Tesco profits slump, stocks swinging on mixed stimulus messages

Stocks fell after Donald Trump nixed hopes of a stimulus deal, or so it seemed. The S&P 500 declined 1.4% on the day having earlier traded higher.

But Trump also called for support for airlines and then sent a tweet addressing the House Democrat leader Nancy Pelosi: “If I am sent a Stand Alone Bill for Stimulus Checks ($1,200), they will go out to our great people IMMEDIATELY. I am ready to sign right now. Are you listening Nancy?”

In short, Republicans, including the President, don’t want to pay for a tonne of social programmes which Democrats have made part of the stimulus bill. But they do want to support the economy. Stimulus is clearly coming some way, somehow, just probably not before the election.  Or it could, who knows.

Markets remain clearly on the hook to the headlines but the fundamentals haven’t changed much. The election is taking on more significance the closer it gets and markets just want it out of the way to move forward.

Biden’s lead in the polls is compelling and tonight’s vice presidential debate probably won’t change much with so few voters undecided. Nevertheless, Trump is back and cannot be written off just yet.

Indeed whilst the S&P 500 fell, it didn’t even look at 3,300 and remains in the middle of the September range. Earlier it briefly broke the Sep 16th intra-day high, hitting 3,431.  European markets are similarly short of much direction right now – in fact they’ve been clamped in a tight range since June and were flat in early trade on Wednesday.

Tesco shares up on earnings

Tesco profits fell as costs and sales rose. Operating profit before nasties was down 15% despite group sales rising almost 7%. Retail free cash flow decreased by £91m year-on-year to £554m. Tesco Bank is becoming a headache and needs to be offloaded – sales here slipped a third and it slumped to an operating loss of £155m due to provisions for bad debt and lower income.

Management noted that a ‘marked deterioration in macro-economic indicators, particularly UK unemployment and GDP, drove an increase in the provision for potential bad debts’. Shifting the financial division on to some other party seems like one of the first things for Ken Murphy. Having already offloaded the mortgage book, Tesco has one foot out the door already.

Booker continues to do well with Retail sales up 22%; offsetting Catering sales falling 12%. And whilst we often compare Tesco to a super tanker that can take a long time to turn around, Tesco’s scale has been important in retooling for the pandemic age.

Online delivery capacity more than doubled to reach 1.5m slots a week, which compares favourably with Ocado and the problems it has in building capacity. Whilst increases costs, being provisioned to handle more online orders is essential and makes Tesco look well placed – shares rose over 2%.

Democrat report hammers big tech

As flagged in yesterday’s note, a Democrat-led Congressional committee has issued a damning report on big tech. Following more than a year of reports and investigations, the 449-page report said Amazon, Apple, Alphabet and Facebook enjoy ‘monopoly power’ and called on them to restructure their businesses and possibly even be broken up.

It’s just a report at this stage but a Democrat clean sweep in November’s elections could see elements become legislation. Share in the four companies fell by around 2-3% yesterday.

FOMC meeting minutes later will be parsed for any further details on what policy makers believe could trigger any tightening. The September meeting minutes ought to provide more granular detail about how policymakers view the shift to average inflation targeting, and to what extent the consensus is strained by this.

EIA data in focus for oil

EIA inventories out later today coming the API report yesterday showed build in crude stocks of 951k barrels in the week ending Oct 2nd. As previously argued, we need to closely watch global inventories flipping from draws to builds which would signal demand failing to re-emerge at the levels anticipated.

EIA is forecast to record a draw of 1.2m barrels. WTI is trading at $40 but faces resistance.

Chart: E-mini futures take elevator down on Trump tweets but climb stairs back up

Unhealthy market fixations, Cineworld’s time to die?

There has been a lot of column inches written, and much ink spilled, over Donald Trump testing positive for the coronavirus. There were, I fear, a few too many quick to sound the alarm and say this would see stocks ‘tumble’, etc.

True, US stock markets fell on Friday, with the S&P 500 down 1%. But this was 25pts above the lows of the day and likely just as much about a tepid September jobs report from the US as anything else; the broad market finished the week up by 1.5% in the end. Hopes of stimulus persist and Nancy Pelosi said on Sunday that lawmakers are making progress.

Traders should still be on alert for updates on Trump’s status, but unless things go very bad it should just be a lot of noise. The President could be discharged from hospital today.

European markets rose in early trade but pared gains as PMIs crossed to show lacklustre recovery in the Eurozone. US stock futures indicated a bounce when Wall Street opens later. One market that has seemingly been brought back from the brink is the bond market, which looked to all intents and purposes like it had been completely killed by the Fed.

Treasury yields moved higher on hopes of stimulus with the US 10-year showing some vital signs at last and nudging up to 0.7%.

US labour market recovery slows

The US labour market is not in good health, with the economy creating 661k jobs in September vs the 800k expected. This was also a marked decline from the 1.371m created in August. The unemployment rate declined for a fifth straight month to 7.9%, but it remains at historically high levels.

The US economy has recovered about half the jobs lost at the peak of the pandemic. The problem remains the same as we have been saying for months now – the reopening rebound was the easy part. The hard slog lies ahead, and it could take years to fully recover all the lost jobs. The UK seems to be in a similar position.

Cineworld stock tumbles as chain shuts UK and US theatres

Time to die? Cineworld is closing all its cinemas in the UK and US amid a collapse in demand due to the pandemic. Shares plunged 50% on the news this morning. The delay to the next James Bond film was the straw that broke the camel’s back, but Cineworld was a little bloated before the pandemic struck.

Net debt of over $8bn – thanks mainly to two large leveraged acquisitions in recent years – and a market cap of $540m by the close on Friday left Cineworld in a difficult position to refinance if punters were not coming through the doors; without the Bond franchise to draw people in there was little option – closing its theatres at least gives it a chance to preserve cash and wait for things to improve. Refinancing by some sort of rights issue seems inevitable.

However, I fear there have been permanent behavioural shifts in consumers that will mean the market is forever smaller. It is hard to gauge right now what permanent damage is done to cinemas, but the closure of Cineworld, however temporary, is a plain indicator that it could be significant and lasting.

The advance of over-the-top streaming services, especially Netflix with its vast Hollywood budgets and ability to make feature films, has been a critical blow to the industry and Covid has vastly compounded the problem by keeping viewers away. In its interim results last month, the company warned that a worsening of the pandemic could leave it unable to survive; today’s announcement confirms that it is on the brink.

Demand uncertainty hits Tesla

Tesla shares fell 7% on Friday after the company failed to quell longer-term demand concerns despite delivering a record number of cars in the third quarter. The company delivered 139,300 vehicles, compared with expectations of 137,000 vehicles.

It looks to be a bit of an unusually bad reaction to very impressive numbers. As the Shanghai factory ramps production Tesla should be able to steadily increase volumes despite the pandemic, albeit Elon Musk’s target of 500k this year looks out of reach for now.

Monetary policy in focus this week

It’s going to be a busy week for central bank jawboning – the Fed’s Powell, Kaplan (the hawk), Harker, Williams, Kashkari, Barkin and Evans are all due on the wires in the coming days. Also watch for the FOMC minutes from the September meeting for more granular detail about how policymakers view the shift to average inflation targeting, and to what extent the consensus is strained.

The ECB latest meeting minutes are also due on Thursday and similarly there is a slew of speakers slated for the week, including Lagarde, Lane, Guindos and Mersch.

Meanwhile the Reserve Bank of Australia could cut rates to 0% when it meets this week. Futures markets have indicated odds of a rate cut at about 50%. However we could well see the RBA cut from 0.25% to 0.1%, or it could delay until November 3rd.

Deputy governor Guy Debelle recently outlined policy tools the RBA is considering to help it meet its twin mandates on employment and inflation, including foreign exchange intervention and negative interest rates.

Chart: Gold continues to slide down the channel – watch the 21-day SMA at the top and 100-day offering support underneath as potential pivots

Who won the first US presidential debate?

Blonde Money CEO and XRay regular Helen Thomas recaps what we learned – or didn’t – from the first debate of the US Presidential Election between President Trump and Joe Biden.

Don’t forget you can catch the latest insight from Helen every week on XRay.

 

Wochenausblick: Trump und Biden messen sich in kürze in der ersten Debatte der Präsidentschaftskandidaten

Es ist eine große Woche für die Finanzmärkte, da am Dienstag die erste US-Präsidentschaftsdebatte stattfinden soll. Donald Trump hat viel Zeit damit verbracht die geistige Leistungsfähigkeit von „Sleepy Joe“ anzugreifen, aber könnte er damit versehentlich die Erwartungen an seinen Gegner zu tief gesetzt haben, oder könnten Bidens verbale Fehltritte ihm die Show kosten?

Nachdem die zwei Kandidaten über die Wirtschaft diskutiert haben, erhalten wir am Freitag ein weiteres Update zum Arbeitsmarkt und zu den US-Beschäftigungszahlen außerhalb der Landwirtschaft.

Feuerwerk zur ersten US-Präsidentschaftsdebatte wahrscheinlich

Sogenannte „Headline“-Risiken um die US Präsidentschaftswahl werden diese Woche mit der ersten Präsidentschaftsdebatte zwischen Präsident Donald Trump und dem demokratischen Kandidaten Joe Biden am 29. September steigen. Die Themen können sich verändern, je nach dem was gerade in den Nachrichten ist, aber zum jetzigen Zeitpunkt hat die Debatten-Kommission den folgenden Ablauf bekannt gegeben:

  • Die Leistungen von Trump und Biden
  • Das Supreme Court
  • Covid-19
  • Die Wirtschaft
  • Rassen-Beziehungen und Gewalt in den Städten
  • Die Integrität der Wahlen

Es ist eine riesige Liste voller Kontroversen aber selbst mit so wichtigen Themen ist es fraglich, ob die Debatten die Meinung einer so polarisierten Wählerschaft ändern können.

Biden hat, unserem Wahlumfragen-Tracker zufolge, landesweit 7,1% Vorsprung gegenüber Trump. Es wurde viel über sein Alter und seine verbalen Fehltritte gesagt und es besteht das Risiko, dass er von Trumps aggressiven Debattierstil überrollt wird.

Dank der monatelangen Attacken des Präsidenten, die „Sleepy Joe’s“ geistige Leistungsfähigkeit in Frage stellen sollten, fürchten manche Republikaner, dass Trump die Erwartungshaltung an Biden extrem tief angesetzt hat.

US-Beschäftigungszahlen außerhalb der Landwirtschaft

Ein paar Tage nachdem Trump und Biden über den Zustand der Wirtschaft diskutiert haben, erhalten wir einen weiteren Einblick in die Gesundheit des Arbeitsmarkts. Das Gehaltswachstum liegt mit 1,371 Millionen leicht unter den Vorhersagen vom August, die 1,4 Millionen erwartet hatten.

Von den mehr als 22 Millionen Amerikanern, die ihre Arbeitsstellen zu beginn der Pandemie verloren haben, sind 11,5 Millionen noch immer arbeitslos. Es liegt noch ein weiter Weg vor uns, bis der Arbeitsmarkt sich wieder erholt hat und einige Analysten erwarten eine Verlangsamung in der Schaffung von Arbeitsplätzen.

Inflation, Caixin und ISM-PMIs, abschließende Wachstumszahlen

Weitere Zahlen, die diese Woche im Fokus stehen sind unter anderem Inflationsberichte für Deutschland und die Eurozone, sowie der China Caixin Manufacturing PMI. Der Donnerstag wird ein voller Tag für US-Daten sein. Kern-PCE, persönliches Einkommen, persönliche Ausgaben, anfängliche und anhaltende Arbeitslosenansprüche und der ISM Manufacturing PMI stehen auf dem Programm.

Die endgültigen vierteljährlichen Wachstumszahlen aus den USA und Großbritannien sowie die endgültigen PMIs für das verarbeitende Gewerbe aus den Mitgliedstaaten der Eurozone und Großbritannien könnten Interesse wecken, vor allem wenn die Zahlen von den ursprünglichen Werten abweichen.

Gewinne: McCormick, Micron, PepsiCo, Constellation Brands

Am Dienstag erhalten wir die jüngsten Geschäftsberichte von McCormick & Co vor der Eröffnung der New Yorker Börse und die von Micron Technology nach ihrer Schließung.

McCormick fiel 12% von der Spitze am 1. September, liegt aber weiterhing 65% über dem Tief vom März. Sowohl Hedge-Fonds als auch Unternehmens-Insider verkaufen seit kurzem die Aktie, die jetzt an der Wall Street 9% unter dem Durchschnittspreis gehandelt wird.

Micron Technology auf der anderen Seite ist 27% im Plus, obwohl die Aktei im letzten Quartal auch stark verkauft wurde.

Am Donnerstag veröffentlichen PepsiCo und Constellation Brands beide vor Markteröffnung ihre Berichte. Nach der Erholung im März hat PepsiCo damit gekämpft sich über dem Eröffnungsniveau zu halten und liegt jetzt über das Jahre gesehen bei -4%. Sie können die neusten Forschungsdaten von Thompson Reuters auf der Plattform herunterladen.

Constellation Brands war weitestgehend flach dieses Jahr. Analytiker sehen einen Anstieg der Aktie um 9%.

Highlights auf XRay diese Woche

Lesen Sie den gesamten Zeitplan der Finanzmarkt-Analyse und des Trainings.

17.00 UTC 28⁠-⁠Sep Blonde Markets
17.00 UTC 29⁠⁠⁠⁠-⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠Sep Webinar: Money Management and Trading Psychology
11.00 UTC 30⁠⁠⁠-⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠Sep Midweek Lunch Wrap
17.00 UTC 01-Oct Election2020 Weekly

Die wichtigsten Wirtschafts-Ereignisse

Behalten Sie die wichtigsten Ereignisse des wirtschaftlichen Kalenders dieser Woche im Auge. Ein kompletter Wirtschafts- und Firmenveranstaltungs-Kalender ist auf der Plattform einsehbar.

23.50 UTC 28-Sep Bank of Japan Summary of Opinions
Pre-Market 29-Sep McCormick & Co – Q3 2020
12.00 UTC 29-Sep German Flash Inflation
14.00 UTC 29-Sep US CB Consumer Confidence
23.50 UTC 29-Sep Japan Preliminary Industrial Production / Retail Sales
After-Market 29-Sep Micron Technology – Q4 2020
01.45 UTC 30-Sep China Caixin Manufacturing PMI
06.00 UTC 30-Sep UK Finalised Quarterly GDP
09.00 UTC 30-Sep Eurozone Flash Inflation Data
12.30 UTC 30-Sep US Finalised Quarterly GDP
14.30 UTC 30-Sep US EIA Crude Oil Inventories
07.15 – 08.00 UTC 01-Oct Eurozone Final Manufacturing PMIs
08.30 UTC 01-Oct UK Final Manufacturing PMI
Pre-Market 01-Oct PepsiCo – Q3 2020
Pre-Market 01-Oct Constellation Brands – Q2 2021
12.30 UTC 01-Oct US Core PCE, Personal Income, Personal Spending, Jobless Claims
14.00 UTC 01-Oct US ISM Manufacturing PMI
14.30 UTC 01-Oct US EIA Natural Gas Storage
01.30 UTC 02-Oct Australia Retail Sales
12.30 UTC 02-Oct US Nonfarm Payrolls Report
14.00 UTC 02-Oct Finalised University of Michigan Sentiment

US Presidential Election: To Vote, or Not to Vote – That is the Question

As the 2020 US Presidential Election creeps into view, the United States is a country divided. With polarisation increasingly prominent, and ever-stronger partisan loyalty, the famed ‘floating voter’ is nearing extinction.

Whilst almost 40% of the electorate identify themselves as independents, these figures hide a residual bias which exists in most. Recent research has found that 93% of the electorate have some sort of partisan lean, with only 7% considered truly neutral. This illustrates the desire of many American voters to be considered independent, even if they are almost certainly going to vote for the same party in every instance.

And yet, conventional wisdom tells us that the most successful campaigns are those which reach out the middle ground and win over these floating voters. If the aforementioned research is correct, such a strategy may no longer be effective.

Instead, we suggest that turnout is the key to victory in modern US elections. The most important decision a voter can make is not who to vote for – for the vast majority this is a foregone conclusion. Rather, the voter choice that really matters is whether to vote at all.

One need only look back to 2016 to exemplify this point, where Hillary Clinton lost the election by less than 100,000 key swing state votes. By comparison, 4.4 million people who voted for Obama in 2012 didn’t vote in 2016, more than enough to overturn Trump’s wafer-thin victory.

Some research has even suggested that, had turnout remained at 2012 levels, Clinton would have won 323 electoral college votes – enough to deliver her the White House comfortably. In states such as Michigan, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Florida, and North Carolina, it was a failure to turn out their own voters which scuppered Clinton, not a failure to win over the centre.

Can Democrats recover African American vote?

The challenge for the Democrats in this election year, both at the Presidential and Congressional level, will be to recognise this as the root of their failure, and to take action in response. In particular, rebuilding African American turnout could prove decisive, after the 7% drop which occurred between 2012 and 2016.

Perhaps Biden’s choice of VP is a recognition of the importance of African American turnout. Although Kamala Harris is unlikely to provide an Obama-sized boost to African American enthusiasm, she may go some way to bridging that gap.

This is especially likely in the context of the Black Lives Matter movement, which could also help to increase turnout among minority demographics.

Which campaign will adapt best to mail-in ballots?

The prominence of mail-in ballots could throw a spanner in the works, though, with campaigns having to radically change their Get Out the Vote operations in response to the new circumstances.

Whereas previous elections have seen a focus on last-minute voter outreach, the early registration deadlines will mean that a longer-term strategy is required. The campaign which adapts to these changes most effectively will gain a critical edge come election day.

To vote, or not to vote: that is the question. The answer will decide who resides in 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue come 2021.

US election playbook: navigating the volatility with 40 days to go

  • Temporary dislocation
  • Too many variables
  • Bigger risks ahead

Given the once-in-a-lifetime pandemic, the US election is being held in exceptional circumstances. All else being equal though, we can deduce something about how current polling might play out. The market consensus is that a Biden win and Democrat clean sweep will lead to higher taxes and regulatory risk for a large number of corporates, which will hurt equities.

There are however plenty of other ways in which the market might like a Blue-nami, from pragmatic trade policy to combined loose fiscal and monetary policy.

Trade

Could Biden open up trade with China again? The Democrat candidate is taking a hard line on China – which is playing well with both sets of voters – but will he become more emollient once in office?

Tony Blinken, a senior foreign policy adviser to Biden, said fully ‘decoupling’ with China as urged by Donald Trump is ‘unrealistic’ and ‘counter-productive’. Biden will instead reset ties with China while seeking to redress unfair practices on trade and IP. However, it will be difficult for Biden to withdraw Trump’s tariffs immediately, without gaining significant concessions.

Biden has to play the hand Trump dealt, but he might seek to drive greater consensus with China and work out a more pragmatic trade policy.

MMT

Biden may not have expressed much support for Modern Monetary Theory – in fact he was once a fiscal hawk in the old style – but under a Democrat Congress and White House there would be no rush to reduce the deficit.

In fact, Biden’s economic stimulus plans entail more borrowing. Whilst it is a stretch to suggest that Biden is a supporter of MMT, the economic and social backdrop has changed drastically in recent years and it is gaining traction in more corners of the Democrat machine.

Moreover, the Fed’s recent average inflation targeting shift opens up a new front for MMT proponents in explicitly pushing full employment as the primary goal of monetary policy.

The Fed

At Jackson Hole the Fed announced a policy shift that ought to have a material impact on expectations around rates and inflation. The Fed is taking a more practical approach than in the past when it has been guided by theories about maximum employment, the Philips Curve and inflation.

Instead of saying that the economic outcomes need to fit its models – which have always been nothing more than a best guess – it will let the outcomes drive the policy. Some would say this is a step towards fully embracing MMT, even if Powell has been against this approach in the past.

The fact is that the crisis has thrown MMT from economic theory to economic practice without any real debate. Powell has embraced a central tenet of MMT – why should millions of people be thrown on the economic scrapheap and left unemployed as the price to pay for low inflation.

Under a Democrat-led Congress and White House, MMT proponents will gain a louder voice, with implications for federal economic policy.

Overall, whilst Biden’s tax policy might be tougher on Wall Street, trade and monetary policy could be easier. But it is not quite so straightforward as that. With polls close in the key battleground states and huge uncertainty over the potential impact of postal votes, it is currently difficult to put a price on any outcome, which in turn makes it hard to trade the election per se.

Going long or short based on the outcome is far too simplistic and you could just as easily call it wrong as get it right. What we can say is that the pandemic, the economic recovery and the monetary policy response are longer term going to matter much more. And so, all else being equal is far too simplistic a view to take in what’s a very complex situation.

Will the election outcome be contested?

The only thing the market wants is to get the election out of the way – the only real danger would be a long period of legal disputes post-election, but again this ought only to create volatility at the time and would eventually be forgotten once it all shakes out.

Veiled threats by Trump to not accept a Biden win are probably over-analysed. The Supreme Court (and Secret Service) would see to that. It turns out the most antagonistic election in a generation for the people of America might well end up merely a short term ripple when it comes to markets, given everything else they have to contend with in the long term.

With 40 days to go, the race is tight and in the major battlegrounds it is too close to call. Markets will be volatile and dislocations will occur that present opportunities. The best approach is to be agile enough to contend with both outcomes and no clear winner on the morning of November 4th.

You can follow our election coverage here.

Congressional Elections: Why do they matter?

While the race for the White House has received outsized attention, developments such as the failure to reach a new coronavirus relief bill and the looming threat of a government shutdown have heightened the stakes in the battle for control of Congress.

The House of Representatives looks firmly in the hands of the Democrats after the inroads they made in the 2018 midterms. Control of the Senate is therefore crucial. It’s currently in Republican hands and the Democrats would need to win four seats of the twenty-three up for grabs in order to gain an overall majority.

With Biden ahead in the Presidential polls, can the Democrats feel confident about the Senate?

With party now trumping candidate, the general momentum towards the Democrats should give them some hope. 2016 was the first year on record where every single state holding Senate elections voted for the same party for Senate as for president.

It’s no longer the case that voters split their ticket when they go to the polls. For example in 1980, despite Republican Ronald Reagan winning the White House, 12 of 31 Senate seats went to the Democrats.

Now though, the electorate is so polarized that party dominates across elections. If you voted Trump, you vote Republican across your ballot paper.

This means state-wide elections have increasingly been nationalized: Senators struggle to separate themselves from their national parties. This has been exacerbated under President Trump, where almost every Republican Senator has embraced him of fear of losing his conservative base – this is especially the case for the Republican Senator in Arizona, Martha McSally, who has pivoted to the right and linked her fate inextricably to Trump’s.

Rare candidates, like Maine Senator Susan Collins, have been able to maintain an identity distinct to the national party’s and keep split-ticket voting alive – but even Collins’ long-time local reputation as an independent, in a centrist state with a history of electing moderate women, is under threat for her polarizing pro-Trump voting record. She backed Brett Kavanaugh for his confirmation to the Supreme Court, in support of her President – and saw her popularity with female voters plummet.

Replacement for Ruth Bader Ginsburg becomes key election issue

With any coronavirus relief unlikely to pass before the election, control of the Senate will be crucial to any alleviation of the recession. This has been exacerbated by the death of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.  Party politics will now be bogged down in finding her replacement, rather than finding a fiscal compromise.

While Trump has made this a key issue, going as far as releasing an unsurprisingly political list of possible appointees, Biden has in turn also made this a focus of his candidacy, promising to nominate a historic first: a black woman. Given the increasing frequency of constitutional hardball around Supreme Court confirmations, control of the Senate will be a prerequisite to a successful nominee.

Given that the states in the Senate up for re-election are very Republican, this development will energise the base, reducing the likelihood of a Democratic majority.

However, on the Presidential level, the blue wall which deserted Hillary Clinton in 2016 looks likely to be rebuilt, given the intensely partisan nature of the battle to come. Mitch McConnell should be pleased by this weekend’s news, Donald Trump should not.

With both sides becoming more entrenched the elections look set to deliver a split between the legislature and the executive. With a more polarized Congress, key platform items promised by both candidates will be tougher to achieve. Expect partisan  investigations and tense hearings to persist no matter who wins.

Blue-nami or Red Wave? How the US election result could impact markets

How will the US Presidential Election impact markets? Will there be Democratic sweep of all three houses; the White House and both houses of Congress? Or can Donald Trump defy the pollsters and hold on for four more years?

Whatever the result, there is sure to be an impact on financial markets. We’ve put together all the potential outcomes and how these might impact the US dollar, S&P 500 and Treasury yields in a handy guide – you can find yours today in platform message centre.

Election2020 quick briefing: Trump catches up, markets price for pullback

  • Trump catches Biden in betting markets
  • Polls narrow further as race tightens
  • Options markets show concern

September 2nd saw an important development as betting markets turned in favour of Donald Trump being re-elected. The RCP average showed Trump +0.1pt over Biden at 49.8 to 49.7. Whilst clearly too close to call, the speed at which Trump has narrowed the gap shows how quickly things can change.

Betting markets are not, however, the same as polls. They are only market participants’ best guess at what the outcome will be.

US Presidential Election polls tighten as Trump eats into Biden’s lead

But polls also show a tighter race. Our US election poll tracker, which is powered by data from Real Clear Politics, has come in sharply. On a national level Trump is polling better than at any time since May and has eaten into Biden’s clear lead, which remains strong.

However, looking into the key battlegrounds where we know the fight will be bitterest and where it really counts, the lead Biden has is also narrowing and now well within the margin for error area. The latest RCP data shows Biden at +2.6 in the top battlegrounds, having been more than +6pts in July. Trump currently stands on 45.4 vs Biden’s 48.

Vix signals heightened election nerves

The tighter race is being displayed by more implied volatility in options markets for the S&P 500 than the stock market itself is showing. We have talked in the last few days about the Vix moving steadily higher even as the SPX rises – futures again pointing higher today after Tuesday’s record close.

This is the first red flag. The second is the term structure of the Vix futures curve which shows significant increase in expected volatility come Oct and Nov with a sharp 20% contango between the front and back months. Compare for example the CBOE Volatility Index Oct 2020 close at 33.51 vs the front month (Sep) at 28.35. Nov traded at 31.80.

This contango in the Vix is at odds with the general grind higher we are seeing and signals genuine anxiety among investors that the election will create the conditions for pullback.

Our Trump20 Blend – comprised of stocks seen as being most exposed to changes to corporate tax rates – is up but has lagged the broad market in recent days, whilst the dollar has softened despite a decent recovery on Wednesday.

Funnily enough, whilst the implied volatility is elevated around the election, all else being equal Trump’s low-tax, low-regulation agenda ought to be more positive for the stock market than a Democrat clean sweep would be. What this increased volatility may represent more is in fact investor fears about a disputed election result, which would considerably dent risk appetite going into the end of the year.

Trump approval rating holds up as Republican convention draws to close, battlegrounds tighten

We know that the Presidential race will come down to a handful of key swing states. But national polls still tell us something about the direction of the campaigns.

As the Republican convention draws to a close this week, the latest polls indicate Donald Trump’s standing remains at least stable. NBC News|SurveyMonkey Weekly Tracking Poll shows that 45% of American adults strongly or somewhat approve Trump’s performance, 54% disapprove.

Meanwhile there has been evidence that the race is tightening. This should not come as a great surprise – national polls showing Biden with a double-digit lead were never going to hold once the campaign proper got underway.

What’s interesting is the direction of travel in Trump’s favour in some key battleground states.

According to a recent CNN poll, the national split was 50% for Biden-Harris and 46% for Trump-Pence. That is within margin-of-error territory.

But drill down to the most important states for the Electoral College and it’s even tighter. In 15 battleground states the poll showed Biden with just a single percentage point lead – with the Democrat on 49% and Trump on 48%. The latest poll for Wisconsin shows Trump edging it for the first time in months.

According to RealClearPolitics, which powers our Election Coverage, Trump trails on 42.4% to Biden’s 50% nationally. But in the battlegrounds the gap is narrowing, and Trump leads in some. 

And as can be seen by the electoral map, it looks like a toss up as to who will win in November.

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  • FSCS-Anlegerentschädigung von bis zu 85.000 GDP. *Abhängig von Kriterien und Teilnahmeberechtigung
  • Schutz vor Negativsaldo

Markets.com, betrieben von TradeTech Alpha Limited („TTA“) Reguliert von der Financial Conduct Authority („FCA“) unter der Lizenznummer 607305.

ASIC (Australien)

Produkte

  • CFD

  • Kundengelder werden in getrennten Bankkonten geführt
  • Elektronische Bestätigung
  • Schutz vor Negativsaldo

Markets.com, betrieben von TradeTech Markets (Australia) Pty Limited („TTMAU”) Hat bei den Australian Financial Services die Lizenznummer 424008 und wird von der Australian Securities and Investments Commission („ASIC“) reguliert”).

FSCA (Afrika)

Produkte

  • CFD
  • Strategy Builder

  • Kundengelder werden in getrennten Bankkonten geführt
  • Schutz vor Negativsaldo

Markets.com, betrieben von TradeTech Markets (South Africa) (Pty) Limited („TTMSA”) Reguliert von der Financial Sector Conduct Authority („FSCA“) unter der Lizenznummer 46860.

Nach der Auswahl einer dieser Regulierungsstellen werden die entsprechenden Informationen auf der gesamten Website angezeigt. Für weitere Informationen bitte hier klicken.