front, November readings on U.S. private payrolls and manufacturing activity will be closely watched later in the day to gauge the health of the American economy. European equities soared more than 1.2%, with travel stocks and carmakers leading broad-based gain in the Stoxx Europe 600 index, all but wiping out Tuesday’s decline that capped only the third monthly loss for the benchmark this year.  Travel, miners and autos are the strongest sectors. Here are some of the biggest European movers today: Proximus shares rise as much as 6.5% after the company said it’s started preliminary talks regarding a potential deal involving TeleSign, with a SPAC merger among options under consideration. Dr. Martens gains as much as 4.6% to the highest since Sept. 8 after being upgraded to overweight from equal- weight at Barclays, which says the stock’s de-rating is overdone. Husqvarna advances as much as 5.3% after the company upgraded financial targets ahead of its capital markets day, including raising the profit margin target to 13% from 10%. Wizz Air, Lufthansa and other travel shares were among the biggest gainers as the sector rebounded after Tuesday’s losses; at a conference Wizz Air’s CEO reiterated expansion plans. Wizz Air gains as much as 7.5%, Lufthansa as much as 6.8% Elis, Accor and other stocks in the French travel and hospitality sector also rise after the country’s government pledged to support an industry that’s starting to get hit by the latest Covid-19 wave. Pendragon climbs as much as 6.5% after the car dealer boosted its outlook after the company said a supply crunch in the new vehicle market wasn’t as bad as it had anticipated. UniCredit rises as much as 3.6%, outperforming the Stoxx 600 Banks Index, after Deutsche Bank added the stock to its “top picks” list alongside UBS, and Bank of Ireland, Erste, Lloyds and Societe Generale. Earlier in the session, Asian stocks also soared, snapping a three-day losing streak, led by energy and technology shares, as traders assessed the potential impact from the omicron coronavirus variant and U.S. Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell’s hawkish pivot. The MSCI Asia Pacific Index rose as much as 1.3% Wednesday. South Korea led regional gains after reporting strong export figures, which bolsters growth prospects despite record domestic Covid-19 cases. Hong Kong stocks also bounced back after falling Tuesday to their lowest level since September 2020. Asia’s stock benchmark rebounded from a one-year low, though sentiment remained clouded by lingering concerns on the omicron strain and Fed’s potentially faster tapering pace. Powell earlier hinted that the U.S. central bank will accelerate its asset purchases at its meeting later this month.  “A faster taper in the U.S. is still dependent on omicron not causing a big setback to the outlook in the next few weeks,” said Shane Oliver, head of investment strategy and chief economist at AMP Capital, adding that he expects the Fed’s policy rate “will still be low through next year, which should still enable good global growth which will benefit Asia.” Chinese equities edged up after the latest economic data showed manufacturing activity remained at relatively weak levels in November, missing economists’ expectations. Earlier, Chinese Vice Premier Liu He said he’s fully confident in the nation’s economic growth in 2022 Japanese stocks rose, overcoming early volatility as traders parsed hawkish comments from Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell. Electronics and auto makers were the biggest boosts to the Topix, which closed 0.4% higher after swinging between a gain of 0.9% and loss of 0.7% in the morning session. Daikin and Fanuc were the largest contributors to a 0.4% rise in the Nikkei 225, which similarly fluctuated. The Topix had dropped 4.8% over the previous three sessions due to concerns over the omicron virus variant. The benchmark fell 3.6% in November, its worst month since July 2020. “The market’s tolerance to risk is quite low at the moment, with people responding in a big way to the smallest bit of negative news,” said Tomo Kinoshita, a global market strategist at Invesco Asset Management in Tokyo. “But the decline in Japanese equities was far worse than those of other developed markets, so today’s market may find a bit of calm.” U.S. shares tumbled Tuesday after Powell said officials should weigh removing pandemic support at a faster pace and retired the word “transitory” to describe stubbornly high inflation In rates, bonds trade heavy, as yield curves bear-flatten. Treasuries extended declines with belly of the curve cheapening vs wings as traders continue to price in additional rate-hike premium over the next two years. Treasury yields were cheaper by up to 5bp across belly of the curve, cheapening 2s5s30s spread by ~5.5bp on the day; 10-year yields around 1.48%, cheaper by ~4bp, while gilts lag by additional 2bp in the sector. The short-end of the gilt curve markedly underperforms bunds and Treasuries with 2y yields rising ~11bps near 0.568%. Peripheral spreads widen with belly of the Italian curve lagging. The flattening Treasury yield curve “doesn’t suggest imminent doom for the equity market in and of itself,” Liz Ann Sonders, chief investment strategist at Charles Schwab & Co., said on Bloomberg Television. “Alarm bells go off in terms of recession” when the curve gets closer to inverting, she said. In FX, the Turkish lira had a wild session, offered in early London trade before fading. USD/TRY dropped sharply to lows of 12.4267 on reports of central bank FX intervention due to “unhealthy price formations” before, once again, fading TRY strength after comments from Erdogan. The rest of G-10 FX is choppy; commodity currencies retain Asia’s bid tone, havens are sold: the Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index inched lower, as the greenback traded mixed versus its Group-of-10 peers. The euro moved in a narrow range and Bund yields followed U.S. yields higher. The pound advanced as risk sentiment stabilized with focus still on news about the omicron variant. The U.K. 10-, 30-year curve flirted with inversion as gilts flattened, with money markets betting on 10bps of BOE tightening this month for the first time since Friday. The Australian and New Zealand dollars advanced as rising commodity prices fuel demand from exporters and leveraged funds. Better-than-expected growth data also aided the Aussie, with GDP expanding by 3.9% in the third quarter from a year earlier, beating the 3% estimated by economists. Austrian lawmakers extended a nationwide lockdown for a second 10-day period to suppress the latest wave of coronavirus infections before the Christmas holiday period.  The yen declined by the most among the Group-of-10 currencies as Powell’s comments renewed focus on yield differentials. 10-year yields rose ahead of Thursday’s debt auction In commodities, crude futures rally. WTI adds over 4% to trade on a $69-handle, Brent recovers near $72.40 after Goldman said overnight that oil had gotten extremely oversold. Spot gold fades a pop higher to trade near $1,785/oz. Base metals trade well with LME copper and nickel outperforming. Looking at the day ahead, once again we’ll have Fed Chair Powell and Treasury Secretary Yellen appearing, this time before the House Financial Services Committee. In addition to that, the Fed will be releasing their Beige Book, and BoE Governor Bailey is also speaking. On the data front, the main release will be the manufacturing PMIs from around the world, but there’s also the ADP’s report of private payrolls for November in the US, the ISM manufacturing reading in the US as well for November, and German retail sales for October. Market Snapshot S&P 500 futures up 1.2% to 4,620.75 STOXX Europe 600 up 1.0% to 467.58 MXAP up 0.9% to 191.52 MXAPJ up 1.1% to 626.09 Nikkei up 0.4% to 27,935.62 Topix up 0.4% to 1,936.74 Hang Seng Index up 0.8% to 23,658.92 Shanghai Composite up 0.4% to 3,576.89 Sensex up 1.0% to 57,656.51 Australia S&P/ASX 200 down 0.3% to 7,235.85 Kospi up 2.1% to 2,899.72 Brent Futures up 4.2% to $72.15/bbl Gold spot up 0.2% to $1,778.93 U.S. Dollar Index little changed at 95.98 German 10Y yield little changed at -0.31% Euro down 0.1% to $1.1326 Top Overnight News from Bloomberg U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken will meet Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov Thursday, the first direct contact between officials of the two countries in weeks as tensions grow amid western fears Russia may be planning to invade Ukraine Oil rebounded from a sharp drop on speculation that recent deep losses were excessive and OPEC+ may on Thursday decide to pause hikes in production, with the abrupt reversal fanning already- elevated volatility The EU is set to recommend that member states review essential travel restrictions on a daily basis in the wake of the omicron variant, according to a draft EU document seen by Bloomberg China is planning to ban companies from going public on foreign stock markets through variable interest entities, according to people familiar with the matter, closing a loophole long used by the country’s technology industry to raise capital from overseas investors Manufacturing activity in Asia outside China stabilized last month amid easing lockdown and border restrictions, setting the sector on course to face a possible new challenge from the omicron variant of the coronavirus Germany urgently needs stricter measures to check a surge in Covid-19 infections and protect hospitals from a “particularly dangerous situation,” according to the head of the country’s DIVI intensive-care medicine lobby. A more detailed breakdown of global markets courtesy of Newsquawk Asian equity markets traded mostly positive as regional bourses atoned for the prior day’s losses that were triggered by Omicron concerns, but with some of the momentum tempered by recent comments from Fed Chair Powell and mixed data releases including the miss on Chinese Caixin Manufacturing PMI. ASX 200 (-0.3%) was led lower by underperformance in consumer stocks and with utilities also pressured as reports noted that Shell and Telstra’s entrance in the domestic electricity market is set to ignite fierce competition and force existing players to overhaul their operations, although the losses in the index were cushioned following the latest GDP data which showed a narrower than feared quarterly contraction in Australia’s economy. Nikkei 225 (+0.4%) was on the mend after yesterday’s sell-off with the index helped by favourable currency flows and following a jump in company profits for Q3, while the KOSPI (+2.1%) was also boosted by strong trade data. Hang Seng (+0.8%) and Shanghai Comp. (+0.4%) were somewhat varied as a tech resurgence in Hong Kong overcompensated for the continued weakness in casinos stocks amid ongoing SunCity woes which closed all VIP gaming rooms in Macau after its Chairman's recent arrest, while the mood in the mainland was more reserved after a PBoC liquidity drain and disappointing Chinese Caixin Manufacturing PMI data which fell short of estimates and slipped back into contraction territory. Finally, 10yr JGBs were lower amid the gains in Japanese stocks and after the pullback in global fixed income peers in the aftermath of Fed Chair Powell’s hawkish comments, while a lack of BoJ purchases further contributed to the subdued demand for JGBs. Top Asian News Asia Stocks Bounce Back from One-Year Low Despite Looming Risks Gold Swings on Omicron’s Widening Spread, Inflation Worries Shell Sees Hedge Funds Moving to LNG, Supporting Higher Prices Abe Warns China Invading Taiwan Would Be ‘Economic Suicide’ Bourses in Europe are firmer across the board (Euro Stoxx 50 +1.6%; Stoxx 600 +1.1%) as the positive APAC sentiment reverberated into European markets. US equity futures are also on the front foot with the cyclical RTY (+2.0%) outpacing its peers: ES (+1.2%), NQ (+1.5%), YM (+0.8%). COVID remains a central theme for the time being as the Omicron variant is observed for any effects of concern – which thus far have not been reported. Analysts at UBS expect market focus to shift away from the variant and more towards growth and earnings. The analysts expect Omicron to fuse into the ongoing Delta outbreak that economies have already been tackling. Under this scenario, the desk expects some of the more cyclical markets and sectors to outperform. The desk also flags two tails risks, including an evasive variant and central bank tightening – particularly after Fed chair Powell’s commentary yesterday. Meanwhile, BofA looks for an over-10% fall in European stocks next year. Sticking with macro updates, the OECD, in their latest economic outlook, cut US, China, Eurozone growth forecasts for 2021 and 2022, with Omicron cited as a factor. Back to trade, broad-based gains are seen across European cash markets. Sectors hold a clear cyclical bias which consists of Travel & Leisure, Basic Resources, Autos, Retail and Oil & Gas as the top performers – with the former bolstered by the seemingly low appetite for coordination on restrictions and measures at an EU level – Deutsche Lufthansa (+6%) and IAG (+5.1%) now reside at the top of the Stoxx 600. The other side of the spectrum sees the defensive sectors – with Healthcare, Household Goods, Food & Beverages as the straddlers. In terms of induvial movers, German-listed Adler Group (+22%) following a divestment, whilst Blue Prism (+1.7%) is firmer after SS&C raised its offer for the Co. Top European News Wizz Says Travelers Are Booking at Shorter and Shorter Notice Turkey Central Bank Intervenes in FX Markets to Stabilize Lira Gold Swings on Omicron’s Widening Spread, Inflation Worries Former ABG Sundal Collier Partner Starts Advisory Firm In FX, the Dollar remains mixed against majors, but well off highs prompted by Fed chair Powell ditching transitory from the list of adjectives used to describe inflation and flagging that a faster pace of tapering will be on the agenda at December’s FOMC. However, the index is keeping tabs on the 96.000 handle and has retrenched into a tighter 95.774-96.138 range, for the time being, as trade remains very choppy and volatility elevated awaiting clearer medical data and analysis on Omicron to gauge its impact compared to the Delta strain and earlier COVID-19 variants. In the interim, US macro fundamentals might have some bearing, but the bar is high before NFP on Friday unless ADP or ISM really deviate from consensus or outside the forecast range. Instead, Fed chair Powell part II may be more pivotal if he opts to manage hawkish market expectations, while the Beige Book prepared for next month’s policy meeting could also add some additional insight. NZD/AUD/CAD/GBP - Broad risk sentiment continues to swing from side to side, and currently back in favour of the high beta, commodity and cyclical types, so the Kiwi has bounced firmly from worst levels on Tuesday ahead of NZ terms of trade, the Aussie has pared a chunk of its declines with some assistance from a smaller than anticipated GDP contraction and the Loonie is licking wounds alongside WTI in advance of Canadian building permits and Markit’s manufacturing PMI. Similarly, Sterling has regained some poise irrespective of relatively dovish remarks from BoE’s Mann and a slender downward revision to the final UK manufacturing PMI. Nzd/Usd is firmly back above 0.6800, Aud/Usd close to 0.7150 again, Usd/Cad straddling 1.2750 and Cable hovering on the 1.3300 handle compared to circa 0.6772, 0.7063, 1.2837 and 1.3195 respectively at various fairly adjacent stages yesterday. JPY/EUR/CHF - All undermined by the aforementioned latest upturn in risk appetite or less angst about coronavirus contagion, albeit to varying degrees, as the Yen retreats to retest support sub-113.50, Euro treads water above 1.1300 and Franc straddles 0.9200 after firmer than forecast Swiss CPI data vs a dip in the manufacturing PMI. In commodities, WTI and Brent front month futures are recovering following yesterday’s COVID and Powell-induced declines in the run-up to the OPEC meetings later today. The complex has also been underpinned by the reduced prospects of coordinated EU-wide restrictions, as per the abandonment of the COVID video conference between EU leaders. However, OPEC+ will take centre stage over the next couple of days, with a deluge of source reports likely as OPEC tests the waters. The case for OPEC+ to pause the planned monthly relaxation of output curbs by 400k BPD has been strengthening. There have been major supply and demand developments since the prior meeting. The recent emergence of the Omicron COVID variant and coordinated release of oil reserves have shifted the balance of expectations relative to earlier in the month (full Newsquawk preview available in the Research Suite). In terms of the schedule, the OPEC meeting is slated for 13:00GMT/08:00EST followed by the JTC meeting at 15:00GMT/10:00EST, whilst tomorrow sees the JMMC meeting at 12:00GMT/07:00EST; OPEC+ meeting at 13:00GMT/08:00EST. WTI Jan has reclaimed a USD 69/bbl handle (vs USD 66.20/bbl low) while Brent Feb hovers around USD 72.50/bbl (vs low USD 69.38/bbl) at the time of writing. Elsewhere, spot gold and silver trade with modest gains and largely in tandem with the Buck. Spot gold failed to sustain gains above the cluster of DMAs under USD 1,800/oz (100 DMA at USD 1,792/oz, 200 DMA at USD 1,791/oz, and 50 DMA at USD 1,790/oz) – trader should be aware of the potential for a technical Golden Cross (50 DMA > 200 DMA). Turning to base metals, copper is supported by the overall risk appetite, with the LME contract back above USD 9,500/t. Overnight, Chinese coking coal and coke futures rose over 5% apiece, with traders citing disrupted supply from Mongolia amid the COVID outbreak in the region. US Event Calendar 7am: Nov. MBA Mortgage Applications, prior 1.8% 8:15am: Nov. ADP Employment Change, est. 525,000, prior 571,000 9:45am: Nov. Markit US Manufacturing PMI, est. 59.1, prior 59.1 10am: Oct. Construction Spending MoM, est. 0.4%, prior -0.5% 10am: Nov. ISM Manufacturing, est. 61.2, prior 60.8 2pm: U.S. Federal Reserve Releases Beige Book Nov. Wards Total Vehicle Sales, est. 13.4m, prior 13m Central Banks 10am: Powell, Yellen Testify Before House Panel on CARES Act Relief DB's Jim Reid concludes the overnight wrap If you’re under 10 and reading this there’s a spoiler alert today in this first para so please skip beyond and onto the second. Yes my heart broke a little last night as my little 6-year old Maisie said to me at bedtime that “Santa isn’t real is he Daddy?”. I lied (I think it’s a lie) and said yes he was. I made up an elaborate story about how when we renovated our 100 year old house we deliberately kept the chimney purely to let Santa come down it once a year. Otherwise why would we have kept it? She then asked what about her friend who lives in a flat? I tried to bluff my way through it but maybe my answer sounded a bit like my answers as to what will happen with Omicron. I’ll test both out on clients later to see which is more convincing. Before we get to the latest on the virus, given it’s the start of the month, we’ll shortly be publishing our November performance review looking at how different assets fared over the month just gone and YTD. It arrived late on but Omicron was obviously the dominant story and led to some of the biggest swings of the year so far. It meant that oil (which is still the top performer on a YTD basis) was the worst performer in our monthly sample, with WTI and Brent seeing their worst monthly performances since the initial wave of market turmoil over Covid back in March 2020. And at the other end, sovereign bonds outperformed in November as Omicron’s emergence saw investors push back the likelihood of imminent rate hikes from central banks. So what was shaping up to be a good month for risk and a bad one for bonds flipped around in injury time. Watch out for the report soon from Henry. Back to yesterday now, and frankly the main takeaway was that markets were desperate for any piece of news they could get their hands on about the Omicron variant, particularly given the lack of proper hard data at the moment. The morning started with a sharp selloff as we discussed at the top yesterday, as some of the more optimistic noises from Monday were outweighed by that FT interview, whereby Moderna’s chief executive had said that the existing vaccines wouldn’t be as effective against the new variant. Then we had some further negative news from Regeneron, who said that analysis and modelling of the Omicron mutations indicated that its antibody drug may not be as effective, but that they were doing further analysis to confirm this. However, we later got some comments from a University of Oxford spokesperson, who said that there wasn’t any evidence so far that vaccinations wouldn’t provide high levels of protection against severe disease, which coincided with a shift in sentiment early in the European afternoon as equities begun to pare back their losses. The CEO of BioNTech and the Israeli health minister expressed similar sentiments, noting that vaccines were still likely to protect against severe disease even among those infected by Omicron, joining other officials encouraging people to get vaccinated or get booster shots. Another reassuring sign came in an update from the EU’s ECDC yesterday, who said that all of the 44 confirmed cases where information was available on severity “were either asymptomatic or had mild symptoms.” After the close, the FDA endorsed Merck’s antiviral Covid pill. While it’s not clear how the pill interacts with Omicron, the proliferation of more Covid treatments is still good news as we head into another winter. The other big piece of news came from Fed Chair Powell’s testimony to the Senate Banking Committee, where the main headline was his tapering comment that “It is appropriate to consider wrapping up a few months sooner.” So that would indicate an acceleration in the pace, which would be consistent with the view from our US economists that we’ll see a doubling in the pace of reductions at the December meeting that’s only two weeks from today. The Fed Chair made a forceful case for a faster taper despite lingering Omicron uncertainties, noting inflation is likely to stay elevated, the labour market has improved without a commensurate increase in labour supply (those sidelined because of Covid are likely to stay there), spending has remained strong, and that tapering was a removal of accommodation (which the economy doesn’t need more of given the first three points). Powell took pains to stress the risk of higher inflation, going so far as to ‘retire’ the use of the term ‘transitory’ when describing the current inflation outlook. So team transitory have seemingly had the pitch taken away from them mid match. The Chair left an exit clause that this outlook would be informed by incoming inflation, employment, and Omicron data before the December FOMC meeting. A faster taper ostensibly opens the door to earlier rate hikes and Powell’s comment led to a sharp move higher in shorter-dated Treasury yields, with the 2yr yield up +8.1bps on the day, having actually been more than -4bps lower when Powell began speaking. They were as low as 0.44% then and got as high as 0.57% before closing at 0.56%. 2yr yields have taken another leg higher overnight, increasing +2.5bps to 0.592%. Long-end yields moved lower though and failed to back up the early day moves even after Powell, leading to a major flattening in the yield curve on the back of those remarks, with the 2s10s down -13.7bps to 87.3bps, which is its flattest level since early January. Overnight 10yr yields are back up +3bps but the curve is only a touch steeper. My 2 cents on the yield curve are that the 2s10s continues to be my favourite US recession indicator. It’s worked over more cycles through history than any other. No recession since the early 1950s has occurred without the 2s10s inverting. But it takes on average 12-18 months from inversion to recession. The shortest was the covid recession at around 7 months which clearly doesn’t count but I think we were very late cycle in early 2020 and the probability of recession in the not too distant future was quite high but we will never know.The shortest outside of that was around 9 months. So with the curve still at c.+90bps we are moving in a more worrying direction but I would still say 2023-24 is the very earliest a recession is likely to occur (outside of a unexpected shock) and we’ll need a rapid flattening in 22 to encourage that. History also suggests markets tend to ignore the YC until it’s too late. So I wouldn’t base my market views in 22 on the yield curve and recession signal yet. However its something to look at as the Fed seemingly embarks on a tightening cycle in the months ahead. Onto markets and those remarks from Powell (along with the additional earlier pessimism about Omicron) proved incredibly unhelpful for equities yesterday, with the S&P 500 (-1.90%) giving up the previous day’s gains to close at its lowest level in over a month. It’s hard to overstate how broad-based this decline was, as just 7 companies in the entire S&P moved higher yesterday, which is the lowest number of the entire year so far and the lowest since June 11th, 2020, when 1 company ended in the green. Over in Europe it was much the same story, although they were relatively less affected by Powell’s remarks, and the STOXX 600 (-0.92%) moved lower on the day as well. Overnight in Asia, stocks are trading higher though with the KOSPI (+2.02%), Hang Seng (+1.40%), the Nikkei (+0.37%), Shanghai Composite (+0.11%) and CSI (+0.09%) all in the green. Australia’s Q3 GDP contracted (-1.9% qoq) less than -2.7% consensus while India’s Q3 GDP grew at a firm +8.4% year-on-year beating the +8.3% consensus. In China the Caixin Manufacturing PMI for November came in at 49.9 against a 50.6 consensus. Futures markets are indicating a positive start to markets in US & Europe with the S&P 500 (+0.73%) and DAX (+0.44%) trading higher again. Back in Europe, there was a significant inflation story amidst the other headlines above, since Euro Area inflation rose to its highest level since the creation of the single currency, with the flash estimate for November up to +4.9% (vs. +4.5% expected). That exceeded every economist’s estimate on Bloomberg, and core inflation also surpassed expectations at +2.6% (vs. +2.3% expected), again surpassing the all-time high since the single currency began. That’s only going to add to the pressure on the ECB, and yesterday saw Germany’s incoming Chancellor Scholz say that “we have to do something” if inflation doesn’t ease. European sovereign bonds rallied in spite of the inflation reading, with those on 10yr bunds (-3.1bps), OATs (-3.5bps) and BTPs (-0.9bps) all moving lower. Peripheral spreads widened once again though, and the gap between Italian and German 10yr yields closed at its highest level in just over a year. Meanwhile governments continued to move towards further action as the Omicron variant spreads, and Greece said that vaccinations would be mandatory for everyone over 60 soon, with those refusing having to pay a monthly €100 fine. Separately in Germany, incoming Chancellor Scholz said that there would be a parliamentary vote on the question of compulsory vaccinations, saying to the Bild newspaper in an interview that “My recommendation is that we don’t do this as a government, because it’s an issue of conscience”. In terms of other data yesterday, German unemployment fell by -34k in November (vs. -25k expected). Separately, the November CPI readings from France at +3.4% (vs. +3.2% expected) and Italy at +4.0% (vs. +3.3% expected) surprised to the upside as well. In the US, however, the Conference Board’s consumer confidence measure in November fell to its lowest since February at 109.5 (vs. 110.9 expected), and the MNI Chicago PMI for November fell to 61.8 9vs. 67.0 expected). To the day ahead now, and once again we’ll have Fed Chair Powell and Treasury Secretary Yellen appearing, this time before the House Financial Services Committee. In addition to that, the Fed will be releasing their Beige Book, and BoE Governor Bailey is also speaking. On the data front, the main release will be the manufacturing PMIs from around the world, but there’s also the ADP’s report of private payrolls for November in the US, the ISM manufacturing reading in the US as well for November, and German retail sales for October. Tyler Durden Wed, 12/01/2021 - 07:47.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeDec 1st, 2021

Risk Cracks After Moderna CEO Comments Spark Global Stock Rout

Risk Cracks After Moderna CEO Comments Spark Global Stock Rout Ask a drug dealer if methadone helps cure a cocaine addition and - shockingly - you will hear that the answer is "hell no", after all an affirmative response would mean the fixer needs to get a real job. Just as shocking was the "admission" of Moderna CEO, Stéphane Bancel, who in the latest stop on his media whirlwind tour of the past 48 hours gave the FT an interview in which he predicted that existing vaccines will be much less effective at tackling Omicron than earlier strains of coronavirus and warned it would take months before pharmaceutical companies could manufacture new variant-specific jabs at scale. “There is no world, I think, where [the effectiveness] is the same level . . . we had with [the] Delta [variant],” Bancel told the Financial Times, claiming that the high number of Omicron mutations on the spike protein, which the virus uses to infect human cells, and the rapid spread of the variant in South Africa suggested that the current crop of vaccines may need to be modified next year. Here, the self-serving CEO whose sell-mode was fully engaged - after all what else would the maker of a vaccine for covid say than "yes, the world will need more of my product" - completely ignored the earlier comments from Barry Schoub, chairman of South Afruca's Ministerial Advisory Committee on Vaccines, who over the weekend said that the large number of mutations found in the omicron variant appears to destabilize the virus, which might make it less “fit” than the dominant delta strain. As such, it would be a far less virulent strain... but of course that would also reduce the need for Moderna's mRNA therapy and so Bancel failed to mention it. What is grotesque is that the Moderna CEO’s comments on existing vaccines’ effectiveness against the omicron variant is “old news so should be a fade,” says Prashant Newnaha, a senior Asia-Pacific rates strategist at TD Securities in Singapore. Indeed as Bloomberg notes, Bancel reiterated comments made by Moderna’s Chief Medical Officer Paul Burton during the weekend. Alas, the last thing algos care about is nuance and/or reading between the lines, and so moments after Bancel's interview hit, markets hit risk off mode on Tuesday, and yesterday’s bounce in markets immediately reversed amid fresh worries about the efficacy of currently available vaccines with U.S. equity futures dropping along with stocks in Europe. Bonds gained as investors sought havens. After dropping as much as 1.2%, S&P futures pared losses to -0.7%, down 37 points just above 4,600. Dow Eminis were down 339 points or 1% and Nasdaq was down -0.8%. Adding to concerns is Fed Chair Jerome Powell who today will speak, alongside Janet Yellen, at the Senate Banking Committee in congressional oversight hearings related to pandemic stimulus. Last night Powell made a dovish pivot saying the new variant poses downside risks to employment and growth while adding to uncertainty about inflation. Powell's comments dragged yields lower and hit bank stocks overnight. “The market’s reaction to reports such as Moderna’s suggest the ball is still very much in the court of proving that this will not escalate,” said Patrick Bennett, head of macro strategy for Asia at Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce in Hong Kong. “Until that time, mode is to sell recoveries in risk and not to try and pick the extent of the selloff” U.S. airline and cruiseliner stocks dropped in premarket trading Tuesday, after vaccine maker Moderna’s top executives reiterated that the omicron variant of the coronavirus may require new vaccines. Most U.S. airline stocks were down: Alaska Air -5%, United -3.2%, American -3%, Spirit -2.7%, Delta -2.6%, JetBlue -2.6%, Southwest -1.7%. Here are some other notable movers today: U.S. banks decline in premarket trading following comments from Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell that may push back bets on when the central bank will raise rates. Citigroup (C US) -2.4%, JPMorgan (JPM US) -2.2%, Morgan Stanley (MS US) -2.6% Vaccine manufacturers mixed in U.S. premarket trading after rallying in recent days and following further comments from Moderna about treating the new omicron Covid-19 variant. Pfizer (PFE US) +1.6%, Novavax  (NVAS US) +1.3%, Moderna (MRNA US) -3.8% U.S. airline and cruiseliner stocks dropped in premarket trading Tuesday, after vaccine maker Moderna’s top executives reiterated that the omicron variant of the coronavirus may require new vaccines. Alaska Air (ALK US) -5%, United (UAL US) -3.2%, American (AAL US) -3% Krystal Biotech (KRYS US) jumped 4.3% in postmarket trading on Monday, extending gains after a 122% jump during the regular session. The company is offering $200m of shares via Goldman Sachs, BofA, Cowen, William Blair, according to a postmarket statement MEI Pharma (MEIP US) gained 8% postmarket after the cancer-treatment company said it will hold a webcast Tuesday to report on data from the ongoing Phase 2 Tidal study evaluating zandelisib in patients with relapsed or refractory follicular lymphoma Intuit (INTU US) declined 3.4% postmarket after holder Dan Kurzius, co-founder of Mailchimp, offered the stake via Goldman Sachs In Europe, the Stoxx 600 index fell to almost a seven-week low. Cyclical sectors including retail, travel and carmakers were among the biggest decliners, while energy stocks tumbled as crude oil headed for the worst monthly loss this year; every industry sector fell led by travel stocks. Earlier in the session, the Asia Pacific Index dropped 0.6% while the Hang Seng China Enterprises Index lost 1.5% to finish at its weakest level since May 2016. Asian stocks erased early gains to head for a third day of losses on fresh concerns that existing Covid-19 vaccines will be less effective at tackling the omicron variant. The MSCI Asia Pacific Index extended its fall to nearly 1% after having risen as much as 0.8% earlier on Tuesday. The current crop of vaccines may need to be modified next year, Moderna Chief Executive Officer Stephane Bancel said in an interview with the Financial Times, adding that it may take months before pharmaceutical firms can manufacture new variant-specific jabs at scale. U.S. futures also reversed gains. Property and consumer staples were the worst-performing sectors on the regional benchmark. Key gauges in Hong Kong and South Korea were the biggest losers in Asia, with the Kospi index erasing all of its gains for this year. The Hang Seng China Enterprises Index lost 1.5% to finish at its weakest level since May 2016. The fresh bout of selling offset early optimism spurred by data showing China’s factory sentiment improved in November. “With the slower vaccination rate and more limited health-care capacity in the region, uncertainty from the new omicron variant may seem to bring about higher economic risks for the region at a time where it is shifting towards further reopening,” said Jun Rong Yeap, a market strategist at IG Asia Pte. Asia’s stock benchmark is now down 3.5% for the month, set for its worst performance since July, as nervousness remains over the U.S. Federal Reserve’s tapering schedule and the potential economic impact of the omicron variant. “Moderna is one of the primary mRNA vaccines out there, so the risk-off sentiment is justified,” said Kelvin Wong, an analyst at CMC Markets (Singapore) Pte. Liquidity is thinner going into the end of the year, so investors are “thinking it’s wise to take some money off the table,” he added Japanese equities fell, reversing an earlier gain to cap their third-straight daily loss, after a report cast doubt on hopes for a quick answer to the omicron variant of the coronavirus. Telecoms and electronics makers were the biggest drags on the Topix, which dropped 1%, erasing an earlier gain of as much as 1.5%. Fast Retailing and SoftBank Group were the largest contributors to a 1.6% loss in the Nikkei 225. The yen strengthened about 0.4% against the dollar, reversing an earlier loss. Japanese stocks advanced earlier in the day, following U.S. peers higher as a relative sense of calm returned to global markets. Tokyo share gains reversed quickly in late afternoon trading after a Financial Times report that Moderna’s Chief Executive Officer Stephane Bancel said a new vaccine may be needed to fight omicron. “The report of Moderna CEO’s remarks has bolstered an overall movement toward taking off risk,” said SMBC Trust Bank analyst Masahiro Yamaguchi. “Market participants will probably be analyzing information on vaccines and the new virus variant for the next couple of weeks, so shares will likely continue to fluctuate on these headlines.” In FX, the dollar dropped alongside commodity-linked currencies while the yen and gold climbed and bitcoin surged as safe havens were bid. The yen swung to a gain after Moderna Inc.’s chief executive Stephane Bancel was quoted by the Financial Times saying existing vaccines may not be effective enough to tackle the omicron variant. Commodity-linked currencies including the Aussie, kiwi and Norwegian krone all declined, underperforming the dollar In rates, treasuries held gains after flight-to-quality rally extended during Asia session and European morning, when bunds and gilts also benefited from haven flows. Stocks fell after Moderna CEO predicted waning vaccine efficacy. Intermediates lead gains, with yields richer by nearly 6bp across 7-year sector; 10-year Treasuries are richer by 5.6bp at 1.443%, vs 2.5bp for German 10-year, 4.7bp for U.K. Long-end may draw support from potential for month-end buying; Bloomberg Treasury index rebalancing was projected to extend duration by 0.11yr as of Nov. 22. Expectations of month-end flows may support the market, and Fed Chair Powell is slated to testify to a Senate panel.       In commodities, crude futures are off their late-Asia lows but remain in the red. WTI trades close to $68.30, stalling near Friday’s lows; Brent is off over 2.5% near $71.50. Spot gold rises ~$11 near $1,796/oz. Base metals are mixed: LME zinc outperforms, rising as much as 1.6%.  To the day ahead now, and the main central bank highlight will be Fed Chair Powell’s appearance before the Senate Banking Committee, alongside Treasury Secretary Yellen. In addition, we’ll hear from Fed Vice Chair Clarida, the Fed’s Williams, the ECB’s Villeroy and de Cos, and the BoE’s Mann. On the data side, we’ll get the flash November CPI reading for the Euro Area today, as well as the readings from France and Italy. In addition, there’s data on German unemployment for November, Canadian GDP for Q3, whilst in the US there’s the Conference Board’s consumer confidence measure for November, the FHFA house price index for September, and the MNI Chicago PMI for November. Market Snapshot S&P 500 futures down 1.2% to 4,595.00 STOXX Europe 600 down 1.4% to 460.47 MXAP down 0.5% to 190.51 MXAPJ down 0.6% to 620.60 Nikkei down 1.6% to 27,821.76 Topix down 1.0% to 1,928.35 Hang Seng Index down 1.6% to 23,475.26 Shanghai Composite little changed at 3,563.89 Sensex down 0.2% to 57,122.74 Australia S&P/ASX 200 up 0.2% to 7,255.97 Kospi down 2.4% to 2,839.01 German 10Y yield little changed at -0.36% Euro up 0.6% to $1.1362 Brent Futures down 3.0% to $71.26/bbl Brent Futures down 3.0% to $71.26/bbl Gold spot up 0.7% to $1,796.41 U.S. Dollar Index down 0.65% to 95.72 Top Overnight News from Bloomberg Euro-area inflation surged to a record for the era of the single currency and exceeded all forecasts, adding to the European Central Bank’s challenge before a crucial meeting next month on the future of monetary stimulus. If the drop in government bond yields on Friday signaled how skittish markets were, fresh declines are leaving them looking no less nervous. One of Germany’s most prominent economists is urging the European Central Bank to be more transparent in outlining its exit from unprecedented monetary stimulus and argues that ruling out an end to negative interest rates next year may be a mistake. The Hong Kong dollar fell into the weak half of its trading band for the first time since December 2019 as the emergence of a new coronavirus variant hurt appetite for risk assets. A more detailed look at global markets courtesy of Newsquawk Asian equities traded mixed with early momentum seen following the rebound on Wall Street where risk assets recovered from Friday’s heavy selling pressure as liquidity conditions normalized post-Thanksgiving and after some of the Omicron fears abated given the mild nature in cases so far, while participants also digested a slew of data releases including better than expected Chinese Manufacturing PMI. However, markets were later spooked following comments from Moderna's CEO that existing vaccines will be much less effective against the Omicron variant. ASX 200 (+0.2%) was underpinned by early strength across its sectors aside from utilities and with gold miners also hampered by the recent lacklustre mood in the precious metal which failed to reclaim the USD 1800/oz level but remained in proximity for another attempt. In addition, disappointing Building Approvals and inline Net Exports Contribution data had little impact on sentiment ahead of tomorrow’s Q3 GDP release, although the index then faded most its gains after the comments from Moderna's CEO, while Nikkei 225 (-1.6%) was initially lifted by the recent rebound in USD/JPY but then slumped amid the broad risk aversion late in the session. Hang Seng (-1.6%) and Shanghai Comp. (Unch) were varied in which the mainland was kept afloat for most the session after a surprise expansion in Chinese Manufacturing PMI and a mild liquidity injection by the PBoC, with a central bank-backed publication also suggesting that recent open market operations demonstrates an ample liquidity goal, although Hong Kong underperformed on tech and property losses and with casino names pressured again as shares in junket operator Suncity slumped 37% on reopen from a trading halt in its first opportunity to react to the arrest of its Chairman. Finally, 10yr JGBs were initially contained following early momentum in stocks and somewhat inconclusive 2yr JGB auction which showed better results from the prior, albeit at just a marginal improvement, but then was underpinned on a haven bid after fears of the Omicron variant later resurfaced. Top Asian News China’s Biggest Crypto Exchange Picks Singapore as Asia Base SoftBank-Backed Snapdeal Targets $250 Million IPO in 2022 Omicron Reaches Nations From U.K. to Japan in Widening Spread Slump in China Gas Shows Spreading Impact of Property Slowdown Major European bourses are on the backfoot (Euro Stoxx 50 -1.5%; Stoxx 600 -1.5%) as COVID fears again take the spotlight on month-end. APAC markets were firmer for a large part of the overnight session, but thereafter the risk-off trigger was attributed to comments from Moderna's CEO suggesting that existing vaccines will be much less effective against the Omicron COVID strain. On this, some caveats worth keeping in mind - the commentary on the potential need for a vaccine does come from a vaccine maker, who could benefit from further global inoculation, whilst data on the new variant remains sparse. Meanwhile, WSJ reported Regeneron's and Eli Lilly's COVID antiviral cocktails had lost efficacy vs the Omicron variant - however, the extent to which will need to be subject to further testing. Furthermore, producers appear to be confident that they will be able to adjust their products to accommodate the new variant, albeit the timeline for mass production will not be immediate. Nonetheless, the sullied sentiment has persisted throughout the European morning and has also seeped into US equity futures: the cyclically bias RTY (-1.7%) lags the ES (-1.0%) and YM (-1.3%), whilst the tech-laden NQ (-0.5%) is cushioned by the slump in yields. Back to Europe, broad-based losses are seen across the majors. Sectors tilt defensive but to a lesser extent than seen at the European cash open. Travel & Leisure, Oil & Gas, and Retail all sit at the bottom of the bunch amid the potential implications of the new COVID variant. Tech benefits from the yield play, which subsequently weighs on the Banking sector. The retail sector is also weighed on by Spanish giant Inditex (-4.3%) following a CEO reshuffle. In terms of other movers, Glencore (-0.9%) is softer after Activist investor Bluebell Capital Partners called on the Co. to spin off its coal business and divest non-core assets. In a letter seen by the FT, Glencore was also asked to improve corporate governance. In terms of equity commentary, analysts at JPM suggest investors should take a more nuanced view on reopening as the bank expects post-COVID normalisation to gradually asset itself over the course of 2022. The bank highlights hawkish central bank policy shifts as the main risk to their outlook. Thus, the analysts see European equities outperforming the US, whilst China is seen outpacing EMs. JPM targets S&P 500 at 5,050 (closed at 4,655.27 yesterday) by the end of 2022 with EPS at USD 240 – marking a 14% increase in annual EPS. Top European News Omicron Reaches Nations From U.K. to Japan in Widening Spread ECB Bosses Lack Full Diplomatic Immunity, EU’s Top Court Says Adler Keeps Investors Waiting for Answers on Fraud Claims European Gas Prices Surge Above 100 Euros With Eyes on Russia In FX, the Greenback may well have been grounded amidst rebalancing flows on the final trading day of November, as bank models are flagging a net sell signal, albeit relatively weak aside from vs the Yen per Cit’s index, but renewed Omicron concerns stoked by Moderna’s CEO casting considerable doubt about the efficacy of current vaccines against the new SA strain have pushed the Buck back down in any case. Indeed, the index has now retreated further from its 2021 apex set less than a week ago and through 96.000 to 95.662, with only the Loonie and Swedish Krona underperforming within the basket, and the Antipodean Dollars plus Norwegian Crown in wider G10 circles. Looking at individual pairings, Usd/Jpy has reversed from the high 113.00 area and breached a Fib just below the round number on the way down to circa 112.68 for a marginal new m-t-d low, while Eur/Usd is back above 1.1350 having scaled a Fib at 1.1290 and both have left decent option expiries some distance behind in the process (1.6 bn at 113.80 and 1.3 bn between 1.1250-55 respectively). Elsewhere, Usd/Chf is eyeing 0.9175 irrespective of a slightly weaker than forecast Swiss KoF indicator and Cable has bounced firmly from the low 1.3300 zone towards 1.3375 awaiting commentary from BoE’s Mann. NZD/AUD/CAD - As noted above, the tables have turned for the Kiwi, Aussie and Loonie along with risk sentiment in general, and Nzd/Usd is now pivoting 0.6800 with little help from a deterioration in NBNZ business confidence or a decline in the activity outlook. Similarly, Aud/Usd has been undermined by much weaker than forecast building approvals and a smaller than anticipated current account surplus, but mostly keeping hold of the 0.7100 handle ahead of Q3 GDP and Usd/Cad has shot up from around 1.2730 to top 1.2800 at one stage in advance of Canadian growth data for the prior quarter and month of September as oil recoils (WTI to an even deeper trough only cents off Usd 67/brl). Back down under, 1 bn option expiry interest at 1.0470 in Aud/Nzd could well come into play given that the cross is currently hovering near the base of a 1.0483-39 range. SCANDI/EM - The aforementioned downturn in risk appetite after Monday’s brief revival has hit the Sek and Nok hard, but the latter is also bearing the brunt of Brent’s latest collapse to the brink of Usd 70/brl at worst, while also taking on board that the Norges Bank plans to refrain from foreign currency selling through December having stopped midway through this month. The Rub is also feeling the adverse effect of weaker crude prices and ongoing geopolitical angst to the extent that hawkish CBR rhetoric alluding to aggressive tightening next month is hardly keeping it propped, but the Cnh and Cny continue to defy the odds or gravity in wake of a surprise pop back above 50.0 in China’s official manufacturing PMI. Conversely, the Zar is struggling to contain losses sub-16.0000 vs the Usd on SA virus-related factors even though Gold is approaching Usd 1800/oz again, while the Try is striving to stay within sight of 13.0000 following a slender miss in Turkish Q3 y/y GDP. In commodities, WTI and Brent front month futures are once again under pressure amid the aforementioned COVID jitters threatening the demand side of the equation, albeit the market remains in a state of uncertainty given how little is known about the new variant ahead of the OPEC+ confab. It is still unclear at this point in time which route OPEC+ members will opt for, but seemingly the feasible options on the table are 1) a pause in output hikes, 2) a smaller output hike, 3) maintaining current output hikes. Energy journalists have suggested the group will likely be influenced by oil price action, but nonetheless, the findings of the JTC and JMMC will be closely watched for the group's updated forecasts against the backdrop of COVID and the recently coordinated SPR releases from net oil consumers – a move which the US pledged to repeat if needed. Elsewhere, Iranian nuclear talks were reportedly somewhat constructive – according to the Russian delegate – with working groups set to meet today and tomorrow regarding the sanctions on Iran. This sentiment, however, was not reciprocated by Western sources (cited by WSJ), which suggested there was no clarity yet on whether the teams were ready for serious negotiations and serious concessions. WTI Jan resides around session lows near USD 67.50/bbl (vs high USD 71.22/bbl), while Brent Feb dipped under USD 71/bbl (vs high USD 84.56/bb). Over to metals, spot gold remains underpinned in European trade by the cluster of DMA's under USD 1,800/oz – including the 100 (USD 1,792/oz), 200 (USD 1,791/oz) and 50 (1,790/oz). Turning to base metals, LME copper is modestly softer around the USD 9,500/t mark, whilst Dalian iron ore futures meanwhile rose over 6% overnight, with traders citing increasing Chinese demand. US Event Calendar 9am: 3Q House Price Purchase Index QoQ, prior 4.9% 9am: Sept. FHFA House Price Index MoM, est. 1.2%, prior 1.0% 9am: Sept. Case Shiller Composite-20 YoY, est. 19.30%, prior 19.66%; S&P/CS 20 City MoM SA, est. 1.20%, prior 1.17% 9:45am: Nov. MNI Chicago PMI, est. 67.0, prior 68.4 10am: Nov. Conf. Board Consumer Confidenc, est. 111.0, prior 113.8 10am: Nov. Conf. Board Present Situation, prior 147.4 10am: Nov. Conf. Board Expectations, prior 91.3 Central Banks 10am: Powell, Yellen Testify Before Senate Panel on CARES Act Relief 10:30am: Fed’s Williams gives remarks at NY Fed food- insecurity event 1pm: Fed’s Clarida Discusses Fed Independence DB's Jim Reid concludes the overnight wrap Just as we go to print markets are reacting negatively to an interview with the Moderna CEO in the FT that has just landed where he said that with regards to Omicron, “There is no world, I think, where (the effectiveness) is the same level... we had with Delta…… I think it’s going to be a material drop (efficacy). I just don’t know how much because we need to wait for the data. But all the scientists I’ve talked to . . . are like ‘this is not going to be good’.”” This is not really new news relative to the last 3-4 days given what we know about the new mutation but the market is picking up on the explicit comments. In response S&P futures have gone from slightly up to down just over -0.5% and Treasury yields immediately dipped -4bps to 1.46%. The Nikkei has erased gains and is down around -1% and the Hang Seng is c.-1.8%. This is breaking news so check your screens after you read this. In China the official November PMI data came in stronger than expected with the Manufacturing PMI at 50.1 (49.7 consensus vs 49.2 previous) and the non-manufacturing PMI at 52.3 (51.5 consensus vs 52.4 previous). The negative headlines above as we go to print followed a market recovery yesterday as investors hoped that the Omicron variant wouldn’t prove as bad as initially feared. In reality, the evidence is still incredibly limited on this question, and nothing from the Moderna CEO overnight changes that. However the more positive sentiment was also evident from the results of our flash poll in yesterday’s EMR where we had 1569 responses so very many thanks. The poll showed that just 10% thought it would still be the biggest topic in financial markets by the end of the year, with 30% instead thinking it’ll largely be forgotten about. The other 60% thought it would still be an issue but only of moderate importance. So if that’s correct and our respondents are a fair reflection of broader market sentiment, then it points to some big downside risks ahead if we get notable bad news on the variant. For the record I would have been with the majority with tendencies towards the largely forgotten about answer. So I will be as off-side as much as most of you on the variant downside risk scenario. When I did a similar poll on Evergrande 2 and a half months ago, only 8% thought it would be significantly impacting markets a month later with 78% in aggregate thinking limited mention/impact, and 15% thinking it would have no impact. So broadly similar responses and back then the 15% were most correct although the next 78% weren’t far off. In terms of the latest developments yesterday, we’re still waiting to find out some of the key pieces of information about this new strain, including how effective vaccines still are, and about the extent of any increased risk of transmission, hospitalisation and death. Nevertheless, countries around the world are continuing to ramp up their own responses as they await this information. President Biden laid out the US strategy for tackling Omicron in a public address yesterday, underscoring the variant was a cause for concern rather than panic. He noted travel bans from certain jurisdictions would remain in place to buy authorities time to evaluate the variant, but did not anticipate that further travel bans or domestic lockdowns would be implemented, instead urging citizens to get vaccinated or a booster shot. Over in Europe, Bloomberg reported that EU leaders were discussing whether to have a virtual summit on Friday about the issue, and Poland moved to toughen up their own domestic restrictions, with a 50% capacity limit on restaurants, hotels, gyms and cinemas. In Germany, Chancellor Merkel and Vice Chancellor Scholz will be meeting with state premiers today, whilst the UK government’s vaccination committee recommended that every adult be eligible for a booster shot, rather than just the over-40s at present. Boosters have done a tremendous job in dramatically reducing cases in the elder cohort in the UK in recent weeks so one by product of Omicron is that it may accelerate protection in a wider age group everywhere. Assuming vaccines have some impact on Omicron this could be a positive development, especially if symptoms are less bad. Markets recovered somewhat yesterday, with the S&P 500 gaining +1.32% to recover a large portion of Friday’s loss. The index was driven by mega-cap tech names, with the Nasdaq up +1.88% and small cap stocks underperforming, with the Russell 2000 down -0.18%, so the market wasn’t completely pricing out omicron risks by any means. Nevertheless, Covid-specific names performed how you would expect given the improved sentiment; stay-at-home trades that outperformed Friday fell, including Zoom (-0.56%), Peloton (-4.35%), and HelloFresh (-0.8%), while Moderna (+11.80%) was the biggest winner following the weekend news that a reformulated vaccine could be available in early 2022. Elsewhere, Twitter (-2.74%) initially gained after it was announced CEO and co-founder Jack Dorsey would be stepping down, but trended lower throughout the rest of the day. The broader moves put the index back in positive territory for the month as we hit November’s last trading day today. Europe saw its own bounceback too, with the STOXX 600 up +0.69%. Over in rates, the partial unwind of Friday’s moves was even smaller, with yields on 10yr Treasuries moving up +2.6bps to 1.50%, driven predominantly by real rates, as inflation breakevens were a touch narrower across the curve. One part of the curve that didn’t retrace Friday’s move was the short end, where markets continued to push Fed rate hikes back ever so slightly, with the first full hike now being priced for September (though contracts as early as May still price some meaningful probability of Fed hikes). We may see some further movements today as well, with Fed Chair Powell set to appear before the Senate Banking Committee at 15:00 London time, where he may well be asked about whether the Fed plans to accelerate the tapering of their asset purchases although it’s hard to believe he’ll go too far with any guidance with the Omicron uncertainty. The Chair’s brief planned testimony was published on the Fed’s website last night. It struck a slightly more hawkish tone on inflation, noting that the Fed’s forecast was for elevated inflation to persist well into next year and recognition that high inflation imposes burdens on those least able to handle them. On omicron, the testimony predictably stated it posed risks that could slow the economy’s progress, but tellingly on the inflation front, it could intensify supply chain disruptions. The real fireworks will almost certainly come in the question and answer portion of the testimony. The bond moves were more muted in Europe though, with yields on 10yr bunds (+2.0bps), OATs (+1.0bps) and BTPs (+0.4bps) only seeing a modest increase. Crude oil prices also didn’t bounce back with as much rigor as equities. Brent gained +0.99% while WTI futures increased +2.64%. They are back down -1 to -1.5% this morning. Elsewhere in DC, Senator Joe Manchin noted that Democrats could raise the debt ceiling on their own through the reconciliation process, but indicated a preference for the increase not to be included in the build back better bill, for which his support still seems lukewarm. We’re approaching crucial deadlines on the debt ceiling and financing the federal government, so these headlines should become more commonplace over the coming days. There were some further developments on the inflation front yesterday as Germany reported that inflation had risen to +6.0% in November (vs. +5.5% expected) on the EU-harmonised measure, and up from +4.6% in October. The German national measure also rose to +5.2% (vs. +5.0% expected), which was the highest since 1992. Speaking of Germany, Bloomberg reported that the shortlist for the Bundesbank presidency had been narrowed down to 4 candidates, which included Isabel Schnabel of the ECB’s Executive Board, and Joachim Nagel, who’s currently the Deputy Head of the Banking Department at the Bank for International Settlements. Today we’ll likely get some further headlines on inflation as the flash estimate for the entire Euro Area comes out, as well as the numbers for France and Italy. There wasn’t much in the way of other data yesterday, though UK mortgage approvals fell to 67.2k in October (vs. 70.0k expected), which is their lowest level since June 2020. Separately, US pending home sales were up +7.5% in October (vs. +1.0% expected), whilst the Dallas Fed’s manufacturing activity index for November unexpectedly fell to 11.8 (vs. 15.0 expected). Finally, the European Commission’s economic sentiment indicator for the Euro Area dipped to 117.5 in November as expected, its weakest level in 6 months. To the day ahead now, and the main central bank highlight will be Fed Chair Powell’s appearance before the Senate Banking Committee, alongside Treasury Secretary Yellen. In addition, we’ll hear from Fed Vice Chair Clarida, the Fed’s Williams, the ECB’s Villeroy and de Cos, and the BoE’s Mann. On the data side, we’ll get the flash November CPI reading for the Euro Area today, as well as the readings from France and Italy. In addition, there’s data on German unemployment for November, Canadian GDP for Q3, whilst in the US there’s the Conference Board’s consumer confidence measure for November, the FHFA house price index for September, and the MNI Chicago PMI for November. Tyler Durden Tue, 11/30/2021 - 07:50.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeNov 30th, 2021

4 Funds to Buy as the Omicron COVID-19 Variant Rattles Markets

The rise in new COVID-19 cases, restrictions and various measures taken to curtail the spread might impact economic recovery again. The new omicron variant of COVID 19 has rattled markets, hampering Black Friday sales across the globe. Omicron, now a “variant of concern” according to the World Health Organization (WHO), was first detected in South Africa and is responsible for the recent spike in cases across Europe. As this highly mutated variant rampaged the reopening and economic recovery efforts, investors should invest in mutual funds that incorporate vaccine makers, gold, real estate and utilities for safety. Fidelity Select Utilities Portfolio FSUTX, Fidelity Select Health Care Portfolio FSPHX, Franklin Gold and Precious Metals Fund Class A FKRCX and Fidelity Real Estate Investment Portfolio FRESX are the funds to add to your list now.The Dow, the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq Composite declined at least 2% in the three-hour-less trading day of Nov 26. Black Friday, a day when consumers are typically shopping for bargains, marks the beginning of the holiday season. However, sales took a hit on the alarming news from public health officials. The B.1.1.529 variant, symbolized by the Greek letter omicron, has undergone numerous mutations (more than 30) to the spike protein. The WHO has already issued warnings across Europe and Central Asia. Among the European companies, Austria has imposed at least a 10-day-long national lockdown to fight the resurgence. The Czech Republic has declared a 30-day emergency and announced several new restrictions. The United Kingdom has also banned flights from South Africa and five neighboring countries like Namibia, Lesotho, Eswatini, Zimbabwe and Botswana. Japan and Israel have closed their borders for foreigners, while Australia will review its plans to reopen borders to skilled migrants and students from Dec 1.Among the rise in new COVID-19 cases, the WHO has informed that it could take "days to several weeks" to understand the severity of the variant and countries have to impose restrictions to prevent the spread. Restrictions and various measures taken to curtail the spread might impact economic recovery again. Hence, investors can limit investment to healthcare, gold, real estate and utilities mutual funds for now.4 Mutual Fund PicksGiven the dreary scenario, we have shortlisted four funds from the utility, healthcare, gold and consumer staples sectors that are considered safe bets. These mutual funds carry a Zacks Mutual Fund Rank #1 (Strong Buy) and the minimum initial investment for these funds is within $5,000.We expect these funds to outperform peers in the future. Remember, the goal of the Zacks Mutual Fund Rank is to guide investors to identify potential winners and losers. Unlike most fund-rating systems, the Zacks Mutual Fund Rank is not just focused on past performance but also the likely future success of the fund.The question here is why should investors consider mutual funds? Reduced transaction costs and portfolio diversification without several commission charges associated with stock purchases are primarily why one should be parking money in mutual funds (read more: Mutual Funds: Advantages, Disadvantages, and How They Make Investors Money).Fidelity Select Utilities Portfolio aims for capital appreciation. This non-diversified fund invests a majority of assets in common stocks of companies primarily engaged in the utilities industry and companies generating most of their revenues from utility operations.This Zacks Sector – Utilities has a history of positive total returns for more than 10 years. Specifically, Fidelity Select Utilities Portfolio has returned 9.9% and 11.4% in the past three and five-year period, respectively. To see how this fund performed compared to its category, and other 1 and 2 Ranked Mutual Funds, please click here.Fidelity Select Utilities Portfolio has an annual expense ratio of 0.76%, which is below the category average of 0.94%.Fidelity Select Health Care Portfolio fund aims for capital appreciation. This non-diversified fund invests a majority of assets in common stocks of companies principally engaged in the design, manufacture or sale of products or services used for or in connection with health care or medicine.This Zacks sector – Health product has a history of positive total returns for more than 10 years. Specifically, the fund has returned 20.2% and 19.9% over the past three and five-year period, respectively. To see how this fund performed compared in its category, and other 1 and 2 Ranked Mutual Funds, please click here.Fidelity Select Health Care Portfolio has an annual expense ratio of 0.69% versus the category average of 1.03%.Franklin Gold and Precious Metals Fund Class A aims for capital appreciation and current income is a secondary consideration. This non-diversified fund invests most assets in securities of gold and precious metals operation companies located globally.This Zacks sector - Precious Metal product has a history of positive total returns for more than 10 years. Specifically, Franklin Gold and Precious Metals Fund Class A has returned 30.1% and 7% over the past three and five-year periods, respectively. To see how this fund performed compared in its category, and other 1 and 2 Ranked Mutual Funds, please click here.Franklin Gold and Precious Metals Fund Class A has an annual expense ratio of 0.93%, below the category average of 1.17%.Fidelity Real Estate Investment Portfolio fund aims for above-average income and long-term capital growth, consistent with reasonable investment risk. This non-diversified fund invests primarily in common stocks. The majority of FRESX’s assets are invested in securities of companies principally engaged in the real estate industry and other real estate-related investments.This Zacks sector – Real Estate product has a history of positive total returns for more than 10 years. Specifically, Fidelity Real Estate Investment Portfolio has returned 13.1% and 9.2% over the past three and five years, respectively. To see how this fund performed compared to its category, and other 1 and 2 Ranked Mutual Funds, please click here.Fidelity Real Estate Investment Portfolio has an annual expense ratio of 0.74% versus the category average of 1.08%.Want key mutual fund info delivered straight to your inbox?Zacks’ free Fund Newsletter will brief you on top news and analysis, as well as top-performing mutual funds, each week. Get it free >> Investor Alert: Legal Marijuana Looking for big gains? Now is the time to get in on a young industry primed to skyrocket from $13.5 billion in 2021 to an expected $70.6 billion by 2028. After a clean sweep of 6 election referendums in 5 states, pot is now legal in 36 states plus D.C. Federal legalization is expected soon and that could kick start an even greater bonanza for investors. Zacks Investment Research has recently closed pot stocks that have shot up as high as +147.0% You’re invited to immediately check out Zacks’ Marijuana Moneymakers: An Investor’s Guide. It features a timely Watch List of pot stocks and ETFs with exceptional growth potential.Today, Download Marijuana Moneymakers FREE >>Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report Get Your Free (FSPHX): Fund Analysis Report Get Your Free (FRESX): Fund Analysis Report Get Your Free (FKRCX): Fund Analysis Report Get Your Free (FSUTX): Fund Analysis Report To read this article on Zacks.com click here. Zacks Investment Research Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report.....»»

Category: topSource: zacksNov 29th, 2021

Will The China Cold War Unstick America"s Glue?

Will The China Cold War Unstick America's Glue? Authored by Alastair Crooke via The Strategic Culture Foundation, Can an America that off-shored much of its manufacturing capacity to China, for short-term profit, afford the de-coupling? Washington isn’t quite sure what to do after the chaotic end to America’s ‘forever’ war. Some in Washington bitterly regret exiting from Afghanistan at all, and advocate for an immediate return; some just want to move on – to the China ‘Cold War’, that is. The cries from the initial Establishment ‘melt down’ and its articulation of pain over the Kabul withdrawal débacle, however, indicates the extent to which the almost obsessive focus on ‘Hobbling China’ nevertheless seems like an humiliating retreat to U.S. hawks, habituated to more global, and unlimited interventions. It is a retreat. ‘Rome’ is relegating its ‘distant provinces’ to their own devices, and even its abutting loyalist inner circle is being downgraded to ‘benign’ indifference. It is a drawing-in towards the ‘hub’, a ‘circling of wagons’ – the better to muster energies for a lunge out at China. There are the acquiescent regions that Americans occupied after WW II (the psychologically-seared Japan and Germany), and then there is the American world empire, which exists chimerically wherever U.S. commercial and cultural power reaches, and more practically in its patchwork of client states and military installations. This third empire is regarded by many Americans as its most remarkable achievement – a triumph of the ‘City of Light’. The post 9/11 era’s final ‘Mad Hatter’s Tea Party’ dénouement scene at Kabul Airport did however, clearly convey a strong end-of-the-Roman Empire feel. Yes, failure in Afghanistan may have taken place far from Rome itself, yet something more profound today hangs in the air: a Change of Era. And defeats on distant frontiers, can entail profound consequences – closer to the imperial core – as a sense of accelerating imperial decline bleeds into domestic arguments, widening already yawning ideological rifts. An embedded national consensus can change very slowly, and then, under the right pressure, all at once. And in many subtle and sometimes chaotic ways, that trigger for change came from Trump. No dove or systematiser, he nonetheless made realism and anti-interventionism, quasi-respectable again. Elbridge Colby, who was in Trump’s Pentagon helping devise its national defence strategy, has a new book, The Strategy of Denial: American Defense in an Age of Great Power Conflict, making the case for a foreign policy that leaves the post-9/11 era clearly and decisively behind. The outer circle of the ‘periphery’ reduces to over-horizon, necro-tech management, and the ‘near provinces of empire’, such as Europe are dismissed as ‘sideshows’ to the main event – China. To focus on Iran or North Korea, he says, is simply misguided. It is “a realist’s book, laser-focused on China’s bid for mastery in Asia as the 21st century’s most important threat”, Ross Douthat writes in the NY Times. “All other challenges are secondary: Only China threatens American interests in a profound way, through a consolidation of economic power in Asia that imperils our prosperity and a military defeat that could shatter our alliance system. Therefore, American policy should be organized to deny Beijing regional hegemony and deter any military adventurism — first and foremost, through a stronger commitment to defending the island of Taiwan”. The Strategy of Denial presents a particularly unsentimental version of a rapidly consolidating Washington consensus. Biden’s speech justifying withdrawal from Afghanistan, in terms of an end to nation-building and focus on counter-terrorism – albeit more softly spoken – said the same as Colby. The contradictions implicit within the 9/11 era’s War on Terror, and coercive westification, may have become only too plain today with 20th anniversary hindsight, but other contradictions within the ‘Hobble China’ pivot are potentially just as fatal to its success – as were the flawed assumptions underlying the 9/11 era zeitgeist. Its’ most basic contradiction is that far from providing the balm around which Americans can gather and unify, the China pivot is likely only to loosen the glue binding a heterogeneous ‘nation’ increasingly turning in upon itself. Firstly, the ‘new consensus’ has it that the best way for America to weaken China is to make it ‘the world versus China’ – confronting it with a broad, transnational coalition, based on the value-struggle between democracy and authoritarianism. Yes, but this repeats the error underlying the 9/11 policy – namely by assuming that the rest of the world still admires and aspires to emulate American liberal democracy. Look what occurred in Afghanistan. The world has changed – deference to western values per se has evaporated. There once was a time when ‘pro-Europeans’ too, were confident that the world would almost inevitably be remade in the image of the West, as it endlessly expanded its rules, and exported its model. Since then, even the Europeans have lost confidence in a world vision, and have become psychotically more defensive (imagining looming ‘threats’ from everywhere and everything). And as the European model has hollowed out, becoming less credible, so too, Europe has and leant into raw mercantilism. The logic of the European situation is clear. It needs China, more than China needs Europe. It would be a huge ‘stretch’ therefore, for Washington to imagine that ‘the world’ might side with its democratic values against China’s ‘authoritarianism’. Just to remind, U.S. democracy was tarnished in the eyes of the world in light of the 2020 Election. And some 70–80 million Americans share that view too. We saw it nightly on our screens. Secondly, it assumes that America’s ‘corporate’, capitalist economic system is a tremendous asset in the Cold War against China. Well, it isn’t. China has its economic problems, certainly; but unlike most western states, it is trying to move away from raw neo-liberalism and endless liquidity – as the hammer set to every ‘nail’. China is deliberately turning away from this model’s distortions, sky-high housing and living-costs, huge inequalities, and collateral social damage. It would be an error to underestimate ‘the pull’ of this alt-vision (even for Europeans). China is, itself, a civilisational pole. Then thirdly, there is the basic contradiction in having a laser-like single focus on ‘Hobble China’, which is brought about only at the expense of feeding Americans’ sense of accelerating imperial decline, bleeding into domestic tensions. This is Pat Buchanan’s argument in a piece entitled, Who and What Is Tearing the U.S. Apart? He answers: “After 9/11, Bush invaded Afghanistan and Iraq. President Barack Obama attacked Libya and plunged us into the Syrian and Yemeni civil wars. Thus, over 20 years, we have been responsible for the deaths of hundreds of thousands and driven hundreds of thousands more from their homes and their countries. Are Americans really as oblivious? … Many of these peoples want us out of their countries for the same reason that 18th and 19th-century Americans wanted the French, British and Spanish out of our country and out of our hemisphere”. “Unlike previous generations, our 21st-century divisions are far broader — not just economic and political, but social, moral, cultural and racial. Abortion, same-sex marriage and transgender rights divide us. Socialism and capitalism divide us. Affirmative action, Black Lives Matter, urban crime, gun violence and critical race theory divide us. Allegations of white privilege and white supremacy, and demands that equality of opportunity give way to equity of rewards, divide us. In the COVID-19 pandemic, the wearing of masks and vaccine mandates divide us”. “The debate over American national identity is cursed seven times over”, Darel Paul, Professor of Political Science at Williams College, writes: “Does the United States even constitute a ‘nation’? In the sense of common descent (the root of “nation” is the Latin nasci, to be born) – clearly not. Widespread fear of such an ethnic sense of American identity drives considerable hostility to the very idea of nationalism. Most American elites prefer words like ‘patriotism’ … The problem with this conception of patriotism is that it is a weak glue. The recent history of the United States offers ample evidence. Rather than objects of agreement – liberty, equality, individual rights, and self-government are instead [today] the objects of discord. “Here we come to the real glue of America: From the founding of the country in the fires of war, the United States has been an expansionary republican empire ever incorporating new lands, new peoples, new goods, new resources, new ideas. This “empire of liberty,” as Thomas Jefferson called it, knew no limits … Continuous military, commercial, and cultural expansion since Jamestown and Plymouth cultivated the restlessness, vigour, optimism, self-confidence, and love of glory for which Americans have long been known. The glue of America has thus ever been what Niccolò Machiavelli called virtù in service of “a commonwealth for expansion.” Such a republic is always in tumult, yet a tumult that, if well-ordered, finds glory … “Forward motion thus becomes the lifeblood of such a polity. Without it, the purpose of the civic bonds of unity inevitably come into question. An America that is not a glorious republican empire in motion is not America, full stop. This part of the American mythos Lincoln left unsaid at Gettysburg. “Since the 1960s, the glory of the American empire of liberty has tarnished. Since the mid-2010s it has fallen under sustained internal attack. The failures of national purpose in Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghanistan are amplified by the failure of globalization to generate common wealth for the commonwealth. If Americans are not united for expansionary republican greatness, what then are all these fissiparous races, creeds, and cultures bound together for? While belief that self-government may perish from the earth without American unity may have been plausible in 1863 or 1941, it is a hard sell in 2021”. Does this struggle against China make sense? Can America, whose economic and financial system today is highly precarious, afford to bludgeon China into adverse economic straits also? Can an America that off-shored much of its manufacturing capacity to China, for short-term profit, afford the de-coupling? Do American corporate leaders truly share the view that the (inevitable) consolidation of economic power in Asia imperils American prosperity, and that its consolidation would shatter their imperial outreach, dollar-based order? Possibly they do. They do fear it. Tyler Durden Mon, 10/04/2021 - 23:00.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeOct 4th, 2021

4 ways Omicron is screwing up the economy this month

Omicron could peak this month, and it's disrupting the economy: cancelled flights, delayed mail, and sick workers — who may or may not go in to work. Bread aisle shelves at a Target are seen nearly empty as the U.S. continues to experience supply chain disruptions in Washington, U.S.REUTERS/Sarah Silbiger January is only half over. It's been, and will continue to be, a wild month. The Omicron variant is fueling the biggest infection wave yet and hampering the economic recovery. From flight cancellations to historic inflation, here's what's making January a really weird month. January's been a wild month, and it's only half over. The spread of Omicron infections across the world is causing millions of Americans to isolate again like it's 2020. Workers are staying home sick, and others are continuing to avoid the workforce for fear of the virus. Meanwhile consumers are paying the highest prices in almost 40 years.It's a situation unlike any we've seen before, and it's about to get wilder. The worst inflation since 1982 may ease, confusing Americans' budgets once againAfter living with historic inflation for the better part of a whole year, Americans have demanded bigger raises and businesses have struggled to keep goods in stock. Yet that normal is on its way out, and inflation is now likely to start cooling.The latest data show inflation was still hot during the last days of 2021. Prices surged 7% year-over-year in December, according to a Wednesday report, reflecting the strongest inflation since 1982.However, there's reason to believe price growth will start to slow in January. For one, Wall Street banks' forecasts show inflation peaking in the fourth quarter of 2021. The Biden administration and the Federal Reserve have said they expect inflation to fall from elevated levels by the middle of this year. Even everyday Americans' inflation expectations softened in December after skyrocketing through most of the pandemic.The data also shows month-over-month inflation cooling further. Prices rose 0.5% last month, decelerating from November's 0.8% pace and marking the smallest one-month gain since September.Much of the improvement will come from the solving of the global supply-chain mess. Bottlenecks are "easing in all the right places" as global suppliers ramp up production, JPMorgan economists Joshua Lupton and Bruce Kasman said in a Tuesday note.As supply rebounds to better match demand, it's likely inflation will ease faster.Businesses have empty shelves and not enough workersAs Omicron peaks, service may be slower at understaffed stores this month. Or, if companies have resumed pre-pandemic practices, employees at your local restaurant or grocery store might be working with COVID. Many companies started rolling back pandemic-era sick leave policies as vaccines have become available throughout the US. Omicron, however, evades vaccine protection more than previous variants.This leaves more people sick, without enough paid leave.  A Harvard study in 2020 found that nearly 1.5 million grocery workers across 24 grocery chains, including Walmart, Kroger, and Target, lacked access to paid sick leave. Low-income workers are especially affected. Only one third of workers whose wages are at the bottom 10% get any paid sick leave at all, compared with 95% of workers with wages in the top 10%, according to a national compensation survey of employee benefits conducted by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics in March. Omicron has also been wreaking havoc on the supply chain, which was already why grocery stores have been struggling to keep food on the shelves. And with the labor shortage still going strong, there are fewer hands to do work on farms, for manufacturers, and for distributors. Even food inspectors have been calling in sick, Bloomberg reported last week. Flights and public transportation will be harder to catchAirlines have been hit hard, with hundreds of flights being canceled every day. United Airlines decreased its number of flights after 3,000 workers, about 4% of United's workforce, tested positive for COVID. JetBlue Airways also reduced its schedule this week, by about 1,280 flights — roughly 10% of its schedule — because of crew members getting sick. Local forms of transit are slowing down for the same reason. Cities like Portland, Oregon, Atlanta, Georgia, and Washington, D.C., are decreasing their mass transit services as their employees get sick with COVID. The New York Times reported that in New York City, more than a fifth of subway operators and conductors were absent from work. In Florida, school bus drivers are unable to drive students to school. And, the mail is delayed throughout the countryAlthough the United States Postal Service (USPS) largely got people their deliveries on time for the holiday season, the Omicron variant has been spreading amongst its employees. Roughly 6,500 postal workers were quarantined due to COVID-19 as of Christmas Eve, a number that grew to 8,000, the Associated Press reported. The USPS declined to comment on the existence of positive employee COVID-19 cases. Cities and states across the country have been reporting mail delays in response, such as Minnesota, The StarTribune reporting that garbage haulers have been out sick too. In Washington state, winter weather conditions compounded with a surge in cases among postal workers to cause delays. In Maine, some people haven't gotten mail delivered in weeks, which the USPS attributed to the spread of COVID-19."This is an incredibly tough moment. The omicron variant has taken off like wildfire," Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said during a news conference last week, commenting on firefighter and ambulance delays. Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: worldSource: nytJan 15th, 2022

11 Reasons Why This Was Joe Biden"s Worst Week Ever

11 Reasons Why This Was Joe Biden's Worst Week Ever Authored by Michael Snyder via The Economic Collapse blog, Joe Biden has had a lot of bad weeks over the last 12 months, but this week has got to take the cake.  In fact, it is hard to remember the last time that any president had a week that was this bad.  But this wasn’t supposed to happen.  Democrats were promising a return to “normalcy” after the Trump years, but instead virtually everything seems to be going wrong.  No matter where you are on the political spectrum, you should be able to admit that Joe Biden’s presidency is not going very well at all.  At this point, even many Democrats are using the word “failure” to describe Biden, and this is fueling rumors that Hillary Clinton may run again in 2024. Yes, Biden’s presidency has been such a complete and utter disaster that the absolutely unthinkable could actually become a reality. Just when you think that things can’t get any worse, somehow they do.  The following are 11 reasons why this was Joe Biden’s worst week ever… #1 The OSHA Mandate On Thursday, we learned that the U.S. Supreme Court had voted 6 to 3 to strike down Biden’s cherished OSHA vaccine mandate… President Biden urged businesses to bring in vaccine mandates on their own and pushed states to ‘do the right thing’ after the Supreme Court voted 6-3 to block his sweeping rules on private companies in a crushing blow to his pandemic response. The high court did however allow a vaccine mandate for employees at health care facilities receiving federal dollars to go into effect. The OSHA mandate would have covered approximately 80 million American workers, and countless workers all over the country that would have lost their jobs under this mandate are greatly celebrating right now. #2 The Filibuster Biden was desperately hoping that all of the Democrats in the U.S. Senate would agree to kill the filibuster so that he could get the “voting rights bill” through Congress, but Senator Kyrsten Sinema just made it exceedingly clear that she is not willing to do that… First, Arizona Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, a fellow Democrat, announced that although she supports the voting rights bill, she’s not willing to do what it would take to make it happen. The filibuster. I’m talking about killing the filibuster. This came only two days after the president made such an impassioned speech in support of knocking off the filibuster that Republicans essentially called it offensive. And even one Democratic senator said Biden, who pledged a year ago to unite Americans, went too far in the speech. When she was elected, I never imagined that the day would come when I would be thankful for Kyrsten Sinema. But today I am definitely very thankful that she has taken this stand. #3 Inflation This week, it was announced that the inflation rate had hit a 40 year high, and Americans are blaming Biden for this. And as I pointed out in an article that I posted on Wednesday, if inflation was still calculated the way that it was back in 1980, the official rate of inflation in this country would be above 15 percent at this point. #4 Shortages In December, Joe Biden told the nation that the supply chain crisis was over. Of course that was not true, and now store shelves are so empty that “BareShelvesBiden” has been trending on social media throughout this entire week. #5 Joe Biden’s Approval Rating At the beginning of his presidency, Biden actually had very strong approval ratings, but now they just continue to sink lower and lower. As I pointed out yesterday, the seven most recent Quinnipiac polls show a very clear trend… President Biden’s overall approval rating in the last seven Quinnipiac polls: 49%, 46%, 42%, 38%, 37%, 36%, 33%. [ZH: The dead-cat-bounce in Biden's approval is over...] #6 Fauci’s Approval Rating Dr. Fauci was Biden’s handpicked choice to lead the U.S. out of this pandemic, but he has been steadily losing the trust of the American people. According to a NewsNation poll that was just conducted, only 31 percent of all Americans still believe what he is telling us about the pandemic. #7 Omicron During the presidential campaign, Joe Biden repeatedly promised that he would “shut down the virus”, but in recent days the number of COVID cases has soared to all-time record highs in the United States.  At this point things are so bad that even Biden administration officials are admitting that essential services are in danger of totally breaking down… Acting Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Dr. Janet Woodcock gave U.S. lawmakers an ominous warning this week: The nation needs to ensure police, hospital and transportation services don’t break down as the unprecedented wave of omicron infections across the country forces people to call out sick. “It’s hard to process what’s actually happening right now, which is most people are going to get Covid,” Woodcock testified before the Senate health committee on Tuesday. “What we need to do is make sure the hospitals can still function, transportation, other essential services are not disrupted while this happens.” #8 The Lack Of COVID Tests Even CNN and MSNBC have been roasting Biden this week for not having enough COVID tests for the American people. Now the Biden administration is telling us that millions of new tests are on the way, but by the time they arrive the Omicron wave may be over. #9 Russia Foreign policy takes a great deal of finesse, and that is something that Biden’s team is sorely lacking. When I first started warning that Biden was surrounded by the worst foreign policy team in U.S. history, a lot of people thought that I was exaggerating. But now the truth is becoming very clear, and a potential war with Russia that nobody wants is closer than ever… Talks to find a diplomatic solution to the worsening situation between Russia and Ukraine are on the brink of collapse after Thursday’s meeting as a key US ambassador warned ‘the drumbeat of war is sounding loud.’ Secretary of State Antony Blinken hit the airwaves on Thursday morning where he also weighed in on the crisis, claiming the ‘jury is still out’ on whether Russian President Vladimir Putin’s aggressive military buildup on Ukraine’s border will end with an invasion. #10 Kamala Harris Is even Kamala Harris turning against Biden? This week, a reporter asked Harris if the Democrats would have the same presidential ticket in 2024. Normally, that would be a really easy question for any vice-president to answer. But instead of answering “of course”, this is how Harris responded… REPORTER: “Are we going to see the same Democrat ticket in 2024?” HARRIS: “[long pause] I’m sorry but we are thinking about today” Wow. I think that this is another very clear sign that there is far more going on behind the scenes than we are being told. #11 Hillary Clinton Biden is such a failure that some Democrats are already suggesting that Hillary Clinton should be the Democratic nominee in 2024. Seriously. On Wednesday, a pro-Hillary piece authored by two key Democratic operatives named Douglas E. Schoen and Andrew Stein appeared in the Wall Street Journal.  In their article, they listed a number of different reasons why they believe that Hillary would be a good choice for the next election cycle… ‘Several circumstances – President Biden’s low approval rating, doubts over his capacity to run for re-election at 82, Vice President Harris’s unpopularity, and the absence of another strong Democrat to lead the ticket in 2024 – have created a leadership vacuum in the party, which Mrs. Clinton viably could fill,’ they write. So could we actually see a rematch between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump? Of course we still have three more years of the Biden/Harris administration to get through first, and that won’t be pleasant. Decades of very foolish decisions set the stage for where we are today, and now Biden and his minions have us steamrolling down a highway that doesn’t lead anywhere good. By the time we get to 2024, this country could be completely unrecognizable. Biden’s first year has been absolutely terrible, and the next three years are likely to be even worse. But there is no “exit button” on this ride, and so we are all going to have to endure whatever is coming next. *  *  * It is finally here! Michael’s new book entitled “7 Year Apocalypse” is now available in paperback and for the Kindle on Amazon. Tyler Durden Fri, 01/14/2022 - 16:20.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeJan 14th, 2022

Futures Slide After Disappointing JPMorgan Earnings, Tech Rout Worsens

Futures Slide After Disappointing JPMorgan Earnings, Tech Rout Worsens After trading flat for much of the overnight session, S&P futures slumped to session lows shortly after JPM reported earnings that disappointed the market (see our full write up here) and were last trading down 30 points or 0.64%, with Dow futures down 0.3% and Nasdaq futures taking on even more water as the "sell tech" trade was back with a bang. Treasury yields rose 3bps to 1.74% and the dollar reversed an overnight loss. The VIX jumped above 20 and was last seen around 21. The Nasdaq 100 fell to the lowest in almost three months yesterday as tech came under pressure after Fed Governor Lael Brainard said officials could boost rates as early as March. It looks like the selling will continue today. “Market sentiment has been shaken by concerns over the prospect of imminent Fed tightening along with record global Covid-19 infection rates, but we don’t expect either of these factors to end the equity rally,” said UBS Wealth Management CIO Mark Haefele in a note. “The fourth-quarter U.S. earnings season, which started this week, could turn investor attention back to strong fundamentals.” JPMorgan shares dropped in premarket trading after revenues and EPS beat thanks to a $1.8 billion reserve release while FICC trading revenue missed expectations even as its dealmakers posted their best quarter ever and Chief Executive Officer Jamie Dimon gave an upbeat assessment of prospects for growth. Wells Fargo advanced after reporting higher-than-estimated revenue. BlackRock Inc. became the first public asset manager to hit $10 trillion in assets, propelled by a surge in fourth-quarter flows into its exchange-traded funds. Here are some of the other notable pre-movers today: U.S.-listed casino stocks with operations in Macau rise after the announcement of much-anticipated changes to the local casino law aimed at tightening government oversight on the world’s largest gaming market. Las Vegas Sands (LVS US) +6.6%; Melco Resorts (MLCO US) +5.5%; Wynn Resorts (WYNN US) +5.6%. Apple (AAPL US) shares are up in U.S. premarket trading after Piper Sandler raises its target for the stock, saying that Apple’s set-up for 2022 is favorable. Broker adds that the tech giant’s venture into health-care and automotive markets are the next catalysts to drive the stock to a $4 trillion market cap and beyond. NextPlay Technologies (NXTP US) shares jump 19% in U.S. premarket trading after giving an update for fiscal 3Q 2022 late yesterday. Domino’s Pizza (DPZ US) is cut to equal-weight from overweight at Morgan Stanley, while Chipotle is upgraded to overweight from equal-weight amid a “mixed” view on restaurant stocks into 2022. Amicus Therapeutics (FOLD US) advanced in postmarket trading after being upgraded to outperform from market perform at SVB Leerink, which cited the potential of a treatment for Pompe disease, should it be approved. Spirit Realty dropped 4% postmarket after launching a share sale via Morgan Stanley and BofA Securities. European equities traded poorly and followed the drop in Asia, with most sectors trading lower, weighed down once again by a soft tech sector. Euro Stoxx 50 is down 0.8%, most major indexes dropped over 1% before rising off the lows. Oil & gas is the best Stoxx 600 performer with crude trading well. European technology stocks as well as pandemic winners are leading declines after a U.S. selloff in tech shares resumed Thursday as Federal Reserve officials signaled their intention to combat inflation aggressively.  European chipmakers are down in early trading Friday: ASM International -3.5% at 9.17 a.m. CET, Infineon -0.9%, ASML -2.9%, STMicroelectronics -2.3%. Meanwhile, energy and automakers outperformed. Utilities were also in focus as French nuclear energy producer Electricite de France SA (EDF) plunged by a record as the French government confirmed plans to force it to sell more power at a steep discount to protect households from surging wholesale electricity prices, a move that could cost the state-controlled utility 7.7 billion euros ($8.8 billion) at Thursday’s market prices. There was some good news: a majority of strategists still see the rally in European equities continuing this year. The Stoxx Europe 600 Index will rise about 5.2% to 511 index points by the end of 2022 from Wednesday’s close, according to the average of 19 forecasts in a Bloomberg survey. Equity funds once more led inflows among asset classes in the week through Jan. 12, as investors reduced cash holdings, according to BofA and EPFR Global data. Earlier in the session, Asian stocks slid as investors offloaded technology shares on growing speculation the Federal Reserve will raise interest rates in March.  The MSCI Asia Pacific Index fell as much as 1.3% before paring losses to 0.7% in afternoon trading. Alibaba, Keyence and Sony Group were among the largest contributors to the benchmark’s slide. The Hang Seng Tech Index, which tracks China’s biggest tech firms, closed down 0.5%. Electronics makers also dragged down indexes in Japan and South Korea, with benchmarks in both nations leading the region’s drop. China’s CSI 300 Index closed at its lowest since November 2020. Asian stocks have been whipsawed this year by remarks from Fed officials as investors try to gauge the timing and scope of the anticipated interest rate hikes. The renewed weakness on Friday was triggered by comments from Fed Governor Lael Brainard, who said officials could boost rates as early as March to ensure that price pressures are brought under control. “This kind of hawkishness and a rush for rate hikes is, of course, a minus for share prices,” said Ayako Sera, a market strategist at Sumitomo Mitsui Trust Bank in Tokyo. If the Fed were to increase rates in March, “investors will want to make sure the economy remains strong despite the monetary tightening before making their move,” Sera added.  With Friday’s moves, Asia’s benchmark is set to pare its weekly gain to about 1.6%, which would still be its best weekly performance since October.    In Japan, sentiment worsened as Tokyo raised its Covid alert to the second-highest of four levels as virus cases surged. South Korea’s Kospi was also weighed down as the central bank increased its policy rate for the third time in just five months In rates, Treasuries pared declines with stock index futures under pressure as U.S. day begins. Yields beyond the 2-year reached session highs inside Thursday’s ranges amid a global government bond selloff. Treasury yields are cheaper by 3bp to 4bp across the curve with 10- year yields around 1.7274%, fading a bigger loss earlier and slightly underperforming bunds and gilts. Asia session featured speculation about tighter global monetary policy. IG dollar issuance slate empty so far and expected to remain light ahead of U.S. holiday weekend with markets closed Monday; four names priced $3.8b Thursday. In FX, the Bloomberg dollar spot is little changed around worst levels for the week, while NOK, JPY and CAD top the G-10 scoreboard. The yen advanced, and is set for its largest weekly advance in more than a year as speculation about a shift in the Bank of Japan’s policy spurred a further unwinding of dollar longs. The five-year Japanese government bond yield climbed to a six-year high. The volatility term structure in dollar-yen shifted higher Friday and inverted. The euro was little changed around $1.1460 and European sovereign bond yields rose, with the core underperforming the periphery. Norway’s krone and the Canadian dollar advanced as oil prices rose, with Brent trading above $85 per barrel, while the Australian and New Zealand dollars were the worst performers. The pound extended its longest winning streak in nearly two months as the U.K. economy surpassed its pre-pandemic size in November for the first time. Sweden’s krona inched down, shrugging off data showing that the nation’s inflation rate rose to the highest level in 28 years In commodities, crude futures rally with WTI recovering to Wednesday’s best levels near $83 and Brent putting in fresh highs near $85.40. Spot gold is little changed a brief retest of the week’s highs, trading near $1,823/oz. Base metals are mixed: LME nickel adds about 2% extending its recent surge; copper holds a narrow range in the red Looking at the day ahead now, data releases include US retail sales, industrial production and capacity utilisation for December, along with the University of Michigan’s preliminary consumer sentiment index for January and the UK’s GDP for November. Central bank speakers include ECB President Lagarde and New York Fed President Williams. Lastly, earnings releases include Citigroup, JPMorgan Chase, Wells Fargo and BlackRock. Market Snapshot S&P 500 futures up 0.3% to 4,667.00 STOXX Europe 600 down 0.5% to 483.71 MXAP down 0.8% to 195.28 MXAPJ down 0.5% to 639.13 Nikkei down 1.3% to 28,124.28 Topix down 1.4% to 1,977.66 Hang Seng Index down 0.2% to 24,383.32 Shanghai Composite down 1.0% to 3,521.26 Sensex up 0.1% to 61,320.31 Australia S&P/ASX 200 down 1.1% to 7,393.86 Kospi down 1.4% to 2,921.92 German 10Y yield little changed at -0.08% Euro up 0.1% to $1.1467 Brent Futures up 0.8% to $85.16/bbl Gold spot up 0.1% to $1,823.97 U.S. Dollar Index little changed at 94.73 Top Overnight News from Bloomberg Federal Reserve Governor Christopher Waller said that three interest-rate increases this year was a “good baseline” but there may be fewer or even as many as five moves, depending on inflation The U.K. and the European Union agreed to intensify post-Brexit negotiations over Northern Ireland, as Foreign Secretary Liz Truss led the British side for the first time in a meeting at her official country residence Germany’s economy contracted by as much as 1% in the final quarter of 2021 as the emergence of the coronavirus’s omicron strain added to drags on output from supply snarls and the fastest inflation in three decades Japan’s Government Pension Investment Fund, the world’s largest, may mull investing in Chinese government bonds if the market situation improves, GPIF President Masataka Miyazono says at a press conference in Tokyo Ukraine said a cyberattack brought down the websites of several government agencies for hours. Authorities didn’t immediately comment on the source of the outage, which comes as tensions with Russia surge over its troop buildup near the border Russia won’t wait “endlessly” for a security deal with NATO and progress depends on the U.S., Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Friday, keeping up pressure after a week of high-level talks with the West failed to yield noticeable progress Turkey’s newly appointed finance chief said the country’s inflation will peak months earlier and at a level far lower than predicted by top Wall Street banks The global pressures driving inflation higher represent a “major change in trends” and will keep price growth high for the foreseeable future, Bank of Russia Governor Elvira Nabiullina said North Korea appears to have fired two ballistic missiles into waters off its east coast-- in what could be its third rocket-volley test in less than 10 days -- hours after issuing a fresh warning to the Biden administration A more detailed look at global markets courtesy of Newsquawk Asian equity markets weakened amid headwinds from the US where all major indices declined led by losses in tech and consumer discretionary amid a slew of hawkish Fed speak, while mixed Chinese trade data added to the cautiousness in the region. ASX 200 (-1.1%) traded lower as tech and consumer stocks mirrored the underperformance of stateside peers and with nearly all industries on the back foot aside from utilities and gold miners. Nikkei 225 (-1.3%) briefly gave up the 28k level amid a firmer currency and source reports that BoJ policy makers are said to debate how soon they can begin signalling a rate hike. In terms of the notable movers, Fast Retailing was the biggest gainer after it reported a record Q1 net, followed by Seven & I Holdings which also benefitted post-earnings, while Hitachi Construction was at the other end of the spectrum after news that parent Hitachi will offload half its majority stake. KOSPI (-1.4%) eventually underperformed after the Bank of Korea hiked rates by 25bps for a third time in the current tightening cycle to 1.25%, as expected. BoK also noted that CPI is to stay in the 3% range for a while and BoK Governor Lee made it clear that rates will continue to be adjusted which has fuelled speculation of similar action at next month’s meeting. Hang Seng (-0.2%) and Shanghai Comp. (-1.0%) were also pressured with participants digesting the latest trade figures which showed weaker than expected Imports although Exports topped estimates. Nonetheless, the downside was somewhat limited amid ongoing expectations for PBoC easing to support the economy as the Fed moves closer towards a rate lift off and with some encouragement after Evergrande averted its first onshore debt default whereby bondholders approved a six-month postponement of bond redemption and coupon payments. Finally, 10yr JGBs retreated beneath the 151.00 level following the source report that suggested debate within the BoJ on how soon a rate increase can be signalled which could occur ahead of the 2% price target, while this coincided with an increase in the 5yr yield to a 6-year high and a weaker than previous 20yr JGB auction. Top Asian News Chinese Developer R&F Downgraded to Restricted Default by Fitch Macau Cuts Casino License Tenure, Caps Float as Controls Tighten Inflation Irks Asia as Japan Yields Hit Six-Year High, BOK Hikes China Builders’ Dollar Bonds Slump Further; Logan, KWG Lead The major cash equity indices in Europe remain subdued but off worst levels (Euro Stoxx 50 -0.7%; Stoxx 600 -0.6%) as the downbeat APAC mood reverberated into the region amid a slew of hawkish Fed speak, while the mixed Chinese trade data added to the concerns of a slowdown ahead of next week’s GDP metrics. Newsflow had overall been quiet during the European session ahead of the start of US earnings season, but geopolitical tensions remain hot on the radar after North Korea fired its third missile of the year (albeit landing outside Japan’s EEZ), whilst Russia closed all communication channels with the EU and exerted some time-pressure on Washington with regards to Moscow’s security demands. Back to trade, a divergence is seen between Europe and the US as the former catches up to the late accelerated sell-off on Wall Street yesterday; US equity futures have been consolidating with mild broad-based gains seen across the ES (+0.2%), YM (+0.2%), NQ (+0.2%) whilst the RTY (Unch) narrowly lags. Delving into Europe, the UK’s FTSE 100 (-0.1%) is cushioned by gains across its Oil & Gas and Financial sectors as crude oil prices and yields clamber off intraday lows, whilst the SMI (-0.3%) sees some losses countered by its heavyweight healthcare sector. Sectors in Europe are mostly in the red with a slight defensive tilt, although Oil & Gas stands as the top gainer and the only sector in the green. The downside meanwhile sees Tech following a similar sectorial underperformance seen on Wall Street and APAC overnight. In terms of individual movers, DAX-heavyweight SAP (-0.3%) conforms to the losses across tech after initially rising as a result of upgraded guidance and the announcement of a share buyback programme of up to EUR 1bln. The most notable mover of the day has been EDF (-17.5%) as the Co. withdrew guidance after noting the impact of new French price cap measures is forecast to be around EUR 8.4bln on FY22 EBITDA. Top European News EDF Slumps by Most on Record on Hit From Price Cap U.K. Economy Surpasses Pre-Pandemic Size With November Surge German Recovery Lags Rest of Europe on Supply Snarls, Inflation HSBC Markets Chief Georges Elhedery To Take Six-Month Sabbatical In FX, another lower low off a lower high does not bode well for the index and Buck more broadly, but some technicians will be encouraged by the fact that chart supports in the form of a Fib retracement and 100 DMA have only been breached briefly. Meanwhile, Friday may provide the Greenback with a prop via pre-weekend position squaring and US data could lend a hand if upbeat or better than expected at the very least. For now, the DXY is restrained between 94.887-626 confines, with the upside capped by a major trendline that falls just below 95.000 around 94.980, and the Dollar also hampered by pressure emanating outside the basket from the likes of the Yuan, crude oil and other commodities. CAD/JPY/GBP - The Loonie has reclaimed 1.2500+ status in line with a rebound in WTI towards Usd 83/brl, but still faces stiff trendline resistance vs its US counterpart at 1.2451 and probably conscious that several multi-billion option expiries roll off either side of the 1.2500 level today. Conversely, the Yen has cleared the psychological 114.00 hurdle with some fundamental impetus coming from hawkish BoJ source reports contending that policy-setters are contemplating how soon the Bank can telegraph a rate hike that is likely to be delivered prior to inflation reaching its 2% target. Elsewhere, Sterling remains elevated above 1.3700, though unable to scale 1.3750 even with tailwinds from stronger than forecast UK GDP and IP or a narrower than feared trade gap amidst ongoing political uncertainty. CHF/EUR/NZD/AUD - All narrowly divergent and contained against their US rival, with the Franc straddling 0.9100 and Euro holding within a 1.1483-51 range and immersed in hefty option expiry interest spanning 1.1395 to 1.1485 (see 7.01GMT post on the Headline Feed for details). On the flip-side, the Aussie and Kiwi have both lost a bit more momentum after probing 0.7300 and approaching 0.6900 respectively yesterday, and Aud/Usd appears to have shrugged off robust housing finance data in the run up to China’s trade balance revealing sub-consensus imports. SCANDI/EM - Firmer than anticipated Swedish CPI and CPIF metrics have not offered the Sek much support, as the stripped down core ex-energy print was in line and bang on the Riksbank’s own projection. However, the Huf has been underpinned by hot Hungarian inflation and the Cnh/Cny in wake of the aforementioned Chinese trade data showing a record surplus for December and 2021 overall. In Turkey, the Try is flattish following the latest CBRT survey that predicts a weaker year-end Lira from current levels, but above record lows and still well above target CPI, while in Russia the Rub is benefiting from Brent’s rise above Usd 85.50/brl (in keeping with the Nok) against the backdrop of geopolitical and diplomatic strains as the country’s Foreign Minister declares that all lines of communication with the EU have ended. In commodities, WTI and Brent front-month futures have been on an upward trajectory since the Wall Street close, with the former now above USD 83/bbl (vs 81.58/bbl low) and the latter north of USD 85.50/bbl (vs 83.99/bbl low) in European hours. Overall market sentiment has been a non-committal one amid a lack of fresh macro catalysts, however, geopolitical updates have been abundant: namely with Russia’s punchy rhetoric surrounding its security demand from NATO and Washington, whilst North Korea fired what is said to be ballistic missiles which landed just outside Japan’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ). On the demand side of the equation, eyes remain on China’s economic and COVID situations, with the import figures indicating China's annual crude oil imports drop for the first time in 20 years, whilst the nation grounded further flights between the US due to its zero-COVID policy. On the supply side, reports suggested that China will release oil stockpiles in the run-up to the Lunar New Year (dubbed as the largest human migration). The release is part of a coordinated plan with the US and other major consumers, according to the reports, which cited sources suggesting China will likely ramp up its releases if prices top USD 85/bbl. Turning to metals, spot gold is trading sideways and prices waned after again hitting the resistance zone around USD 1,830/oz flagged earlier this week. LME copper meanwhile remains under USD 10,000/t – subdued by the sharp slowdown in Chinese imports suggesting weaker demand, albeit annual imports of copper concentrate hit a historic high in 2021. The trade data also indicated a fall in iron ore imports as a factor of the steel production curbs imposed last year to tackle pollution and high iron ore prices. US Event Calendar 8:30am: Dec. Import Price Index YoY, est. 10.8%, prior 11.7%; MoM, est. 0.2%, prior 0.7% Export Price Index YoY, est. 16.0%, prior 18.2%; MoM, est. 0.3%, prior 1.0% 8:30am: Dec. Retail Sales Advance MoM, est. -0.1%, prior 0.3% Dec. Retail Sales Ex Auto MoM, est. 0.1%, prior 0.3% Dec. Retail Sales Ex Auto and Gas, est. -0.2%, prior 0.2% Dec. Retail Sales Control Group, est. 0%, prior -0.1% 9:15am: Dec. Industrial Production MoM, est. 0.2%, prior 0.5% Capacity Utilization, est. 77.0%, prior 76.8% Manufacturing (SIC) Production, est. 0.3%, prior 0.7% 10am: Nov. Business Inventories, est. 1.3%, prior 1.2% 10am: Jan. U. of Mich. Sentiment, est. 70.0, prior 70.6; Expectations, est. 67.0, prior 68.3; Current Conditions, est. 73.8, prior 74.2 U. of Mich. 1 Yr Inflation, est. 4.8%, prior 4.8%; 5-10 Yr Inflation, prior 2.9% DB's Jim Reid concludes the overnight wrap There was no rest for markets either yesterday as the tech sell-off resumed in earnest, which came as fed funds futures moved to price in a 93% chance of a March rate hike, the highest closing probability to date. At the same time, however, the US dollar continued to weaken and has now put in its worst 3-day performance in over a year, having shed -1.25% in that time. And all this is coming just as earnings season is about to ramp up, with a number of US financials scheduled to report today ahead of an array of companies over the next few weeks. Starting with sovereign bonds, yields on 10yr Treasuries fell a further -3.9bps yesterday, their biggest decline since mid-December, to their lowest closing level in a week, at 1.704%, with most of the price action again happening during the New York afternoon. Lower inflation breakevens helped drive the decline, with the 10yr breakeven down -3.4bps after the producer price inflation data for December came in softer than expected. Indeed, the monthly gain of +0.2% (vs. +0.4% expected) was the slowest since November 2020, and in turn that left the year-on-year measure at +9.7% (vs. +9.8% expected), which is actually a modest decline from the upwardly revised +9.8% in November. As with the previous day’s CPI reading though, there was a more inflationary interpretation for those after one, as the core PPI measure came in at a monthly +0.5% as expected, leaving the year-on-year change at an above-expected +8.3% (vs. +8.0% expected). So something for everyone but no massive surprises either way. The latest inflation data came as numerous Fed speakers continued to match the recent hawkish tone, which helped strengthen investor conviction in the odds of a March hike as mentioned at the top. Philadelphia Fed President Harker said at an event that “My forecast is that we would have a 25 basis-point increase in March, barring any changes in the data”, and that he had 3 hikes pencilled in but “could be convinced of a fourth if inflation is not getting under control.” Separately, we heard from Governor Brainard, who appeared before the Senate Banking Committee as part of her nomination hearing to become Fed Vice Chair. She signalled that she would be open to a March hike as well, saying that they would be in a position to hike “as soon as asset purchases are terminated”, which they’re currently on course to do in March. Even President Evans, one of the most dovish members of Fed leadership, said a March rate hike and multiple hikes this year were a possibility. As it happens, today is the last we’ll hear from various Fed speakers for a while, as tomorrow they’ll be entering their blackout period ahead of the next FOMC announcement later in the month. Staying on the Fed, Bloomberg reported overnight that President Biden has picked three nominees for the vacant slots. They include Sarah Bloom Raskin, previously Deputy Secretary of the Treasury, who’s reportedly going to be nominated to become the Vice Chair of supervision, as well as Lisa Cook and Philip Jefferson, who’d become governors. Cook is an economics professor at Michigan State University, and Jefferson is an economics professor at Davidson College in North Carolina. All 3 would require Senate confirmation, and bear in mind those choices haven’t been officially confirmed as of yet. Over on the equity side, the main story was a further tech sell-off that sent both the NASDAQ (-2.51%) and the FANG+ index (-3.72%) lower for the first time this week, and taking the former to a 3-month low. That weakness dragged the S&P 500 (-1.5%) lower, though despite the stark headline numbers, it was only just over half of the shares in the index that were in the red on the day. Meanwhile in Europe, the STOXX 600 (-0.03%) also saw a modest decline, though the STOXX Banks (+1.10%) hit a fresh 3-year high after advancing for the 8th time in the last 9 sessions. Sovereign bond yields echoed the declines in the US too, with those on 10yr bunds (-3.1bps), OATs (-3.3bps) and BTPs (-4.6bps) all moving lower. Following that tech-driven fall overnight on Wall Street on the back of those hawkish comments, Asian stock markets are trading lower this morning. Japan's Nikkei (-1.42%) extended the previous session’s losses while briefly falling over -2%, as the Japanese Yen found a renewed bid amid the risk-off mood. Additionally, the Kospi (-1.37%) widened its losses, after the BOK lifted borrowing costs by 25bps to 1.25% amidst rising concerns about inflationary pressure. That takes the benchmark rate back to pre-pandemic levels after the central bank's 25bps rate increase in August and November last year. Meanwhile, the Korean government unveiled a supplementary budget worth 14 trillion won in size to continue providing support to the economy. Elsewhere, the Hang Seng index (-0.86%), CSI (-0.60%) and Shanghai Composite (-0.53%) have all moved lower as well. Data released in China showed that exports went up +20.9% y/y in December (vs +20.0% market expectations) albeit imports in December rose +19.5% y/y less than +28.5% as anticipated. That meant that they posted a trade surplus of $94.46bn last month, above the consensus forecast for a $74.50bn surplus. Looking ahead, futures on both the S&P 500 (-0.19%) and DAX (-0.79%) are pointing to further losses later on. Elsewhere in markets, yesterday saw another surge in European natural gas futures (+13.71%), albeit still at levels which are less than half of the peaks seen in mid-December. The latest moves came as Russia’s deputy foreign minister Sergei Ryabkov said that talks with the US had reached a “dead end”, amidst strong tensions between the two sides with Russia rejecting any further expansion of NATO as well as calls to pull back its forces from near Ukraine’s border. In response, the Russian ruble weakened -2.31% against the US dollar yesterday, whilst the MOEX stock index (-4.05%) suffered its worst daily performance since April 2020. Turning to the Covid-19 pandemic, the decline in UK cases continued to accelerate yesterday, with the number of cases over the past week now down -24% relative to the previous 7-day period. Looking at England specifically, the total number of Covid-19 patients in hospital is now down for a 3rd day running, and in London the total number in hospital is down to its lowest level since New Year’s Eve. To the day ahead now, and data releases include US retail sales, industrial production and capacity utilisation for December, along with the University of Michigan’s preliminary consumer sentiment index for January and the UK’s GDP for November. Central bank speakers include ECB President Lagarde and New York Fed President Williams. Lastly, earnings releases include Citigroup, JPMorgan Chase, Wells Fargo and BlackRock. Tyler Durden Fri, 01/14/2022 - 08:13.....»»

Category: dealsSource: nytJan 14th, 2022

Russia could use failed talks with US and NATO as "pretext" for invading Ukraine, experts and officials warn

"In a real sense," one expert said, "this does give them a kind of veil of legitimacy if they decide to invade Ukraine." Russian President Vladimir Putin during a meeting with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan at the Bocharov Ruchei residence on September 29.Vladimir SmirnovbackslashTASS via Getty Images Russia has spent this week engaging US and its NATO allies in talks amid tensions over Ukraine. Some experts and officials have raised concerns Russia could use failed talks as a pretext to invade. "This does give them a kind of veil of legitimacy if they decide to invade Ukraine," one expert said. Some senior US officials and Russia watchers have expressed concerns that Russia may use this week's stalled diplomatic talks in Europe as a pretext to invade Ukraine, as Moscow continues its aggressive moves near Ukraine's border while making demands that the US and its NATO allies have dismissed as non-starters. White House press secretary Jen Psaki questioned Tuesday whether Russia will "use discussions as pretext to claim that diplomacy couldn't possibly work in order to proceed with the aggressive rhetoric and actions, most importantly, that they have portrayed at the border."Similarly, Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman, who has been leading the US delegation during this week's talks, said on Wednesday that Russia must decide "whether they really are about security, in which case they should engage, or whether this was all a pretext, and they may not even know yet."There has been almost no movement on either side of the negotiating table during this week's talks. Jim Townsend, an adjunct senior fellow in the Transatlantic Security Program at the Center for New American Security, told Insider Wednesday "you can only say that there's been progress in the sense that it hasn't blown up."On Thursday, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov dashed hopes for further talks, saying he sees "no grounds" for doing so. "There is, to a certain extent, a dead end or a difference in approaches," he said. "I do not see reasons to sit down in the coming days, to gather again and start these same discussions."Russia, which invaded and annexed the Crimea peninsula from Ukraine in 2014, has moved a significant force of tens of thousands of troops into positions along the former Soviet republic's border in recent weeks. The Kremlin has denied any plans to invade, but it continues to assume an alarming posture, stirring fears of a large-scale invasion of its neighbor, possibly to annex additional territory in the east, seize the capital, or some other to-be-determined endgame.Ukraine's forces stand little chance of stopping a major Russian advance given its numerical advantages in tanks, troops and air power. And the Biden administration has signaled it would not send troops in if Russia invades Ukraine because it is not a NATO member and the US is therefore not obligated to defend it.Russian armor and troops engaged in live-fire drills near Ukraine on Tuesday, which Sherman decried as being unconducive to the ongoing diplomatic discussions. Meanwhile, Russian President Vladimir Putin has continued to strongly push for binding security guarantees from the US and NATO, including provisions stating that Ukraine and Georgia must never be permitted to join NATO and that the alliance reduce its presence in eastern Europe.The US and NATO have repeatedly made it clear that the alliance's open-door policy is nonnegotiable, but the Kremlin has nonetheless persisted in making this demand, among others, even doubling down on them despite opposition. And as its demands have been dismissed, Moscow has made statements pointing to the possibility of conflict."The Russian side has repeatedly proposed to the alliance to take measures to de-escalate the situation," Alexander Fomin, who serves as Russia's deputy defense minister, said on Wednesday. "On the part of the alliance, Russian initiatives were ignored. This creates prerequisites for incidents and conflicts, undermines the foundations of security."A Russian service member walks near a T-72B3 main battle tank during military drills at the Kadamovsky range in the Rostov region of Russia on December 20, 2021.Sergey Pivovarov/Reuters'The big question'Some experts worry that Russia may have no intention of pursuing a diplomatic resolution to the Ukraine crisis and is effectively searching for an excuse, such as failed talks, to escalate the situation.Other expert observers suspect that Putin may be hedging his bets by pursuing diplomatic engagement in hopes of achieving his objectives without conflict while preparing to use military force if such endeavors are unsuccessful, which is how a Kremlin spokesperson characterized talks Thursday.Steven Pifer, the US ambassador to Ukraine from 1998 to 2000, told Insider the "big question" hanging over this week's talks is whether Russia's security proposals, which include "unacceptable demands," are meant to be "the opening bid in a serious give-and-take negotiation, or did the Kremlin put them forward expecting, indeed seeking, rejection so as to have another pretext for taking military action against Ukraine?"Both US and NATO officials have told their Russian counterparts that there's potentially space for common ground on some provisions proposed by Moscow, such as limitations on the size and scope of military exercises in the region, Pifer said, but NATO won't "renounce further enlargement or agree to withdraw forces from states that joined the Alliance after 1997.""How Moscow responds to this will tell us the answer to the big question," Pifer said, adding that "it may well be that Putin and the Kremlin have not yet decided.""But it does appear that the Russians are putting in place the capabilities for major military operations against Ukraine if that is the Kremlin's decision," he said.Putin, another expert warned, may feel it necessary to achieve something beyond seizing the world's attention with his threats and troop build-up."They certainly set the table to be able to do that. And, it is up to Putin," Townsend said. "If he feels that he's not going to get anything out of this, certainly not something that he could point to as a success, a big success, if he feels that he's just getting crumbs, then he almost has to go into Ukraine."That said, he explained, the question then is what does Putin get out of invading Ukraine."This really isn't about Ukraine anymore. Ukraine kind of started this off, but this is much more about the overall security architecture in Europe," Jeffrey Edmonds, a Russia expert at CNA and a former CIA military analyst, told Insider. "This was about Ukraine. Ukraine's a symptom of a much deeper problem that they have to solve.""This is a conversation that has been going on for 30 years," Edmonds said. "This has built up to a crescendo where they're going to force a solution to a longstanding problem," one way or another, either through talks or through military action.After the fall of the Soviet Union, eastern European countries long in Russia's shadow opted to join NATO, including Poland, Romania and Slovakia, as well as the three Baltic states that border Russia. This eastward expansion has been the subject of heated debate over whether it brought the NATO shield too close to countries Russia has exerted influence over.Putin likely "has various contingencies in mind," he said, explaining to Insider that Putin knows he has a decision to make."If we were to move on things in such a way that he thought he could get a lot out of it or get a big deal out of it, then probably he would back down," Edmonds said. But talks with Russia do not appear to be addressing the issues at the heart of the problem, Russian security concerns, and could fail to ease tensions."So, in a real sense," he explained, "this does give them a kind of veil of legitimacy if they decide to invade Ukraine." For the moment, he said, "I don't think the decision's really been made" on what the next step is for Russia.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderJan 13th, 2022

Coronavirus Update: Biden to step up effort to aid hospitals overwhelmed by omicron cases, and will procure 500 million more tests

President Joe Biden's administration will announce later Thursday a plan to deploy military medics to six states to help hospitals deal with a surge of COVID-19 cases caused by the highly transmissible omicron variant, according to media reports......»»

Category: topSource: marketwatchJan 13th, 2022

Futures Flat Ahead Of Another Scorching PPI Print

Futures Flat Ahead Of Another Scorching PPI Print US futures were little changed on Thursday one day after the highest CPI print since 1982 and just minutes before another red hot PPI print is expected (9.8%, up from 9.6%), as investors tried to gauge the timing and pace of monetary tightening. S&P 500, Dow and Nasdaq 100 futures were up 0.1% as investors waited for the next trading signal. 10Y yields were flat around 1.74%, and the dollar edged lower as a growing tide of investors bet the world’s reserve currency has reached a peak with rate hikes largely priced-in to the market with Fed tightening likely to lead to an economic slowdown. “Markets in 2022 have been volatile as the reality of inflation set in, and this reaction mainly reflects relief that the print did not exceed already lofty expectations,” Geir Lode, head of global equities at the international business of Federated Hermes, said in an email. Inflation hitting 7% could force a quicker move by the Federal Reserve, with the market now pricing four rate hikes this year starting no later than March, according to technical analyst Pierre Veyret at ActivTrades in London. “Investors still struggle with one crucial question: how will the Fed manage to tackle rising price pressure without derailing the fragile post-pandemic economic recovery?” Sure enough, San Francisco Fed President Mary Daly and her Philadelphia peer Patrick Harker added their voices to the chorus in interviews published yesterday evening and this morning, calling for a rate hike as soon as March when odds of a rate hike have hit a new high of 90%. Attention today will be on the confirmation hearing of Lael Brainard in the Senate. The vice-chair nominee, who last publicly commented on the economic outlook in September, said in prepared remarks that tackling inflation is the bank’s “most important task.” In premarket trading, shares in Delta Air Lines rose more than 2% even though the carrier missed revenue and EPS expectations, after the company said the omicron variant won’t derail its expectation to remain profitable for the rest of the year, as it released fourth-quarter financial results. Here are some of the biggest U.S. movers today: U.S. chip stocks are mixed in premarket trading after sector bellwether TSMC gave a 1Q sales outlook that beat estimates and raised its projected annual capex versus last year. Equipment stock Applied Materials (AMAT US) +2% premarket, while TSMC customers are mixed with Apple (AAPL US) -0.1%, Nvidia (NVDA US) +0.7% and AMD (AMD US) +0.6%. Puma Biotechnology (PBYI US) shares surge 13% in U.S. premarket trading, after the company said that its Nerlynx treatment was included in the National Comprehensive Cancer Network’s (NCCN) clinical practice guidelines in oncology for the treatment of breast cancer. KB Home (KBH US) shares rise 6.2% in premarket trading after the homebuilder’s 4Q EPS beat estimates, with Wells Fargo calling the results and guidance “solid.” Planet Labs (PL US) shares rise 1.6% in U.S. premarket trading, after the satellite data provider said that it plans to launch 44 SuperDove satellites on Thursday on SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket. Adagio Therapeutics (ADGI US) said ADG20 has neutralization activity against omicron and cites recent findings from three publications on ADG20. Shares jumped 30% in post-market trading. Discussing yesterday's scorching CPI print, DB's Jim Reid writes that "if you did an MRI scan of US inflation yesterday you’d find things to support both sides of the debate which is surprising when it hit 7% YoY and the highest since 1982 when Fed Funds were more than 13% rather than close to zero as they are today. So a slightly different real rate to back then. In fact the real rate is through any level seen in the 1970s and is only comparable to WWII levels. Back to CPI and the YoY number was in line with expectations, but core and MoM figures were all a bit firmer than expected. However, the beats were small enough that the data didn’t significantly change the outlook for monetary policy, with Fed funds futures still pricing in an 89% chance of a March hike, which is roughly around where it’d been over the preceding days." In Europe, the Stoxx Europe 600 Index paused after a two-day advance, erasing early declines of as much as 0.3% to trade little changed, with technology and automotive shares offsetting losses in consumer products and health care. CAC 40 underperforms, dropping as much as 0.6%. The Stoxx Europe 600 Technology sub-index is up 1.1%, getting a boost from chip stocks which gained after sector bellwether TSMC gave a 1Q sales outlook that beat estimates and raised its projected annual capex versus last year. Geberit dropped as much as 4.5% to a seven-month low after the Swiss producer of sanitary installations reported fourth-quarter sales. Bloomberg Dollar Spot dips into the red pushing most majors to best levels of the session. NZD, AUD and GBP are the best G-10 performers. Crude futures maintain a relatively narrow range. WTI is flat near $82.70, Brent stalls near $84.84. Spot gold dips before finding support near $1,820/oz. Most base metals are in the red with LME zinc lagging peers.  Asian stocks were little changed after capping their biggest rally in a year, with health-care and software-technology names retreating while financials advanced. The MSCI Asia Pacific Index fluctuated between a drop of 0.3% and a gain of 0.2% on Thursday. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Tech Index lost 1.8% after rising the most in three months in the previous session. Benchmarks in China and Japan were the day’s worst performers, while the Philippines and Australia outperformed.   “The market rose a bit too much yesterday,” said Mamoru Shimode, chief strategist at Resona Asset Management in Tokyo. “Investors keep shifting back and forth from value stocks to growth names and vise versa. It’s because we don’t know yet where U.S. long-term yields will end up settling around.”  The Asian stock measure jumped 1.9% Wednesday on views that the Federal Reserve’s anticipated rate hikes will help curb inflation and allow the global recovery to chug along. U.S. inflation readings overnight, at an almost four-decade high, were in line with expectations and helped investors keep previous bets Japanese stocks fell after Tokyo raised its Covid-19 alert to the second-highest level on a four-tier system. The Topix dropped 0.7% to 2,005.58 at the 3 p.m. close in Tokyo, while the Nikkei 225 declined 1% to 28,489.13. Recruit Holdings Co. contributed the most to the Topix’s decline, decreasing 4%. Out of 2,181 shares in the index, 500 rose and 1,604 fell, while 77 were unchanged. HIS, Japan Airlines and other travel shares fell. Tokyo’s daily cases jumped more than fivefold on Wednesday to 2,198 compared with 390 a week earlier. India’s benchmark equity index eeked out gains to complete its longest string of advances since mid-October, buoyed by the nation’s top two IT firms after their earnings reports. The S&P BSE Sensex rose for a fifth day, adding 0.1% to close at 61,235.30 in Mumbai, while the NSE Nifty 50 Index climbed 0.3%. Infosys and Tata Consultancy Services were among the biggest boosts to both measures. Of the 30 shares in the Sensex index, 19 rose and 11 fell. Thirteen of the 19 sector sub-indexes compiled by BSE Ltd. advanced, led by a gauge of metal companies.  Infosys’ quarterly earnings beat and bellwether Tata Consultancy Services’s better-than-expected sales offer some hope that the rally in India’s technology sector has further room to run, according to analysts. Still, Wipro sank the most in a year after its profit missed estimates Fixed income is relatively quiet, with changes across major curves limited to less than a basis point so far. The 10-year yield stalled around 1.75%, slightly cheaper on the day, and broadly in line with bunds and gilts. Eurodollar futures bear steepen a touch after a round of hawkish Fedspeak during Asian hours. Treasuries were steady with yields broadly within a basis point of Wednesday’s close.  Eurodollars are slightly lower across green- and blue-pack contracts after Fed’s Daly and Harker sounded hawkish tones during Asia hours. Across front-end, eurodollar strip steepens out to blue-pack contracts (Mar25-Dec25), which are lower by up to 4bp. 30-year bond reopening at 1pm ET concludes this week’s coupon auction cycle.$22b 30-year reopening at 1pm ET follows 0.3bp tail in Wednesday’s 10-year auction, and large tails in last two 30-year sales. The WI 30-year yield at ~2.095% is above auction stops since June and ~20bp cheaper than last month’s, which tailed the WI by 3.2bp. In FX, the pound advanced to its highest level since Oct. 29 amid calls for U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson to resign over a “bring your own bottle” party at the height of a lockdown meant to stem the first wave of coronavirus infections in 2020. The Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index held a two-month low as the greenback weakened against all of its Group-of-10 peers, and the euro rallied a third day as it approached the $1.15 handle. Implied volatility in the major currencies over the two- week tenor, that now captures the next Fed meeting, comes in line with the roll yet investors are choosing sides. The Australian dollar extended its overnight gain as the greenback declined following as-expected U.S. inflation. Iron ore supply concern also supported the currency. The yen hovered near a two-week high as long dollar positions were unwound. Japanese government bonds traded in narrow ranges. In commodities, cude futures maintain a relatively narrow range. WTI is flat near $82.70, Brent stalls near $84.50. Spot gold dips before finding support near $1,820/oz. Most base metals are in the red with LME zinc lagging peers. Bitcoin traded around $44,000 as the inflation numbers rekindled the debate about whether the cryptocurrency is a hedge against rising consumer prices. Expected data on Thursday include producer prices, an early indicator of inflationary trends, and unemployment claims. Market Snapshot S&P 500 futures little changed at 4,715.50 STOXX Europe 600 down 0.1% to 485.67 MXAP little changed at 196.79 MXAPJ up 0.1% to 643.93 Nikkei down 1.0% to 28,489.13 Topix down 0.7% to 2,005.58 Hang Seng Index up 0.1% to 24,429.77 Shanghai Composite down 1.2% to 3,555.26 Sensex up 0.1% to 61,220.38 Australia S&P/ASX 200 up 0.5% to 7,474.36 Kospi down 0.3% to 2,962.09 German 10Y yield little changed at -0.04% Euro up 0.2% to $1.1465 Brent Futures down 0.1% to $84.58/bbl Gold spot down 0.3% to $1,820.68 U.S. Dollar Index little changed at 94.83 Top Overnight News from Bloomberg Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco President Mary Daly and her Philadelphia Fed peer Patrick Harker joined the ranks of officials publicly discussing an interest-rate increase as early as March as the central bank seeks to combat the hottest inflation in a generation Global central banks will diverge on the way they respond to inflation this year, creating risks to economies everywhere, Bank of England policy maker Catherine Mann said Norway’s race to appoint a new central bank governor is reaching a finale mired in controversy at the prospect of a political ally and friend of Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Store getting the job Italy’s government is working on a spending package that won’t require revising its budget to expand the deficit, people familiar with the matter said Several of China’s largest banks have become more selective about funding real estate projects by local government financing vehicles, concerned that some are taking on too much risk after they replaced private developers as key buyers of land, people familiar with the matter said A more detailed look at global markets courtesy of Newsquawk Asia-Pac stocks traded mixed following the choppy session in the US where major indices eked mild gains as markets digested CPI data in which headline annual inflation printed at 7.0%. ASX 200 (+0.5%) was underpinned as the energy and mining related sectors continued to benefit from the recent upside in underlying commodity prices, while Crown Resorts shares outperformed after Blackstone raised its cash proposal for Crown Resorts following due diligence inquiries. Nikkei 225 (-1.0%) declined with the index hampered by unfavourable currency flows and with Tokyo raising its COVID-19 alert to the second-highest level. Hang Seng (+0.1%) and Shanghai Comp. (-1.1%) were initially subdued, but did diverge later, after the slight miss on loans and aggregate financing data, while there is a slew of upcoming key releases from China in the days ahead including trade figures tomorrow, as well as GDP and activity data on Monday. In addition, the biggest movers were headline driven including developer Sunac China which dropped by a double-digit percentage after it priced a 452mln-share sale at a 15% discount to repay loans and cruise operator Genting Hong Kong wiped out around half its value on resumption of trade after it warned of defaults due to insolvency of its German shipbuilding business. Finally, 10yr JGBs traded rangebound and were stuck near the 151.00 level following the indecisive mood in T-notes which was not helped by an uninspiring 10yr auction stateside, while the lack of BoJ purchases in the market also added to the humdrum tone. Top Asian News Asia Stocks Steady After Best Rally in a Year; Financials Gain Country Garden Selloff Shows Chinese Developer Worries Spreading China Banks Curb Property Loans to Local Government Firms China’s True Unemployment Pain Masked by Official Data Bourses in Europe now see a mixed picture with the breadth of the price action also narrow (Euro Stoxx 50 Unch; Stoxx 600 -0.10%). The region initially opened with a modest downside bias following on from a mostly negative APAC handover after Wall Street eked mild gains. US equity futures have since been choppy within a tight range and exhibit a relatively broad-based performance with no real standout performers. Back in Europe, sectors are mixed and lack an overarching theme. Tech remains the outperformer since the morning with some follow-through seen from contract-chip manufacturer TSMC (ADR +4.3% pre-market), who beat on net and revenue whilst upping its 2022 Capex to USD 40bln-44bln from around USD 30bln the prior year, whilst the CEO expects capacity to remain tight throughout 2022. Tech is closely followed by Autos and Parts and Travel & Leisure, whilst the other end of the spectrum sees Healthcare, Oil & Gas, Retail and Personal & Household goods among the straddlers – with Tesco (-1.5%) and Marks & Spencer (-5.3%) weighing on the latter two following trading updates. In terms of other individual movers, BT (+0.5%) trades in the green amid reports DAZN is nearing a deal to buy BT Sport for around USD 800mln, a could be reached as soon as this month but has not been finalized. Turning to analyst commentary: Morgan Stanley’s clients have aligned themselves to the view that European equities will likely perform better than US counterparts. 45% of respondents see Financials as the top-performing sector this year, 14% preferred Tech which would be the lowest score in over six years. Top European News Johnson Buys Time With Apology But U.K. Tory Rage Simmers U.K. Retailers Slide as Updates Show Lingering Impact of Virus Wood Group Plans Sale of Built Environment Unit Next Quarter Just Eat Advisers Pitching Grubhub Sale or Take-Private: Sources In FX, the Dollar has weakened further in wake of Wednesday’s US inflation data as ‘buy rumour sell fact’ dynamics are compounded by more position paring and increasingly bearish technical impulses to outweigh fundamental factors that seem supportive, on paper or in theory. Indeed, the index only mustered enough recovery momentum to reach 95.022 on the back of hawkish Fed commentary and some short covering before retreating through the psychological level, then yesterday’s 94.903 low and another trough from late 2021 at 94.824 (November 11 base) to 94.710, thus far and leaving little bar the 100 DMA, at 94.675 today, in terms of support ahead of 94.500. However, the flagging Greenback could get a fillip via PPI and/or IJC, if not the next round of Fed speakers and final leg of this week’s auction remit in the form of Usd 22 bn long bonds. NZD/AUD - A change in the running order down under where the Kiwi has overtaken the Aussie irrespective of bullish calls on the Aud/Nzd cross from MS, with Nzd/Usd breaching the 50 DMA around 0.6860 on the way to 0.6884 and Aud/Usd scaling the 100 DMA at 0.7288 then 0.7300 before fading at 0.7314. GBP/EUR/CHF/CAD/JPY - Also extracting more impetus at the expense of the Buck, but to varying degrees as Sterling continues to shrug aside ongoing Tory party turmoil to attain 1.3700+ status and surpass the 200 DMA that stands at 1.3737, while the Euro has overcome Fib resistance around 1.1440, plus any semi-psychological reticence at 1.1450 to reach 1.1478 and the Franc is now closer to 0.9100 than 0.9150. Elsewhere, crude is still providing the Loonie with an incentive to climb and Usd/Cad has recoiled even further from early 2022 peaks beneath 1.2500 as a result, and the Yen is around 114.50 with scope for a stronger retracement to test the 55 DMA, at 114.22. SCANDI/EM - Some signs of fatigue as the Nok stalls on the edge of 9.9000 against the Eur in tandem with Brent just a few cents over Usd 85/brl, but the Czk has recorded fresh decade-plus highs vs the single currency following remarks from CNB chief Rusnok on the need to keep tightening and acknowledging that this may culminate in Koruna appreciation. The Cnh and Cny are firmer vs the Usd pre-Chinese trade and GDP data either side of the weekend, but the Rub is lagging again as the Kremlin concludes that there was no progress in talks between Russia and the West, but the Try is underperforming again with headwinds from elevated oil prices and regardless of a marked pick up in Turkish ip. In commodities, WTI and Brent front-month contracts have conformed to the indecisive mood across the markets, although the benchmarks received a mild uplift as the Dollar receded in early European hours. As it stands, the WTI Feb and Brent Mar contract both reside within USD 0.80/bbl ranges near USD 82.50/bbl and USD 84.50/bbl respectively. News flow for the complex has been quiet and participants are on the lookout for the next catalyst, potentially in the form of US jobless claims/PPI amid multiple speakers, although the rise in APAC COVID cases remains a continuous headwind on demand for now – particularly in China. On the geopolitical front, Russian-backed troops have reportedly begun pulling out of the 1.6mln BPD Kazakh territory, but Moscow’s tensions with the West do not seem to abate. Russia's Kremlin suggested talks with the West were "unsuccessful" – which comes after NATO’s Secretary-General yesterday suggested there is a real risk of a new armed conflict in Europe. Elsewhere, spot gold has drifted off best levels as the DXY found a floor, for now – with the closest support yesterday’s USD 1,813/oz low ahead of the 50 and 21 DMAs at USD 1,807/oz and USD 1,806.50/oz respectively. LME copper has also pulled back from yesterday’s best levels to levels under USD 10,000/t as the mood remains cautious, although, copper prices in Shanghai rose to over a two-month high as it played catch-up to LME yesterday. US Event Calendar 8:30am: Dec. PPI Final Demand YoY, est. 9.8%, prior 9.6%; MoM, est. 0.4%, prior 0.8% 8:30am: Dec. PPI Ex Food and Energy YoY, est. 8.0%, prior 7.7%; MoM, est. 0.5%, prior 0.7% 8:30am: Jan. Continuing Claims, est. 1.73m, prior 1.75m 8:30am: Jan. Initial Jobless Claims, est. 200,000, prior 207,000 DB's Jim Reid concludes the overnight wrap Today I have a first. I have two MRI scans. A fresh one on my back and one on my right knee which gave way as I was rehabbing (squats and lunges) the left knee after recent surgery. In my fifth decade of playing sport averagely, but vigorously, it’s all catching up with me very quickly. I’ve exhausted all strengthening exercise routines and injections on my back and the pain gets worse. My surgeon does not want to operate but we will see if he changes his mind after today. If he says play less golf I will walk out mid-meeting even if he may be medically correct. In contrast my knee surgeon is an avid skier and he keeps on doing things to prolong my skiing career even though I’ve said to him that I just really care about golf. So I’ll soon be looking for an avid golfer who just happens to be a back surgeon. Talking of confirmation bias, if you did an MRI scan of US inflation yesterday you’d find things to support both sides of the debate which is surprising when it hit 7% YoY and the highest since 1982 when Fed Funds were more than 13% rather than close to zero as they are today. So a slightly different real rate to back then. In fact the real rate is through any level seen in the 1970s and is only comparable to WWII levels. Back to CPI and the YoY number was in line with expectations, but core and MoM figures were all a bit firmer than expected. However, the beats were small enough that the data didn’t significantly change the outlook for monetary policy, with Fed funds futures still pricing in an 89% chance of a March hike, which is roughly around where it’d been over the preceding days. Looking at the details of the release, (our US econ team’s full wrap here) headline month-on-month number came in at +0.5% in December (vs. +0.4% expected), which is the 8thtime in the last 10 months that the print has come in above the consensus expectations on Bloomberg. However, that does still mark a deceleration from the +0.9% and +0.8% monthly growth in October and November respectively. The core CPI reading was also a touch stronger than anticipated, with the monthly print at +0.6% (vs. +0.5% expected), thus sending the annual core CPI measure up to +5.5% (vs. +5.4% expected) and its highest since 1991. Diving into some of the key sub-components, Covid-era favorite used cars and trucks grew +3.5% MoM. More concerning for policymakers, is the continued growth in persistent measures such as shelter, with primary and owners’ equivalent rent both increasing +0.4% MoM. If you were expecting Omicron to slow down American holiday travel, think again, lodging away from home and airfares both posted large increases, +1.2% and +2.7%, respectively. Most forecasters think the peak for inflation is sometime soon, but the pace of the glide path is open to debate. This is a topic we covered in yesterday’s CoTD, found here. Even though Treasuries had rallied strongly in the immediate aftermath of the report, with the 10yr yield falling back to 1.709% at the intraday low, yields pared back those losses to end the session basically unchanged at 1.74% (+0.7bps). CPI was expected to be bad and therefore the ability to shock was relatively low. However this tame overall move masked a divergence between a sharp bounceback in the 10yr real yield (+7.5bps) and a decline in inflation breakevens (-7.5bps) as the worst fears from the report weren’t realised. Over in Europe however, there was a more sustained rally, with yields on 10yr bunds down -3.2bps to -0.06%, having come very close in recent days to moving back into positive territory for the first time since May 2019. Furthermore, there was a continued divergence between the two regions at the front end of the curve, with the gap between 2yr yields on Treasuries and bunds widening to 153bps yesterday, which is the biggest since the pandemic began. Staying with bonds, our US econ and Rates strategy team published a joint piece last night outlining their early expectations for QT, here. For equities, the lack of an inflation surprise meant that they got a continued reprieve following last week’s selloff, with the S&P 500 (+0.28%) advancing for a 2nd day running for the first time this year, whilst in Europe the STOXX 600 (+0.65%) posted an even stronger advance. Megacap tech stocks were a noticeable outperformer, with the FANG+ index gaining +1.25%, whilst in Europe the STOXX Banks index (+1.22%) hit a fresh 3-year high. On the topic of inflationary pressures, one asset that continued its upward march was oil yesterday, with Brent Crude (+1.13%), just missing its first close above $85/bbl since October yesterday. Bear in mind it was only 6 weeks earlier that Brent hit its post-Omicron closing low, just beneath $69/bbl, so it’s now up by more than $16/bbl over that period. WTI (+1.75%) saw a similar increase yesterday, which won’t be welcome news to those who’d hoped the recent decline in energy prices late last year would offer some relief on the inflation front. That said, WTI oil is making a great case to be the top-performing major asset for a second year running at the minute, having advanced by over +10% since the start of the year.. This morning, Asian markets are mostly trading lower. The Nikkei (-0.91%) is leading losses in the region, followed by the CSI (-0.55%), Shanghai Composite (-0.31% ) and Kospi (-0.19%). Elsewhere, Hong Kong's Hang Seng index (+0.07%) is swinging between gains and losses. In stock news, Cruise operator Genting Hong Kong Ltd nosedived by a record 56%, after it resumed trading today following last week's suspension as the company indicated the possibility of default. Looking forward, US equity futures are indicating a weak start with the S&P 500 (-0.15%), Nasdaq (-0.26%) and Dow Jones (-0.11%) contracts trading in the red. On the Covid front, there was further good news from the UK as the latest wave showed further signs of ebbing. For the UK as a whole, the total number of reported cases over the last 7 days is now down -19% compared with the previous 7 day period, whilst in England the number of Covid patients in a mechanical ventilation bed has dropped to its lowest in almost 3 months, before we’d even heard of the Omicron variant. For those following credit, our colleagues in the European Leveraged Finance Research team have just published their quarterly top trade ideas. You can find the report here. Looking at yesterday’s other data, Euro Area industrial production grew by +2.3% in November (vs. +0.3% expected), although the October reading was revised down to show a -1.3% contraction. To the day ahead now, and one of the highlights will be Fed Governor Brainard’s nomination hearing at the Senate Banking committee to become Fed Vice Chair. Other central bank speakers include the Fed’s Barkin and Evans, ECB Vice President de Guindos and the ECB’s Elderson, along with the BoE’s Mann. Separately, data releases from the US include December’s PPI and the weekly initial jobless claims, whilst there’s also Italy’s industrial production for November. Tyler Durden Thu, 01/13/2022 - 08:00.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeJan 13th, 2022

Coronavirus tally: Biden to deploy military medics to six states to help hospitals with surge of omicron cases

The number of Americans who are currently in hospitals with COVID-19 climbed above 145,000 on Wednesday, as the highly transmissible omicron variant races across the country, and President Joe Biden will deploy military medical personnel to six states to help hospitals cope, according to the New York Times. There were 145,005 people in hospitals with COVID-19 on Wednesday, according to a New York Times tracker, up 82% from two weeks ago. The daily average case number rose to 781,203, up 159% from two weeks ago, while the daily average for COVID-19-related deaths is up 51% from two weeks ago to 1,827. Biden will send military medics to hospitals in Michigan, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Ohio and Rhode Island, the paper reported, citing White House officials. The news will be announced later Thursday and medics will help triage emergency arrivals to free up staff to care for patients. On a global basis, the total tally for COVID-19 cases hiked up above 317.2 million and the death toll rose above 5.51 million, according to data aggregated by Johns Hopkins University. The U.S. leads the world with a total COVID-19 case count of 63.2 million and death toll of 844,562.Market Pulse Stories are Rapid-fire, short news bursts on stocks and markets as they move. Visit MarketWatch.com for more information on this news......»»

Category: topSource: marketwatchJan 13th, 2022

Glaxo (GSK) & Vir to Supply More COVID Antibody Doses in US

The U.S. government enters into an agreement with Glaxo (GSK) and Vir Biotechnology (VIR) to procure an additional 600,000 doses of sotrovimab for early treatment of COVID-19. GlaxoSmithKline GSK and partner Vir Biotechnology VIR announced that they have signed an agreement with the U.S. government to supply an additional 600,000 doses of their monoclonal antibody, sotrovimab. These doses will be supplied throughout the first quarter of 2022.We remind investors that sotrovimab was granted emergency use authorization (EUA) by the FDA last May to treat mild-to-moderate COVID-19 in high-risk adults and pediatric patients (aged at least 12 years and weighing at least 40 kg). The drug is administered intravenously and marketed under the trade name Xevudy.The agreement also allows the government to further procure additional doses of sotrovimab during second-quarter 2022. After taking into account this supply agreement with the U.S. government, both Glaxo and Vir have secured agreements with various entities across the world to supply nearly 1.7 million doses of sotrovimab.The press release indicates that Glaxo and Vir could produce 2 million doses of sotrovimab in first-half 2022. Both the companies also expect to produce additional doses of their antibody treatment in second-half 2022.Please note that this new supply agreement entered by Glaxo and Vir with the U.S. government is an amendment to a contract agreement signed between the same parties in November 2021 for the supply of sotrovimab doses for approximately $1 billion to the U.S. government by Dec 17, 2021.The signing of the supply agreement for sotrovimab is beneficial for both the companies, especially the small but growing pharma company, Vir Biotechnology, whose current revenue source is the supply of sotrovimab doses.For the trailing 12 months, Glaxo’s shares have risen 20.2% compared with the industry’s 19.1% increase.Image Source: Zacks Investment ResearchShares of Vir have risen 8.5% in the same period against the industry’s 31.3% decline.Image Source: Zacks Investment ResearchLast month, the European Commission (EC) granted marketing authorization to sotrovimab for the early treatment of COVID-19. Glaxo and Vir procured a Joint Procurement Agreement in July 2021 with the EC to supply 220,000 doses of sotrovimab to the member states of the European Union.In December 2021, Glaxo and Vir reported that sotrovimab demonstrated activity against the rapidly spreading Omicron variant and all other currently tested variants of concern and interest.While sotravimab holds promise, it faces stiff competition from other monoclonal antibodies developed by Eli Lilly LLY and Regeneron REGN.Lilly’s COVID-19 antibody cocktail comprises two monoclonal antibodies, bamlanivimab and etesevimab, which were initially granted EUA by the FDA in February 2021 to treat mild-to-moderate COVID-19 in high-risk adult and pediatric patients (aged at least 12 years and weighing at least 40 kg). The EUA was later expanded to include all pediatric patients including newborns.Lilly’s cocktail medicine generated revenues of $217.1 million in third-quarter 2021.Regeneron’s antibody cocktail, REGEN-COV comprises two monoclonal antibodies, casirivimab and imdevimab. It was granted EUA by the FDA in November 2020 to treat mild-to-moderate COVID-19 in high-risk adults and pediatric patients (aged at least 12 years and weighing at least 40 kg).Sales from REGEN-COV have become a significant contributor to Regeneron’s overall top line in the recent quarters. For the first nine months of 2021, Regeneron recorded $4.7 billion in sales from REGEN-COV.Both Lilly and Regeneron’s antibody cocktails have also received EUA from the FDA as post-exposure prevention (prophylaxis) for COVID-19 indication.GlaxoSmithKline plc Price GlaxoSmithKline plc price | GlaxoSmithKline plc QuoteVir Biotechnology, Inc. Price Vir Biotechnology, Inc. price | Vir Biotechnology, Inc. QuoteZacks RankWhile Vir Biotechnology sports a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy), GlaxoSmithKline carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold) at present. You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here. Breakout Biotech Stocks with Triple-Digit Profit Potential The biotech sector is projected to surge beyond $2.4 trillion by 2028 as scientists develop treatments for thousands of diseases. They’re also finding ways to edit the human genome to literally erase our vulnerability to these diseases. Zacks has just released Century of Biology: 7 Biotech Stocks to Buy Right Now to help investors profit from 7 stocks poised for outperformance. Recommendations from previous editions of this report have produced gains of +205%, +258% and +477%. The stocks in this report could perform even better.See these 7 breakthrough stocks now >>Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (REGN): Free Stock Analysis Report GlaxoSmithKline plc (GSK): Free Stock Analysis Report Eli Lilly and Company (LLY): Free Stock Analysis Report Vir Biotechnology, Inc. (VIR): Free Stock Analysis Report To read this article on Zacks.com click here. Zacks Investment Research.....»»

Category: topSource: zacksJan 13th, 2022

Escobar: After Kazakhstan, The Color Revolution Era Is Over

Escobar: After Kazakhstan, The Color Revolution Era Is Over Authored by Pepe Escobar via TheCradle.co, What happened in Kazakhstan increasingly looks like a US-Turkish-British-Israeli-led coup d'etat attempt foiled dramatically by their Eurasian adversaries... The year 2022 started with Kazakhstan on fire, a serious attack against one of the key hubs of Eurasian integration. We are only beginning to understand what and how it happened. On Monday morning, leaders of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) held an extraordinary session to discuss Kazakhstan. Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev framed it succinctly. Riots were “hidden behind unplanned protests.” The goal was “to seize power” – a coup attempt. Actions were “coordinated from a single center.” And “foreign militants were involved in the riots.” Russian President Vladimir Putin went further: during the riots, “Maidan technologies were used,” a reference to the Ukranian square where 2013 protests unseated a NATO-unfriendly government. Defending the prompt intervention of CSTO peacekeeping forces in Kazakhstan, Putin said, “it was necessary to react without delay.” The CSTO will be on the ground “as long as necessary,” but after the mission is accomplished, “of course, the entire contingent will be withdrawn from the country.” Forces are expected to exit later this week. But here’s the clincher: “CSTO countries have shown that they will not allow chaos and ‘color revolutions’ to be implemented inside their borders.” Putin was in synch with Kazakh State Secretary Erlan Karin, who was the first, on the record, to apply the correct terminology to events in his country: What happened was a “hybrid terrorist attack,” by both internal and external forces, aimed at overthrowing the government. The tangled hybrid web Virtually no one knows about it. But last December, another coup was discreetly thwarted in the Kyrgyz capital, Bishkek. Kyrgyz intel sources attribute the engineering to a rash of NGOs linked with Britain and Turkey. That introduces an absolutely key facet of The Big Picture: NATO-linked intel and their assets may have been preparing a simultaneous color revolution offensive across Central Asia. On my Central Asia travels in late 2019, pre-Covid, it was plain to see how western NGOs – Hybrid War fronts – remained extremely powerful in both Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan. Yet, they are just one nexus in a western nebulae of Hybrid War fog deployed across Central Asia, and West Asia for that matter. Here we see the CIA and the US Deep State crisscrossing MI6 and different strands of Turkish intel. When President Tokayev was referring, in code, to a “single center,” he meant a so far ‘secret’ US-Turk-Israeli military-intel operations room based in the southern business hub of Almaty, according to a highly placed Central Asia intel source. In this “center,” there were 22 Americans, 16 Turks and 6 Israelis coordinating sabotage gangs – trained in West Asia by the Turks – and then rat-lined to Almaty. The op started to unravel for good when Kazakh forces – with the help of Russian/CSTO intel – retook control of the vandalized Almaty airport, which was supposed to be turned into a hub for receiving foreign military supplies. The Hybrid War west had to be stunned and livid at how the CSTO intercepted the Kazakh operation at such lightning speed. The key element is that the secretary of Russian National Security Council, Nikolai Patrushev, saw the Big Picture eons ago. So, it’s no mystery why Russia’s aerospace and aero-transported forces, plus the massive necessary support infrastructure, were virtually ready to go. Back in November, Patrushev’s laser was already focused on the degrading security situation in Afghanistan. Tajik political scientist Parviz Mullojanov was among the very few who were stressing that there were as many as 8,000 imperial machine Salafi-jihadi assets, shipped by a rat line from Syria and Iraq, loitering in the wilds of northern Afghanistan. That’s the bulk of ISIS-Khorasan – or ISIS reconstituted near the borders of Turkmenistan. Some of them were duly transported to Kyrgyzstan. From there, it was very easy to cross the border from Bishek and show up in Almaty. It took no time for Patrushev and his team to figure out, after the imperial retreat from Kabul, how this jihadi reserve army would be used: along the 7,500 km-long border between Russia and the Central Asian ‘stans’. That explains, among other things, a record number of preparation drills conducted in late 2021 at the 210th Russian military base in Tajikistan. James Bond speaks Turkish The breakdown of the messy Kazakh op necessarily starts with the usual suspects: the US Deep State, which all but “sang” its strategy in a 2019 RAND corporation report, Extending Russia. Chapter 4, on “geopolitical measures”, details everything from “providing lethal aid to Ukraine”, “promoting regime change in Belarus”, and “increasing support for Syrian rebels” – all major fails – to “reducing Russian influence in Central Asia.” That was the master concept. Implementation fell to the MI6-Turk connection. The CIA and MI6 had been investing in dodgy outfits in Central Asia since at least 2005, when they encouraged the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU), then close to the Taliban, to wreak havoc in southern Kyrgyzstan. Nothing happened. It was a completely different story by May 2021, when the MI6’s Jonathan Powell met the leadership of Jabhat al-Nusra – which harbors a lot of Central Asian jihadis – somewhere in the Turkish-Syrian border near Idlib. The deal was that these ‘moderate rebels’ – in US terminology – would cease to be branded ‘terrorists’ as long as they followed the anti-Russia NATO agenda. That was one of the key prep moves ahead of the jihadist ratline to Afghanistan – complete with Central Asia branching out. The genesis of the offensive should be found in June 2020, when former ambassador to Turkey from 2014 to 2018, Richard Moore, was appointed head of MI6. Moore may not have an inch of Kim Philby’s competence, but he does fit the profile: rabid Russophobe, and a cheerleader of the Great Turania fantasy, which promotes a pan-Turk confederation of Turkic-speaking peoples from West Asia and the Caucasus to Central Asia and even Russian republics in the Volga. MI6 is deeply entrenched in all the ‘stans’ except autarchic Turkmenistan – cleverly riding the pan-Turkist offensive as the ideal vehicle to counter Russia and China. Erdogan himself has been invested on a hardcore Great Turania offensive, especially after the creation of the Turkic Council in 2009. Crucially, next March, the summit of the Confederation Council of Turkic-speaking States – the new Turkic Council denomination – will take place in Kazakhstan. The city of Turkestan, in southern Kazakhstan, is expected to be named as the spiritual capital of the Turkic world. And here, the ‘Turkic world’ enters into a frontal clash with the integrating Russian concept of Greater Eurasia Partnership, and even with the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) that, crucially, does not count Turkey as a member. Erdogan’s short term ambition seems at first to be only commercial: after Azerbaijan won the Karabakh war, he expects to use Baku to get access to Central Asia via the Caspian Sea, complete with Turkey’s industrial-military complex sales of military technology to Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan. Turkish companies are already investing heavily in real estate and infrastructure. And in parallel, Ankara’s soft power is on overdrive, finally collecting the fruits of exercising a lot of pressure, for instance, to speed up the transition in Kazakhstan from Cyrillic script to the Latin alphabet, starting in 2023. Yet both Russia and China are very much aware that Turkey essentially represents NATO entering Central Asia. The organization of Turkic states are cryptically called the Kazakh operation ‘fuel protests’. It’s all very murky. Erdogan’s neo-Ottomanism – which comes with massive cheerleading by his Muslim Brotherhood base – essentially has nothing to do with the pan-Turanic drive, which is a racialist movement predicating domination by relatively ‘pure’ Turks. The problem is that they are converging while becoming more extreme, with Turkey’s right-wing Grey Wolves deeply implicated. That explains why Ankara intel is a sponsor and, in many cases, a weaponizer of both the ISIS-Khorasan franchise and those Turan racists, from Bosnia to Xinjiang via Central Asia. The Empire handsomely profits from this toxic association, in Armenia, for instance. And the same would happen in Kazakhstan if the operation is successful. Bring on the Trojan Horses Every color revolution needs a ‘Maximum’ Trojan Horse. In our case, that seems to be the role of former head of KNB (National Security Committee) Karim Massimov, now held in prison and charged with treason. Hugely ambitious, Massimov is half-Uyghur and that, in theory, obstructed what he saw as his pre-ordained rise to power. His connections with Turkish intel are not yet fully detailed, unlike his cozy relationship with Joe Biden and son. A former Minister of Internal Affairs and State Security, Lt Gen Felix Kulov, has weaved a fascinating tangled web explaining the possible internal dynamics of the ‘coup’ built into the color revolution. According to Kulov, Massimov and Samir Abish, the nephew of recently ousted Kazakh Security Council Chairman Nursultan Nazarbayev, were up to their necks in supervising ‘secret’ units of ‘bearded men’ during the riots. The KNB was directly subordinated to Nazarbayev, who until last week was the chairman of the Security Council. When Tokayev understood the mechanics of the coup, he demoted both Massimov and Samat Abish. Then Nazarbayev ‘voluntarily’resigned from his life-long chairmanship of the Security Council. Abish then got this post, promising to stop the ‘bearded men,’and then to resign. So that would point directly to a Nazarbayev-Tokayev clash. It makes sense as during his 29-year rule, Nazarbayev played a multi-vector game that was too westernized and which did not necessarily benefit Kazakhstan. He adopted British laws, played the pan-Turkic card with Erdogan, and allowed a tsunami of NGOs to promote an Atlanticist agenda. Tokayev is a very smart operator. Trained by the foreign service of the former USSR, fluent in Russian and Chinese, he is totally aligned with Russia-China – which means fully in sync with the masterplan of BRI, the Eurasia Economic Union and the SCO. Tokayev, much like Putin and Xi, understands how this BRI/EAEU/SCO triad represents the ultimate imperial nightmare, and how destabilizing Kazakhstan – a key actor in the triad – would be a mortal coup against Eurasian integration. Kazakhstan, after all, represents 60 percent of Central Asia’s GDP, massive oil/gas and mineral resources, cutting-edge high tech industries: a secular, unitary, constitutional republic bearing a rich cultural heritage. It didn’t take long for Tokayev to understand the merits of immediately calling the CSTO to the rescue: Kazakhstan signed the treaty way back in 1994. After all, Tokayev was fighting a foreign-led coup against his government. Putin, among others, has stressed how an official Kazakh investigation is the only one entitled to get to the heart of the matter. It’s still unclear exactly who – and to what extent – sponsored the rioting mobs. Motives abound: to sabotage a pro-Russia/China government, to provoke Russia, to sabotage BRI, to plunder mineral resources, to turbo-charge a House of Saud-style ‘Islamization’. Rushed to only a few days before the start of the Russia-US ‘security guarantees’ in Geneva, this color revolution represented a sort of counter-ultimatum – in desperation – by the NATO establishment. Central Asia, West Asia, and the overwhelming majority of the Global South have witnessed the lightning fast Eurasian response by the CSTO troops – who, having now done their job, are set to leave Kazakhstan in a couple of days – and how this color revolution has failed, miserably. It might as well be the last. Beware the rage of a humiliated Empire. Tyler Durden Thu, 01/13/2022 - 02:00.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeJan 13th, 2022

What to watch for as the Supreme Court reviews challenges to Biden"s federal vaccine mandates on Friday

The Supreme Court on Friday is set to review emergency challenges to two federal vaccine mandates announced by the Biden administration last year. Protesters opposing vaccine mandates gather at the Capitol in Sacramento, Calif., Wednesday, Sept. 8, 2021.Rich Pedroncelli/Associated Press The Biden administration's federal vaccine mandates are heading to the Supreme Court on Friday. Justices will decide whether the mandates can proceed or if they'll be blocked amid ongoing legal battles. A vaccine law expert told Insider what he'll be carefully watching for as the hearings commence.  As the pandemic approaches its two-year mark, the Supreme Court on Friday is set to review emergency challenges to two federal vaccine mandates announced by the Biden administration last year.The first measure being considered is an Occupational Safety and Health Administration mandate targeting private companies with more than 100 workers that requires employees to be vaccinated or tested regularly and wear masks. The second measure is a Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services vaccine mandate that requires inoculations for all healthcare workers employed by operations that receive specific federal funding."They are very different issues," Brian Dean Abramson, an adjunct professor of vaccine law at Florida International University and author of "Vaccine, Vaccination, and Immunization Law" told Insider. "But it's actually common for the Supreme Court to bundle issues that touch on common areas of law."When President Joe Biden announced the measures in November, he said the mandates, which affect nearly 100 million American workers, were meant to increase inoculation rates and end the pandemic "for good." But several legal challenges have popped up along the way. Litigants in the cases include several businesses, religious groups, and GOP-led states. The mandates come to the Supreme Court on Friday following a slew of rulings, and overturned rulings among divided district court justices in recent months. As the top court commences on Friday, the justices are not expected to rule on the constitutionality of federal vaccine mandates. Instead, they will review whether current stays on the mandates issued by lower level courts should be upheld or dismissed. The Supreme Court's decision will determine whether the mandates will be allowed to proceed or if they will be blocked as legal battles wage on.According to Abramson, it's unusual for the top court to hear oral arguments on matters of staying an issue, the likes of which are usually relegated to their "shadow docket.""The fact that there is a hearing on whether to stay means multiple justices want to hear this out," Abramson said. Ahead of the hearings, Abramson told Insider what he'll be carefully watching for. Narrow vs. Broad DecisionA big question surrounding Friday's hearings is whether the justices are looking to make a narrow decision — a ruling that would be applied only to these particular mandates — or a broad decision — one that could set a new legal precedent moving forward. Paying attention to their lines of questioning could offer hints about which way justices are leaning, Abramson said.If they spend a good amount of time examining the procedural aspects of the mandates, it could indicate that the justices are more interested in issuing a narrow decision applied only to these specific mandates.Questions are likely to arise around the Emergency Temporary Statute process under which OSHA issued its mandate. Typically the agency is required to follow several steps when making a new rule, including offering time for public notice, comment, and proceedings. But the agency's Emergency Temporary Statute allows OSHA to skip the normal process in favor of establishing a rapid, temporary rule in the midst of a public emergency.The primary question surrounding the OSHA mandate is whether or not the pandemic is a dire enough emergency to allow the normal process to be skipped, according to Abramson.The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services mandate is slightly different, in that the agency doesn't have its own emergency process to create a new rule, but instead, has applied its general authority to protect patients and healthcare workers under what's known as an "interim final rule," which is a statute that is meant to eventually become permanent, Abramson said.On the other hand, if justices focus their questions on issues of constitutionality and the limits of federal power, they may be more interested in ruling broadly and looking toward establishing future "ultimate law" on a hypothetical federal mandate down the line. Demonstrators march through central London in a protest against Covid-19 measures including vaccine passports, mandates and inoculations for children on November 20, 2021 in London, England.Wiktor Szymanowicz/Barcroft Media via Getty ImagesTemporary or Permanent Mandates?As the pandemic enters another year, timelines in place for COVID-19 procedures like masks and lockdowns have become more and more nebulous. The emergency measures were put in place to help end the pandemic quickly and effectively, but were understood to be temporary measures when first implemented. As the pandemic rages on, justices are now tasked with ruling on whether governmental efforts to combat the pandemic will give way to permanent changes, and according to Abramson, some justices in courts across the country are beginning to express concerns about those uncertain timelines. The 6-month OSHA vaccine mandate, for example, is set to expire in April, but it's unclear whether the agency plans to re-up the requirement or let it expire.While Friday's hearings are primarily focused on the stays, Abramson said some lower courts have started to examine questions of constitutionality related to federal mandates, even as they deliberate on the smaller issue of stays. It's unclear whether the Supreme Court will do the same."They might want to address whether this action is proper partly on…whether this is perceived to be a permanent change or an emergency measure to temporary situation," Abramson said.What comes after the SCOTUS ruling?There are at least four possible outcomes from Friday's hearings, and the two mandates, though similar in nature, are nuanced enough that different results for each could be possible, Abramson said. The unlikeliest of the four options, according to Abramson, is that the court rules that vaccine mandates are flatly unconstitutional. If that happens, vaccine mandates are probably done for, though they would make one more appearance at the Supreme Court for final trial ruling following the conclusion of ongoing challenges currently taking place in the lower courts.Conversely, the stays could be dismissed completely and the temporary mandates upheld. If this happens, the Biden administration has said it will start enforcing compliance with the healthcare mandate next week. In states where the requirement has not been blocked, vaccination for workers is required by February 28. The OSHA mandate was set to take effect earlier this month, but the agency pushed back the date because of the pending litigation. But even if the stays are dismissed completely, there will still be district and appellate court proceedings regarding the mandates, and businesses that disagree with or find certain aspects of the statute challenging, could still bring forth individual challenges, Abramson said. Another possibility is that the stays are upheld, but on a narrow, procedural basis. The mandates would be blocked in this case, but OSHA could theoretically promulgate a new rule under its normal rule-making process to mandate vaccines before April. Historically, however, the OSHA rulemaking process often takes years to complete.Similarly, if the stays are upheld because the court finds that Congress didn't have the power to give agencies the authority to mandate vaccines, Congress could feasibly produce a quick piece of legislation granting themselves that power, Abramson said.The fourth potential outcome would be a partial stay of some sort, which could mean the court rules that the mandates can't be imposed with respect to certain businesses or situations. A partial, narrow ruling would likely lead to logistical changes in the way the standards are carried out moving forward, Abramson said.Care worker Jen Madghachian receives her COVID-19 booster vaccination at the MedMart pharmacy in Borehamwood, England, on October 4, 2021.Karwai Tang/Getty ImagesAbramson's predictionsIt's unclear how long the court might take to come to a ruling, though Abramson doubted it would stretch on too long.The expert told Insider that he expects there to be at least three opinions out of the Supreme Court hearings: a majority determination, a dissenting opinion, and conceivably differing majority or dissenting opinions as well. "I think it's kind of three judges in the middle who will make the difference on how broadly or narrowly these mandates are approached, and how pragmatic the decision is," he said, citing Justices John Roberts, Amy Coney Barrett, and Brett Kavanaugh as possible wildcards."If I had to flip a coin on it, I would think there will be some way in which these mandates are allowed to go forward," he added. "But I wouldn't be stunned if the stays were continued either."Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderJan 7th, 2022

Trump calls on supporters to "rise up" against vaccine mandates on the eve of January 6

Trump urged his supporters to "rise up" on the eve of the first anniversary of the Capitol insurrection that many blame him for inciting. Former President Donald Trump.Scott Olson/Getty Images Trump urged his supporters to "rise up" against more possible vaccine mandates His words come on the eve of the first anniversary of the insurrection  The US is also facing a surge of COVID-19 cases Former President Donald Trump called on his supporters to "rise up" against possible vaccine mandates for "school-aged children" on the eve of the first anniversary of the January 6 insurrection led by his supporters."Now, there's talk by the Biden Administration again about closing schools and even vaccine mandates for school children," Trump said in a statement released by his Save America PAC. "This is an outrage, and MAGA nation should rise up and oppose this egregious federal government overreach."Trump's statement pointed to news reports that the Detroit Public Schools Community District could impose a COVID-19 vaccine requirement for all students before the start of the next school year. The district, Michigan's largest, currently has a vaccine mandate for staff that will go into effect next month, local station WXYZ reports. Superintendent Nikolai Vitti told the station the mandate could be extended to students if it passes a legal review.The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that all Americans age five and older receive a COVID-19 shot. Vaccine mandates for public school students are typically enforced at the state level. According to the National Conference on State Legislatures, all 50 states have various requirements for other vaccinations for public school students.The US is currently experiencing a surge in COVID-19 cases due to the omicron variant, which has prompted healthcare experts to once again stress the importance of getting vaccinated.On the morning of January 6, 2021, Trump spoke to his supporters who had gathered for a rally that cast doubt on the outcome of the 2020 presidential election. At one point, Trump urged attendees to "fight like hell. And if you don't fight like hell, you're not going to have a country anymore." This particular line played a major part in his second impeachment and was referenced throughout the subsequent Senate trial.Trump was scheduled to hold a press conference on Thursday, but canceled it after some Republican lawmakers expressed unease at the split-screen between a solemn ceremony in Washington and an expected rehashing of the widely debunked lie that Trump won the 2020 election. Legal experts also told Insider that it was a bad idea. Instead, Trump will be interviewed Wednesday night by conservative radio and TV host Glenn Beck.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderJan 5th, 2022

So Now It Has Been 666 Days Since A Pandemic Was Officially Declared...

So Now It Has Been 666 Days Since A Pandemic Was Officially Declared... Authored by Michael Snyder via TheMostImportantNews.com, Isn’t it funny how certain numbers just seem to come up over and over again?  On March 11th, 2020 the World Health Organization officially declared that the COVID-19 outbreak was a global pandemic.  According to timeanddate.com, moving forward 666 days brings us to January 5th, 2022.  Over the last 666 days, we have seen an extremely alarming rise of authoritarianism all over the globe, and all of our lives have been changed permanently and dramatically.  So I think that it is quite appropriate that we commemorate the 666th day of this pandemic, because governments all around the world have certainly been behaving in ways that are unspeakably evil. And I find it quite interesting that one day after January 5th is the one year anniversary of the dramatic events that played out in Washington D.C. on January 6th, 2021. How do you think Ray Epps will be celebrating that anniversary? Of course that is a topic for another article.  In this piece, I want to take a look at the current state of the COVID pandemic. After everything that Dr. Television and his minions have done over the past two years, the COVID pandemic is worse than ever.  In fact, it is being reported that America “has set a seven-day-average record for Covid cases every day over the last week”… The U.S. has set a seven-day-average record for Covid cases every day over the last week, according to an analysis of NBC News’ case numbers and Department of Health and Human Services hospitalization data. In that time, 33 states, Washington, D.C., and two territories have set records for cases, hospitalizations or both. Interestingly, the Omicron variant is hitting blue states with very high vaccination rates particularly hard.  Here are just a couple of examples… New Jersey set a case record every day in that period, with the average count ballooning from 15,000 cases a day to more than 27,000, while New York’s average number of cases set six records, from 37,000 to a peak of more than 71,000 average cases per day. But instead of letting recent data change his message, Joe Biden continues to stick with his original narrative… “You can still get COVID, but it’s highly unlikely that you’ll become seriously ill,’’ Biden said. “If you’re vaccinated and boosted, you are highly protected. Be concerned about omicron, but don’t be alarmed. And if you’re unvaccinated, you have some reasons to be alarmed. You’ll experience severe illness in many cases.’’ Unfortunately for Biden, more Americans than ever have lost faith in his leadership. In fact, the percentage of Americans that disapprove of his job performance just hit another new high… Fifty-six percent of voters now say they disapprove of the job Biden is doing, the worst such reading of his presidency as he approaches the end of his first year in office, according to new CNBC/Change Research poll. Prior polls in the series showed Biden’s disapproval rating at 54% in early September and 49% in April. I think that it would actually do Biden a lot of good if he would be willing to admit that he has made major mistakes during this pandemic. The American people respond to leaders that are humble enough to admit when they have been wrong. But Biden isn’t going to do that, and the mainstream media is going to continue to keep spinning stories so that they appear to back up Biden’s narratives.  Here is just one example… People might mistakenly think the COVID-19 vaccines will completely block infection, but the shots are mainly designed to prevent severe illness, says Louis Mansky, a virus researcher at the University of Minnesota. Oh really? From the very beginning, they were “mainly designed to prevent severe illness”? Do they really think that people have such short memories? Over in Europe, case numbers have also escalated dramatically in recent weeks, and this has caused a wave of tremendous fear. Many Europeans thought that if they just kept complying with everything that was demanded of them that life would eventually get back to normal. Instead, life just continues to get even weirder. In Sweden, a new start-up company is making a lot of headlines by embedding microchips that contain vaccine passport information directly into the arms of citizens… A Swedish start-up tech company has invented a scannable microchip that is implanted in people’s arms and can display your COVID-19 vaccination status. This digital implant is designed to be embedded into people’s arms so your vaccine passport pops up when scanned. Needless to say, many of us would never get “chipped” under any circumstances, but a lot of people over in Europe are willingly allowing this to be done to them. And the head of this new company in Sweden is warning that this new technology is going to move forward “whether we like it or not”… He said: “This technology exists and is used whether we like it or not. “I am happy that it is brought into the public conversation. “New technologies must be broadly debated and understood. “Smart implants are a powerful health technology. “That is what we are building at DSruptive and our goal is to transform healthcare on a global scale.” Doesn’t he understand how this sort of technology could potentially be abused? I am sure that there are governments all over the globe that would love to chip all of their citizens if they thought that they could get away with it. Of course they have already gotten away with so much over the last 666 days. Australia, New Zealand, Germany, Austria, Italy and France used to be such lovely places to visit, but now they have all been transformed into authoritarian hellholes. And the Biden administration would love to take us down the exact same road. Fortunately, there are quite a few red state governors that have been willing to stand up to Biden, but this political battle is far from over. Meanwhile, Dr. Television and his minions continue to spread fear on the airwaves, and all of that fear is slowly but steadily tearing our society apart. *  *  * It is finally here! Michael’s new book entitled “7 Year Apocalypse” is now available in paperback and for the Kindle on Amazon. Tyler Durden Wed, 01/05/2022 - 16:40.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeJan 5th, 2022

Tritium Announces Record-Breaking Fourth Quarter and 2021 Results

BRISBANE, Australia, Jan. 4, 2022 /PRNewswire/ -- Tritium Holdings Pty Ltd ("Tritium" or the "Company"), a global developer and manufacturer of direct current ("DC") fast chargers for electric vehicles ("EVs"), today announced record sales, backlog and revenue results for and as of the year ended December 31, 2021, and provided a business update. Except as otherwise indicated or unless the context otherwise requires, all financial figures are in U.S. dollars and references herein to "quarter," "year," "2020," "2021" or "2022" are to the relevant calendar period. For the three months ended December 31, 2021, Tritium booked revenue of approximately $41 million, equivalent to a last quarter annualized (LQA) run-rate of $164 million, and set a new quarterly record.  The Company more than doubled its Q3 2021 revenue, the next largest quarterly revenue in its 19-year operating history, and achieved more than 2.5x revenue compared to the fourth quarter of 2020. For 2021, revenue was approximately $78 million, which is only slightly lower than the previous forecast of $84 million, due in large part to logistics and supply chain challenges, including delays at the ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles, which delayed certain product deliveries at year end. Tritium expects to record those revenues as products are received by customers in the first quarter of 2022. As reported by CNBC, the twin ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles account for 40% of sea freight entering the United States, and the back-up escalated throughout the year. Tritium has begun to see supply chain constraints ease, with these ports reporting a 33% decline in lingering cargo containers in December 2021 compared to November 2021. The Company expects 2021 EBITDA and Free Cash Flow to be approximately $(39) million and $(43) million, respectively. Underscoring the record demand for Tritium's products, sales for 2021 were $141 million, which represents more than a 136% increase over 2020 sales of $60 million. The Company's sales grew significantly in the second half of 2021 to $98 million, an increase of 416% compared to the second half result of $19 million the previous year. Tritium believes that this growth in sales substantiates its thesis that DC fast charging infrastructure is rolling out at an accelerating pace to support the rapid shift towards electric vehicles globally. Tritium enters 2022 with the largest year-opening order book in its history. Tritium's backlog continued to grow throughout 2021, ending at approximately $82 million, an increase of approximately 316% since year end 2020. This backlog is expected to be completely delivered in 2022, and is now expected to account for over 48% of Tritium's 2022 revenue guidance, or approximately 5 months of forward production capacity at current production levels. Tritium continues to be engaged in a number of additional and potentially high-impact orders under several of its recently announced commercial partnerships and tender wins, and is expanding production capacity to fulfill growing demand in the United States and Europe. Other recent business highlights include: Won a Shell global EV charging tender to provide fast charging technology and services to the world's largest mobility retailer with over 46,000 retail sites. This agreement is expected to help accelerate the supply of Tritium DC fast chargers to their business operations in Europe, South Africa, Asia, the Middle East and North America, in pursuit of Shell's ambition to operate 500,000 charge points by 2025 and 2,500,000 by 2030. Refinanced $90 million of debt out to 2024, giving Tritium more cash following the listing on the Nasdaq to invest in its business to maintain and increase growth in line with the Company's customers' rollout plans, conditional on closing of the business combination. Unveiled the PKM, a groundbreaking line of EV fast chargers designed for more cost-effective operations and infrastructure deployment. The PKM150 is the first charger in the PKM line and the first charger that utilizes Tritium's shared power system, designed to reduce customers' capital investment while maintaining high charger availability and power output to EVs. Like Tritium's successful predecessor product launches, the PKM system was developed in response to customer demand pull for its features. Opened a world-class EV charger testing facility, featuring one of the highest power commercially accessible electromagnetic compatibility ("EMC") testing chambers in the world, with thermal testing capable of producing temperatures ranging from -70°C (-94°F) to +180°C (+356°F), and more to accelerate the time-to-market for new products. Tritium is in advanced stages of site selection for its new U.S. factory, expected to increase the Company's global production capacity up threefold in 2022. Two states – Texas and Tennessee – are the finalists in this process, and the Company expects an announcement in the first quarter of 2022 as engagement with private and public sector representatives related to this process nears conclusion. As of December 31, 2021, Tritium had sold more than 6,700 DC fast chargers around the world, compared to the more than 4,400 DC fast chargers sold as of May 26, 2021, the time of the announcement of the business combination. Business Combination Update The special meeting of stockholders of Decarbonization Plus Acquisition Corporation II (NASDAQ:DCRN, DCRNW, DCRNU)) ("DCRN") to approve the proposed business combination with Tritium, among other related matters, is scheduled to be held on Wednesday, January 12, 2022 at 10:00am Eastern time. Credit Suisse Securities (USA) LLC ("Credit Suisse") is acting as the exclusive financial advisor to a consortium of certain Tritium shareholders in connection with the business combination between Tritium and DCRN. DCRN engaged Credit Suisse as its lead placement agent and Citi Global Markets ("Citi") and J.P. Morgan Securities LLC ("JPMorgan") as placement agents for its PIPE Financing (as defined below). Raymond James & Associates, Inc. ("Raymond James") is acting as Capital Markets Advisor for DCRN. Citi and JPMorgan are acting as financial advisors to DCRN. The board of directors of DCRN has unanimously recommended stockholders vote in favor of the proposed business combination, ...Full story available on Benzinga.com.....»»

Category: earningsSource: benzingaJan 4th, 2022