Week ahead: Fed set to announce tapering?

Week Ahead

All eyes are on the Federal Reserve and whether it will use this week’s September FOMC meeting to announce its long-awaited tapering of asset purchases. Meanwhile a hot inflation reading last week will have the Bank of England thinking about whether it should be pivoting to a more hawkish position.  

Fed to announce QE taper? 

Whilst markets do not expect the Federal Reserve to race towards tapering asset purchases, there is a broad consensus in the market that it will begin dialling back the pace of its QE programme from November. That means this week’s meeting may be an appropriate moment for the Fed to give the market fair warning. 

Last week’s CPI inflation clouded the outlook a touch – it was a little softer than expected, giving the Fed some more breathing space. More importantly, the very weak August jobs report suggests the Fed might not want to nail its colours to a November taper launch just yet. It could signal it still believes that tapering is appropriate this year without giving a fixed schedule. 

Investors will be most interested in how policymakers assess the pace of the labour market recovery, and whether they believe inflationary pressures are becoming less transitory than they thought. Close attention will be paid the latest round of economic projections for a guide on whether the Fed is changing its mind on the pace of inflation and growth. 

Bank of England responds to hot inflation print 

The Bank of England will need to respond to biggest jump in inflation on record when it convenes this week. Inflation accelerated to 3.2% in August from 2% in July, well above the central bank’s 2% target. Could this force the BoE to tighten monetary policy sooner than had been expected? A hawkish-sounding Bank of England would be a boost for sterling. 

Eco data to watch 

In addition to the above, markets will be on the hook for a raft of economic data releases this week, including Thursday’s round of flash PMIs for the euro area, UK and US. The Bank of Japan is due to meet, with governor Kuroda recently remarking that the central bank will further relax monetary policy such as by reducing interest rates, if necessary. 

Nike, FedEx earnings 

The earnings calendar is light but there are updates from Nike and FedEx among others. Nike posted very strong Q4 results in June, sending the stock to a record high. Q4 sales rose 96% against the year-ago quarter and were up 21% compared to 2019. Margins are also improving fast as the company’s pivot to supplying consumers directly pays off. “FY21 was a pivotal year for NIKE as we brought our Consumer Direct Acceleration strategy to life across the marketplace,” CEO John Donahoe said. But shares have come off lately amid worries about supply chain problems, with millions of units of lost production in Vietnam due to covid. 

“Over its history, Nike’s stock has been most tightly correlated with sales growth, so with growing evidence that sales will likely stall, we believe Nike’s stock will at best tread water until more clarity is had around its manufacturing issues, and at worst suffer from reduced sales guidance and ensuing multiple compression,” BTIG analysts said in a note downgrading the stock to neutral. 

Also look out for earnings from Adobe, General Mills and Costco. 

Major economic events 

Mon Sep 20  12:01am  GBP  Rightmove HPI m/m 
  All Day  JPY  Japan Bank Holiday 
  All Day  CNH  China Bank Holiday 
  7:00am  EUR  German PPI m/m 
  Tentative  EUR  German Buba Monthly Report 
  3:00pm  USD  NAHB Housing Market Index 
  All Day  CAD  Canada Federal Election 
  10:00pm  NZD  Westpac Consumer Sentiment 
Tue Sep 21  All Day  CNH  China Bank Holiday 
  2:30am  AUD  Monetary Policy Meeting Minutes 
  7:00am  CHF  Trade Balance 
    GBP  Public Sector Net Borrowing 
  11:00am  GBP  CBI Industrial Order Expectations 
  1:30pm  CAD  NHPI m/m 
    USD  Building Permits 
    USD  Current Account 
    USD  Housing Starts 
  2:00pm  CNH  CB Leading Index m/m 
  3:30pm  AUD  CB Leading Index m/m 
  Tentative  NZD  GDT Price Index 
Wed Sep 22  Tentative  JPY  Monetary Policy Statement 
  Tentative  JPY  BOJ Policy Rate 
  Tentative  JPY  BOJ Press Conference 
  2:00pm  CHF  SNB Quarterly Bulletin 
  3:00pm  EUR  Consumer Confidence 
    USD  Existing Home Sales 
  3:30pm  Oil  Crude Oil Inventories 
  7:00pm  USD  FOMC Economic Projections 
    USD  FOMC Monetary Policy Statement 
  7:30pm  USD  FOMC Press Conference 
Thu Sep 23  12:00am  AUD  Flash Manufacturing PMI 
    AUD  Flash Services PMI 
  All Day  JPY  Japan Bank Holiday 
  Tentative  EUR  German Import Prices m/m 
  8:15am  EUR  French Flash Manufacturing PMI 
    EUR  French Flash Services PMI 
  8:30am  CHF  SNB Monetary Policy Assessment 
    CHF  SNB Policy Rate 
    EUR  German Flash Manufacturing PMI 
    EUR  German Flash Services PMI 
  9:00am  EUR  Flash Manufacturing PMI 
    EUR  Flash Services PMI 
    EUR  ECB Economic Bulletin 
  9:30am  GBP  UK Flash Manufacturing PMI 
    GBP  UK Flash Services PMI 
  12:00pm  GBP  Bank of England monetary policy decision 
  1:30pm  CAD  Core Retail Sales m/m 
    CAD  Retail Sales m/m 
    USD  US unemployment Claims 
  2:45pm  USD  US Flash Manufacturing PMI 
    USD  US Flash Services PMI 
  3:00pm  USD  CB Leading Index m/m 
  3:30pm  Nat Gas  Natural Gas Storage 
  10:45pm  NZD  Trade Balance 
Fri Sep 24  12:01am  GBP  GfK Consumer Confidence 
  12:30am  JPY  National Core CPI y/y 
  1:30am  JPY  Flash Manufacturing PMI 
  7:00am  EUR  German GfK Consumer Climate 
  9:00am  EUR  German ifo Business Climate 
  3:00pm  USD  New Home Sales 

 

 

Broad rally for equities as UK goes for lockdown-lite, Tesla fails to spark, precious metals under pressure

Morning Note

European markets rose 1% in early trade on Wednesday, extending mild gains from the previous sessions following the steep selling on Monday. Yesterday, the S&P 500 rose 1%, and the Nasdaq climbed 1.7%, whilst markets across Europe were a little more mixed with London and Frankfurt higher but Paris lower.

Today sees solid bid across sectors and bourses with a slate of manufacturing and services PMIs in focus. The FTSE 100 recovered the 5,900 level, with even IAG and easyJet getting in on the action, rising 6% each. Safe-haven play Fresnillo was off by a similar margin as silver and gold prices come under a good deal of pressure again today.

There is no clear evidence for the airlines to rally except that perhaps there was an overreaction earlier in the week.

PMIs underline the fragility of the recovery

I will issue the usual caveat about extrapolating too much from these diffusion indices, but they do highlight an interesting trend. The manufacturing sector can sustain a recovery as firms can work out how to function in the new environment, but it’s harder for many service sector businesses to operate at all, which drags on the number.

Service sector companies are also much more exposed to the caprice of lockdowns. Both German and French services PMIs came in under 50, indicating contraction (survey respondents think things are worse than the month before), while both countries’ manufacturing PMIs pointed to expansion.

The UK is heading for a second lockdown-lite

This will dent the recovery and hit some sectors especially hard, but perhaps more importantly this is spurring the chancellor into action. With the furlough scheme slated to end in October, there is a risk of a jobs calamity even without further lockdown restrictions, which are a possibility.

Rishi Sunak is reported to be working on new plans to support jobs, which may ease worries among investors that the UK economy could fall off a cliff for a second time just as the Brexit process reaches its finale.

Individual stocks are putting some very big moves daily which only indicates the kind of dislocation in market pricing, uncertainty about the path of the pandemic and the fact that no one really knows where a lot of these securities ought to be trading.

Whether it’s value or growth, tech or travel, the unevenness of both the recovery and government policy means it’s hard to know what a fair value is. Trying to extrapolate a narrative to fit all of this is often a fool’s errand.

Tesla stock tumbles after Battery Day reveals fall flat

A case in point: Tesla shares fell over 5% and extended their decline by a further 7% in after-hours trading, despite Elon Musk outlining the company’s plans to halve the cost of battery manufacturing and market an electric car at $25,000. The new battery tech would deliver 16% more range and x6 more power, but the company said production in volume is three years away.

There is some debate about whether Tesla’s Battery Day announcements amount to incremental or revolutionary changes to battery technology, but two things are clear: Tesla has not suddenly acquired warp speed capability, but clearly the company has a roadmap to cheaper, longer life battery technology that it will make itself and will allow it to lead the EV field for a while longer.

Panasonic and other suppliers were hit with Tesla planning to make its own battery. Nevertheless, given all the anticipation around a potential game-changer in battery technology, investors were a little underwhelmed by the news. Tesla’s Frankfurt-listed shares declined 7% at the open, before paring losses a touch.

Nike climbs as online sales surge, Ant Group takes another IPO step

Nike shares shot higher after-market following an 82% rise in online sales, with the company expecting to benefit from a permanent shift to direct online sales. EPS of $0.95 beat the $0.47 expected, on revenues of $10.6bn vs the $9bn expected. Nike continues to benefit from its strong brand presence that is akin to Apple in the smartphone space, as well as large investments in its web and mobile platforms. Shares in Adidas and Puma rose about 4% on the read-across.

Ant Group took a step closer to its mega-IPO after it submitted documents for registrations of the Shanghai side of the listing. The company plans to list both on Shanghai’s STAR Market and in Hong Kong, with valuation estimates in the region of $250bn-$300bn.

Cable softens, BoE Baily fails to quell negative rate fears

In FX, GBPUSD traded under 1.27 in early European trade after the downside breach of the 200-day EMA presented bears with an obvious momentum play. Yesterday’s move under the 1.2760 level has opened up the path to further losses and today the pair is trading through the 100-day line and testing the 38.,2% retracement at 1.2690.

Whilst Andrew Bailey attempted some push back on negative rates, saying they are not imminent, the takeaway from his comments was that this unorthodox and dangerous tool is very much being actively considered by the bank’s Monetary Policy Committee.

Chart: GBPUSD downside exposed

The USD continues to find bid, which is weighing on gold. DXY extended its push out of the channel, forcing gold to trade under $1,900 and test the 50% retracement around $1875, corresponding with the horizontal support of the descending triangle formed by the August lows. Silver has a bearish bias after breaching the August low.

Chart: Dollar continues breakout

 

Chart: Gold tests 50% retracement

Chart: Silver breaks August lows

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