S&P futures are set for a higher open (+ 0.1%) despite the expected hit to the Dow from Nike which is down over 3% on unexpectedly poor revenue growth, as European stocks gain while Asian shares dropped. Like yesterday when the big story was the jump in the USD ahead of Yellen's (rather hawkish) speech, so today the greenback's levitation has continued, this time propelled by today's unveiling of Trump's tax plan.
On the eve of its unveiling, Trump said lawmakers should expect a “very, very powerful document” that would cut taxes “tremendously” for the middle class. If passed, the plan would be Trump’s first significant legislative win since taking office in January. ”The idea that Trump could be reaching across the aisle, talking about tax cuts to middle and low income households, if it comes to pass, we are talking a pretty material fiscal boost to the U.S. economy. This sort of easy fiscal policy is why the markets are reacting the way they have,” said Mark Dowding, co-head of investment grade at BlueBay Asset Management.
Based on leaks to date, what we know is that Trump will unveil a 35% individual tax rate (although Congress will decide whether to create a higher bracket), and the rate on corporations will be set at 20%, down from the current 35%, while the standard deduction will double. Trump’s “basic idea about tax reform should lead to higher Treasury yields,” supportive of the dollar, said Brown Brothers Harriman fx strategist Masashi Murata." He was right: the Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index rose to the highest level since Aug. 18 and Treasury yields jumped to the highest in two months. Broad dollar strength was fueled by Janet Yellen’s hawkish tone in which she cautioned against tightening "too gradually" which sent December rate hike odds to 70%…
… and expectations for U.S. tax reforms dominated currency trends Wednesday, with Asia's emerging-market currencies falling while the yen took the biggest hit among peers. The Australian and New Zealand dollars also declined, while the euro extended losses below $ 1.18, as the pound briefly fell below $ 1.34 amid lingering Brexit uncertainties.
“Yellen’s comments gave more certainty about another rate hike by the end of the year,” said DZ Bank rates strategist Daniel Lenz. “Further details of Trump’s tax plans and whether this proceeds smoothly will be of interest — it should be a boost to the economy and mean a generally higher bond yield environment.”
Stocks in Europe climbed, with all major country benchmarks in the green, helped by the morning declines in the EUR and GBP against the USD. Cyclical sectors that had surged on the prospect of “Trumpflation” resulting from the president’s pro-growth campaign pledges were the day’s top gainers, with miners up 0.9 percent. Financials outperformed, as Standard Charted and RBS have received broker upgrades, with the sector further benefiting from the increased chance of a December move from the FOMC.
Asian equity markets were mostly lower amid a lack of catalysts as the MSCI’s index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan dipped 0.1 percent. The ASX 200 (-0.1%) was negative amid weakness seen in commodity stocks and gold miners after the precious metal slipped below USD 1300/oz, while Nikkei 225 (-0.3%) failed to benefit from a weaker currency and was pressured on mass ex-dividends with over 120 stocks in Nikkei 225 and over 1000 in the TOPIX trading ex-dividend today. Chinese markets outperformed their peers with Hang Seng (+0.5%) and Shanghai Comp. (+0.05%) kept afloat after firmer Chinese Industrial Profit growt.
China’s central bank set its daily currency fixing stronger than expected on Wednesday, a move interpreted by traders as a show of support for the yuan before the start of a week-long holiday. As a result, the onshore yuan strengthened for the first time in three sessions, although the offshore Yuan since pared all gains and was trading at 6.64 at last check. China's seven-day repo rate dropped 3bps to 3.12%; while overnight funding cost rises 1bp to 2.90%. In offshore markets,the overnight CNH Hibor rose 38bps to 2.21% while the HKD strengthend 0.03% to 7.8096 per dollar, paring earlier gain of as much as 0.09%.
Meanwhile, Treasury 10-year yields jumped to an eight-week peak, while 2-year hit highest since 2008, driving up those on bunds and gilts as well. Ten-year TSY yields climbed seven basis points to an eight-week high of 2.30 percent. Two-year U.S. Treasury yields touched their highest since 2008 after Fed Chair Janet Yellen said on Tuesday it would be “imprudent” to keep rates on hold until U.S. inflation hit 2 percent. Bunds dropped from the open as the Treasury sell-off, which started late on Teusday on reports of Trump tax plan, gained momentum with various factors contributing, before 10y yields stalled just shy of 2.30%. According to Bloomberg, block sellers were seen in bund futures add pressure as stops are run. Weakness in JGBs added to the rates selling pressure.
WTI crude slid a second day, but remained close to $ 52 a barrel after data showed U.S. stockpiles dwindled last week. Safe havens including gold, the yen and the Swiss franc extended declines as North Korea dropped off the radar for the time being. Copper rose for the first day in six as traders closed positions before the quarter-end and a holiday in China. The industrial metal rose 1.1 percent to $ 6,485 a ton. “You see not only that demand in China is doing well, but also that in the longer term demand will increase even more from other sectors, like the electric vehicle industry. At this stage the fundamentals are very supportive of stronger prices,” ABN Amro analyst Casper Burgering said.
- S&P 500 futures up 0.1% to 2,499.00
- STOXX Europe 600 up 0.3% to 385.10
- MSCI Asia down 0.4% to 160.55
- MSCI Asia ex Japan down 0.02% to 528.70
- Nikkei down 0.3% to 20,267.05
- Topix down 0.5% to 1,664.43
- Hang Seng Index up 0.5% to 27,642.43
- Shanghai Composite up 0.05% to 3,345.27
- Sensex down 0.7% to 31,367.47
- Australia S&P/ASX 200 down 0.1% to 5,664.28
- Kospi down 0.07% to 2,372.57
- German 10Y yield rose 4.9 bps to 0.457%
- Euro down 0.5% to $ 1.1735
- Brent Futures down 0.2% to $ 58.31/bbl
- Italian 10Y yield rose 1.6 bps to 1.83%
- Spanish 10Y yield rose 0.5 bps to 1.617%
- Brent Futures down 0.2% to $ 58.31/bbl
- Gold spot down 0.2% to $ 1,290.95
- U.S. Dollar Index up 0.6% to 93.48
Bulletin Headline Summary from Ransquawk
- European equities trade marginally positive, as financials out-perform
- The greenback continues to gain ground against its major pairs, with pricing now at 80% for December
- Looking ahead, highlights include US durables, Pending Home Sales, DoE, RBNZ rate decision, President Trump on Tax and further central bank speak
Top Overnight News
- President Donald Trump and Republican leaders will launch an urgent effort to get a major legislative win this year, announcing a long-awaited tax plan that will immediately set off a fight over how much top earners should pay
- Siemens AG and Alstom SA agreed to merge their rail businesses in a deal that brings together former arch-rivals from Germany and France to create a European transportation giant aimed at countering competition from China
- The U.S. Commerce Department slapped import duties of 220 percent on the C Series plane Tuesday, citing improper subsidies after a complaint by Boeing Co.The preliminary determination threatens to upend Bombardier’s planned deliveries next year to Delta Air Lines Inc., which ordered at least 75 jets with a list value of more than $ 5 billion
- Volkswagen AG’s Scania unit was fined 880.5 million euros ($ 1.03 billion) by the European Union for price-fixing, a year after other members of a truck cartel reached a record settlement with regulators
- Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen said gradually raising interest rates is the most appropriate policy approach amid higher uncertainty about inflation, reinforcing the U.S. central bank’s forecast for another hike this year
- China’s central bank set its daily currency fixing stronger than expected on Wednesday, a move interpreted by traders as a show of support for the yuan before the start of a week-long holiday
- The Brexit bill may have just gotten even bigger. As the U.K. and EU haggle over the size of Britain’s exit payment, documents show pension costs for EU officials rose more than 5% in 2016. Higher pension costs will increase what the EU thinks the U.K. should pay
- Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike launched a new national party, giving her less than a month to pull together a political force capable of repeating local election victories over PM Shinzo Abe on the national stage
- Standard Chartered, CaixaBank Lead Europe Banks Rally on Yellen
- Morneau Won’t Budge on Deficits Despite Canada’s Red-Hot Growth
- Manafort’s Offer to Russian Is Said to Be Tied to Disputed Deal
- Nike Declines After Athletic Giant Gives Bleak Outlook for U.S.
- Micron Sees More Good Times Ahead in Memory Chip Market
- Chip Equipment Stocks May Move After ‘Big’ Micron Capex Forecast
- Cintas FY Revenue View Midpoint Beats Est.; Shares Rise 4%
- Gas Flow From Tamar Offshore Reserve Restarted
- Alstom, Siemens Forget High-Speed-Rail Feud Amid Asian Onslaught
Asia markets were mixed amid a lack of catalysts and after similar indecisiveness on Wall St. where the DJIA posted a 4th consecutive loss and the Nasdaq outperformed as tech rebounded from its worst performance in over a month. ASX 200 (-0.1%) was negative amid weakness seen in commodity stocks and gold miners after the precious metal slipped below USD 1300/oz, while Nikkei 225 (-0.3%) failed to benefit from a weaker currency and was pressured on mass ex-dividends with over 120 stocks in Nikkei 225 and over 1000 in the TOPIX trading ex-dividend today. Chinese markets outperformed their peers with Hang Seng (+0.5%) and Shanghai Comp. (+0.05%) kept afloat after firmer Chinese Industrial Profit growth, although upside was limited amid the absence of open market operations by the PBoC. Finally, 10yr JGBs were subdued and tracked the losses in USTs, as a risk averse tone in Japan and BoJ Rinban operation for JPY 880bln of JGBs failed to inspire demand. Chinese Industrial Profits (Aug) Y/Y 24.0% (Prev. 16.5%). PBoC refrained from open markets operations today. PBoC set CNY mid-point at 6.6192 (Prev. 6.6076)
Top Asian News
- Singapore Home Prices Have Bottomed, Hong Kong ‘Crazy,’ BNP Says
- No Volatility Here: How Taiwan’s Currency Became World’s Dullest
- The Mystery of the $ 1.8 Billion Korean Bond Selloff
- China Iron Rises From June-Low as Mills Seek Supply Before Break
- Indonesia Supreme Court Rejects Semen Indonesia’s Review Request
European equities trade in marginal positive territory with US futures pointing to a recovery over the pond, while European bourses have been helped by the morning struggles for EUR & GBP. Financials out-perform, as Standard Charted and RBS have received broker upgrades, with the sector further benefiting from the increased chance of a December move from the FOMC. Fixed income markets struggled overnight, as the pricing of tightening from the Fed was evident. Bunds have found some support around the 161.16 level, although any further hawkish follow-up from today’s Fed speakers could act as a further drag on prices. In the periphery, spreads are modestly tighter, although price action could become increasingly focused on the fallout of the upcoming Catalonian independence referendum. The headline issuance will come from the US today, with 2y FRN and 5y note auctions expected.
Top European News
- Cryptocurrency Derivatives? You Bet. This Trader Has 295% Return
- Sabadell, CaixaBank Share Rise as Catalan Concerns Subside
- Carillion Surges on M&A Speculation, Short Interest Elevated
- Italian Manufacturing Confidence Rises to Highest in 10 Years
- Cerberus’s Bawag Plans the First Austrian Bank IPO in 12 Years
In currencies, a bullish greenback has dictated FX price action following Yellen’s hawkish skew, stretched into early European trade, as some key levels have been broken. USD/JPY trades through September’s highs, finding some resistance curtesy of a 2017 trendline, alongside the touted 112.70 – 113.00 range, with heavy stops called around these levels. EUR/USD has also suffered, now in August’s range looking back towards 1.17. The NZ rate decision will be expected on the NY closing bell, with expectations on the RBNZ to remain on hold. The bank may reiterate comments that its monetary policy is to remain accommodative for a considerable time. Kiwi trade remains with concern of the election results, as a coalition is yet to be formed and New Zealand’s kingmaker party has stated that they will not decide on a partner before Oct. 7. Canadian Finance Minister Morneau said he sees higher rates ahead given where the economy is at but noted rates are still historically low, while he added the Canadian economy can do well with the currency at current levels.
In commodities, WTI crude futures have seen a modest pullback this morning from the advances seen in the wake of last night’s API draw with sentiment turning this morning amid reports Nigeria's NNPC expects their force majeure on Bonny Light to be lifted 'very soon'. Precious metals have weakened, as money moves from risk off flow. Gold has broken through the month’s lows, through 1288.00 and the previous heavy resistance seen through the year. Russian energy minister Novak says will examine extending OPEC oil output pact beyond March if makes sense, according to Die Presse.
Looking at the day ahead, there is durable and capital goods orders for August, pending home sales and MBA mortgage applications. Onto other events, we have three more Fed speakers, including: Bullard, Brainard and Rosengren. Further, President Trump will speak at Indiana on tax reform. Elsewhere, France’s finance minister is due to present the 2018 budget and outlook for the next 5 years.
US Event calendar:
- 7am: MBA Mortgage Applications, prior -9.7%
- 8:30am: Durable Goods Orders, est. 1.0%, prior -6.8%; Durables Ex Transportation, est. 0.2%, prior 0.6%
- 8:30am: Cap Goods Orders Nondef Ex Air, est. 0.3%, prior 1.0%; Cap Goods Ship Nondef Ex Air, est. 0.1%, prior 1.2%
- 10am: Pending Home Sales MoM, est. -0.5%, prior -0.8%; NSA YoY, est. -0.5%, prior -0.5%
- 9:15am: Fed’s Kashkari Speaks at Higher Education Event
- 1:30pm: Fed’s Bullard Speaks on Economy and Monetary Policy
- 2pm: Fed’s Brainard Speaks at Minority Banker Forum
- 7pm: Fed’s Rosengren to Speak to Money Marketeers in New York
DB's Jim Reid concludes the overnight wrap.
The main things to discuss today are Yellen and Macron’s speeches yesterday and the fact that we should get a bit more info about the next steps towards any hopes of Trump’s tax plans surfacing.
Firstly, Mrs Yellen’s speech on inflation and monetary policy had a few mixed messages, but the bond markets seemed to take a slightly hawkish bias from it. Yellen repeated her view that the current low inflation likely reflects many factors, some of which are temporary and some may be structural such as underlying changes in firms and consumer behaviour as well as the growing importance of global supply chains and online shopping. Notably, she suggested the Fed “may have misjudged the strength of the labour market, the degree to which longer-run inflation expectations are consistent with our inflation objectives”. In terms of what this means for rates, she cautioned the Fed “should be wary of wary of moving too gradually”, in part given the possibility that the labour market could overheat and create inflationary problems down the track. Conversely, “persistently easy monetary policy might also eventually lead to increased leverage and other developments”. For these reasons, she noted that “it would be imprudent to keep monetary policy on hold until inflation is back to 2%”. Nonetheless, she conceded the Fed will stay flexible, noting we “must be ready to adjust our assessment of economic conditions and outlook when new data warrant it”. The probability of a December rate hike (per Bloomberg) has now increased 3.4ppt to 66.6%.
Staying in the US, President Trump is expected to speak at Indiana today (5pm local time / EDT) on tax reforms, although it’s unclear what level of details will emerge. Bloomberg reports the tax framework could include: 1) cutting the corporate tax rate to 20% (from 35% existing) with businesses allowed to immediately write off their capex for five years, 2) cut the top individual tax rate to 35% (from 39.6% existing), with other tax brackets at 12% and 25%, 3) for companies looking to repatriate profits back to US, there will be a one-time tax, but the rate is unclear and 4) for pass-through entities (eg: partnerships and limited liability companies), their tax rate will be capped at 25%. We will wait and see the exact details, although a reminder that DB’s Brett Ryan’s “A primer on tax reform and the upcoming budget debate”, showed that getting tax reforms implemented will not be easy.
Moving on now to Macron’s vision for a “profound transformation” of the EU. At a high level, he said “Europe needs to be an economic and monetary power” that could rival China and US and that the “Europe we know (today) is too weak, too slow, too ineffective”. Further, time was running out to counter the rise of far-right nationalism and “give Europe back to its citizens”. In his one hour and 40 minutes speech, he has outlined a range of proposals, including: the need for a common EU budget and finance minister, common EU policies on defence, asylum and corporate tax rates, as well as the formation of European universities, a digital protection agency, border police, civil protection force as well as a common military intervention force. Notably, Macron has acknowledged that his vision will require support from Mrs Merkel, which will be more challenging post the election result.
Thus far, responses have been somewhat mixed. The EC President Juncker said “Europe requires courage” and “we now need a closely united, stronger and democratic Europe” and Germany’s Greens co-leader Cem Oezdemir said it was a ‘strong speech” and “now need close collaboration with Paris”. On the flip side, Hans Michelbach (a member of Merkel’s parliamentary caucus) said Macron’s proposals were “unsuited to moving Europe forward”. Elsewhere, Czech’s ANO party leader Andrej Babis said “all these proposals…all of this further integration…Juncker and Macron should think of why Brexit happened”.
Moving on to another hot topic at the moment, overnight, President Trump has reiterated that “we’re totally prepared for…military option (on North Korea)… but (it’s) not a preferred option”. Elsewhere in the Asia session China’s August industrial profits grew 24% yoy (vs. 16.5% previous) – the most in four years, with statistics officials attributing the growth to faster producer price inflation and lower costs. Asian markets are trading a bit mixed, as we type, the Nikkei (-0.29%) and ASX 200 (-0.34%) are down slightly, the Kospi is broadly flat, while the Hang Seng (+0.50%) and CSI 300 (+0.07%) is marginally higher.
Turning to market performance yesterday now. US bourses were little changed with the S&P (+0.01%) and Nasdaq (+0.15%) up slightly, while the Dow dipped 0.05%. Within the S&P, tech stocks partly recovered (+0.40%) from yesterday’s sell off. Elsewhere, the real estate and consumer staples sector advanced slightly, but other sectors were all in the red. European markets were mixed and also little changed, with the Stoxx 600 (+0.03%) and DAX (+0.08%) marginally higher, while the FTSE 100 dipped 0.21%.
Over in government bonds, core bond yields were slightly higher while peripherals outperformed, leading to a small reversal of Monday’s trend. At the 10y part of the curve, core bond yields were c1bp higher (UST +1.6bp, Bunds +0.8bp, OATs +0.6bp) but changes at the 2y maturities were mixed but little changed. Elsewhere, peripherals have outperformed at the 10y part of the curve, with Portugal (2Y: +1bp; 10Y: -4bp) and Spanish (2Y: unch; 10Y: -2bp) bond yields down modestly.
Turning to currencies, the EURUSD weakened 0.46% and is now down c2% from earlier in the month. The US dollar index strengthened 0.34% following Yellen’s speech, while GBPUSD was broadly flat. In commodities, WTI oil dipped 0.65% after stronger gains on the day before following reports that Turkey may restrict Kurdish oil exports that passes through its territory. Elsewhere, precious metals were modestly lower (Gold -1.28%; Silver -2.12%), while other base metals are mixed but little changed this morning (Copper -0.08%; Aluminium -0.15%; Zinc +0.47%).
Away from markets now and onto Brexit. The EC President Donald Tusk met with UK PM Theresa May yesterday and noted that there is “not sufficient progress yet” on Brexit talks and that PM May’s concessions doesn’t go far enough, noting the “philosophy of having a cake and eating it is finally coming to an end”. Elsewhere, Bloomberg reports that sources familiar to the Irish government’s preparation for Brexit expect the post Brexit transition period to extend beyond two years (flagged by PM May) to as much as five.
Over in the US, final efforts to repeal Obamacare has effectively ceased for now with Senator Collins of Maine also opposing the change. Co-sponsors for the health bill Bill Cassidy and Lindsey Graham said “we don’t have the votes (for a repeal)” but remained hopeful, noting “we’re coming back to this after taxes (reform).”
Before we take a look at today’s calendar, we wrap up with other data releases from yesterday. In the US, the Richmond Fed manufacturing index for September was above markets’ expectations at 19 (vs. 13 expected) and now back at its high for the year with improvements in both the shipments and new orders index. The Conference board consumer confidence index was a touch lower than expected at 119.8 (vs. 120), although the weakness is in the context of a downward revision (-2.5pt) to the prior month’s reading. Elsewhere, new home sales fell 3.4% mom in August (560k vs. 585k expected), with much of the decline due to lower building in South, likely reflecting some impacts from Hurricane Harvey. Notably, house prices as per the CoreLogic house price index for 20 key cities have slightly beat at 5.8% yoy (vs. 5.7% expected).
In France, the September business confidence (109 vs. 110 expected) and manufacturing confidence (110 vs. 110 expected) was broadly in line and remains at a six-year high. Elsewhere, UK’s August finance loans for housing came in at GBP$ 41.8bln (vs. GBP$ 41.7bln).
Looking at the day ahead, Italy’s July industrial orders and confidence indicators on manufacturing, consumer and economic sentiment will be due this morning. Then France’s consumer confidence and the Eurozone’s M3 money supply data are also due. Over in the US, there is durable and capital goods orders for August, pending home sales and MBA mortgage applications. Onto other events, we have three more Fed speakers, including: Bullard, Brainard and Rosengren. Further, President Trump will speak at Indiana on tax reform. Elsewhere, France’s finance minister is due to present the 2018 budget and outlook for the next 5 years.