Goldman Sachs Expects UK Oil Prices to Fall to $20 After ...

Futures Jump, Dollar Slides After Report Fed May End Hikes As Early As Spring

After yesterday's historic rout in the market, there were signs of stabilization in overnight trading with most markets trading higher, with the key catalyst a report from MNI that the Fed may end its rate hikes as soon as this coming spring.

US stocks were set to open sharply firmer after two days of losses that wiped out the S&P500’s gains for the year and left the tech-heavy Nasdaq index teetering on the brink of falling into the red. Losses were concentrated in the technology sector, as investors dumped their holdings of FAANG shares and pushed the Nasdaq index to seven-month lows and energy shares too had dropped in line with a 6 percent oil price slump S&P 500.
“High-flying momentum stocks have come off in a fairly spectacular fashion. At one point Apple and Amazon accounted for 40 percent of U.S. equity gains and people were just recycling money into the winners,” said David Vickers, senior portfolio manager at Russell Investments. “That’s come off the boil and set the cat among the pigeons... We’ve seen a lot of reflexivity, when selling begets selling, the market starts to turn over, people take profits, it leads to another leg down and so on.”
That fed through to Asia on Wednesday, taking MSCI’s index of ex-Japan Asia-Pacific shares almost half a percent lower, but it clawed most of the losses to trade flat, with MSCI’s all-country benchmark was flat too, attempting to snap two days of falls.
Chinese stocks closed in the green and near session highs, rebounding from Tuesday's drop as Asia closed mixed, but it was Europe that showed the most promise with the Stoxx600 solidly in the green, led by Italy where BTPs rallied from the open, after a report that Deputy PM Salvini may be open to budget revisions; Salvini then denied the report, clarifying that he’s only open to tweaks and won’t compromise on the main issues.

Italians bond yields fell up to 16 basis points initially, putting 10-year yields on track for their biggest daily drop in almost a month but the market gave up some of its gains after the denials. Sentiment was then dented again, and the EUR snapped lower after Ansa reported that the European Union has rejected Italy’s 2019 budget - as expected - and that the Excessive Deficit Procedure would be warranted on Italy. Still, despite the expected escalation in the standoff between Italy and Europe, the Estoxx and DAX pushed higher but were off best levels with banks and telecoms leading gains as Italy's FTSE MIB outperformed peers with local banks +1.5%.
However, it was a report from wire service MNI just after 6am that caught the market's attention, when Market News International reported that the Federal Reserve is starting to consider at least a pause to its gradual monetary tightening and could end its cycle of interest rate hikes as early as the spring, citing senior people at the Fed they didn’t identify.
While a Dec. rate hike is all but assured, the debate will become more lively beginning at the central bank’s March meeting and certainly by June, MNI says. The paradox, of course, is that according to the Fed's own dot plot there will be at least 3 hikes in 2019, so for one or more Fed presidents to engage in such an ECB-esque trial balloon of defiance of Chairman Powell must mean that the disagreements within the FOMC over the future of monetary policy are truly boiling over.
While it is still very much unlikely that the Fed will halt its rate hikes in the spring absent a rout in stocks and bonds, the MNI trial balloon sent futures back to session highs...

... and slammed the Bloomberg dollar index back to session lows.

US Treasuries and the Eurodollar strip also pared losses and faded Wednesday’s bear steepening after the MNI report; that said, Fed rate hike expectations are steady on Wednesday morning with December 2018 pricing in 19bps, and the next 25bps increase expected in March 2019. The U.S. 10Y TSY yield is 1bp to 3.07% with December T-Note futures -20 ticks to 119-04+; U.S. 2/10s +1bp to 26bps; U.S. 5/30s steady at 43bps.
Today's modest gains immediately sparked positive commentary: "We view the sell-off as overdone and a bull-market correction, with valuations that have become more compelling,” Jason Draho, head of asset allocation, Americas, at UBS Global Wealth Management wrote in a note. "We recently increased our overweight to global equities on the view that the markets are already pricing in growth and trade risks."
Still, while the Fed trial balloon helped preserve upside momentum in risk assets, investor sentiment remains susceptible to minute to minute volatility that’s rocked markets since October as traders have to contend with President Trump tape bomb unpredictability and demands for lower rates as corporate credit spreads at two-year highs reflect investor angst about borrowing costs.
In FX, the euro got an early boost and Italian bonds rallied after the abovementioned La Stampa report that Italy’s Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini may be open to budget revisions; it trimmed gains after his League party denied the report, and as the EU was said see Rome’s budget at serious non-compliance risk. The pound was little changed against the dollar, after earlier rising on the back of broader weakness in the greenback; Britain’s budget deficit widened in October as spending rose at the fastest pace in 11 years. Australian dollar rebounds from a one-week low hit very early in Asia as a recovery in oil prices combined with exporter demand to trigger short-covering ahead of U.S. Thanksgiving holiday.
In commodities, WTI also halted yesterday's dramatic rout near $54 a barrel after API showed that U.S. crude inventories unexpectedly fell last week against doubts over OPEC’s plans to cut output. Emerging-market shares and currencies were stable. Bitcoin advanced after a recent sell-off
Expected data include mortgage applications, durable goods orders, jobless claims and existing home sales. Deere and Metro are among companies reporting earnings
Market Snapshot
Top Overnight News
Asian stocks mostly weakened as the global stock rout continued into the region following the losses in US, where the DJIA dropped over 500 points to turn negative YTD and in which energy names were pressured as oil slumped nearly 7%. ASX 200 (-0.5%) and Nikkei 225 (-0.3%) were led lower by spill-over selling seen across the commodity-related sectors, while Wesfarmers shares plummeted nearly 30% after the spin-off of its Coles unit which had its stock market debut today. Hang Seng (+0.5%) and Shanghai Comp. (+0.2%) opened with firm losses but then rebounded off their lows with price action choppy amid ongoing trade uncertainty and after criticism from USTR Lighthizer’s report that China has not altered its unfair practices and appears to have conducted further unreasonable actions in recent months. Finally, 10yr JGBs failed to benefit from the widespread risk averse tone with price action subdued amid a lack of BoJ presence in the bond market and after the weakness in T-notes as US investors closed positions heading in to Thanksgiving.
Top Asian News - The American Carnage Isn’t Tanking Stock Markets in Asia - China Refrains From Injecting Cash for Longest Time Since August - Beijing to Judge Every Resident Based on Behavior by End of 2020 - China Said to Eye Steel Mega-Deal as Baowu Chief Joins Rival - Yuan Debt in the Bag for Philippines as Xi-Duterte Ties Grow
European equities are higher across the board (Eurostoxx 50 +0.8%) as the region stemmed the stock rout seen in Asia and Wall Street. Italy’s FTSE MIB (+0.6%) was initially outperforming with Italian banks higher amid initial reports from Italian press that Deputy PM Salvini could potentially be open to budget revisions, which were later dismissed by League sources ahead of the budget ultimately being rejected. In terms of sectors, financial names lost the top spot to telecom names, who are outperforming after French telecoms jumped following comments from Orange (+1.7%) CEO which renewed M&A gossip. Elsewhere, Indivior (-13.6%) fell to the foot of the Stoxx600 (+0.4%) after the Co. lost a US court ruling that had prevented Dr. Reddy’s from selling a generic version of a treatment for opioid addiction.
Top European News
In FX, the DXY index has maintained its recovery momentum into the midweek session, but is off best levels amidst a welcome reprieve in riskier assets and broad sentiment ahead of Thanksgiving. The DXY has drifted back from another uptick towards 97.000, though remains underpinned ahead of 96.500 and recent lows. The Greenback also retains an underlying bid as G10 and EM counterparts struggle to recoup losses beyond round numbepsychological/technical resistance against the backdrop of heavy option expiries at strikes within close proximity to prevailing prices (and with major fundamental issues still prescient of course).
In commodities, WTI (+1.6%) and Brent (+1.4%) took a breather from yesterday’s selloff, where prices fell almost 7% with the decline attributed to supply concerns, negative risk sentiment and Trump’s protective approach to Saudi relations. Prices are underpinned by the latest API inventory data which printed a surprise drawdown in headline crude stockpiles. Traders will be keeping an eye on today’s DoE release for any hints of increased US shale production. Today will also see the release of the EIA natural gas storage data, which has been rescheduled due to the US Thanksgiving Holiday. Elsewhere, the metals complex is in positive territory with gold (+0.2%), silver (+0.7%) and copper (+0.5%) all supported by the pullback in the USD. Goldman Sachs said slump in oil reflects over supply concerns for 2019 and that technical position factors have exacerbated the volatility, while it also cited low liquidity heading into Thanksgiving as well as broader selling in commodities and cross-assets amid rising growth concerns.
US Event Calendar

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"A Sea Of Red": Global Stocks Plunge With Tech Shares In Freefall

While there was some nuance in yesterday's pre-open trading, with Asia at least putting up a valiant defense to what would soon become another US rout, this morning the market theme is far simpler: a global sea of red.

Stocks fell across the globe as worries over softening demand for the iPhone prompted a tech stock selloff across the world, while the arrest of car boss Carlos Ghosn pulled Nissan and Renault sharply lower. Even China's recent rally fizzled and the Shanghai composite closed down 2.1% near session lows, signalling that the global slump led by tech shares would deepen Tuesday, adding a new layer of pessimism to markets already anxious over trade. Treasuries advanced and the dollar edged higher.
S&P 500 futures traded near session lows, down 0.6% and tracking a fall in European and Asian shares after renewed weakness in the tech sector pushed Nasdaq futures sharply lower for a second day after Monday's 3% plunge and crippled any hopes for dip buying. News around Apple triggered the latest bout of stock market selling, after the Wall Street Journal reported the consumer tech giant is cutting production for its new iPhones.
Europe's Stoxx 600 Index dropped a fifth day as its technology sector fell 1.3% to the lowest level since February 2017, taking the decline from mid-June peak to 21% and entering a bear market. Not surprisingly, the tech sector was the worst performer on the European benchmark on Tuesday, following Apple’s decline to near bear-market territory and U.S. tech stocks plunge during recent sell-off. The selloff was compounded by an auto sector drop led by Nissan and Renault after Ghosn, chairman of both carmakers, was arrested in Japan for alleged financial misconduct. The European auto sector was not far behind, dropping 1.6 percent, and the broad European STOXX 600 index was down 0.9 percent to a four-week low.
“Most of Europe had a red session yesterday and that has been compounded by the news on Apple and tech stocks overnight, The overall climate is risk off,” said Investec economist Philip Shaw. “Beyond stocks, the Italian bonds spread (over German bonds) is at its widest in about a month now, and Brexit continues to rumble on - uncertainty is very much hurting risk sentiment,” he added.
Earlier, MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan dropped 1.2 percent, with Samsung Electronics falling 2 percent. In Japan, Sony Corp shed 3.1 percent. Japan’s Nikkei slipped 1.1 percent, with shares of Nissan Motor Co tumbling more than 5% after Ghosn’s arrest and on news he will be fired from the board this week.
Meanwhile, as noted yesterday, the CDS index of US investment grade issuers blew out to the widest level since the Trump election, signaling renewed nerves about the asset class.

Exactly two months after the S&P hit all time highs, stocks have been caught in a vicious decline and continue to struggle for support as some of the technology companies that helped drive the S&P 500 to a record high earlier this year tumbled amid a slowdown in consumer sales and fears over regulation, many of them entering a bear market.
At the same time, a more gloomy macro outlook is emerging, with Goldman chief equity strategist David kostin overnight recommending investors hold more cash even as it reiterated its base case of S&P 3000 in 2019.

Ray Dalio disagreed, and said that investors should expect low returns for a long time after enjoying years of low interest rates from central-bank stimulus.
“The easy days of long, global bull markets where you can invest in a tracker for five basis points -- I say this as an active fund manager -- and watch the thing go up, I think those days are gone,” Gerry Grimstone, chairman of Barclays Bank PLC and Standard Life Aberdeen PLC, said in an interview on Bloomberg Television. “It’s going to be a move back to value investing, and back to the Warren Buffett-style of investment.”
In the latest Brexit news, UK PM May is reportedly drawing up secret plans to drop the Irish border backstop and win support from angry Brexiteers, while reports added PM May has received agreement from the EU to drop the backstop plan if both sides can agree on alternative arrangements to keep the border open. Meanwhile, Brexiteers reportedly still lack the sufficient number of signatures required to trigger a no-confidence vote against UK PM May, the FT reported. In related news, Brexit rebels reportedly admitted attempts to oust PM May has stalled as Eurosceptic MPs turned on each other. The Telegraph also reported that the confidence vote now appears to be on hold until after Parliament votes in December on Mrs May's Brexit deal.
Sky News reported that the UK government are to publish new analysis before the MPs’ meaningful vote on the Withdrawal Agreement comparing the “costs and benefits” of Brexit. The impact of three scenarios will be measured; no Brexit, no deal, and leaving with the government's draft deal and a free trade agreement.
In rates, Treasuries rose, driving the 10-year yield down to its lowest level since late September, ahead of Thanksgiving Thursday. Italian government bond yields jumped to one-month high on Tuesday and Italian banking stocks dropped to a two-year low, hurt by risk aversion and concerns over the Italian budget. Euro zone money markets no longer fully price in even a 10 bps rate rise from the European Central Bank in 2019, indicating growing investor concern about the economic outlook in the currency bloc.
In FX, the Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index whipsawed in early London trading even as it stayed near a more than one-week low on concern cooling global growth will slow the pace of Fed rate hikes, keeping Treasury yields under pressure. At the same time, the pound stabilized as Theresa May appealed to business leaders to help deliver her Brexit deal, and evidence mounted that a plot to oust her as U.K. Prime Minister is faltering.
The euro slid as Italian bonds dropped, pushing the yield spread to Germany to the widest in a month; the currency had opened the London session higher, supported by corporate buying in EUGBP. The yen rallied to a month-to-date high as Asian stocks followed a U.S. equity slide while the New Zealand dollar got a boost from a jump in milk production; the Aussie was on the back foot even after the RBA said Australia’s unemployment rate could fall further in the near term. India’s rupee rallied a sixth day after the central bank signaled a compromise with the government in their dispute over reserves.
Bitcoin extended its drop below $4,500 for the first time since October 2017.
WTI crude oil futures hovered around $57 a barrel after oil prices lost steam as fears about slower global demand and a surge in U.S. production outweighed expected supply cuts by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries. Brent crude slipped 0.9 percent to $66.21 per barrel.
In other overnight news, BoJ Governor Kuroda said there is currently no need to ease further, while he added that there was a need for bold monetary policy in 2013 and now we need to persistently continue with policy. Furthermore, Kuroda suggested that the chance of reaching the 2% inflation target during FY2020 is low. Japanese PM Abe says the next initial budget is to have measures to address sales tax.
India's Finance Ministry sources expect that the RBI will stand pat on rates at its meeting next month.
RBA Governor Lowe states that steady policy is to be maintained for 'a while yet' and it is likely that rates will increase at some point if the economy progresses as expected.
Expected data include housing starts and building permits. Best Buy, Campbell Soup, Lowe’s, Medtronic, Target, TJX, and Gap are among companies reporting earnings.
Market Snapshot
Top Overnight News
Asian stock markets were lower across the board as the risk averse tone rolled over from Wall St, where the tech sector led the sell-off as Apple shares dropped nearly 4% on reports it had reduced production orders and with all FAANG stocks now in bear market territory. As such, the tech sector underperformed in the ASX 200 (-0.4%) and Nikkei 225 (-1.1%) was also pressured with Mitsubishi Motors and Nissan among the worst hit after their Chairman Ghosn was arrested on financial misconduct allegations. Shanghai Comp. (-2.1%) and Hang Seng (-2.0%) were heavily pressured after the PBoC continued to snub liquidity operations and as China’s blue-chip tech names conformed to the global rout in the sector, while JD.com earnings added to the glum as China’s 2nd largest e-commerce firm posted its weakest revenue growth since turning public. Finally, 10yr JGBs were weaker amid profit taking after futures recently hit their highest in around a year and following mixed results at today’s 20yr auction.
Top Asian News - BlackRock Doesn’t Expect Significant Growth Slowdown in China - China Stocks Lead Global Losses as Tech Rout Hits Fragile Market - Stock Traders in Asia Keep Finding New Reasons to Hit ’Sell’ - World’s Largest Ikea to Open in Manila as Company Bets on Asia
Major European indices are largely in the red, with the SMI outperforming (+0.1%) which is being bolstered by Novartis (+1.0%) following their announcement of a joint digital treatment with Pear Therapeutics for substance abuse disorder. The DAX (-0.7%) is lagging its peers, weighed on by Wirecard (-5.0%) following a disappointing change to guidance forecasting as well as weak sentiment across IT names after the FAANG stocks entered bear market territory on Wall St. In particular, the Stoxx 600 Technology sector (-1.9%), dropped to its lowest level since Feb 2017. Meanwhile, Deutsche Bank (-2.5%) are in the red due to reports that the Co processed payments for Danske Bank in Estonia.
Top European News
In FX, the DXY index remains technically prone to further downside pressure having closed below another Fib support level yesterday and testing the next bearish chart area around 96.050-10 ahead of 96.000 even. However, a more concerted bout of risk-off trade/positioning saved the DXY and broad Dollar from steeper declines as the tech-induced sell-off in stocks intensified, and jitters over Brexit alongside the Italian budget returned to the fore.
NZD/AUD - The Kiwi is bucking the overall trend and outperforming in contrast to this time on Monday, with Nzd/Usd rebounding firmly to 0.6850+ levels and Aud/Nzd retreating through 1.0650 to just south of 1.0600 following overnight data showing a hefty 6.5% y/y rise in NZ milk collections for October. Conversely, the Aud/Usd has slipped back under 0.7300 again, and close to 0.7250 in wake of RBA minutes underscoring no rush to hike rates and subsequent affirmation of wait-and-see guidance from Governor Lowe. In fact, he asserts that the jobless rate could decline to 4.5% vs 5% at present without inducing wage inflation, while also underlining concerns about the supply of credit.
JPY/CHF - Both benefiting from their more intrinsic allure during periods of pronounced risk aversion and investor angst, as Usd/Jpy probes a bit deeper below 112.50 and a key Fib at 112.46 that could be pivotal on a closing basis with potential to expose daily chart support circa 112.16 ahead of 112.00. Meanwhile, the Franc has inched closer to 0.9900 and over 1.1350 vs the Eur that remains burdened with the aforementioned Italian fiscal concerns.
GBP/EUR - Almost a case of déjà vu for Sterling and the single currency as early attempts to the upside vs the Greenback saw Cable and EuUsd revisit recent peaks around 1.2880 and 1.1470 respectively, but a combination of chart resistance and bearish fundamentals forced both back down to circa 1.2825 and 1.1425. In terms of precise technical/psychological levels, 1.2897 and 1.1445 represent Fib retracements, ahead of 1.2900 and 1.1500, while the Pound has remained relatively unchanged and unresponsive to largely on the fence pending Brexit rhetoric from the BoE in testimony to the TSC on November’s QIR.
In commodities, gold has stayed within a USD 5/oz range and traded relatively flat throughout the session moving with the steady dollar ahead of US Thanksgiving. Similarly, copper traded lacklustre breaking a 5-day rally because of a subdued risk sentiment stemming from ongoing US-China trade tensions; with Shanghai rebar adversely affected from these factors. Brent (-0.1%) and WTI (+0.2%) are following a relatively quiet overnight session, while recent upticks in the complex resulted in WTI reclaiming the USD 57/bbl and Brent edging closer to USD 67/bbl. This follows comments from IEA Chief Birol that Iranian oil exports declined by almost 1mln BPD from summer peaks. Looking ahead, traders will be keeping the weekly API crude inventory data which is expected to print a build of 8.79mln barrels.
On today's light data calendar, in the US, there should be some interest in the October housing starts and building permits data, especially following Fed Chair Powell’s recent comments acknowledging a slowdown in the housing market and yesterday’s homebuilder data. Away from that, the BoE’s Carney is due to appear before the Parliament’s Treasury Committee to discuss the Inflation Report, while the ECB’s Nouy and Bundesbank’s Weidmann are both scheduled to speak at separate events.
US Event Calendar
DB's Jim Reid concludes the overnight wrap
With the sell-off of the last 24 hours we have now traded through the last of our YE 2018 top level credit spread forecasts as US HY widened 6bps to +424bps (YE 2018 forecast was 420). We still think US HY is the most expensive part of the EUR & US credit universe but as discussed above, last night we’ve become more optimistic on all credit in the near-term after what has been the worst week of the year. Credit massively under-performed equities last week but equities caught up on the downside yesterday. The sell-off was underpinned by the FANG names selling off, an accounting scandal emerging at Nissan, oil swinging around and the US housing market spooked by weak data.
Just on the market moves first, the NASDAQ and NYFANG indexes slumped -3.03% and -4.28% yesterday, registering their fourth and third worst days of the year, respectively. Facebook and Apple fell -5.72% and -3.96% respectively, as the sector remains pressured amid a slew of negative PR and the spectre of stricter government regulation. Over the weekend, Apple CEO Tim Cook said in an interview that “the free market is not working” and that new regulation is “inevitable”. This negatively impacted highly-valued social media companies. Twitter and Snapchat traded down -5.02% and -6.78% respectively. The tech sector was further pressured after the WSJ reported that Apple had cut production orders in recent weeks for the new model iPhones, with chipmakers broadly trading lower and Philadelphia semiconductor index shedding -3.86%. The S&P 500 and DOW also slumped -1.66% and -1.56% respectively while in Europe the STOXX 600 turned an early gain of +0.71% into a loss of -0.73%. In credit, cash markets were 2bps and 11bps wider for Euro IG and HY and 2bps and 6bps in the US. CDX IG and HY were, however, 3bps and 11bps wider, respectively. Elsewhere, WTI oil first tested breaking through $55/bbl yesterday, after Russia stopped short of committing to supply cuts, before recovering to close +0.52% at $56.76.
Bond markets were relatively quiet, with Treasuries and Bunds ending -0.4bps and +0.6bps, respectively, albeit masking bigger intraday moves. BTP yields rose +10.6bps to 3.597%, within 10 basis points of their recent closing peak, as rhetoric between Italian officials and their European peers continued to intensify. Finance Ministers from Austria and the Netherlands separately spoke publicly about their concerns, and expressed their hope that the European Commission will loyally enforce the fiscal rules. Italian Finance Minister Tria tried to calm conditions by framing the disagreement as relatively minor, though he also accused the Commission of being biased against expansionary policies, which he argued are needed to avert a macro slowdown.
Back to credit, as we highlighted yesterday, the recent weakness in the asset class has become a talking point for broader markets and while our view is now that value is starting to emerge, there are an increasing number of idiosyncratic stories plaguing the market. There were a couple more examples yesterday with the aforementioned story about Nissan removing its chairman after being arrested for violations of financial law. This caused Renault’s CDS to widen +25.0bps (equity down -8.43%), while Vallourec bonds dropped 15pts after falling 11pts on Friday as concerns mount about the company’s rising leverage in the wake of recent results. Like we’ve see in equity markets, it does feel like credits are now getting punished with sharp moves in the wake of negative headlines Certainly something to watch, but as we said above, credit is now much more attractively priced than it has been for some time.
From steel tubing to Downing Street, where we’ve actually had a rare temporary lull for Brexit headlines over the last 24 hours, although behind the scenes it does look we’re getting closer to the threshold for a confidence vote in PM May with the Times yesterday reporting that “senior Brexiteers” had told reporters that they had “firm pledges” from over 50 MPs to submit letters. As a reminder, 48 are needed to trigger the process. Looking further out, yesterday DB’s Oliver Harvey published a report arguing that there is still a path towards an orderly Brexit based on the existing Withdrawal Agreement should May survive a confidence vote. This path is provided by the political declaration on the future economic relationship. The latter has yet to be negotiated, and as the EU27 and UK recognise in the joint statement, the existing temporary customs arrangement (TCA) already provides a basis for a future economic relationship. Oli argues that the UK should push for the political declaration on the future relationship to explicitly commit the UK to a form of Brexit that might be described as “Norway plus.” The temporary customs arrangement would become permanent, but under the governance framework of UK membership of the EEA and EFT. The UK should tie the political declaration on the future relationship to the good faith clause in the existing Withdrawal Agreement, meaning that if negotiations were not pursued on these lines after the transition period had begun, the UK could withhold payments from the EU27. This would help to allay concerns from across the political divide that the UK would be “trapped” in a sub optimal customs union with the EU27.
Meanwhile, to complicate matters, Bloomberg has reported that the EU is mulling over issuing a series of separate statements on Brexit on Sunday, in addition to the Withdrawal Agreement and the Political Declaration. This comes after pressure from some EU countries not to appease any additional UK demands. Elsewhere, the SUN has reported that the PM May has drawn up a secret plan to scrap the Irish backstop arrangement in an attempt to win over angry Tory Brexiteers after a meeting with them yesterday. However, if a mutually agreeable solution couldn’t be found over the last couple of years, it seems tough to imagine one was finally found yesterday afternoon. We’ll see.
Further adding to the complexity of where Brexit heads, last night the DUP abstained on the UK finance bill, which implements the budget. This stops short of their prior threat to actively vote against the legislation, but is still a surprise and signals that further political turbulence between PM May and the DUP is likely. The bill only just scraped through. Sterling finished +0.14% yesterday and this morning is trading flattish (+0.02%) in early trade.
Sentiment more broadly in Asia is following Wall Street’s lead with almost all markets trading in a sea of red. The Nikkei (-1.25%, with Nissan Motors down as much as -5.41% and Mitsubishi Motors -6.71%), Hang Seng (-1.84%), Shanghai Comp (-1.63%) and Kospi (-0.96%) are all down along with most other markets. Elsewhere, futures on S&P 500 (-0.29%) are extending losses as we type.
Back to yesterday, where as we mentioned at the top, weak US homebuilder sentiment survey data played its part in the moves for markets. The November NAHB housing market index tumbled to 60 from 68 in October after expectations had been for just a 1pt drop. That’s the lowest reading since August 2016 and biggest one-month drop since February 2014. The details weren’t much better and falls into line with the expectation of a softer outlook for housing. As you’ll see in the day ahead we’ve got more housing data in the US today so worth keeping an eye on even if the October data for starts could be distorted by Hurricane Michael.
As far as the day ahead is concerned, we’re fairly light on data today with Q3 employment stats in France, October PPI in Germany and November CBI total orders data in the UK the only releases of note. In the US, there should be some interest in the October housing starts and building permits data, especially following Fed Chair Powell’s recent comments acknowledging a slowdown in the housing market and yesterday’s homebuilder data. Away from that, the BoE’s Carney is due to appear before the Parliament’s Treasury Committee to discuss the Inflation Report, while the ECB’s Nouy and Bundesbank’s Weidmann are both scheduled to speak at separate events.
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US Equity Futures Slide After Euro PMIs Stumble; China, Crude Plunge

Returning from Thanksgiving holiday, US traders who braved record cold temperatures on their office commute are in a sour mood, with S&P futures sharply lower, following the latest sharp drop in Chinese stocks, where as noted earlier the Shanghai composite lost the 2,600 level, tumbling 2.5% to one month lows after the WSJ reported Trump asked allies to boycott China's telecom giant Huawei.

The news dragged Asian shares lower, while Europe was mixed after the latest disappointing PMI which saw German Manufacturing and Services miss expectations, dragging the Eurozone Manufacturing PMI to 51.5, missing expectations of a 52.0 print, a 30 month low and the weakest since print since May 2016, while the composite index tumbled to the lowest level in 4 years in November.

Contracts on the Dow, S&P and Nasdaq all pointed lower, after Chinese equities led regional declines in Asia, with the technology sector weak on concern the U.S. is ratcheting up a campaign against Huawei Technologies. The result was a sharp drop in the Shanghai Composite, which slumped to levels last seen in late October, wiping out the recent rally.

In European trading, the preliminary PMI data dented hopes of an economic rebound into year end, sparking a rally in bunds and gilts, while 10Y TSY yields dropped to session lows of 3.04% after Thursday’s Thanksgiving holiday. Euribor contracts pushed higher after officials flagged downside risks and data added to nerves ahead of the ECB’s December meeting. Meanwhile in Italy, BTPs printed fresh highs for the week on signs of a budget compromise. European equities were mixed, printing small gains after a steady open, largely ignoring trade war concerns, which weighed on Chinese stocks. Italy's FTSE MIB outperformed peers on renewed deficit discussion optimism and helping local banks rise over 1.5%. Technology and telecommunications stocks pared initial gains as equity gains are tempered by oil oversupply concerns, acting as a drag on energy/basic resources sectors

The dollar climbed and the euro reversed earlier gains as data showed German’s growth outlook weakened; the Euro slumped on renewed fears the slowing economy may delay any ECB balance sheet normalization while the pound handed back most of Thursday’s gains. In the latest Brexit news, Tory Brexiteer Iain Duncan Smith stated that the Brexit deal will be killed off by him and his Brexiteer colleagues in Parliament, while he is said to dismiss PM May’s efforts to adopt a tech solution to the Irish border problem and implied it is meaningless, according to ITV’s Peston.

Elsewhere, emerging market currencies and shares fell on renewed China trade concerns. Bitcoin declined and is on course to lose more than 20% this week.
Meanwhile, in commodities, WTI saw another sharp decline through $53, after energy minister Khalid Al-Falih said Saudi Arabia is producing oil in excess of 10.7 million barrels a day, more than in recent years, giving the strongest indication yet that the kingdom has boosted output to record levels. “We were at 10.7-something in October, and we are above that. We will know exactly when the month is over,” Al-Falih said. That said, he added that “we will not flood the market. We will not send oil that customers don’t need. And we’ve started doing that in December, and I expect we’ll continue doing that into the new year.”

The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries and allied producers warned earlier this month that oil markets will probably be oversupplied in 2019. Concerns that slower economic growth and a trade war could erode demand for oil are outweighing fears of potential shortages caused by U.S. sanctions on Iranian exports and supply disruptions elsewhere.
As a result, WTI has wiped out all modest gains observed in recent days, and was trading back at 1 year lows headed for its 7th weekly drop.

Falling energy prices are just one of several indicators that concern investors about the strength of global economic growth. Meanwhile, political turmoil in Europe, lingering uncertainty over a Brexit agreement and a trade war that’s engulfed the world’s biggest economies add to nervousness according to Bloomberg. Slowing growth is one of several prospects in the U.S. that may lead Federal Reserve to more caution in 2019 should they raise rates next month.
Elsewhere, base metals decline with LME copper 1% lower. EUR offered after PMIs to trade weakest levels this week, cable declines on broad USD strength.
In overnight geopolitical news, North Korea appeared to be expanding operations at its main nuclear site, according to the IAEA, while there were also reports that atomic agency inspectors are said to be demanding North Korea allow nuclear inspectors back into the country amid reactor activity concerns. China is to reportedly resume the purchase of Iranian oil in November after their waiver.
Expected data include PMIs. No major companies are scheduled to report earnings.
Market Snapshot
Top Overnight News from Bloomberg
Asian stocks traded mostly lower with sentiment in the region subdued by trade concerns and holiday-thinned conditions in the US, while Japan and India also observed public holidays. ASX 200 (+0.4%) was positive with the index supported by strength in its top-weighted financials sector amid gains in Australia’s largest banks after Macquarie pulled-off a rarity at the banking royal commission in which it emerged unscathed and with its reputation enhanced. Elsewhere, Shanghai Comp. (-2.5%) and Hang Seng (-0.4%) were negative amid ongoing trade uncertainty as China responded to the recent trade report by the US, in which it dismissed the accusations of unfair trade practices as groundless and totally unacceptable. In addition, the US called for its allies to stop using Huawei equipment and weak earnings results from Meituan Dianping in which the online service provider’s losses ballooned, further added to the glum. China responded to the recent US report in which it labelled the accusation by the US of China continuing with unfair trade practices as groundless and totally unacceptable, while it added that it hopes US drops rhetoric and behaviour that are damaging to relations.
Top Asian News - China’s Capital Controls Keep a Bad Year From Getting Worse - The World’s Best and Worst Markets Are Both in China This Year - China Railway Unit Said to Be Planning 30 Billion Yuan IPO - Apple to Offer Japan Carriers Subsidy to Up iPhone XR Sales: WSJ
After opening with little in the way of firm direction amid holiday thinned markets (US, Japan and India), European equities have posted modest gains with the EuroStoxx 50 higher by 0.2%. Leading the charge in Europe is the FTSE MIB (+0.6%) with Italian assets underpinned by optimism that the populist government could reign in some of their budgetary demands with reports suggesting that the EU Affairs Minister Savona could step down from his position (later denied) due to dissent over Italy’s intentions to violate EU budget laws. This also comes amidst a backdrop of increasing pressure from President Mattarella who wants the technocratic PM Conte to get a deal done with the EC, whilst other Italian press report highlight the need for Italy to increase the sincerity of Italy’s concessions to Europe. In terms of sector specifics, upside in Italian banking names has helped spur gains in European financials with the telecoms sector outperforming. To the downside, energy names lag, in-fitting with price action in the complex with crude seemingly unable to stem recent losses. Individual movers include Renault (+4.2%), who have been granted some reprieve from recent losses following a broker upgrade at Jefferies and as Nissan continue to reorganise their corporate leadership. Elsewhere, GEA Group (-14.3%) are lower after cutting guidance whilst Altice (-9.8%) continue to face selling pressure following yesterday’s disappointing market update
Top European News
In currencies, the Dollar has benefited from the aforementioned relative weakness elsewhere, and the index is holding nearer the upper end of 96.394-751 parameters as a result, and on course to end the holiday-shortened week with a net gain, albeit modest having traded up to 96.898 and down to 96.037 at the other extreme. the Euro was not the most discounted major currency on offer, but cut price in wake of considerably weaker than forecast preliminary PMIs from France, Germany and the Eurozone overall. The single currency is now under 1.1400 vs the Usd and has broken the 10DMA to the downside at 1.1356, with fibs now being eyed ahead of 1.1300, while pivoting 0.8850 against the Gbp even though Sterling is also suffering in sympathy and jittery on Brexit issues following initial euphoria due to the UK-EU Political Declaration. CAD/NZD/AUD - Also going relatively cheap and underperforming against their US peer, with the Loonie back below 1.3200 amidst an even steeper slide in crude prices ahead of Canadian CPI and retail sales data. Meanwhile, the Aud has retreated through 0.7250 again and hardly helped by overnight developments as ANZ revised its RBA outlook to unchanged until August 2020, and the ASIC launched a probe of CBA for the alleged mis-selling of insurance products. Similarly, the Kiwi has lost grip of 0.6800 amidst speculation that the RBNZ could loosen mortgage restrictions as part of its FSR due next week. GBP - As noted above, the Pound has lost a bit more positivity after Thursday’s rally on the draft PD reached by Brexit negotiators given a mixed reaction to the details in UK political circles and ongoing doubt about approval by EU leaders. Cable is back below 1.2850 vs circa 1.2900 at best yesterday, albeit ‘comfortably’ above the recent 1.2785 low with decent bids noted at 1.2800. EM - Some consolidation at the end of a solid week for the likes of the Zar and Try that have both made potentially significant breaks of key levels at 14.0000 and 5.3000 vs the Usd respectively due to a combination of bullish technical and fundamental factors, ie the SARB ¼ point hike yesterday.
In commodities, WTI (-4.3%) and Brent (-2.6%) are on track for their seventh weekly loss with WTI prices briefly breaching the USD 52.00/bbl level to the downside while Brent lingers just above USD 61/bbl. Some traders are citing the recent decline to technical factors, while Saudi Arabia signalled that its output may have reached a record high of above 10.7mln BPD, and the kingdom’s Energy Minister Al-Falih noted that demand for oil will be lower in January 2019 compared to December 2018. This comes amidst the backdrop of this week’s EIA data which showed that US production remained at a record high of 11.7mln barrels, the most since at least 1983; according to government data. Therefore, the complex is suffering from a double whammy with supply glut concerns and weaker demand concerns weighing on traders’ minds. Oil fell into bear market territory this month after the US granted temporary waivers to eight countries in regard to Iranian oil, in turn pouring cold water on some supply concerns, while sources emerged this morning noting that China are to resume the purchase of Iranian oil in November after their waiver. Some analysts highlighted that due to complications over insurance, shipping and payments, it may take until February or later until some of Iran’s largest buyers such as South Korean and Japan resume purchases.
Elsewhere, gold (-0.4%) prices saw some downside after the yellow metal felt pressure from the firmer USD and copper weakened amid underperformance in China alongside a decline in Chinese commodity prices. Furthermore, China’s Dalian Exchange are to relax their risk management restrictions on some futures in an attempt to attract more investors to boost liquidity given the recent slump in iron ore prices.
US Event Calendar


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