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Trading  | October 20, 2017

Global stocks hit new all time highs overnight, with US stock-index futures, Asian and European stocks all rising overnight after the Senate adopted a fiscal 2018 budget resolution, paving the way for Trump’s $1.5 trillion in tax cuts, while news that “dove” Jay Powell may be the next Fed chair added to the risk-on sentiment.

Among key macro trades, the USD rallied on optimism Trump tax cuts are a step closer, with USD/JPY close to 113.50 and USD/CHF back above 200DMA. USTs push through overnight lows dragging bunds and gilts lower; short Sterling strip initially bid higher after dovish Cunliffe comments before unwinding due to steepening in Eurodollars. European equity markets opened higher but ground back towards flat, as mining stocks and banks  outperform. The euro slipped as investors awaited the next move in Spain’s Catalan crisis, and the yen fell ahead of Japan’s election. Gold dropped along with European bonds as safe havens lost favor. WTI crude fell as Iraq sought to restore flows from fields in a disputed region. Spanish banks Sabadell and Caixabank weigh on IBEX after Catalan separatists target them for deposit withdrawals; not reflected in Spanish bonds, however, which actually outperform. ZAR weakest in EMFX due to speculation Deputy PM could be fired; crude futures pressured by the strong USD.

In the top overnight event, the Senate voted to adopt budget resolution through 51-49 vote, which paves the way for a tax overhaul and shields a future tax reform bill from a Democrat filibuster. To be sure, this is only the first step in a process that only now becomes fraught with disagreement among republicans. Sure enough, “the budget still has to pass the House, but near-term, it should be supportive for the dollar,” said Shinichiro Kadota, a senior foreign-exchange strategist at Barclays Securities Japan Ltd. in Tokyo. “Senate passage of the budget was a step required for budget reconciliation to advance tax reform.”


There were also reports that US President Trump is leaning towards Powell for Fed Chair. However, it was later reported that US President Trump advisers are said to be leaning towards Taylor or Powell as the next Fed Chair and added that the Fed chair role was down to the aforementioned 2 candidates, although according to online betting site Predicit the contest is now over.

Investors continue to eye political developments in Spain, the decision on a Federal Reserve chair that may sway the path of U.S. interest rates, and Brexit negotiations, suggesting caution as markets head into the weekend. But Thursday’s bout of volatility dissipated quickly as tax-cut optimism took hold. The CBOE Volatility Index, which surged as much as 17 percent on Thursday, actually ended the day in the red and fell further on Friday. Spain’s IBEX was unchanged after falling -0.2% even as the Stoxx 600 gained as officials in Madrid are finalizing plans for taking control of Catalonia.  CaixaBank down 0.4%, Banco Sabadell were down 1.6%; separatist campaign group Catalan National Assembly called on supporters to pull cash from the two banks to protest at their decision to shift their legal domiciles out of the region.

Material and tech stocks are supporting European equities this morning after a resolutely weaker day yesterday, and earnings are the main focus with Volvo shares hitting a record high after its earnings beat estimates. Swedish firms are among the best performers with Ericsson also gaining 4.8% after its earnings. Meanwhile the IBEX is lagging peers as investors exercise caution ahead of a potential triggering of Article 155 this weekend.

Japan’s Nikkei 225 Stock Average rose for a 14th day, matching the longest winning streak on record ahead of Sunday’s general election when the Abe administration’s popularity will be put to test. The last time the index saw a similar rally was back in 1961. The Nikkei 225 has gained on every trading day in October, rising 5.4 percent, while the Topix index extended its rally to a tenth session. Shares reversed an early decline as the yen weakened after the U.S. Senate adopted a fiscal 2018 budget resolution that boosted the odds for U.S. President Donald Trump’s tax cut plans. Stocks in Tokyo have been boosted on the outlook for strong corporate earnings, foreign buying and bets that Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s coalition would retain power with a two-thirds majority in parliament. There’s “more stealth” in this Japan market rally, said Andrew Clarke, director of trading at Mirabaud Asia Ltd. in Hong Kong. Abe’s ruling coalition is projected to lose its two-thirds majority in the election, the latest Nikkei poll showed. The most likely scenario is the Liberal Democratic Party-Komeito bloc picking up 297 seats, shy of the 310 needed for a so-called super-majority. “If the Abe victory is not priced in or is even better than expected there are going to be a lot of people chasing their tails,” Mirabaud’s Clarke said.

Elsewhere in Asia, the MSCI Asia Pacific Index was little changed at 166.91. New Zealand retirement-village operator Ryman Healthcare Ltd. fell 4.1 percent, amid concerns incoming Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern’s policies will lead to lower property prices. Kiwi stocks fluctuated and the local dollar fell. “While political dust is settling in New Zealand with the formation of a coalition government to be headed by Jacinda Ardern, the climate is heating up in Japan ahead of general elections on Sunday, said Rob Carnell, head of research and chief economist at ING Bank in Singapore. In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng Index gained 1.2 percent, rebounding from its biggest lost in two months Thursday. India is closed for a holiday after a ceremonial shortened trading session to mark Diwali on Thursday. Shares in New Zealand .NZ50 notched their 14th straight rising session and fifth winning week to close at a record after the nationalist New Zealand First Party agreed to form a new government with the centre-left Labour Party following weeks of political negotiations, ending the centre-right National Party’s decade in power. But the New Zealand dollar wallowed at five month lows after a 1.7 percent fall on Thursday, its largest daily fall since June 2016, on concerns the new Labour coalition will take a tougher stance on immigration and foreign investment.

In commodities, West Texas Intermediate crude dipped 1 percent to $50.76 a barrel.  Gold fell 0.7 percent to $1,281.22 an ounce. Copper climbed 0.7 percent to $3.19 a pound.

In rates, The yield on 10-year Treasuries increased four basis points to 2.36 percent, the highest in more than a week.  Germany’s 10-year yield increased four basis points to 0.43 percent.  Britain’s 10-year yield advanced three basis points to 1.276 percent.

Economic data include existing home sales. P&G, General Motors, Honeywell and Baker Hughes are among companies reporting earnings

Bulletin Headline Summary from RanSquawk

  • US equity futures notably higher after the senate voted to adopt budget resolution, paving way for tax overhaul
  • President Trump is said to be leaning towards Powell for the next Fed Chair.
  • Looking ahead, highlights include Canadian CPI, US Existing Home Sales.

Market Snapshot

  • S&P 500 futures up 0.2% to record 2,564.75
  • STOXX Europe 600 up 0.1% to 389.57
  • MSCI Asia down 0.07% to 166.90
  • MSCI Asia ex Japan up 0.4% to 550.70
  • Nikkei up 0.04% to 21,457.64
  • Topix up 0.03% to 1,730.64
  • Hang Seng Index up 1.2% to 28,487.24
  • Shanghai Composite up 0.3% to 3,378.65
  • Sensex down 0.6% to 32,389.96
  • Australia S&P/ASX 200 up 0.2% to 5,906.99
  • Kospi up 0.7% to 2,489.54
  • German 10Y yield rose 4.1 bps to 0.436%
  • Euro down 0.4% to $1.1804
  • Italian 10Y yield fell 1.2 bps to 1.761%
  • Spanish 10Y yield rose 1.9 bps to 1.654%
  • Brent futures down 1% to $56.68/bbl
  • Gold spot down 0.8% to $1,280.33
  • U.S. Dollar Index up 0.3% to 93.53

Top Overnight News

  • U.S. Senate adopted a fiscal 2018 budget resolution Thursday which House GOP leaders agreed to accept. The show of unity is aimed at speeding consideration of President Trump’s plan to enact tax cuts
  • Several people familiar with the process said President Donald Trump’s
    closest advisers are steering him toward choosing either Stanford
    economist John Taylor or Federal Reserve Board Governor Jerome Powell to
    be the next Fed chief
  • The Catalan National Assembly called on independence supporters to pull cash from CaixaBank, Banco Sabadell and other major lenders to protest their shifting out of the region. The banks said business was normal
  • German Chancellor Angela Merkel upended U.K. skeptics, offering Prime Minister Theresa May the political cover she has been asking to take further steps in Brexit talks. Merkel said there is zero indication that Brexit talks won’t succeed and that she truly wants an agreement
  • U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson signalled impatience with China on issues from North Korea to trade, and vowed to remain on the job as long as Donald Trump will have him
  • Sprint, T-Mobile Deal Announcement Is Said to Likely Be Delayed
  • Barclays Sued by Fund for $850 Million in Metal Market Abuse
  • Daimler Profit Falls as Mercedes Stumbles on Diesel Costs
  • Trading Firms Fear Mutiny on MiFID Rule Demanding Passport Data
  • Madrid Doubles Down as Catalans Prepare to Declare New State
  • Existing home sales for September will be announced Friday

Asia equity markets traded with a modest tone amid a very light calendar and mixed US lead, although risk appetite was spurred in US equity futures after the senate voted to adopt the budget resolution which paves the way for a tax overhaul. ASX 200 (+0.2%) pared initial losses amid a recovery in the largest weighted financials sector, while Nikkei 225 (Unch.) failed to benefit from JPY weakness with underperformance seen in Toshiba amid financial-related probes and Nissan after reports it halted some domestic output and that unqualified inspections occurred for the past 2 decades. Elsewhere, Hang Seng (+1.0%) rebounded from its worst performance in 2 months, while Shanghai Comp. (+0.1%) was uninspired despite the PBoC’s largest weekly net injection since January. Finally, 10yr JGBs tracked the downside seen in T-notes as risk appetite was underpinned by the developments in Washington, although losses were stemmed amid the presence of the BoJ in the market for a respectable JPY 990bln in government debt of 1yr-10yr maturities. PBoC injected CNY 50bln via 7-day reverse repos and CNY 30bln via 14-day reverse repos for a weekly net injection of CNY 560bln vs. last week’s net drain of CNY 240bln.

Top Asian News

  • Dymon Asia Hedge Fund to Raise $600 Million in Equity Expansion
  • Noble Group Faces 11th Hour Oil-Unit Sale as Stock Is Halted
  • Abe’s Coalition Seen Losing Two-Thirds Majority in Nikkei Poll
  • Foreigners Return to Add Momentum as Nikkei Surges 14th Day
  • Swiss $3 Billion Fund Bets Himalayan Nuts Will Crank Returns

European stocks are supported by material and tech stocks this morning after a resolutely weaker day yesterday, and earnings are the main focus with Volvo shares hitting a record high after its earnings beat estimates. Swedish firms are among the best performers with Ericsson also gaining 4.8% after its earnings. Meanwhile the IBEX is lagging peers as investors exercise caution ahead of a potential triggering of Article 155 this weekend. A bit more downside for debt futures in wake of the latest public sector deficit figures, despite some smaller than expected shortfalls. An 80% of GDP ex-banks/BoE headline is eye-catching and of course the Government’s financing position is just as contingent on the Brexit outcome in the longer run as the economy overall. Gilts remain on the backfoot within a 124.75-50 range, but in truth more in line with the general tone following a downturn in US Treasuries after Thursday’s European close. Indeed, Bunds are just a few ticks off a marginal new 161.54 Eurex session low, and 10 year US T-notes are just above their 124- 29+ nadir at 125-00. To recap, the catalysts for softer bonds – Washington passing the 2018 budget resolution and Fed chair favourites said to be Powell and Taylor. Spanish 10 year Bono yield back up around 1.65% ahead of the anticipated Article 155 activation against  Catalonia over the weekend.

Top European News

  • CaixaBank, Sabadell Say Business Normal After Calls to Pull Cash
  • Pearson Is Said in Advanced Talks to Sell Unit to Chinese Group
  • U.K. Budget Gap Narrows More Than Forecast on Solid Tax Growth
  • Austria’s Schelling Says ECB Should Slow Down Asset Purchases
  • Glencore Stake Swap Cements Ties With Russia’s Aluminum King
  • Telecom Italia Said to Be Open to Spinoff of Landline Grid
  • Betsson Drops Most in Year After a ‘Weak’ Third Quarter
  • Ericsson Gains on Improving Sentiment Amid High Short Interest

In currencies, the dollar index saw a recovery ahead of the 93.00 level, finding a bid following the US Senate’s decision to pass the budget blueprint, which is key to President Trump’s tax effort. EUR/USD failed to test October’s high, with the daily candle ‘head and shoulders’ formation, now evident, bears will look for a break through 1.1671 to indicate a change in direction in the pair, with eyes on the ECB next week. EUR/USD sees around 3bln worth of expires today between 1.1800 – 1.1850. USD/JPY has followed the vast majority of USD crosses in finding some greenback buying, however, has run into some resistance, with touted offers between 113.30/50. In cable, subdued data, and economical concerning commentary from BoE members Ramsden, Teneryo and Cunliffe this week has seen the percentage of a November hike from the BoE fall from 80% to around 70%. Cable has seen a bearish week, coming back to trade in the post Brexit range, a long term support trendline continues to act as a support, with bears likely to look for a break through 1.3. Brexit talk continues, with May, Davis and Merkel all weighing in yesterday; with Davis telling officials to step up planning for a potential no-deal in Brexit discussions. The Loonie will be in focus today, with inflation and retail sales due at 13.30. Excluding Canada’s latest  employment report, where the focus was on part-time employment moving to full-time employment, data has been a concern for the BoC following their unexpected hike, as likelihood of another move in 2017 lessens. USD/CAD trades in consolidation of late, stuck in this October 1.2450 – 1.2600 range, with many awaiting for the aforementioned data to possibly give the pair some monthly direction.

In commodities, WTI and Brent crude futures hovering at the lows amid the upside seen in the greenback, with WTI pushing through yesterday lows. Similarly selling pressure has been observed in the precious metal complex due to the strength in the aforementioned USD. Gold fell 0.7 percent to $1,281.22 an ounce. Copper climbed 0.7 percent to $3.19 a pound.

Looking at the day ahead, today will be a big day for Brexit talks with EU leaders set to meet and discuss at the European Council meeting in Brussels in the morning. Away from that, the day ends with the Fed’s Yellen speaking in the evening. Datawise we get US existing home sales data for September. General Electric and Proctor & Gamble results will be due.

US Event Calendar

  • 10am: Existing Home Sales, est. 5.3m, prior 5.35m; MoM est. -0.93%, prior -1.7%
  • 2pm: Fed’s Mester Speaks on Global Regulatory Structure
  • 7:30pm: Yellen Gives Lecture on Monetary Policy Since Financial Crisis

DB’s Jim Reid concludes the overnight wrap

Stateside the S&P 500 looked at the early weakness and decided that it wasn’t
going to let it ruin its recent run and turned round a 0.5% intra-day loss at
the lows into a small (+0.03%) gain into the close, in part as Politico reported
that Fed Governor Powell is the “leading candidate” for the Fed Chair after
President Trump has now concluded interviews with the five potential candidates.
The report has also caused a small rally in US treasuries to close 2.9bp lower
yesterday. Later on, Bloomberg reported that VP Pence and Treasury Secretary
Mnuchin are advocating Taylor or Powell to President Trump.

Overnight, the most important news is that the senate has voted 51-49 to
adopt the FY18 budget resolution which clears one obstacle and enables
the Republicans to move onto the next stage of delivering tax reforms. This
morning, UST10y have reversed yesterday’s move at are trading at 2.355% as we
type, after being below 2.30% at the lows yesterday as risk markets were having
a mini wobble. It does feel Treasuries have been all over the place this past week
with CPI, the Fed Chair headlines, the risk off from yesterday and then the senate
vote giving ammunition to both sides.

Yesterday’s early losses originally stemmed from Asia as after going to print
yesterday, the Hang Seng fell from near flat deep into the afternoon session
to then close -1.92% (worst since mid-August). This was on the back of sharp
property sector falls as 3 month bank rates rose by the most this year. It couldn’t
have helped the subsequent risk-off environment to hear the Chinese Central
Bank governor Zhou warning of a possible ‘Minsky moment’ for the economy
where “if we’re too optimistic when things go smoothly, tensions build up, which
could lead to a sharp correction”. He didn’t specify which asset class he was
referring to, but broadly noted that corporate borrowing in China is “very high”,
partly due to inadequate direct financing and inefficient capital allocation by
companies. This morning in Asia, markets are trading modestly higher though,
with the Hang Seng rebounding +0.98%, while Kospi (+0.54%), ASX 200 (+0.17%)
and Nikkei (-0.07%) are slightly up as we type.

Elsewhere the world’s biggest company – namely Apple – fell (-2.37%) yesterday
as reports from the Chinese Economic Daily news suggested that orders for the
iPhone 8 had been disappointing. Obviously next month’s launch of the iPhone
X was always going to overshadow the ‘8’ so we’ll see if that makes up for any
disappointments. Given it makes up c4% of the S&P 500 and c12% of the Nasdaq
then even us macro guys have to be aware of it. Suppliers of Apple also had a
weak day in sympathy. Weaker earnings in Europe (e.g. Unilever, Nestle, Thales
and Roche) also didn’t help sentiment and neither did the signs that the Spanish
situation remains tense (more below).

Turning to Spain, where Catalan President Puidgemont has refused to
denounce the claim to independence, noting that “if the Spanish government
persists in blocking dialogue…the Catalan Parliament may proceed…to approve
a formal declaration of independence”. In response, Spain’s government has
issued a statement invoking Article 155 of the Constitution which starts the
process of potentially taking direct control of Catalonia. The Spanish cabinet
will meet this Saturday to approve specific measures before seeking approval
from the Senate, which could take weeks. Later on, sources told Bloomberg
that senior lawmakers from the main pro-independence parties will meet next
Monday in Catalan Parliament to discuss next steps. Spanish markets modestly
underperformed yesterday, with the IBEX -0.74% and 10y yields up 1.7bp while
core European bond yields fell slightly (Bunds -0.1bp; OATs -1.3bp; Gilts -3.6bp).

Onto Brexit talks which remains at a stalemate over at the EU Summit, with
one of the main sticking point being UK’s potential financial obligation to the
EU. The Dutch PM noted that PM “May has to come up with more clarity on
what is meant by other commitments in her Florence speech”. That said, rhetoric
continues to offer a glimpse of hope as Germany Merkel’s noted that “at this
point, it’s not sufficient to begin the second phase, but it’s encouraging enough
to continue working (on preparatory work) in order to reach the beginning of
the second phase (ie: talks on trade) in December” and that there is “zero
indication” that Brexit talks won’t succeed. Back in the UK, First Secretary of
State Green noted that it’s “hugely desirable” and likely that a Brexit deal will be
reached, while Foreign Secretary Johnson said “that we’ll get….a great deal…
but with any negotiation, you’ve got to be prepared to walk away”.

Staying with politics, this Sunday, we will see the Japanese election where polls
suggests PM Abe should win a two thirds majority in parliament and secure his
third term. According to a survey by Sankei newspaper on Tuesday, it forecasts
PM Abe’s coalition side could win 300-335 seats out of a total of 465 seats (Abe’s
LDP takes c300, coalition partner takes c35), which is slightly higher than earlier
polls. A win by PM Abe could lead to a continuation of accommodative monetary
policy along with potential changes towards higher sales tax and the approval of
gambling resorts.

Now quickly recapping other markets performance from yesterday. The
Nasdaq fell 0.29% while Dow was broadly flat. Within the S&P, modest gains from
the utilities and health care sectors were broadly offset by losses from consumer
staples and tech stocks, while United Continental dropped the most in eight
years (-12.08%) after a disappointing profit forecast. European bourses broadly
weakened, with peripherals such as Italy (-0.99%) and Spain (-0.74%) slightly
underperforming the core indices (Stoxx 600 -0.63%, FTSE -0.26%). The VIX touched an intra-day high of 11.78 (highest since early September) but closed at
10.05 (-0.02pts) for the day.

Onto currencies, the US dollar index dipped 0.1% while the Euro gained 0.55%
and Sterling weakened 0.35%, partly impacted by the lower than expected retail
sales readings. In commodities, WTI oil fell 1.44% while Russia and OPEC are
reportedly speaking to other members behind the scenes to ensure an extension
of oil supply cuts at next month’s OPEC meeting. Precious metals rebounded
slightly after three consecutive days of losses (Gold +0.71%; Silver +1.50%)
while other base metals were mixed but little changed (Copper -0.60%; Zinc
+0.08%; Aluminium +0.87%).

Away from markets and onto central banker commentaries. The ECB’s Nowotny
noted that the ECB must decide in October on how QE will continue and that
“there are good arguments for a slow reduction of purchases”, while also
noting that “we don’t have to wait until inflation reaches 1.9%, we can normalise
policy earlier”. Elsewhere, BOE’s policy maker Cunliffe sounded a bit dovish
where he is “very clear” that a slow and gradual rate hike is warranted, but “when
that process starts is a more open question”, with his decision “based in large
part on whether I see domestic inflation pressure and what I see happening to
pay in the economy”.

Finally, arguably the most consequential surprise across markets this year has
been the slowdown in inflation. The slowdown began in March even as growth
strengthened and the labour market tightened. Large cross asset impacts have
understandably led to an acute market focus on inflation, its drivers and debate
as to its prospects, but it has also led to a large number of myths about inflation.
DB’s multi asset strategists discuss 6 of them in their note and suggests that if
inflation was judged by historical standards to be completely normal, then a Fed
behaving in line with its past behaviour would have policy rates at 350bp instead
of being at 113bp.

Before we take a look at today’s calendar, we wrap up with other data releases
from yesterday. The US macro data was a bit mixed. The October Philly Fed
business outlook index was materially above expectations at 27.9 (vs. 22
expected) and now slightly above the June reading, while the weekly initial
jobless claims reached a 44 year record low at 222k (vs. 240k expected).
Elsewhere, the continuing claims was broadly in line at 1,888k (vs. 1,890k
expected), while the Conference board leading index was down 0.2% mom
(vs. 0.1% expected). In the UK, the core September retail sales fell more than
expected, at -0.7% mom (vs. -0.2%) and 1.6% yoy (vs. 2.2% expected)

Over in China, as we noted yesterday, its 3Q GDP reading was in line at 6.8% yoy,
but both the September retail sales (10.3% yoy vs. 10.2% expected) and IP (6.6%
yoy vs. 6.5% expected) slightly beat expectations. Our China economists have
revised up their 4Q GDP growth forecast to 6.6% (+0.1ppt) and 2017 full year
forecast to 6.8% (+0.1ppt), as growth momentum has been stronger than they
expected, particularly in the service sector. This is likely supported by the wealth
effect from the property market boom in the tier 3 cities. In their view, growth
will likely slow in 2018 but the pace depends on the growth target to be set
by the new group of leaders in the Central Economic Working Conference in
December . On balance, our China team expect a flexible growth target for 2018 and for growth to slow to 6.3%. However, the risk to this forecast is to the upside,
if the leaders decide to keep the target at 6.5%.

Looking at the day ahead, today will be a big day for Brexit talks with EU leaders
set to meet and discuss at the European Council meeting in Brussels in the
morning. Away from that, the day ends with the Fed’s Mester speaking in the
evening. Datawise UK public sector net borrowing data for September and US
existing home sales data for September are the only releases of note. General
Electric and Proctor & Gamble results will be due.

A revolutionary initiative is helping average Americans find quick and lasting stock market success.

275% in one week on XLF - an index fund for the financial sector. Even 583%, in 7 days on XHB… an ETF of homebuilding companies in the S&P 500. 

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