Futures Jump As Crypto Turmoil Fades, Dip Buyers Make Cautious Appearance

After dropping to the edge of a bear market, with Eminis sliding to precisely 3,855 or exactly 20% lower than the all time high, US index futures rebounded sharply from the brink (the same way they did on Dec 24, 2018 when the S&P spent a few minutes in a bear market) as the stabilization of much of the cryptosphere (where no new stablecoins suddenly cratered to 0) and an overnight easing in Treasury yields provided some relief after a two-day slide. Nasdaq 100 futures climbed 1.7% as of 730 a.m. in New York. S&P 500 futures were also higher, rising 1.1%, as high as 3976 after dropping to 2,855 yesterday. Twitter shares plunged as much as 26% in New York premarket trading after Elon Musk tweeted that his deal for the social media company was “temporarily on hold.” Yields on 10-year US Treasury yields fell for a fourth consecutive day on Thursday, reaching 2.85%, before edging higher again on Friday. The dollar index dipped but remains on course for its longest streak of weekly gains since 2018, while bitcoin and ether reversed several days of harrowing losses to rise back over 30,000 and 2,000, respectively.

Abating panic in the cryptocurrency market was among the highlights of a risk-on environment on the last day of the week. Bitcoin added about $1,800 to top $30,000. US cryptocurrency-exposed stocks including Riot Blockchain Inc. and Marathon Digital Holdings Inc. also rallied premarket.

In notable premarket moves, Twitter slumped 21% after bidder Elon Musk tweeted deal was “temporarily on hold” pending details about fake accounts. On the other end, Robinhood surged 20% after cryptocurrency billionaire Sam Bankman-Fried snapped up a 7.6% stake, while Affirm jumped 30% after earnings. Cryptocurrency-exposed stocks climbed as digital assets started to rebound after the recent rout linked to the implosion of the TerraUSD stablecoin. Coinbase rose 11% despite being sued over its role in the promotion and trading of a stablecoin that purportedly had its value pegged to the price of the Japanese yen.  Bank stocks rose in premarket trading Friday, putting them on track to snap a six-day losing streak. Here are all the notable premarket movers:

  • Twitter (TWTR US) shares slump as much as 19% premarket after Musk says deal is “temporarily on hold pending details”. Tesla (TSLA US) shares hit a session high, rising nearly 5% on the news
  • Megacap tech stocks and semiconductor makers rally in US premarket trading amid a broad rebound across growth sectors, while Korean chip peer Samsung was said to be in talks to hike chipmaking prices. Apple (AAPL US) +2.1%, Meta Platforms (FB US) +2.4%, Microsoft (MSFT US) +1.8%
  • Robinhood (HOOD US) shares surge as much as 27% in U.S. premarket trading after cryptocurrency billionaire Sam Bankman-Fried disclosed a new 7.6% stake in the online brokerage
  • Cryptocurrency-exposed stocks climb in US premarket trading as digital assets started to rebound after the recent rout linked to the implosion of the TerraUSD stablecoin. Riot Blockchain (RIOT US) +7.9%, Marathon Digital (MARA US) +7.2%
  • US-listed Chinese stocks rise in premarket trading, with sentiment boosted by the Fed’s pushback on speculation of steeper interest-rate hikes and Shanghai’s new timeline to end a grueling lockdown. Alibaba (BABA US) +3.3%, JD.com (JD US) +4%, Pinduoduo (PDD US) +4.3%.
  • New Relic (NEWR US) declined 9% in postmarket. It delivered a mixed fourth quarter, according to analysts, with revenue growth coming in ahead of consensus, albeit with a lower beat compared to the last period
  • Figs (FIGS US) sinks as much as 27% in US premarket trading, with Cowen saying that the scrubs maker’s cut to its full-year 2022 sales growth and Ebitda margin guidance is “well below” previous guidance
  • Compass (COMP US) jumpped 7% in extended trading after the real-estate software company reported larger-than-expected revenues in the first quarter, despite guiding toward lower- than-expected second-quarter revenue
  • First Solar Inc. (FSLR US) shares gained 2.8% in extended trading on Thursday, as Piper Sandler upgrades the stock to overweight from neutral

Stocks have plunged this year as traders fretted over the impact tighter monetary will have on growth, with the S&P 500 dropping to precisely 20% from its recent peak before bouncing. On Thursday, Fed Chair Jerome Powell on Thursday reaffirmed that the central bank is likely to raise interest rates by a half percentage point at each of its next two meetings, while leaving open the possibility it could do more. The Fed chair also said that whether a soft landing can be executed or not may depend on factors that they cannot control but added they have tools to get inflation under control and that it will ultimately be more painful if high inflation is not dealt with and becomes entrenched. Furthermore, he noted that with perfect hindsight, it would have been better to have hiked rates sooner, according to Reuters.

As the Federal Reserve embarks on interest-rate hikes to tame surging inflation, expensive growth shares, including the tech sector, have suffered as higher rates mean a bigger discount for the present value of future profits. This marks a shift in investor outlook after tech stocks had been some of the market’s best performers for years. 

“While we continue to see positives for the market, investor sentiment isn’t likely to turn until we get greater clarity on the 3Rs — rates, recession and risk,” said Mark Haefele, chief investment officer, UBS Global Wealth Management. “Until then, we favor parts of the market that should outperform in an environment of rising policy rates, slowing growth, and geopolitical uncertainty.”

At $1.1 billion, tech stocks suffered their biggest outflows so far this year in the week to May 11, second only to financials, which lost $2.6 billion, Bank of America CIO Michael Hartnett wrote in a note, citing EPFR Global data. By contrast, US stocks overall noted their first inflow in five weeks at $93 million.

It’s a “very tough time,” Kathy Entwistle, managing director at Morgan Stanley Private Wealth Management, said on Bloomberg Television. “We’re holding just still and quiet and patient and waiting for some more insights as to where we’re going. We still see a lot of volatility on the horizon.”

In Europe, the Stoxx 600 Index rose 1.2% as the lowest valuations since the start of the pandemic drew buyers. Banks and technology stocks led gains, while autos and telecommunication shares underperformed.  Here are Europe’s biggest movers:

  • Evotec shares rise as much as 9.5% after Deutsche Bank analyst Falko Friedrichs raised the recommendation to buy from hold, citing a unique opportunity to invest in a firm with an entire partnered drug pipeline “for free.”
  • Deutsche Telekom shares advance 1.8% after raising full-year outlook for adjusted Ebitda after leases, reflecting higher forecasts for T-Mobile US.
  • Freenet shares gain as much as 4.8% 1Q results show a good start to the year, and there may be scope for a guidance upgrade in 1H22, Citi (buy) writes in note
  • Fortum shares advance as much as 11% on Friday — the biggest intraday gain since 2009 — after SEB and Danske Bank raised their recommendation on the stock citing the Finnish utility’s Russia exit and de-risking related to Uniper gas contracts.
  • UCB shares fall as much as 17% after the company said the US FDA said it can’t approve UCB’s psoriasis treatment bimekizumab in its current form, forcing the company and analysts to reasses 2022 expectations.
  • Drax falls as much as 7.6% and is among weakest performers in the Stoxx 600 on Friday after Credit Suisse gives the stock its only negative rating, moving to underperform on elevated power prices.
  • SalMar drops as much as 4%, falling alongside peers in the Norwegian salmon and seafood sector, after a slew of several companies in the sector reported 1Q earnings that came in below expectations.
  • Unipol and UnipolSai drop in Milan trading after releasing first-quarter results and the 2022-2024 strategic plan; analysts note lower-than-expected cumulative dividends in plan for UnipolSai.

European Union nations said it may be time to consider delaying a push to ban Russian oil if the bloc can’t persuade Hungary to back the embargo. Wheat production in Ukraine, one of the biggest growers, will fall by one-third compared to last year, according to a US forecast.

Earlier in the session, Asian stocks rallied as battered technology shares bounced back, with the regional benchmark still on track for its worst weekly losing streak since 2015 on worries about higher interest rates and lockdowns in China. The MSCI Asia Pacific Index rose as much as 1.8%, advancing with US futures as comments from Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell signaled rate hikes of more than 50 basis points may be unlikely. SoftBank was among the biggest boosts after its results, along with Tencent and TSMC. Traders said Friday’s rebound was largely driven by the unwinding of short positions following the recent selloff, with many still nervous about how China’s virus measures can complicate the already murky global economic outlook. The Asian equity measure was on track for its sixth-straight weekly decline, down 2.5% in the past five sessions.

“We have to be watchful on the impact of China’s lockdowns, that’s going to have an effect on inflation as well as on growth,” said Jumpei Tanaka, a strategist at Pictet. “Up until now, the earnings outlook hasn’t been lowered that much. The market has been adjusting valuations because of the Fed’s rate hikes. The next key point is how corporate earnings will be affected.” Japan’s Nikkei rose 2.6%, boosted by gains in Tokyo Electron after strong profits as well as SoftBank. In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng Tech Index jumped 4.5%.

India’s key equity indexes fell for a 6th straight session and posted their longest stretch of weekly losses in two years as investors’ appetite faded on the back of the local currency’s plunge to a record low and disappointing earnings.  The S&P BSE Sensex declined 0.3% to 52,793.62 in Mumbai after erasing advance of as much as 1.6% during the session. The NSE Nifty 50 Index retreated 0.2% to its lowest level since July 30. Both gauges have retreated 3.7% and 3.8% for the week respectively and fallen for a fifth straight week, their longest run of losses since April 2020. “The fear of rising inflation and expectations of more rate hikes in the near term are weighing on investors’ minds,” according to Kotak Securities analyst Amol Athawale.“Traders are selling at every opportunity given that there seems to be no respite from the negative news flows.” The Sensex and Nifty are now about 14.5% off their peak levels in Oct.  Ten of the 19 sector sub-indexes compiled by BSE Ltd. dropped on Friday, led by metal companies. For the week, utilities stock gauge was the worst performer, dropping about 11%.  ICICI Bank contributed the most to the Sensex’s decline, easing 2.7%. Out of 30 shares in the Sensex index, 15 rose while rest fell.

In rates, Treasuries were pressured lower as stock futures pushed through Thursday’s session highs, following gains across European equities. 10-year TSY yields rose to around 2.90%, cheaper by 5bp on the day and sitting close to session highs into early session — both bunds and gilts underperform slightly across the sector. Risk sentiment was boosted by a rebound in cryptocurrencies, leaving Treasury yields cheaper by up to 6bp across long-end of the curve where 20-year sector underperforms. Long-end led losses steepening 5s30s by 2bp on the day and 2s10s by 2.8bp. The Dollar issuance slate is empty so far; six deals were priced for $11.5b Thursday, taking weekly total to $21.7b vs. $30b projected — two names decided to stand down. Bund, gilt and UST curves bear-steepen. Peripheral spreads widen, short-dated BTPs lag, widening 5bps to core. Yields on Japan’s debt fell even as those on Treasuries rise across the curve in Asia amid higher equities.

In FX, the Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index slumped and the greenback weakened against all of it Group-of-10 peers apart from the yen as investor demand for haven assets ebbed after Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell pushed back against speculation of more aggressive interest-rate hikes. Risk sensitive Scandinavian currencies as well ask the Australian dollar led gains. The main theme in the FX options space Friday is gamma selloff following the large swings this week. Still, demand for low-delta exposure on a haven basis remains better bid, with greenback topside in good demand versus the euro and the pound. European government bonds followed US Treasuries lower, snapping a recent rally. Treasury yields rose by 3-7 bps as the curve bear- steepened. The yen pared early weakness after BOJ’s Kuroda stressed FX stability. China’s yuan strengthens against the dollar following warnings from the CBIRC with gains fading following soft loan data.

In commodities, Crude futures advance, WTI gains stall near $108. Base metals trade poorly with much of the LME complex down over 1%. Spot gold trades in a narrow range near $1,823/oz.

In crypto, Bitcoin rose back above $30,000.  Binance said that withdrawals for Lunar and UST will open when the market becomes more stable, will suspend spot trading for LUNA/BUSD and UST/BUSD at 09:30BST, May 13th.

To the day ahead now, and data releases include Euro Area industrial production for March, along with the University of Michigan’s preliminary consumer sentiment index for May. Otherwise, central bank speakers include the Fed’s Kashkari and Mester, as well as the ECB’s Centeno, Nagel and Schnabel.

Market Snapshot

  • S&P 500 futures up 1.1% to 3,970.75
  • STOXX Europe 600 up 1.2% to 429.53
  • MXAP up 1.7% to 160.25
  • MXAPJ up 1.9% to 522.21
  • Nikkei up 2.6% to 26,427.65
  • Topix up 1.9% to 1,864.20
  • Hang Seng Index up 2.7% to 19,898.77
  • Shanghai Composite up 1.0% to 3,084.28
  • Sensex up 1.2% to 53,564.26
  • Australia S&P/ASX 200 up 1.9% to 7,075.11
  • Kospi up 2.1% to 2,604.24
  • German 10Y yield little changed at 0.91%
  • Euro up 0.2% to $1.0403
  • Brent Futures up 0.8% to $108.30/bbl
  • Gold spot up 0.0% to $1,822.04
  • U.S. Dollar Index down 0.25% to 104.59

Top Overnight News from Bloomberg

  • Calls are growing for China’s government to sell more bonds to pay for extra stimulus to boost an economy facing its greatest challenges since the initial few months of the pandemic in 2020
  • For global investors trying to gauge the fallout from surging interest rates and slowing economic growth, Hong Kong is quickly emerging as a must-watch market. While Hong Kong’s $466 billion foreign-reserves stockpile and plentiful interbank liquidity suggest little chance of an imminent crisis, signs of financial stress are building
  • UK Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak said the Brexit settlement in Northern Ireland is causing economic and political harm and called on the European Union to be flexible, comments likely to be seen as an attempt to publicly align himself with Boris Johnson after reports of a rift
  • With the U.K. wilting under the fastest inflation in three decades, supermarkets are raising prices at an even quicker rate, according to a new analysis prepared for Bloomberg. That’s turning the screws on shoppers who are already grappling with higher gas and heating bills and falling real incomes
  • Some EU nations are saying it may be time to consider delaying a push to ban Russian oil so they can proceed with the rest of a proposed sanctions package if the bloc can’t persuade Hungary to back the embargo
  • Beijing reported a slight increase in new Covid-19 cases after officials late Wednesday denied the city will be locked down amid growing concern the Chinese capital’s response to a persistent outbreak is about to be intensified
  • Investors are deep in risk-off mood with outflows from stocks, bonds, cash and gold, Bank of America strategists said, citing EPFR Global data

A more detailed look at global markets courtesy of Newsquawk

APAC stocks were firmer as risk momentum picked up following on from the volatile session on Wall St where the major indices finished mixed but almost wiped out all losses after a late ramp up heading into the close. ASX 200 traded with respectable gains and back above the 7,000 level with tech frontrunning the advances. Nikkei 225 outperformed as focus remained on earnings, while SoftBank surged amid buyback hopes and despite a record loss. Hang Seng and Shanghai Comp joined in on the elated mood with Hong Kong led by strength in tech, although the advances in the mainland were moderated by the mixed COVID headlines with Beijing to conduct the next round of mass COVID testing, while Shanghai aims to achieve zero community spread by the middle of this month and is considering expanding the scale of output resumption.

Top Asian News

  • Shanghai Vice Mayor said they aim to have no community spread of coronavirus by mid-May and are considering expanding the scale of production resumption, while they will aim to open up, ease traffic restrictions and open shops in an orderly manner, according to Reuters.
  • Shanghai is to prioritise resuming classes for grades 9, 11 and 12, while supermarkets, convenience and department stores will resume offline operations in an orderly manner and other services such as hairdressing will open gradually, according to Global Times.
  • China Banking and Insurance Regulatory Commission says the Yuan’s weakening is not sustainable, adding do not bet on the unilateral devaluation and appreciation or you could face unnecessary losses; retreat in the Yuan was normal market reaction..
  • BoJ Governor Kuroda said Japan still hasn’t achieved a situation where inflation is stably and sustainably at 2%, while the expected rise in inflation is driven mostly by energy costs and is lacking sustainability. Kuroda reiterated the BoJ must continue monetary easing to reach its price target and it is premature to debate an exit from ultra-easy policy, while he also said it is appropriate to maintain the current dovish forward guidance on interest rates, according to Reuters.
  • North Korea said around 350k have shown fever symptoms of an ‘unknown cause’ and 187.8k are being treated in isolation, while it reported 18k COVID-19 cases and 6 died from a fever in which one was confirmed as a COVID death, according to KCNA and Yonhap.

European bourses are firmer as the rebound from Thursday’s selloff continues, Euro Stoxx 50 +1.3%. US futures are similarly bolstered across the board, NQ outpacing peers modestly as Tech recoups, ES +0.9%. Samsung (005930 KS) is reportedly in talks to hike chipmaking prices by up to 20%, according to Bloomberg sources. Elon Musk says the Twitter (TWTR) deal is temporarily on hold, pending details supporting the calculation that spam/fake accounts represent less than 5% of users. Pressure in TWTR subsequent extended to -13% in the pre-market; extending to -19% after five-minutes.

Top European News

  • UK PM Johnson is considering as many as 90k job cuts in civil service, according to ITV.
  • GVS Shares Rise After Agreeing to Buy Haemotronic for EU212m
  • EU Starts to Consider Oil Sanctions Delay as Hungary Digs In
  • UCB Plunges After FDA Says It Can’t Approve Psoriasis Drug Now
  • Black Bankers Fight to Hold Finance Accountable for Its Promises

FX

  • Dollar and Yen shed some safe haven gains as risk sentiment recovers ahead of the weekend; DXY slips from fresh 2022 peak at 104.920, though still positive, and USD/JPY up near 129.00 vs new retracement low circa 127.50.
  • Aussie takes advantage of pickup in risk appetite and Yuan bounce amidst verbal intervention; AUD/USD hovering under 0.6900 from sub-0.6850 yesterday, USD/CNH and USD/CNY around 6.8000 vs 6.8370 and 6.8110.
  • Euro, Pound and Franc regroup, but remain vulnerable around psychological levels; 1.0400, 1.2200 and parity in EUR/USD, Cable and USD/CHF respectively.
  • Loonie off recent lows post hawkish BoC comments and pre Q1 Loans Survey, USD/CAD close to 1.3000 and 1.1bln option expiry interest between 1.2990 and the round number.
  • Peso underpinned after 50 bp Banxico hike as 1 of the 5 voters dissented for 75 bp.
  • Czech Koruna caught between CNB minutes underlining dovish leaning of new head and Holub opining that May’s hike may not be the final one.

Fixed Income

  • Bonds bounce after conceding ground to recovering risk assets.
  • Bunds find support just ahead of 154.00, Gilts in the low 120.00 zone and 10 year T-note at 119-07.
  • Curves re-steepen after decent US 30 year sale completes the Quarterly Refunding remit and attention turns to 20 year and 10 year TIPS auctions next week.

Commodities

  • WTI and Brent are firmer moving with the broad rebound in risk-assets, however, upside is capped amid the EU considering omitting the proposed Russia oil embargo from the 6th sanctions round.
  • WTI resides around USD 107/bbl (106.29-108.13 intraday range) and Brent trades just under USD 109/bbl (107.79-109.79 intraday range).
  • Spot gold is contained around USD 1820/oz, though it is coming under modest pressure as the DXY picks up most recently.

US Event Calendar

  • 08:30: April Import Price Index MoM, est. 0.6%, prior 2.6%; YoY, est. 12.2%, prior 12.5%
  • 08:30: April Export Price Index MoM, est. 0.7%, prior 4.5%; YoY, est. 19.2%, prior 18.8%
  • 10:00: May U. of Mich. Sentiment, est. 64.0, prior 65.2; Current Conditions, est. 69.3, prior 69.4; Expectations, est. 61.5, prior 62.5
  • 10:00: May U. of Mich. 1 Yr Inflation, est. 5.5%, prior 5.4%; 5-10 Yr Inflation, prior 3.0%

DB’s Jim Reid concludes the overnight wrap

As those working in this industry know, spreadsheet errors can have consequences – often costly ones. My fiancée doesn’t spend as much time on Excel as I do, but with our wedding coming up in July, she’s been using a spreadsheet to keep track of the number of guests. I privately regard this sheet to be an abomination, so in the interests of our future marriage I’ve tried to avoid the subject. But a couple of weeks ago I was told that we needed more guests and had to extend further invites, since we were up against the reception venue’s minimum. This I duly did, although having already invited my friends, I mostly resorted to being a lot more generous on my plus-one policy. At the weekend however, she showed me the spreadsheet. It turned out she hadn’t extended the range on the guest list sum function, and we were already comfortably above what we needed. I won’t tell you how much these extra invites have cost us. Thankfully as a primary school teacher she doesn’t teach Excel to her 5- and 6-year-olds, although I then discovered with even more alarm that she’s considered the spreadsheet expert at her school…

It’s been a costly few weeks in markets too as investors have priced in growing recession risks, and over the last 24 hours we’ve seen some incredible intraday volatility across a range of asset classes. At one point in the New York afternoon, the S&P 500 had been down -1.94% at the lows, which left it just shy of a -20% decline since its all-time closing peak that would mark the formal start of a bear market. But then in the final hour there was a major recovery that meant the index only saw a modest -0.13% fall on the day, even if that still marked a fresh one-year low. Futures markets are implying we’re going to see that rally extended today, with those for the S&P up +0.92% this morning. But even if we do see a recovery of that sort of magnitude, then the major losses we’ve already seen this week mean it would still be the first time in over a decade that the index has posted 6 consecutive weekly declines.

That pattern of deep losses followed by a late recovery was echoed more broadly yesterday, with the NASDAQ paring back losses of more than -2% on the day to eke out a marginal +0.06% advance. For the FANG+ index (-0.30%), the late recovery wasn’t enough to bring it back into positive territory, and there was a significant milestone reached since its latest slump means it’s now more than -40% beneath its all-time high, which surpasses its losses during the Covid selloff of 2020 when it was “only” down by -34% from peak to trough. European equities lost ground too, and the STOXX 600 (-0.75%) similarly saw a second-half recovery, having been as low as -2.41% earlier in the day.

Unlike in April, when the equity declines were triggered by the prospect of a more aggressive Fed tightening cycle and went hand-in-hand with sovereign bond losses, this week’s declines have much more obviously surrounded global growth risks, which you can see in the way that Fed Funds futures are now beginning to take out some of the tightening they’d been pricing in over the year ahead. Only yesterday, the futures-implied rate by the FOMC’s December meeting came down by -5.3bps to still be beneath its level from 3 weeks earlier, which marks a change from the almost relentless march higher we’ve seen over the last 8 months. In fact the only major interruption to that trend so far has come from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in late-February, before the inflationary consequences of the conflict reasserted themselves on market pricing.

With investors expecting less monetary tightening and seeking out safe havens, yesterday witnessed a major sovereign bond rally across countries and maturities. The 10yr Treasury yield came down -7.3bps to 2.85%, and at the front-end of the curve, 2yr yields were down -7.8bps to 2.56%. This came on a day with another round of Fed speakers sounding the same tune of late, including Chair Powell who said that +50bp hikes at the next two meetings were probably appropriate. Meanwhile, he sounded an even more pessimistic tone on the path of the economy given the impending tightening, noting that getting inflation back to target would “include some pain” and that whether a soft landing can be arranged is up to matters beyond the Fed’s control.

Over in Europe the declines were even larger, with yields on 10yr bunds (-14.6bps) undergoing their biggest daily move since the start of March, as yields on 10yr OATs (-13.8bps), BTPs (18.4bps) and gilts (-16.5bps) saw similar declines. A noticeable feature of the recent sovereign bond rally is how investors’ expectations of future inflation have come down significantly over recent days, with the 10yr German breakeven falling from a peak of 2.98% on May 2 to just 2.29% yesterday, which is an even faster decline than the one seen during the initial phase of the Covid pandemic in March 2020.

That flight to havens was evident in foreign exchange markets too, where the dollar index strengthened a further +0.97% to levels not seen since 2002. Conversely, that saw the euro close beneath the $1.04 mark for the first time since late-2016, although the traditional safe haven of the Japanese Yen was the top-performing G10 currency yesterday, strengthening +1.27% against the US Dollar and +2.61% against the Euro. When it came to cryptocurrencies, Bitcoin hit an intraday low of $25,425 shortly after the European open, which is the first time it’s traded that low since late 2020, before recovering its losses to end the session higher at $28,546, and this morning it’s rebounded another +6.34% to hit $30,356.

Overnight in Asia we’ve seen a significant rebound in equity markets too, with the Nikkei (+2.52%), the Hang Seng (+2.00%) and the KOSPI (+1.72%) all seeing sizeable advances, and the Shanghai Comp (+0.56%) also posting a solid gain. Those earlier comments from Chair Powell after the US close have supported risk appetite, particularly since he echoed his previous comments about the Fed being on course for further 50bp hikes at the next couple of meetings, rather than moving towards 75bps in the aftermath of the stronger-than-expected CPI reading. A number of yesterday’s other moves have also begun to unwind, with the Japanese Yen down -0.50% against the US Dollar this morning, whilst yields on 10yr Treasuries have risen +3.6bps overnight. Separately in Shanghai, officials said that they planned to stop community spread of Covid-19 and start reopening by May 20, which is the first time that a timeline has been put forward as to when the lockdown might end.

Elsewhere yesterday, there was a significant +13.50% rise in European natural gas futures after Gazprom said that gas flows wouldn’t be able to go through the Yamal pipeline because of Russian-imposed sanctions on European companies. But on the other hand, Bloomberg reported that some EU nations were considering a delay in sanctioning Russian oil in light of Hungarian opposition, and instead pushing ahead with the rest of the sanctions package. There were also further signs of the geopolitical shifts as a result of Russia’s invasion, after Finland’s President and Prime Minister endorsed NATO membership, saying the country should apply “without delay”.

Staying on the political sphere, tensions have continued to fester between the UK and the EU over the Northern Ireland Protocol, and yesterday’s statements from the two sides indicated there was a difficult phone call between UK Foreign Secretary Truss and EU Commission Vice President Šefčovič. The UK Foreign Office’s readout of the call said that “if the EU would not show the requisite flexibility … we would have no choice but to act.” Then Šefčovič said in his own statement that it was “of serious concern that the UK government intends to embark on the path of unilateral action.” So one to watch into next week given press reports we could hear more from the UK side then.

Looking at yesterday’s data, the US PPI reading added to the picture of elevated inflationary pressures. The headline monthly gain for April came in at +0.5% as expected, but the March reading was revised up two-tenths to +1.6%, meaning that the year-on-year figure only came down to +11.0% (vs. +10.7% expected). We also had the weekly initial jobless claims for the week through May 7, which came in at 203k (vs. 193k expected). And in the UK, the Q1 GDP reading was a bit below consensus at +0.8% (vs. +1.0% expected), and looking at the monthly reading for March specifically there was actually a -0.1% contraction (vs unchanged expected).

To the day ahead now, and data releases include Euro Area industrial production for March, along with the University of Michigan’s preliminary consumer sentiment index for May. Otherwise, central bank speakers include the Fed’s Kashkari and Mester, as well as the ECB’s Centeno, Nagel and Schnabel.

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