2017 Stock Rally Continues As Global Inflation Accelerates

Posted on by Timothy Hare

Following another day of upbeat economic data, with growing signs that inflation on both sides of the Atlantic is accelerating, investors rediscovered their faith in the Trumpflation rally, pushing global stocks and US equity futures higher, fuelling a second day of 2017 equity gains ahead of today’s release of the Fed’s December minutes.

The dollar slumped and the euro moved further above $1.04 after data showed French consumer confidence hit its highest for nine years and businesses across the euro zone ended 2016 by ramping up activity at the fastest pace for five-and-a-half years. This followed similarly upbeat reports this week on U.S., UK, Chinese and Japanese business activity.

“The year has started with a stream of good macro stories which has justified a risk on position with investors,” Andrew Milligan, head of global strategy at Standard Life Investments told Bloomberg. He favors stocks and bonds of developed countries poised to benefit from a reflating U.S. economy that will boost the dollar over emerging markets.

The Eurozone composite Purchasing Managers’ Index climbed to 54.4 in December from 53.9 in November, IHS Markit said on Wednesday. That’s the highest in 67 months and above a Dec. 15 estimate. Strength in both the manufacturing and service sectors was due in part to a weaker euro, London-based Markit said in a statement. Economic expansion was signaled across the “big-four” nations, with Spain leading the way, followed closely by Germany.

Figures also showed that euro zone December inflation hit its highest since September 2013, which helped support a rise in oil, commodity prices and bond yields. Consumer prices rose 1.1% from a year earlier, following a 0.6% gain in November, according to Eurostat on Wednesday. That’s above a median forecast of 1 percent in a Bloomberg survey of economists. Core inflation, which excludes volatile items such as energy and food, increased to 0.9 percent last month.

The data follow the ECB’s decision to prolong quantitative easing to guarantee a sustained pickup in inflation in a year that could see economies hit by political uncertainty. Surprisingly strong accelerations of headline rates in Germany and Spain, mainly driven by a surge in the cost of oil, may strengthen the central bank’s focus on weakness in underlying price pressures as it assesses policy in coming months.

The unexpectedly strong acceleration in both regional and national inflation rates follows a 12.6 percent surge in Brent crude last month. ECB President Mario Draghi said in December that price growth remained weak, even as Executive Board member Benoit Coeure told Boersen-Zeitung last week that inflation could face upside risks. Bundesbank President Jens Weidmann, one of the ECB’s most hawkish officials, has argued in favor of a swift unwinding of stimulus once price growth allows, while Ifo President Clemens Fuest said in an interview published Tuesday the central bank may want to consider ending asset purchases as early as March.

“This latest data could mark the beginning of the end to ECB’s bond-buying program and expansive monetary policy as it edges closer to their inflation target of two percent,” Xtrade’s Chief Market Analyst, Paul Sirani, said.

Looking at global stocks, the MSCI All-Country World Index rose for a second day to trade 0.3 percent higher, and its index of major Asian shares excluding Japan rose for a seventh consecutive day, gaining 0.3%.

In Europe, The Stoxx Europe 600 Index was little changed, dragged down by declines on retailers. One of the biggest movers on major European bourses was UK retailer Next. Its shares fell as much as 14 percent after cutting its annual profit forecast and forecasting a difficult year ahead. The stock has lost nearly 40 percent over the past year.

Japan’s Topix index and Nikkei 225 Stock Average both gained at least 2.4 percent, the best first day of trading since 2013.

U.S. futures pointed to a higher opening of between 0.1 percent and 0.2 percent on Wall Street, priming the Dow Jones for another test of the 20,000-point mark.

In currencies, the potential for further U.S. rate hikes this year ensured profit-taking on the dollar’s run on Tuesday was limited to just 0.15 percent against a basket of currencies. The dollar’s strength in Asian trading helped Japan’s exporter-heavy stock market rally toward its biggest daily increase for almost two months.

The euro rose 0.3 percent to $1.0435, and the dollar gave up earlier gains against the yen to trade little changed at 117.75 yen. Euro zone inflation expectations are moving closer to the European Central Bank’s target of just below 2 percent, offering some welcome relief to ECB policymakers who for years have struggled to lift growth and inflation.

In rates, U.S. Treasury notes due in 2026 edged lower, with the yield rising one basis point to 2.457 percent.  German and UK yields were flat at 0.26 percent and 1.32 percent, respectively. Germany’s 10-year yield had hit a two-week high of 0.29 percent on Tuesday. The Markit iTraxx Europe Index of credit-default swaps on investment-grade companies declined one basis point to 69 basis points. A gauge of swaps on high-yield companies fell two basis points to 280 basis points, the lowest since July 2015.

Investors will now turn their attention to the minutes of the Federal Reserve’s policy meeting last month when it raised rates.

“What is important is the Fed’s view on inflation, especially after the (strong) ISM manufacturing survey data yesterday,” said Naeem Aslam, analyst at Think Markets. “Improvement in input prices is going to have an impact on final products which would, in turn, move the scale on inflation, upon which the Fed can no longer be reticent,” he said.

Market Snapshot

  • S&P 500 futures up 0.2% to 2256
  • Stoxx 600 down less than 0.1% to 366
  • FTSE 100 down less than 0.1% to 7177
  • DAX down 0.1% to 11572
  • German 10Yr yield up less than 1bp to 0.27%
  • Italian 10Yr yield down 2bps to 1.85%
  • Spanish 10Yr yield down 1bp to 1.41%
  • S&P GSCI Index up 0.4% to 392.2
  • MSCI Asia Pacific up 1.3% to 137
  • Nikkei 225 up 2.5% to 19594
  • Hang Seng down less than 0.1% to 22134
  • Shanghai Composite up 0.7% to 3159
  • S&P/ASX 200 up less than 0.1% to 5736
  • US 10-yr yield up 1bp to 2.46%
  • Dollar Index down 0.19% to 103.01
  • WTI Crude futures up 0.7% to $52.71
  • Brent Futures up 0.7% to $55.85
  • Gold spot up 0.6% to $1,165
  • Silver spot up 0.7% to $16.40

Top Global News

  • Ford, Toyota Form Telematics Bloc to Stymie Google and Apple: Mazda, PSA, Fuji and Suzuki join to ensure connectivity choice
  • J&J Judge Slashes $1 Billion Verdict Over Pinnacle Hip Implants: Judge found punitive-damage award was constitutionally flawed
  • Tesla Deliveries Miss Forecasts Again on Production Delays: Model S maker cites production challenges related to Autopilot
  • Bloomberg’s Winning Economic Forecasters Lay Out 2017 Calls: Most-accurate predictors of inflation, unemployment and growth explain their outlook for this year
  • Trump Tariff on GM Would Violate NAFTA. That May Not Stop Him: U.S. trade deal with Mexico and Canada forbids tariffsQualcomm’s Newest Smartphone Chip Aimed at PC Breakthrough: Snapdragon 835 will enable thinner handset with larger battery
  • Blackstone Said to Near Deal to Buy Sesac: WSJ reports company in advanced talks to buy Sesac, citing unidentified people familiar.
    Trump Says His Briefing on ‘So-Called’ Russia Hacking Is Delayed
  • China Said to Consider Options to Back Yuan, Curb Outflows
  • Qualcomm’s Newest Smartphone Chip Aimed at PC Breakthrough
  • Nikkei’s Financial Times Buys GIS Planning to Expand Services
  • Manhattan Home Prices Fall as Sellers Concede to Slowing Market

In Asia, equity markets traded mostly positive following gains on Wall Street, where strong data underpinned sentiment despite a slump in oil markets. Nikkei 225 (+2.5%) outperformed with gains of over 2.0% as the index played catch-up to yesterday’s advances on return from holiday with JPY weakness also benefiting exporters. Furthermore, the index also benefited from firm domestic manufacturing PMI data and rhetoric from PM Abe that he will continue to make the economy a priority and there will be no snap election. ASX 200 (+0.1%) stalled at 19-month highs, with weakness in real estate capping gains in the index. Shanghai Comp. (+0.8%) and Hang Seng (-0.1%) traded indecisive with cautiousness seen after another weak liquidity operation by the PBoC which effectively drained CNY 140bIn in liquidity today, while HSBC shares outperformed after the bank increased its 3-month CNH deposit rate in Hong Kong to 2.85%. 10yr JGBs traded lower despite a JPY 1.12tIn bond buying operation by BoJ as participants sought riskier assets on return to the market, while the yield curve steepened amid underperformance in the super-long end.

Top Asian News

  • China Said to Consider Options to Back Yuan, Curb Outflows: Authorites may order state-owned firms to sell dollars
  • India Sets Date for Polls Seen as Referendum on Modi’s Note Ban: Country’s most populous state heads to polls from Feb. 11
  • KFC’s Return to Malaysian Bourse Heralds Rebound in Deal Volumes: Fundraising from Malaysian IPOs is poised to rebound from the lowest in 16 years
  • Tencent Shares Losing $35 Billion Shows Depth of China Gloom: Technology giant has tumbled 13% from September record
  • Indonesia Temporarily Suspends All Military Ties With Australia: Move threatens to undermine improved relations between sides

European bourses have failed to remain afloat despite the spate of better than expected Eurozone PMI readings support by Germany and France. While the FTSE 100 continues to hover around record highs, however the index has been dragged lower by Next (-11%) after the company cut their profit guidance. Elsewhere, financials continue their strong start to the year with major financial names among the notable outperformers in Europe.

European Eco Data

  • (FR) Dec. Consumer Confidence 99, est. 99
  • (SP) Dec. Unemployment MoM Net (’000s) 86.8, est. -50
  • (SP) Dec. Markit Services PMI 55.5, 54.7 est.
  • (SP) Dec. Markit Composite PMI 55.5, est. 55
  • (IT) Dec. Markit/ADACI Services PMI 52.3, est. 52.6
  • (IT) Dec. Markit/ADACI Composite PMI 52.9, est. 53
  • (FR) Dec. Markit Services PMI 52.9, est. 52.6
  • (FR) Dec. Markit Composite PMI 53.1, est. 52.8
  • (EC) Dec. Markit Services PMI 53.7, est. 53.1
  • (EC) Dec. Markit Composite PMI 54.4, est. 53.9
  • (UK) Dec. Markit/CIPS Construction PMI 54.2, est. 52.5
  • (EC) Dec. CPI Estimate YoY 1.1%, est. 1%
  • (EC) Dec. CPI Core YoY 0.9%, est. 0.8%
  • (IT) Dec. CPI EU Harmonized MoM 0.4%, est. 0.2%
  •     (IT) Dec. CPI EU Harmonized YoY 0.5%, est. 0.3%

Top European News

  • Hard Brexit Looms Large With Resignation of U.K.’s EU Envoy: Rogers says negotiating expertise ‘in short supply’ in London
  • Euro-Area Inflation Outpaces Expectations as Oil Prices Surge: Consumer prices rise 1.1%, core inflation increases to 0.9%
  • CEZ Sees No Impact on 2017 Earnings From Czech Currency Cap Exit: Czech central bank plan to exit its currency-cap regime after 1Q will have “practically no impact” on CEZ’s 2017 earnings, CFO Martin Novak says
  • Swedish Six-Hour Workday Runs Into Trouble: It’s Too Costly: Swedes looking forward to a six-hour workday just got some bad news: the costs outweigh the benefits.

In currencies, the U.S. Dollar Index was 0.3 percent lower after touching its highest level since at least 2005. Across FX markets, the USD index has continued to run out of steam against its major counterparts with the US 10yr yield below 2.5% and USD/JPY moving further away from 118.00. Elsewhere, AUD/USD hovers at intra-day highs having tripped stops through 0.7250 while near term resistance resides at 0.7280. EUR/GBP has failed to find any firm direction with price action likely to be magnetised around 0.8500 amid a large vanilla option expiry worth lbln. Additionally, Eurozone inflation continued its upward momentum in December, accelerating at the fastest pace since 2013, however limited reaction had been observed given that the figures were largely in-line with consensus. The rand strengthened 1.4 percent as of 10:40 a.m. in London while the ruble added 0.3 percent in its second day of advances.  Citigroup strategists said in a Jan. 3 note to clients that “Russia and South Africa could be outperformers” in developing Europe, “but it might still be a bumpy ride for EMFX as the relatively hawkish FOMC signal from mid-December permeates.”

In commodities, crude oil futures climbed as much as 1.2 percent in New York after tumbling 2.6 percent Tuesday, before returning to broadly unchanged. Dampened sentiment has been due to concerns surrounding cooperation among other oil producing nations, while some note that Libya and Nigeria who are exempt from cuts have already made progress on increasing production. Elsewhere, Gold continues to remain in modest positive territory with prices in close proximity to 3-week highs while Copper rebounded of its worst levels overnight amid a mostly positive risk tone in the Asia-Pacific region.

US Event Calendar

  • 7am: MBA Mortgage Applications, Dec. 30
  • 8:55am: Redbook weekly sales
  • 2pm: FOMC Meeting Minutes, Dec. 14
  • 4:30pm: API weekly oil inventories

* * *

DB’s Jim Reid concludes the overnight wrap

It hasn’t taken long for markets to dust off the holiday cobwebs and start acclimatizing to 2017. The good news is that unlike the freefall sparked by China’s equity markets this time last year, the mood in 2017 is so far so good with some decent data out of the manufacturing sector helping to set the early pace.

Indeed after the generally positive data in Europe on Monday, the UK manufacturing PMI was yesterday reported as surging to 56.1 in December (vs. 53.3 expected) from 53.6 and to the highest in two and a half years. In the afternoon we then learned that the ISM manufacturing reading in the US had risen to 54.7 in December (vs. 53.8 expected) and the highest since December 2014. The details revealed that the new orders component surged to 60.2 from 53.0 in the month prior too which is particularly noteworthy in light of the recent strength for the US Dollar. To put in perspective this component printed at 48.8 in December 2015. Meanwhile the final manufacturing PMI for the US last month was revised up a tad to 54.3 (from 54.2). It’s worth noting that Greece is the only developed nation with a manufacturing PMI below 50 but even that reading (49.3) is still at a four-month high.

Equity markets were generally firmer across the board yesterday as a result with the Stoxx 600 closing +0.70% and the S&P 500 kicking off 2017 with a +0.85% gain. European Banks (+2.84%) have also started the year in style with the catalyst yesterday appearing to be the news that the Basel Committee had postponed a meeting due for this weekend to consider a contentious reforms package, fuelling expectations that some of the proposals could potentially be watered down. Meanwhile the US auto sector was also in focus after Ford announced that they were to scrap plans for a $1.6bn expansion in Mexico and instead create new jobs in Michigan following proposals by President-elect Trump to slap tariffs on foreign made vehicles. That news also came as Trump turned to social media to criticize General Motors for production of vehicles in Mexico. The Peso (-1.82%) was a notable underperformer in FX as a result.

If that wasn’t enough then a complete reversal for Oil also added another dimension to yesterday’s session. WTI Oil peaked at $55.24/bbl in the early morning, or over 2% higher, before then plummeting some 5% from those early highs to close -2.59% on the day at $52.33/bbl. Natural Gas also tumbled -10.66% for the biggest one-day decline since February 2014. While forecasts for milder weather in the US this month were attributed to the decline for the latter, there didn’t appear to be an obvious catalyst for the sharp swing in Oil aside from the continued strength for the Greenback.

Meanwhile the rates market was an interesting microcosm of the volatility that we expect this year. Yields initially surged in Europe supported by the early gains for Oil and then later on by the bumper inflation report in Germany where headline CPI jumped +1.0% mom in December (vs. 0.6% expected) and so helping the YoY rate to hit +1.7% from +0.7% in November and the highest since July 2013. The wider Euro area CPI report is due today and a similar jump, assuming it can be maintained, will surely give the ECB some food for thought. Anyway the data helped 10y Bund yields jump +7.7bps to 0.258% while yields in the periphery were anywhere from +9.0bps to +20.8bps higher. The Treasury market opened in similar fashion with that US data also helping matters and 10y Treasury yields peaked at 2.516% (after opening at 2.445%) before the energy complex went into reverse. Treasury yields completely unwound that move higher and finished unchanged by the closing bell.

A reminder that today we’ll also get the FOMC minutes from that December meeting where we’re expecting the tone to reflect the moderately more hawkish nature of the statement. Ahead of this sentiment has remained fairly buoyant in the Asia session this morning where bourses in Japan in particular have reopened in style. The Nikkei and Topix have surged +2.14% and +2.17% respectively with financials leading the way while there are also gains in China with the Shanghai Comp +0.39% and CSI 300 +0.42%. The Kospi and ASX are little changed along with the Hang Seng while credit indices are generally tighter in Asia Pac. US equity index futures are also up modestly while Oil has rebounded about half a percent.

Moving on. Yesterday we got the latest ECB CSPP breakdown as of the end of December. The numbers took on added interest with the addition of the primary and secondary market split too. With regards to holdings, the ECB announced total holdings of €51.07bn which works out as net purchases settled during the month of €3.89bn, albeit with an unsurprising slowdown into year end. In terms of the split, of the total holdings currently, €6.93bn or 13.6% were made in the primary market and €44.14bn or 86.4% were made in the secondary market. Interestingly while the overall primary market purchases (in percentage terms) were ramped up from June to October, they have held relatively steady over the months of November and December although this may also reflect the slowdown in the new issue market into the end of the year.

Meanwhile there were some interesting developments on the Brexit front in the UK yesterday too with the announcement that Britain’s ambassador to the EU, Sir Ivan Rogers, had unexpectedly resigned just a couple of months out from the UK’s formal resignation from the EU and prior to the end of his official tenure in October. Various reports suggested that Rogers was one of most experienced EU negotiators and was heavily criticized last year by Conservative eurosceptics. His resignation letter – obtained by the FT – stated that ‘serious multilateral negotiating experience is in short supply’ and that ‘we do not yet know what the government will set as negotiating objectives for the UK’s relationship with the EU after exit’. No obvious reason was provided for his early resignation although Rogers did confirm that it would make more sense to have a team in place which see’s Britain through the entire Brexit process. The news could come as a bit of a blow to the ‘Soft’ Brexit camp though and clearly comes at a crucial time in talks so it’ll be interesting to see if there is any further fallout following this announcement.

Looking at the day ahead, this morning in Europe we’ll get the remaining December PMI’s (services and composite prints) including the final revisions for the Euro area, Germany and France as well as a first look at the data for the periphery. Also due out this morning is the CPI report for the Euro area where headline inflation is expected to have ticked up to +1.0% yoy from +0.6%. The UK will also release the November money and credit aggregates data while in France we’ll get the latest consumer confidence print. Over in the US this afternoon the lone data release is the December vehicle sales data while later on this evening we’ll get the FOMC minutes from the December meeting.

Source: zero hedge

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