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Trading  | April 3, 2018

Global trade concerns and the “tech wreck” remained the focus as European markets reopen from Easter break, however the selling turmoil that sent the Dow tumbling as much as 700 points on Monday has eased off with S&P futures set for a gentle rebound, if still below the 200DMA of 2,590…

… as Asian benchmarks pared much of their decline, and European stocks well off session lows. And while global markets which were closed on Monday are generally catching up to yesterday’s liquidation in the US amid a sea of red…

… the Nasdaq 100, S&P 500 and Dow were all poised to open in the green following Monday’s selloff, while Treasuries fell (and yields rose) alongside the dollar. 

It’s worth noting that the correlation between S&P 500 and Treasuries appears to be breaking down short-term, as 10-yr yields fall 1bp despite the stock index declining more than 2% and closing below 200-DMA for first time since June 2016

“There is actually very little contagion from all the equity market moves that are grabbing all the headlines,” said Saxo Bank’s head of FX strategy John Hardy.

The Stoxx Europe 600 Index headed for its first decline in four days as markets reopened after the long weekend, though the drop was less than half that of the S&P 500 a day earlier. Europe’s main markets in London, Paris and Frankfurt were all down more than 0.5%, after being closed on Monday when the pace of selling pushed U.S. markets below the key 200DMA support level.

Meanwhile, not helping matters was the weakest euro-area manufacturing figures in eight months which added to the gloom and fears that the European economy is now rolling over, resulting in the euro paring almost all of its advance, helping exporters. As shown below, today’s sentiment disappointment was across the board.

  • Eurozone March manufacturing PMI 56.6, down from 58.6 in Feb.
  • Germany March manufacturing PMI 58.2, down from 60.6 in Feb.
  • France March manufacturing PMI 53.7, down from 55.9 in Feb.

As Bloomberg notes, a similar rollover in business climate indicator last week was seen as sell signal for European stocks.

Earlier, Asian shares also stumbled overnight, although less than Wall Street. Japan’s Nikkei ended down 0.45 percent, after falling as much as 1.6 percent. China’s Shanghai Composite index eased 0.9% and the blue-chip CSI300 was off 0.7%. Australian stocks recovered as mining stocks and energy names outperformed. Hang Seng (+0.3%) and Shanghai Comp. conformed to the tech-related losses and after the PBoC refrained from liquidity operations for an 8th consecutive occasion, while markets in Hong Kong also took their 1st opportunity to react to  China’s tariffs on US products and reports of the government pressuring banks to halt local government lending.

Meanwhile, despite today’s risk rebound, it may be too early to declare victory over the selloff: recall that on Monday the S&P 500 closed at a seven-week low of 2,581.88 on Monday, and below its 200-DMA for the first time since Brexit (and Gartman has yet to go short, again).

And while some, such as JPM have again reiterated their long-running and incorrect mantra to buy the dip, others are no longer buying the KoolAid such as French bank Kepler Cheuvreux: “This phase of correction has not yet reached its climax and that investors should sell market bounces from this point. The final stage of this correction should be characterized by authentic investor pain and panic and by a shift into defensive assets, which should be visible by the end of April. We would start to buy stocks when we see the S&P 500 at the 2,500 threshold.”

Others are more lukewarm: “What we are really seeing across the economies and markets are opposing forces playing out: in the economy you are seeing Fed versus inflation, in markets you are seeing momentum versus fundamental supports,” JPMorgan Asset Management Global Market Strategist Hannah Anderson told Bloomberg TV. “Investors need to be aware of these opposing forces along with a lot of the headline risk we are seeing come through when it comes to trade and regulation and how that’s going to impact their portfolios.”

In other overnight developments, overnight BoJ Governor Kuroda said the bank is internally discussing an exit from current monetary policy but will not communicate it with the markets until policy normalising timing draws near. He added the BoJ will patiently continue easing of current monetary policy as there is still a distance to the price target.

Also overnight, the RBA kept the Cash Rate Target unchanged at 1.50% as expected and reiterated that steady policy is consistent with growth and inflation goals. RBA also repeated that a strengthening currency would result to slower pace of economic pick-up but that the currency remains in the range seen prior years, while it also commented that inflation likely to stay low for some time. 

U.S. Treasuries, German Bunds and UK Gilts all saw a bit of selling, with yields on 10-year notes off two- to three-month lows. “The big question is how far the current tremor in the equity market will affect bonds, given it is driven by a single company – even if it is a tech giant having a huge market weight,” said DZ Bank strategist Christian Lenk.

Among the main commodities, Brent oil futures nudged back up towards $68 a barrel. They had fallen more than 3.7% on Monday after news of rising Russian output and the escalating U.S.-China trade dispute weighed on sentiment. WTI gained 14 cents to $63.15, copper jumped 1.4% for its fourth straight gain and spot gold ticked down 0.2 percent to $1,338.08 an ounce.

Expected data include auto sales for March. International Speedway, Cloudera, and Dave & Buster’s are among companies reporting earnings. Despite the ongoing tech turmoil, music-streamer Spotify Technology is set to launch its alternative IPO on the NYSE. As noted previously, the trading price will remain a mystery until existing holders sell shares.

Bulletin Headline Summary From RanSquawk

  • European bourses are lower after losses on Wall St. and Asia overnight (Eurostoxx -0.9%) as Chinese trade retaliation and tech woes weighed heavily across the bourses.
  • The broad Dollar remains on the back foot amidst heighted US vs China tit-for-tat import tariff impositions, but off worst levels vs G10 and other major counterparts.
  • Looking ahead, highlights include APIs and Fed’s Kashkari

Top Overnight News

  • China will respond to any tariffs imposed by the U.S. against alleged violations of intellectual property rights with the same proportion, scale and intensity, said its U.S. ambassador Cui Tiankai
  • The Bank of Japan is talking about how to eventually exit from its massive monetary stimulus program, but it’s still too early to reveal details, Governor Haruhiko Kuroda told parliament Tuesday
  • Trains and planes were canceled across France as unions pushed forward with protests against President Emmanuel Macron’s plans to strip benefits from some state workers
  • The pound has appreciated versus the dollar every April during the last 13 years in what Bank of America Merrill Lynch describes as the strongest seasonal trend among Group-of-10 currencies
  • The Trump administration is pushing for a preliminary Nafta deal to announce at a summit in Peru next week, and will host cabinet ministers in Washington to try to achieve a breakthrough, according to three people familiar with the talks
  • Oil held losses after the biggest decline in almost two months as fears of a trade war prompted investors to flee commodities and other risky assets
  • President Donald Trump’s imported steel and aluminum tariff announcement helped send a measure of raw-material prices paid to an almost seven-year high in March, according to the Institute for Supply Management’s manufacturing survey
  • The New York Fed is set to begin publishing its three new reference rates at 8am ET on Tuesday, including the Secured Overnight Funding Rate (SOFR), the rate selected by the Alternative Reference Rates Committee to replace USD Libor
  • Sterling appreciated versus the dollar every April during the last 13 years in what Bank of America Merrill Lynch describes as the strongest seasonal trend among Group-of-10 currencies

Market Snapshot

  • S&P 500 futures up 0.4% to 2,584.00
  • STOXX Europe 600 down 1% to 367.12
  • MSCI Asia Pacific down 0.05% to 172.41
  • MSCI Asia Pacific ex Japan up 0.07% to 564.15
  • Nikkei down 0.5% to 21,292.29
  • Topix down 0.3% to 1,703.80
  • Hang Seng Index up 0.3% to 30,180.10
  • Shanghai Composite down 0.8% to 3,136.63
  • Sensex down 0.06% to 33,236.17
  • Australia S&P/ASX 200 down 0.1% to 5,751.92
  • Kospi down 0.07% to 2,442.43
  • German 10Y yield rose 1.0 bps to 0.507%
  • Euro up 0.2% to $1.2329
  • Brent Futures up 0.8% to $68.18/bbl
  • Italian 10Y yield fell 5.4 bps to 1.532%
  • Spanish 10Y yield rose 1.6 bps to 1.18%
  • Gold spot down 0.3% to $1,337.34
  • U.S. Dollar Index down 0.1% to 89.86

Asian stocks were mostly lower as the downbeat tone rolled over from Wall St where China’s trade retaliation and tech woes weighed heavily across all bourses, with losses in the S&P 500 (-2.2%) exacerbated on technical selling after a break below the 200DMA while the Nasdaq underperformed as it slipped into the red YTD and into correction territory. ASX 200 (+0.1%) and Nikkei 225 (-0.5%) both opened lower with the latter suffering the brunt of a firmer currency and with losses seen across tech names following similar underperformance in their US counterparts, which was led by selling in Amazon after President Trump’s tirade on the online giant. Conversely, Australian stocks then recovered as mining stocks and energy names outperformed. Hang Seng (+0.3%) and Shanghai Comp. (-0.8%) conformed to the tech-related losses and after the PBoC refrained from liquidity operations for an 8th consecutive occasion, while markets in Hong Kong also took their 1st opportunity to react to China’s tariffs on US products and reports of the government pressuring banks to halt local government lending. Finally, 10yr JGBs were higher as they tracked the prior session’s gains in T-notes amid the risk-averse tone, while the 10yr JGB auction results were inconclusive with the results mixed as the b/c fell but accepted prices surged from prior.

Top Asian News

  • Renesas Tumbles as Top Shareholders Plan to Unload Stakes
  • China’s Xi Turns Deleveraging Sights on Local Governments, SOEs
  • Xiaomi CEO Calls China’s Plan to Lure Tech Listings ‘Excellent’
  • Indian Bonds Rally After RBI Allows Banks to Spread Debt Losses
  • Turkey Overheating Means Race Against Time for President Erdogan

European bourses have opened lower after losses on Wall St. and Asia overnight (Eurostoxx -0.9%), Chinese trade retaliation and tech woes weighed heavily across the bourses. The tech sell-off rolled over from the previous  sessions with the sector currently underperforming. Semi-conductors are amongst the worst performers as names take a hit on the news that Apple is looking to steer away from Intel chips to create their own by 2020. On the flip side, Barclays was initially higher after reports the bank is planning a multi-million GBP share buyback. Miners are amongst the top performers after feeling the boost from firmer base metal prices. Finally, Sky (+1.3%) is at the top of the FTSE 100 amid news that Fox is offering to sell Sky News to Disney as it seeks to obtain regulatory clearings for its proposed takeover of Sky

Top European News

  • TomTom Shares Climb in Amsterdam as Deal Speculation Continues
  • U.K. Factories Sustain Growth After Entering ‘Softer’ Phase
  • Euro-Area Manufacturers Rein in Output Amid Capacity Constraints
  • May Faces Industrial Quicksand Again in Melrose’s GKN Deal

In FX, we look at the DXY first: the broad Dollar remains on the back foot amidst heighted US vs China tit-for-tat import tariff impositions, but off worst levels vs G10 and other major counterparts to leave the Index close to the 90.000 mark within a 89.850-90.070 approximate range. JPY: One of the more lively currencies as EU markets return from their extended Easter break amidst some mixed and contradictory comments from BoJ Governor Kuroda (at least in terms of the wire headline interpretations). He initially underscored easy policy guidance and appeared to quell any speculation about an exit given that inflation is still some distance from target, but then revealed that internal discussions about unwinding the balance sheet and raising rates are underway, though nothing will be communicated to the markets until such time that economic growth and prices are right. Usd/Jpy fell abruptly from just above 106.00 towards the 105.70 low before rebounding to around 106.20 and a slightly higher peak vs yesterday’s 105.66 base. CAD (and MXN). The Loonie is gleaning support from latest NAFTA reports suggesting that US President Trump is keen on nailing down a deal by the middle of the month, with Usd/Cad back under 1.2900. GBP. Cable is extending gains above 1.4050 towards 1.4100 and Eur/Gbp is looking at bids/support around 0.8750 in wake of a firmer than forecast UK manufacturing PMI and amidst UK press reports claiming that PM May is looking at a customs partnership as a resolution for the Irish border. EUR. Eur/Usd is back above 1.2300 after mixed Eurozone national manufacturing PMIs left the pan print unchanged from the preliminary reading, and with little real reaction to an FT story putting Liikanen in pole spot to replace Draghi as next head of the ECB.

In commodities, oil prices posted gains despite Russia’s production for March climbing to 10.97mln bpd making the
country the largest oil producer in the world. Prices also held gains, ignoring potential reductions in Saudi Arabian oil  prices. Gold prices inched lower, despite softer equities which continued to sell-off. Elsewhere, profit taking sent Chinese steel futures lower for the first time in six trading sessions. London copper hits its highest level in more than a week, lifted by better than expected Chinese manufacturing PMIs.

US Event Calendar

  • Wards Domestic Vehicle Sales, est. 13.1m, prior 12.9m; Total Vehicle Sales, est. 16.9m, prior 17m
  • 9:30am: Fed’s Kashkari Speaks at Regional Economic Forum
  • 4:30pm: Fed’s Brainard Speaks on Financial Stability

DB’s Jim Reid, who has just returned from a 2 week vacation, concludes the overnight wrap

While I was away markets have certainly been as moody as a temperamental toddler and the first trading day of the quarter yesterday started pretty badly as well. In my absence I’ve had to catch up with the tariff/protectionism developments, White House personnel changes, the tech sector/Facebook woes and weaker PMIs to name but a few of the headwinds facing markets. Indeed it’s been a bit of a perfect storm. The drivers above are unrelated but have all bubbled up to the surface at a similar time. As today is the first EMR of the month we recap both March and Q1 2018 from a performance point of view at the end with all the graphs and tables in the full report if you click on the link in our email. As you’ll see March saw 22 of our 39 regularly tracked global asset with a negative total return with 21 seeing the same in Q1. All this after a stomping January. As an example the S&P 500’s total return has dropped from +5.72% at the end of January to -0.76% by the end of Q1 and after yesterday the index is actually down over 10% from the January highs.

So as discussed US markets were one of the few open yesterday and it wasn’t particularly pretty with the S&P 500 (-2.23%) and the NASDAQ (-2.74%) down to the lows seen in early February, although both did recover from intra-day lows of -3.30% and -3.65% respectively. Within tech, Intel dropped the most in 2 years (-6.07%) as Bloomberg reported that Apple is planning to use its own chips in Mac computers from 2020, while Amazon fell -5.21% as President Trump noted that “only fools…are saying our money losing Post office makes money with Amazon….and this will be changed…” and Senator Rubio also tweeted “potential new economy monopolies will require close monitoring”. Adding to the negative sentiment, on Sunday China announced retaliatory tariffs on 128 US products including a 25% charge on pork and seamless steel pipes, broadly in line with prior press articles that tariffs would apply to c$3bn worth of US goods. Notably, the Chinese Ministry of Commerce noted that “…both sides should use dialogue and consultation to resolve their mutual concerns”. Elsewhere, the VIX jumped 18.28% to 23.62 and yields on UST 10y fell 0.9bp, while all sectors within the S&P were down with losses led by the tech, consumers and materials sector.

This morning in Asia, markets have followed the negative US lead with the Nikkei (-0.52%), Kospi (-0.47%), Hang Seng (-0.61%), and Shanghai Comp. (-0.87%) all down as we type. The futures on S&P are up c0.3% while yields on UST 10y are c1bp higher. Elsewhere, unnamed sources have told Bloomberg that the White House wants Canada and Mexico to join in unveiling the broad outlines of a new NAFTA deal at the Summit of the Americas next week,  while finer technical details could continue later on.

For the week ahead, outside of the PMIs today and Thursday, and European CPI (tomorrow) the big events are back loaded to Friday with the release of the March employment report in the US, followed by Fed Chair Powell’s speech on the Economic Outlook. With regards to the March employment report, the market consensus is currently pegged at a 189k payrolls print, while our US economists are slightly above this at 200k. Remember that this follows that bumper 313k reading in February. Our economists also note that March has historically been a difficult forecast month as the median consensus estimate has overestimated the initial March nonfarm payrolls print in four of the last five years by an average of 62k. For the crucial average hourly earnings, our economists expect a +0.2% mom reading, which would be sufficient to raise the annual rate by one-tenth to +2.66% yoy – still about 10bps below the January high of +2.77% yoy. It’s worth noting that we have only seen the average hourly earnings print match consensus on one occasion in the last six months (three of those months have been above consensus, and two have been misses).

Before we take a look at the full week ahead calendar and the performance review, we wrap up with other data releases from yesterday. In the US, the March ISM manufacturing index fell 1.5pts mom from its 13 year high to 59.3 and was modestly below expectations (vs. 59.6). Notably, the ISM prices paid measure rose 3.9pts to the highest since April 2011 (78.1 vs. 72.5 expected) with price increases across 17 of 18 industry sectors last month. The ISM noted there were indications that labour and skill shortages were affecting production.

Over the Easter break, the February PCE core was in line at 0.2% mom and 1.6% yoy, which leads to a 6 month annualised rate of 2.1%. The February personal income (0.4% mom) and personal spending (0.2% mom) were also both in line. Elsewhere, the March Chicago PMI was below expectations at 57.4 (vs. 62). In Europe, Germany’s March unemployment rate was in line at 5.3% while the March CPI was below market at 1.5% yoy (vs 1.6% expected). Elsewhere, France’s March CPI (1.7% yoy vs. 1.5%) and Italy’s CPI were both above expectations (1.1% yoy vs 0.8%). In China, its March manufacturing PMI rose for the first time since November and was above market at 51.5 (vs. 50.6 expected).

The release of the manufacturing PMIs in Europe should dominate the morning session with final March revisions due, as well as a first look at the data for the periphery and UK. In the US the only data due is March vehicle sales. The Fed’s Kashkari is also due to speak again. Away from this, President Trump is due to meet with leaders of Estonia, Lithuania and Latvia at the White House.

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