Futures Jump On "Large-Scale" Deal Optimism

Just two days after a Trump tweet "crushed" hopes for any more fiscal stimulus talks, optimism for not just a stimulus deal but for a "large-scale" deal is back front and center, after the White House reversed again late on Thursday after media reports that Trump was concerned by the market reaction to him walking away from stimulus discussions, and signaled that the administration is again leaning toward a large-scale stimulus bill after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi pushed back on the idea of individual measures for parts of the economy hit by the Covid-19 crisis. According to a Pelosi spokesman, Mnuchin told Pelosi in a 40-minute call that President Donald Trump wants agreement on a comprehensive stimulus package, which was enough to send futures blasting higher, and hitting 3460 overnight, a level last seen on Sept 4 just after the market slumped from its all-time highs. The MSCI world equity index was up 0.1% at a more than one month high; yields and the dollar dropped, while the Chinese yuan and gold surged.

However, opposition remains among Senate republicans for a large deal with some saying that enough stimulus has already been injected, and so time is very tight for any legislation to reach the president's desk before the end of October. As Politico notes, to "get a deal, the White House needs to empower MNUCHIN to get something done -- something they haven’t done yet; TRUMP needs to expend serious political capital to get a big vote in House as a signal to the Senate that it has cover voting yes."

Meanwhile as Bloomberg notes, another obstacle to a successful outcome remains as both Trump and Pelosi are publicly questioning each other's mental stability.

Democrats are set to announce a bill today that would set up a commission to evaluate using the 25th amendment which can remove a sitting president from office.

With recent trading on Wall Street - particularly in shares of U.S. airlines, which began mass furloughs after a previous payroll support package expired - dictated by negotiations between the White House and Democrats on more fiscal aid, the S&P airlines subindex jumped in the past two sessions and is on track for one of its best months this year after sinking 3% on Tuesday as Trump broke off aid talks. In company news, Xilinxsurged more than 17% after the WSJ reported that AMD was in talks to buy the chipmaker in a deal that could be valued at more than $30 billion. Shares of AMD fell 5.8%. Also overnight Citadel announced it would acquire IMC's designated market-making unit, firming up its position as the largest floor broker on the NYSE.

Gains in U.S. stocks this week have been concentrated in small- and mid-cap firms, which stand to benefit more from a Biden victory than the large-cap companies that had so far fueled Wall Street’s recovery from the coronavirus lows hit in March, fund managers said. In a sign markets are pricing in a Biden victory, clean energy-related shares have outperformed in recent weeks. The iShares Global Clean Energy ETF has gained 14% so far this month, compared with 4% gains in the S&P 500 energy index. The November VIX contract dropped to 30.25, its lowest level in three weeks, another sign of reduced worries about a contested election.

"Biden seems to have a clear lead following the TV debate and a coronavirus cluster in the White House, which has raised questions about Trump’s crisis management capabilities,” said Mutsumi Kagawa, chief global strategist at Rakuten Securities.

Optimism also prevailed in Europe, where equities rose on Friday, and were set for a second consecutive weekly gain as investors were encouraged by stimulus prospects in the U.S. and positive guidance updates. The Stoxx Europe 600 index was up 0.3% at 730 a.m. ET led by miners and energy shares, while autos underperformed. European stocks also gained as a host of companies raised outlooks, from Denmark’s drugmaker Novo Nordisk to German online clothing retailer Zalando. Stocks fell in Spain, where the government declared a state of emergency for Madrid to control Covid-19. Italy’s 10-year bond yield fell a record low.

"The lower level of uncertainty with regards to the U.S. election combined with the prospect of additional stimulus measures is probably behind the latest positive inflection in equity markets,” says Sylvain Goyon, strategist at Oddo BHF. That’s because Democratic contender Joe Biden’s “increasing lead in the polls gives credence either to a ‘blue wave’ scenario and more stimulus, or more political pressure for President Trump to offer something prior to the vote."

Earlier in the session, MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan rose 0.3%, inching closer to its Aug. 31 peak, which was its highest level since March 2018. China's CSI300 index gained 2% after the Golden Week holidays. The Shanghai Composite Index rose 1.7%, with Ningbo Ronbay New Energy and Shandong Jinjing posting the biggest advances. In Japan, the Nikkei dipped 0.1% after reaching a seven-and-a-half-month high; while the Topix declined 0.5%, with Danto and Creek & River falling the most.

In FX, the dollar weakened, heading for its second weekly loss, as the White House signaled it was open to large-scale U.S. stimulus, while the Chinese yuan was the biggest beneficiary of the rising hopes of a Biden win, posting its biggest daily rise in more than four years after the holidays. The greenback declined against most Group-of-10 peers and hits lowest level since Sept. 21, as measured by the Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index which fell 0.3% Friday, set for its third straight day of declines; it came under pressure during Asia hours as emerging-market currencies advanced with the yuan better bid following an eight-day holiday in China. NZ's kiwi led gains as the Swiss franc follows suit. The euro rose 0.1% to $1.1776.

Another notable mover was China’s yuan which rose sharply in onshore trading, catching up with gains seen in offshore trading the past week, as mainland markets reopened after the Golden Week holiday. The yuan climbed as much as 1.4% on Friday while in offshore markets the currency strengthened 0.6%, with both reaching their strongest since April 2019.

The People’s Bank of China put the daily fixing at a stronger-than-expected level. Amid the risk-on mood, the 10-year yield on Chinese sovereign debt reached its highest level since December. Friday’s currency and equity gains “have staying power. Chinese markets will still be supported next week,” said Moh Siong Sim, foreign exchange strategist from Bank of Singapore. He added both asset classes will also be supported by recovering Chinese consumer spending while Joe Biden’s widened poll lead in the U.S. “is also good for Chinese assets as his policy would be less confrontational” than President Donald Trump’s.

In another sign that investors look for a Brexit trade deal to be reached in the end, leveraged funds stepped in to fade a sharp drop in cable following a report that there has been insufficient progress in the talks, a Europe-based trader says. GBP/USD rose earlier 0.3% to 1.2973 high amid broad greenback weakness, only to erase the advance and stabilize around 1.2940.

In rates, Treasuries inched higher after advancing during Asia session and European morning. Treasury yields lower by 0.5bp to 2.2bp across the curve, flattening 2s10s, 5s30s by 1.8bp and 0.9bp; 10-year yields around 0.764%, slightly outperforming bunds while lagging behind gilts. Yields remain higher on week in which prospects for a stimulus agreement helped drive steep gains for  stocks on Monday and Wednesday; The 10-year is up by more than 6bp, with 50-DMA on cusp of crossing above 100-DMA. Gilts outperformed following weak August U.K. GDP while in Asia session gains for Aussie bonds supported Treasuries. The 10-year German bond yield was unchanged at -0.525%. Other core yields were a touch lower.

“The rise in U.S. yields, particularly at the long end, suggests increased expectations of a blue wave in the election,” said Koichi Fujishiro, economist at Dai-ichi Life Research Institute.

In commodities, oil prices edged up, propelled by supply outages caused by a storm in the Gulf of Mexico and a strike of offshore workers in Norway. Both benchmark contracts were on course for their biggest weekly gains since early June. Brent was up 16 cents at $43.50 a barrel. WTI crude rose 14 cents to $41.33. A weaker dollar boosted gold which gained 1.1% to $1,914.28 per ounce.

Starting next week, attention turns to corporate America’s third-quarter earnings season, kicked off by JPMorgan Chase & Co, Citigroup Inc and drugmaker Johnson and Johnson. Looking at the day ahead, we get final August reading for wholesale inventories in the US. From central banks, the Reserve Bank of India will be deciding on monetary policy, while the Fed’s Barkin and the BoE’s Haldane will also be speaking.

Market Snapshot

  • S&P 500 futures up 0.4% to 3,450.25
  • STOXX Europe 600 up 0.2% to 369.09
  • MXAP up 0.05% to 175.13
  • MXAPJ up 0.3% to 579.54
  • Nikkei down 0.1% to 23,619.69
  • Topix down 0.5% to 1,647.38
  • Hang Seng Index down 0.3% to 24,119.13
  • Shanghai Composite up 1.7% to 3,272.08
  • Sensex up 0.5% to 40,387.55
  • Australia S&P/ASX 200 unchanged at 6,102.17
  • Kospi up 0.2% to 2,391.96
  • Brent futures down 0.4% to $43.19/bbl
  • Gold spot up 1.1% to $1,915.04
  • U.S. Dollar Index down 0.2% to 93.38
  • German 10Y yield fell 1.8 bps to -0.541%
  • Euro up 0.3% to $1.1792
  • Italian 10Y yield fell 2.7 bps to 0.555%
  • Spanish 10Y yield fell 2.7 bps to 0.174%

Top Overnight News from Bloomberg

  • While the lesson of the 2016 campaign was never to count out Donald Trump, his path to re-election is narrowing dramatically as Democrat Joe Biden’s lead continues to grow and voters sour on the president’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic
  • President Trump’s Dr. Sean Conley said in a statement that “since returning home, his physical exam has remained stable and devoid of any indications to suggest progression of illness; said he expects Trump to safely return to public engagements by Saturday, 10 days after his diagnosis
  • Pound traders who have grown used to Brexit brinkmanship between London and Brussels are making two assumptions: there’ll probably be a trade deal, and U.S. elections matter more right now
  • In 2016 investors were buying the Russian ruble and selling the Mexican peso in expectation the Republican candidate would mend relations with Russian President Vladimir Putin and cut trade ties with Mexico after winning the election. This time around, the trade has reversed as Joe Biden gains in the polls
  • Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez has called an extraordinary cabinet meeting on Friday to discuss a possible state of emergency for the region of Madrid, while German Chancellor Angela Merkel will speak with mayors of the country’s biggest cities about efforts to contain a recent surge in Europe’s largest economy

A quick look at global markets courtesy of NewsSquawk

Asian equity markets traded mixed as US equity futures extended on the prior day’s gains amid stimulus hopes after House Speaker Pelosi and US Treasury Secretary Mnuchin continued their relief discussions, while President Trump also suggested optimism that talks are beginning to work and was said to be open to something larger than a skinny bill. Nonetheless, ASX 200 (U/C) was rangebound and took a breather following the outperformance seen for most the week and after the RBA Financial Stability Review noted that domestic banks were well placed to continue lending and supporting the economic recovery, as well as the financial system but added that business failures will increase substantially as loan repayment deferrals and income support end. Nikkei 225 (-0.1%) initially began on the front-foot but then stalled in tandem with a mild pullback in USD/JPY which gave up the 106.00 status and after weaker than expected Household Spending. Hang Seng (-0.3%) and Shanghai Comp. (+1.6%) were varied with outperformance in the mainland as participants returned from the holidays where spending rose by 6.3% Y/Y amid a bout of ‘revenge travel’ which saw Golden Week air passenger numbers recover to 91% of last year’s volume. Participants also welcomed private sector PMI data in which Caixin Services PMI topped estimates at 54.8 vs. Exp. 54.3 and Caixin Composite PMI was lower than previous at 54.5 (Prev. 55.1) but remained at a firm expansion. Finally, 10yr JGBs were steady amid the indecisive risk sentiment seen in Tokyo and as prices continued to eye the psychological 152.00 level, while the BoJ’s presence in the market for nearly JPY 1tln of JGBs has also provided a floor for government bonds.

Top Asian News

  • Hong Kong Small Cap Sinks 90% Amid Margin Call Speculation
  • India’s RBI Uses Unconventional Tools to Check Borrowing Costs
  • China’s Yuan Climbs, Stocks Gain in Upbeat Return for Traders
  • Foreigners Buy Most Turkish Assets Since 2018 After Rate Hike

Mixed trade in Europe as regional bourses diverged after opening with mild broad-based gains (Euro Stoxx 50 +0.2%) following on from a similar lead from the APAC region after Mainland China returned to the market following its Golden Week holiday. Meanwhile, US equity futures eke mild gains as hopes for resolution on some stimulus keeps State-side sentiment supported. Back to Europe, varying performance seen across the indices, with UK’s FTSE (+0.7%) outpacing peers on a favourable Sterling action, whilst the peripheries see underperformance after EU Budget talks between the European Parliament and EU ambassadors have been suspended after just an hour, after a German attempt to get a breakthrough failed, with the issue threatening a delay to the swift implementation of the Recovery Fund. Sectors are mostly firmer with Energy outperforming amid yesterday’s rise in the complex, with no risk profiled to be derived from the broader sectors. The breakdown sees Autos and Construction towards the bottom of the pile, whilst Basic Resources coat-tail on the broader gains across base metal markets. In terms of individual movers, Danish-listed Pandora (+14%) resides near the top of the Stoxx 600 after raising its guidance, with Novo Nordisk (+4.0%) also higher amid a forecast upgrade. British Land (+4.0%) is higher on the back of dividend resumption. LSE (+0.5%) is firmer after it announced the sale of Borsa Italian to Euronext (-3.7%) for EUR 4.325bln vs. Exp. ~EUR 4bln.

Top European News

  • Russian Covid-19 Cases Hit Record as Moscow Resists Lockdown
  • Europe Holds Crisis Talks as Spain Pushes for Emergency Powers
  • Italy’s Unflagging Bond Rally Drives Key Yield to Record Low
  • LSE Agrees $5 Billion Borsa Sale to Euronext, Italian Banks

In FX, no obvious catalyst, but the Kiwi has derived more than fellow G10 currencies from the Greenback’s deeper pull-back from 93.500+ levels in DXY terms to fresh w-t-d lows of 93.309, as Nzd/Usd breaches resistance at the psychological 0.6600 level that has been capping rebounds since the headline pair retreated from early October highs.

  • CHF/EUR/AUD/CAD/JPY - Also taking advantage of their US counterpart’s demise, with the Franc above 0.9150, Euro probing 1.1800 and Aussie eyeing 0.7200 again having cleared the 20 DMA (0.7176) following an encouraging FSR from the RBA. Meanwhile, the Loonie has extended recovery gains from midweek lows around 1.3340 towards 1.3160 ahead of Canadian jobs data and the Yen has rebounded from sub-106.00 levels after mixed Japanese household spending metrics, but may run into option expiry related offers given decent interest at 105.90-80 (1 bn) and then from 105.50 to 105.40 (1.2 bn). On that note, Eur/Usd expiries are well spread either side of 1.1800 and full details are available via the headline feed at 7.08BST.
  • GBP - Sterling was relatively resilient in the face of weaker than forecast UK data, and a particularly big miss in monthly GDP, but unable to weather the latest Brexit headlines suggesting insufficient progress in latest talks on trade before EU chief negotiator Barnier returns to Brussels. Cable has reversed through 1.2950 and Eur/Gbp is back over 0.9100 as the Pound awaits further fiscal support for the labour market from Chancellor Sunak and a speech by BoE’s Haldane.
  • SCANDI/EM - Only a modest loss of momentum for the Nok beyond 10.9000 vs the Eur in wake of softer than expected Norwegian CPI, while the Sek seems content between 10.4500-10.4100 parameters and unusually large option expiries in the Eur cross either side, especially at the 10.3000 strike where 4.1 bn rolls off vs 1.2 bn at 10.7500. Elsewhere, the Yuan has returned from China’s Golden Week break refreshed and raring to go as Usd/Cnh scales 6.7000 with the aid of a strong PBoC Cny midpoint fix (at 6.7796 vs 6.7905 projected and 6.8101 pre-market closure). Conversely, Lira losses accelerated to 7.9550+ before the CBRT stepped in with another aggressive move to arrest the slide via a 150 bp hike in Try swap rates, but 7.9000 as contained comeback efforts thus far. Ahead, Brazil’s Real in focus given inflation updates and services sector growth.
  • RBA Financial Stability Review stated that Australian banks are well placed to continue lending and supporting the economic recovery, as well as the financial system but added that although the financial system is in a strong position, risks are elevated. Furthermore, it stated that overall household income has increased during H1 2020 but the number of households experiencing financial stress has increased and will increase further, while it noted that business failures will increase substantially as loan repayment deferrals and income support end. (Newswires)

In commodities, WTI and Brent front-month futures ebb lower after the holding pattern seen overnight following yesterday’s gains which were fueled by some supply side developments. 1) Hurricane Delta is poised to make landfall along the Gulf Coast later today as a major hurricane, with BSEE’s latest estimate showing 91.5% of oil production and 61.8% of natgas production shuttered ahead of the hurricane. 2) Reports yesterday, citing a senior Saudi oil adviser, noted that the Kingdom is mulling cancelling an output hike next year amidst the rising cases coupled by Libyan oil output slowly coming back online. JP Morgan analysts see potential for Saudi to drive incremental oil cuts at the upcoming November 30th meeting, with the upside scenario a deeper cut whereby the Kingdom reduces output below quota against the backdrop of weakening demand. Meanwhile more recently on the geopolitical front, Armenia and Azerbaijan are in Moscow in a bid to ease tensions  - the French Presidency expects a truce to be declared in the Nagorno-Karabakh region by this evening or tomorrow, according to Sky News Arabia. WTI Nov and Brent Dec reside around session lows within a tight range after declining from USD 41.47/bbl and ~43.50/bbl respectively. Elsewhere, spot gold continues to grind higher above USD 1900/oz (vs. low USD 1893/oz) on Dollar-dynamics, with similar action seen in spot silver which remains north of USD 24/oz. In terms of base metals, Shanghai Copper futures ended the day with gains of some 1% with LME copper also trading with gains amid expected strikes at Chile’s mines. Meanwhile, Chinese steel and raw material prices rose after the Golden Week holiday amid touted supply woes alongside forecasts for higher demand in Q4.

US Event Calendar

  • 9am: Bloomberg Oct. United States Economic Survey
  • 10am: Wholesale Inventories MoM, est. 0.5%, prior 0.5%
  • 10am: Wholesale Trade Sales MoM, prior 4.6%

DB's Jim Reid concludes the overnight wrap

Back to the secondary poll going on at the moment and markets had another strong performance yesterday as optimism remained that a stimulus deal might still be achieved pre-election and also as investors increasingly bet on the likelihood of a Biden presidency (and hence further stimulus) from January. After President Trump’s Tuesday tweet that he was pulling out of the talks, he continued to soften his stance in a Fox Business interview yesterday, and said “I think we have a really good chance of doing something”, as a Politico reporter also tweeted that Secretary Mnuchin had floated restarting talks with Speaker Pelosi. Pelosi noted that any passage of a skinny deal would require an agreement on a larger follow-on bill. One voice that has remained constant throughout the recent talks has been Senate Majority Leader McConnell, who again said Pelosi was insisting on “an outrageous” sum of money and acknowledged that the election timing makes agreeing on a deal “challenging.”

Whether or not we’re actually likely to see further stimulus by Election Day (and it still looks less likely than not), risk assets climbed higher in response to this news flow, and by the end of the session the S&P 500 had risen a further +0.80% to its highest level in over a month, and the VIX index of volatility fell back -1.7pts to a one-week low. It was another broad-based rally as 23 of 24 industries in the S&P 500 rose on the day. Cyclicals outperformed large-cap tech yesterday with the NASDAQ ‘only’ rising +0.50%. Energy stocks led the way on both sides of the Atlantic (+3.73% in the US and +1.63% in Europe) as Brent crude oil prices closed above $43/bbl for the first time in nearly 3 weeks. European equities overall saw similar gains to those in the US, with the STOXX 600 (+0.78%) and the DAX (+0.88%) powering forward.

Updating our screens overnight, US equity futures have continued to be supported by the positive stimulus news, with S&P 500 futures up +0.57%. Meanwhile in Asia, there’s been a more mixed performance, with the Nikkei (-0.20%) losing ground and the Hang Seng (+0.10%) seeing a modest gain. Chinese markets have seen a stronger performance, however, as they reopened after a week-long holiday, and the Shanghai Comp is up +1.89%. Furthermore, the September Caixin PMI from China showed the composite reading at 54.5 (vs. 55.1 last month) and the services reading increase to 54.8 (vs. 54.3 expected).

Back to the election, and the main political news from yesterday was President Trump’s announcement that he wouldn’t take part in the second debate next week following the decision that it would be held virtually, as well as the news overnight from his doctor that the President would be able to safely return to public engagements by Saturday. On the debate, Trump campaign manager Bill Stepien said that “We’ll pass on this sad excuse to bail out Joe Biden and do a rally instead.” Meanwhile, the Biden campaign said that he would take voters’ questions instead. With President Trump trailing by nearly 10pts now in both FiveThirtyEight and RealClearPolitics’ polling averages, skipping on the debate means that the president is missing out on any late attempt to reset the trajectory of the race. But in terms of markets, what was noticeable was the increasing focus on a potential Biden presidency and a possible blue wave. His chances on FiveThirtyEight’s model ticked up further to 84%, and the Democratic Party’s chances of winning the Senate are up to 68%, raising the prospect of significant further stimulus in Q1. Along with the House of Representatives, which is heavily expected to remain with the Democrats, this would bring an end to the divided government that we’ve seen these last two years.

On the coronavirus, Europe saw some further troubling news yesterday, which came as the executive director of the European medicines Agency, Guido Rasi, said that a vaccine was “unlikely” to be ready by the end of the year. In terms of the numbers, the UK saw another 17,550 cases reported, while the number of patients in hospital in England rose above the 3,000 mark for the first time since June. Over in France, another 18,129 were reported, and the number of Covid-19 patients in intensive care rose to its highest since May, at 1,427. In response, the government has placed Lyon, Lille and Grenoble on maximum alert, with restrictions similar to those in Paris and Marseille. In Poland, it will be compulsory to wear masks in public from Saturday, while further restrictions were imposed in the Czech Republic, where all cultural events and indoor sporting activities have been banned. There has been some pushback amid the rise in restrictions across the continent with the most recent from a court in Madrid blocking the regional government’s new measures to reduce mobility. This comes as Spain has continued to register nearly 70,000 new infections per week over the last month.

Over in the US, New York Mayor de Blasio announced the closure of a further 61 schools, bringing the total to 169. There were further concerning signs from some first wave northeastern hotspots, as Massachusetts, New York and New Jersey all saw the highest number of new cases since May. Overall, the 7-day rolling sum of cases in the US rose over 316,000 for the first time since mid-August.

In other news, we got the ECB’s account of its September monetary policy meeting, where there were a number of mentions on the exchange rate. Furthermore, it noted that “the recent appreciation of the euro exchange rate had had a material impact on the inflation outlook in the September ECB staff projections.” The euro saw a modest weakening against the US dollar yesterday, and was down -0.03% by the close.

Over in the fixed income sphere, sovereign bonds rose yesterday, with yields on 10yr Treasuries (-0.2bps) and bunds (-3.0bps) both falling. There were also a number of records set in southern Europe, as yields on 10yr Greek debt fell -4.5bps to an all-time low of 0.89%, and yields on 10yr Italian debt fell -2.6bps to an all-time closing low, though they had been lower on an intraday basis back in September 2019.

In terms of yesterday’s data, the initial jobless claims in the US for the week through October 3 fell to 840k (vs. 820k expected though), down from an upwardly revised 849k in the week prior. That said the continuing claims reading for the week through September 26 fell to a post-pandemic low of 10.976m (vs. 11.4m expected), with the insured unemployment rate falling to 7.5%.

To the day ahead now, and the data highlights include UK GDP for August, along with French and Italian industrial production for that month. We’ll also get the Canadian employment report for September, and the final August reading for wholesale inventories in the US. From central banks, the Reserve Bank of India will be deciding on monetary policy, while the Fed’s Barkin and the BoE’s Haldane will also be speaking.