Futures Steady Ahead Of Powell Testimony

U.S. stock-index futures were little changed, trading just 1% below their all time high, while global shares extended their recovery on Tuesday from four week lows, as investors focused on prospects for post-pandemic economic growth, putting fears of a hawkish Fed in the rearview mirror even as they awaited Fed Chair Jerome Powell’s testimony before Congress. Nasdaq 100 futures extend increase to as much as 0.3%, the highest for Tuesday’s session, with contracts on the S&P 500 rising 0.1% as of 7:15am in New York.

In premarket trading, meme stock Torchlight Energy Resources jumped 10.5% on heavy volume following a 58% surge to a record on Monday, as the company upsized its stock offering after its shares doubled in value last week on interest from individual traders. Other meme stocks trade mostly higher with ContextLogic (WISH) rising 3.3% and Clover Health (CLOV) gaining 1.9%.

Here are some other notable premarket movers:

Adial Pharmaceuticals (ADIL) surges 28% in premarket trading after a positive mention of the company in a post on the Seeking Alpha investment site.
Microvision (MVIS) sinks 9% after saying it may offer from time to time up to $140 million in shares via Craig-Hallum Capital Group.
Nikola (NKLA) drops 2% after registering shares for potential sale by holder Tumim Stone Capital.
Crypto stocks including miners Riot Blockchain, Marathon Patent Group, Ebang International and MicroStrategy Inc fell between 2% and 3% as China’s crackdown on bitcoin mining expanded to the province of Sichuan.

The Dow jumped more than 500 points on Monday following last week’s selloff, its best day since early March, with the largest share of S&P members advancing since April 2020.

Market participants piled back into energy, financials and industrial stocks when Fed officials including as St. Louis Fed President James Bullard and Dallas Fed President Robert Kaplan toned down their hawkish rhetoric which accelerated last week’s rout.

“Last week’s FOMC meeting was a hawkish surprise, but does not change our market outlook. The reflation trade experienced a sharp technically driven pullback, but we expect the trade to resume and see this move as an opportunity to add exposure to cyclical equities and commodities,” JPMorgan strategists said in a note.

European stocks looked set to build on gains in Asian markets as EuroSTOXX 50 futures rose 0.4% and FTSE futures were up 0.3%. Declines in shares of carmakers and banks offset gains in real estate stocks. Europe’s Stoxx 600 travel and leisure subgroup rose as much as 0.8%, making it the second-best performing sector in the benchmark index, after The Times reported that the U.K. is set to announce an overhaul of travel restrictions on Thursday. Here are some of the biggest European movers today:

Kingspan shares rise as much as 6.1% with Morgan Stanley (equal- weight) saying the key positive from its trading update is the strong margin performance.
BT shares gain as much as 2.1%, among top performers in the Stoxx Telecom Index, following a report that Rupert Murdoch’s News UK is looking at a tie-up with BT Sport.
Bossard shares gain as much as 5% to a record high. The company’s business model is “misunderstood” by the market and it is a niche play on the growth of industrial automation, Berenberg writes in a note initiating the stock at buy with a street-high CHF340 PT.
Casino shares rise as much as 2% after a report saying that retail mogul Micheal Klein started to build a minority position in the Brazilian firm GPA, following a similar move by retailing billionaire Abilio Diniz.
DS Smith shares fall as much as 3.1% after reporting adjusted operating profit that missed the average analyst estimate.

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan rose 0.4%, moving above Monday’s four-week lows and notching a 4% gain so far this year, while the broader MSCI Asia Pacific Index rose 0.9%, putting it on track for its best day since May 25. Japanese shares led the advance in Asia, as investor concerns over the pace of U.S. monetary policy tightening and rising inflation eased. It is now poised to snap four straight days of declines. The buoyant performance comes after Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell reiterated overnight that inflation had picked up but should move back toward the U.S. central bank’s 2% target once supply imbalances resolve. The New York Fed’s president also said that he continues to view the recent spike in inflation as a temporary phenomenon. Cyclical shares recovered from the recent sell-off, with industrials and materials leading the charge. Japanese equities rebounded, with the Topix climbing by the most in one year one day after the BOJ intervened to buy ETFs for the first time since April. Investors largely expect Asia’s stock market to remain resilient despite the prospects of a gradual tapering of global liquidity and a resurgent dollar. Supporting the region’s equities are attractive valuations, falling Covid-19 cases and relatively low levels of bond yields. The stock benchmark remains more than 6% below a record high it reached in February. “We expect Asia to broadly remain on a healthy recovery path” supported by a broad-based growth in exports and industrial output, Alex Wolf, head of investment strategy for Asia at JPMorgan Private Bank, wrote in a note. “We think three factors will be key to watch over the rest of 2021: vaccination progress, exports — particularly semiconductors, and China’s recovery.”

Today, all eyes will be on Fed Chair Powell, who’s testifying at 2pm ET before the House of Representatives’ Select Subcommittee on the coronavirus crisis, where he’s set to talk about the Federal Reserve’s response to the pandemic. In prepared remarks distributed late last night, Powell remains optimistic on the recovery, saying “job gains should pick up in coming months as vaccinations rise, easing some of the pandemic-related factors currently weighing them down.” He also said inflation has “increased notably in recent months” but regarded the recent jump as likely to fade.  Chair Powell acknowledged that “inflation has increased notably in recent months… As these transitory supply effects abate, inflation is expected to drop back toward our longer-run goal.” The transitory nature of inflation is sure to be a key point of questions from some Representatives today.

“Powell will repeat that inflation is transitory and will drop back ‘as these transitory supply effects abate’,” said Ipek Ozkardeskaya, senior analyst at Swissquote Bank. “How much time do we have before the supply effects abate is a big question.”

“There’s probably going to be some back and forth here,” said Tracie McMillion, Wells Fargo Investment Institute head of global asset allocation strategy. “There is a lot of cash on the sidelines right now. Some of that is going to be earmarked to go into the markets, and we think the best place right now to be investing is in the equity markets.”

In rates, 10-year Treasuries steadied, trading at 1.49% last. Yields were richer across the curve, with 5s30s flatter by ~1bp; 10-year around 1.48% outperforms bunds and gilts slightly Regional demand emerged during Asia session, renewing the bull-flattening trend that stalled on Monday. Treasury auctions include $60b 2-year note, followed by 5- and 7-year on Wednesday and Thursday. The WI 2-year yield at ~0.257% is higher than auction stops since March 2020 and 10.5bp cheaper than last month’s, which stopped through by 0.7bp

In currency markets, the dollar spot Index rose as the greenback traded higher versus all of its Group-of-10 peers and the 10-year Treasury yield hovered around 1.49% The pound fell for a fifth day in six sessions on broad dollar strength and as investors awaited signals on the Bank of England’s inflation outlook on Thursday. Norway’s krone fell to a session low as Brent oil retreated after earlier rising to $75 a barrel for the first time in more than two years. Australia’s currency led losses with iron ore extending Monday’s slump. The yen fell to trade around 110.50; bonds also declined and a five-year auction was weaker than expected.

“The whole world was mega short the U.S. dollar, and that’s in good part has probably been cleaned out already, and now we take a wee breath before the next move up,” said Westpac currency analyst Imre Speizer.

In commodities, WTI was flat at $73.7 per barrel and Brent crude retreated after earlier topping $75/bbl for the first time in more than two years after rising on Monday in reaction the a pause in talks to end U.S. sanctions on Iranian crude. Oil market sentiment was helped by hopes for a quick recovery in oil demand in the United States and Europe. OPEC+ said it was discussing whether to further boost production as the oil market looks increasingly tight. Spot gold added 0.3% to $1,787.61 an ounce.

Bitcoin sank closer to $30,000 after China intensified its cryptocurrency clampdown.

Looking at the day ahead now, the main highlight will be the aforementioned testimony from Fed Chair Powell to Congress. Otherwise, we’ll also hear from the Fed’s Mester and Daly, as well as the ECB’s Rehn, Lane and Schnabel. Data releases from the US include May’s existing home sales and the Richmond Fed’s manufacturing index for June, while in the Euro Area there’s the advance consumer confidence reading for June.

Market Snapshot

S&P 500 futures down 0.1% to 4,207.75
STOXX Europe 600 down -0.3% to 453.94
MXAP up 0.9% to 206.17
MXAPJ little changed at 687.97
Nikkei up 3.1% to 28,884.13
Topix up 3.2% to 1,959.53
Hang Seng Index down 0.6% to 28,309.76
Shanghai Composite up 0.8% to 3,557.41
Sensex up 0.3% to 52,715.63
Australia S&P/ASX 200 up 1.5% to 7,342.20
Kospi up 0.7% to 3,263.88
Brent Futures down 0.4% to $74.63/bbl
German 10Y yield rose 2.2 bps to -0.149%
Euro down 0.2% to $1.1899
Gold spot down 0.3% to $1,777.25
U.S. Dollar Index up 0.14% to 92.03

Top Overnight News from Bloomberg

Leveraged funds boosted net dollar shorts by 21,347 contracts in the week ended June 15, the most since mid-January, according to data from the Commodity Futures Trading Commission.
Germany increased the amount of planned bond sales in the third quarter by 2 billion euros ($2.4 billion) to help cover financing for the ruling coalition’s generous aid programs to offset the impact of the coronavirus pandemic
China’s intensifying cryptocurrency crackdown has left Bitcoin flirting with $30,000, a price level seen as key to the short-term outlook for the largest virtual currency
Russia is considering proposing an OPEC+ oil-output increase at the group’s meeting next week because the nation sees a supply deficit in the market, according to officials familiar with the matter
Mario Draghi has cemented his position in Italy and his political partners are beginning to assume he’ll remain in power until his term ends in 2023. That is the assessment of half a dozen senior officials from all the main parties and inside the government
Hungary is set to become the first European Union nation to tighten monetary policy this year, with the central bank widely expected to raise borrowing costs on Tuesday in an attempt to curb surging inflation
A raft of disappointing economic data from China last week, especially the sluggish recovery in consumption, has prompted economists to cut their estimates for China’s output in 2021.

Quick look at global markets courtesy of Newsquawk

Asia-Pac equities staged a rebound from the prior day’s sell-off as the region reacted to the rally seen on Wall Street, whereby the DJIA outperformed whilst the Nasdaq’s upside was hindered by the recovery in yields. Overnight, US equity futures traded flat and near the prior session’s best levels ahead of Fed Chair Powell’s testimony – but before that, 2022-voter Mester is poised to make remarks on monetary policy ahead of commentary from 2021-voter Daly. Over in APAC markets, the ASX 200 (+1.5%) was supported by its Telecoms and Financials sectors whilst the Nikkei 225 (+3.1%) trimmed some of the prior session’s hefty losses as reports of BoJ ETF purchases providing Tokyo with some tailwinds. The KOSPI (+0.7%) saw cautious gains as Yonhap reported that South Korea and the US are mulling ending the working group on North Korean policy, whilst North Korea tempered down expectations of dialogue with the US. Hang Seng (-0.6%) and Shanghai Comp (+0.8%) varied with the former pressured after the US reiterated its concern over Hong Kong’s autonomy, whilst the latter remained within recent ranges. As a side note, crypto markets also saw a rebound following yesterday’s bloodbath, albeit Bitcoin and Ethereum remained under 35k and 2k respectively. Finally, JGBs trade narrowly softer in tandem with UST and Bund futures waning off best levels.

Top Asian News

Jimmy Lai’s 26-Year-Old Tabloid All But Dead After Defying China; Carrie Lam Defends Apple Daily Arrests, Warns Media Outlets
GIC Said to Near Deal to Buy Stake in Malaysia’s Sunway Hospital
China Tourism May File for Hong Kong Listing This Week: IFR
Korea Curve Steepens, China Repo Rises, Rupiah Bonds Halt Drop

Ahead of the cash open, European index futures indicated a marginally firmer star to the session. However, as cash markets opened, sentiment dwindled and stocks were pushed into the red (Eurostoxx 50 -0.3%) with no real obvious catalyst behind the move. US index futures ebbed lower at the same time with some minor initial underperformance in the tech-heavy e-mini Nasdaq, albeit moves have been confined to recent ranges as markets await further impetus ahead of a particularly busy week of Fed speak. Since then, we have seen a modest pick-up in the futures taking them nearer to the unchanged mark on the session, but still retaining a negative bias overall. On which, Fed Chair Powell is due to testify to Congress today at 1900BST/1400ET. Pre-released text was a reiteration of recent remarks, however, the Q&A segment could offer some opportunity for the Chair to be pushed on the FOMC’s exit strategy and recent hawkish speakers e.g. Bullard; other Fed speakers today include 2022-voter Mester and 2021-voter Daly. In Europe, sectors are somewhat mixed with Oil & Gas top of the pile amid the recent advances in the crude complex even in-light of today’s pressure on a potential ramping up of OPEC+ production (see commodities), whilst Tech and Health care lag peers with the former hampered by the mini-revival seen in yields since the start of the week which saw the US 10yr initially slip below 1.4%. Kepler Cheuvreux downgraded the European banking sector to neutral from overweight with analysts at the firm concerned that the reflation trade is not a foregone conclusion in a context where the steepening of the USD yield curve appears to have exhausted itself. In terms of stock specifics, BT (+0.6%) are slightly firmer on the session amid reports that Rupert Murdoch’s News UK is reportedly looking into a tie-up with BT Sport. Finally, Travel & Leisure names including Ryanair (+1.1%) and IAG (+1.0%) have been provided some support amid suggestions that UK ministers are to relax travel restrictions from August for those who have been fully vaccinated.

Top European News

U.K. Begins Negotiations to Join Trans-Pacific Trading Bloc
Germany Boosts Third-Quarter Bond Issuance by 2 Billion Euros
Aston Martin Sues Dealer Over Deposits for $3.5 Million Valkyrie
Tech Stocks Tumble as Prosus Falls, Pandemic Winners Decline

In FX, there was some calm after Monday’s relatively lively session amidst pronounced risk-off APAC trade before a steady recovery in sentiment that prompted a retreat in safe-havens on little fresh news or data. Nevertheless, the DXY formed a base below 92.000 and is currently consolidating around its new pivot within a 91.890-92.139 range inside yesterday’s 91.826-92.375 range awaiting further direction that could come from today’s trio of Fed speakers or macro releases in the form of existing home sales and Richmond Fed composite readings. Note, however, the text of chair Powell’s testimony to Congress has already been published so anything new will likely come from the Q&A section.

AUD/GBP – It may be too early to label the day a turnaround Tuesday for the Aussie and Pound, but both have unwound a chunk of their gains vs the Buck after benefiting from its frailty yesterday, and Aud/Usd is also bearing the brunt of another slump in iron ore prices as it struggles to stay within touching distance of the 0.7500 handle. Note also, prelim payrolls and earnings data came in weaker than prior prints overnight ahead of flash PMIs tonight. Meanwhile, Sterling has relinquished 1.3900+ status, and perhaps partly due to a loss of technical momentum given that Cable topped out just pips shy of the 100 DMA (1.3941 vs 1.3937 high), while the Eur/Gbp cross held around 0.8550 before bouncing.
CAD/CHF/NZD/EUR/JPY – A pull-back in WTI towards Usd 73/brl in wake of reports that Russia may push for higher OPEC+ crude output at next week’s summit, has undermined the Loonie ahead of Canadian retail sales on Wednesday, with Usd/Cad back up in the high 1.2300 area, while the Franc is beneath 0.9200 following fairly upbeat economic forecasts from Switzerland’s KOF. Elsewhere, the Kiwi is holding between 0.6995-63 parameters following a marked pick-up in NZ credit card spending and as Aud/Nzd eyes 1.0750 to the downside having been capped circa 1.0800, the Euro is straddling 1.1900 and Yen has retreated through 110.50 against the backdrop of higher US Treasury yields and curve re-steepening.

In commodities, WTI and Brent have seen downside, -0.5% and -0.4% respectively, after what was a relatively uneventful APAC session for the benchmarks. The pressure came just after the European cash equity open, which was softer than futures had implied, amid reports that Russia is considering proposing an increase in OPEC+ oil production at the July 1st gathering, according to officials. As Russia expects the global supply shortfall to persist over the medium-term horizon; note, Russian VP Novak is set to meet with various domestic oil companies today. This report sparked pressure in the benchmarks sending WTI and Brent August’21 futures below USD 73.00/bbl and USD 75.00/bbl respectively – a smaller bout of further pressure was seen on subsequent source reports that it is possible to increase supply gradually from August. Such an alteration would be in-fitting with the most recent IEA MOMR which wrote that “OPEC+ needs to open the taps to keep world oil markets adequately supplied; production hikes at current pace set to be nowhere near the levels needed to prevent further stock draws”. As a reminder, the current OPEC+ quotas which were set in April envisage 700k BPD and 850k BPD of oil re-entering the market in June and July respectively. Moving to metals, spot gold and silver are modestly softer on the session given upside in both the USD and yields this morning; however, the magnitude of ranges for the precious metals are contained when compared with action seen over the last week. On gold, JP Morgan retains its long-term bearish view on the metal in-light of last week’s FOMC updates and look for copper prices to ease into H2 as supply/demand imbalances resolve, taking the view that the metal peaked in Q2.

US Event Calendar

10:30am: Fed’s Mester Discusses Monetary Policy and Financial…
11am: Fed’s Daly Speaks at Peterson Institute Event
2pm: Powell Testifies to Congress on Covid-19 Response and Economy

DB’s Jim Reid concludes the overgnight wrap

When we went to press yesterday morning I was left very confused as to why US 10 year yields had sunk even further overnight to around 1.36% from 1.44% at the Asian open. It felt like it might be the longest day of the year in markets as well as in daylight terms. Well 4 hours later they had moved back to 1.44% and then 1.49% after another 6 hours early in the US session – roughly where they closed and where they are trading now in Asia. To be fair the real action continues to be in the 30 year part of the curve which opened in Asia yesterday at 2.01%, rallied to 1.925% but then reversed course all day and flirted with 2.10% as Europe went home before closing at 2.11% (2.12% in Asia). There was no real new news so the earlier price action perhaps indicates that there might have been some positioning/liquidation issues out there yesterday to explain such swings. This is part of the reason I wouldn’t try to over analyse the macro implications of these moves at the moment. There seems to be a lot of technical things going on at the moment including the Treasury running down their cash holdings at the Fed. As such I think it’s far too early to suggest that the price action reflects a view that the Fed made a policy error last Wednesday.

Equity markets seemed to like a return of more normal yields as they have been a bit shaken by the bond reaction post the FOMC. In fact by the close of yesterday’s session, the S&P 500 had rebounded +1.40% to put the index back within 1% of its all-time closing high last week. So quite the reversal from its worst weekly performance since February. Even the dollar (which saw its best performance since September last week) changed gears to close -0.35% lower on the day.

In the absence of other events on the calendar, Fed speakers were in focus yesterday with St Louis President Bullard (non-voter, dove) and Dallas President Kaplan (non-voter, hawk) kicking off proceedings. Notably, Bullard said that the Fed ought to set up its taper so it could be adjusted if necessary, which raises the prospect that the pace could change depending on the strength of the economic recovery and inflation outcomes. And he himself alluded to the uncertainty in the outlook, saying that “No one really knows how this is all going to unfold. We have to be ready for the idea that there is upside risk to inflation and for it to go higher”. Separately, Kaplan said that he was in favour of beginning the tapering process sooner rather than later. However the timeline is still uncertain, as later in the session New York Fed President Williams said that he still sees tapering as “quite a ways off.” Williams also expects inflation to return to 2% next year and that the long-term trends that have depressed inflation in recent years will be the overriding force once again. After a year of coordinated messaging, it seems like there is more dispersion of views coming out of the committee now. I think this is more healthy.

Today, all eyes will be on Fed Chair Powell, who’s testifying at 7pm London time before the House of Representatives’ Select Subcommittee on the coronavirus crisis, where he’s set to talk about the Federal Reserve’s response to the pandemic. In prepared remarks distributed late last night, Powell remains optimistic on the recovery, saying “job gains should pick up in coming months as vaccinations rise, easing some of the pandemic-related factors currently weighing them down.” Chair Powell acknowledged that “inflation has increased notably in recent months… As these transitory supply effects abate, inflation is expected to drop back toward our longer-run goal.” The transitory nature of inflation is sure to be a key point of questions from some Representatives today.

Running through the market moves yesterday, US equities saw an incredibly broad-based advance, with 482 companies moving higher in the S&P on the day, which remarkably represents the highest number of gainers in over a year. The S&P gains were led by the cyclical/reopening trade as yields rebounded while tech stocks lagged somewhat, with the NASDAQ seeing a smaller +0.79% advance, though that still left the index within 0.5% of its own all-time high. Small-cap stocks saw even larger gains, as the Russell 2000 was up +2.16%. Over in Europe, equity markets saw their own slightly more subdued rebound with the STOXX 600 ending the day up +0.70%.

For sovereign bond markets it was an eventful day as discussed at the top, with yields moving noticeably lower prior to the open in Europe before ending the day higher. Furthermore, we saw curves begin to steepen again following the major flattening last week, with the US 2s10s curve up +4.8bps, and the 5s30s up +8.6bps. Europe saw much the same story once the global sell-off begun, with yields on bunds (+2.9bps), OATs (+0.5bps) and BTPs (+0.4bps) all moving higher.

Overnight in Asia, markets are following Wall Street’s lead with the Nikkei (+2.95%), Shanghai Comp (+0.78%) and Kospi (+0.77%) all making gains. The Hang Seng (-0.01%) is trading broadly flat. Outside of Asia, futures on the S&P 500 are up +0.18% and those on the Stoxx 50 are up +0.35%.

Elsewhere, both Brent Crude (+1.89%) and WTI (+2.82%) oil prices climbed to fresh 2-year highs of $74.90/bbl and $73.66/bbl respectively. Indeed that rise for WTI yesterday now means it’s risen by more than +50% on a YTD basis, making it the first major asset in our performance review basket to reach that milestone this year. Overnight, Brent oil prices have crossed $75 mark for the first time since April 2019. Other commodities also performed decently yesterday, including copper (+0.65%), gold (+1.08%), silver (+0.64%) and corn (+0.61%), with all 4 recovering ground following last week’s losses. Speaking of commodities, I looked at the change in various prices over the last 2 years in my chart of the day yesterday (link here), pointing out that in spite of the declines from their recent peaks this year, they still remain well above their levels 2 years ago. So some perspective is needed to the recent falls.

In terms of new-age commodities, the selloff in crypto-assets took another leg lower yesterday following news that China called a meeting of leaders of its largest banks to reiterate a ban on cryptocurrency services. Bitcoin fell -9.05% to $32,582, its lowest level since late-January. Ethereum (-14.0%), Litecoin (-14.0%) and XRP (-12.6%) all followed suit.

In terms of the latest on the pandemic, UK Prime Minister Johnson said that for England, “I think it’s looking good for July 19 to be that terminus point” when the easing of restrictions could take place. Nevertheless, a further 10,633 cases were reported in the UK yesterday, which took the weekly average to its highest since late-February, at 9,778. The rate of increase has slowed though. In Germany, Health Minister Spahn warned the delta variant may cause a 4th wave of infections, saying the government would remain cautious when the calendar turns over to Autumn and Winter. Elsewhere, it was announced that spectators at the Tokyo Olympics would be limited to either 10,000 or 50% capacity. Lastly, the White house announced that 150mn Americans, or over 45% of the overall population, are now fully vaccinated and 15 states along with Washington DC have now reached 70% of adults with at least one shot. However there has been a greater than 30% increase in Covid-19 hospitalisations in Missouri, Arkansas and Utah – all states with well below average vaccination rates – over the last week with the increase driven by 18-29 year olds, according to U.S. Department of Health & Human Services data. The absolute numbers remain low and healthcare capacity is not a concern at this time, however local authorities are paying attention and cited low testing numbers as an additional concern.

Finally, there wasn’t a great deal of data yesterday, though the Chicago Fed’s national activity index came in at 0.29 in May (vs. 0.70 expected), up from -0.09 in April.

To the day ahead now, and the main highlight will be the aforementioned testimony from Fed Chair Powell to Congress. Otherwise, we’ll also hear from the Fed’s Mester and Daly, as well as the ECB’s Rehn, Lane and Schnabel. Data releases from the US include May’s existing home sales and the Richmond Fed’s manufacturing index for June, while in the Euro Area there’s the advance consumer confidence reading for June.

Tyler Durden
Tue, 06/22/2021 – 07:47

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