UK growth cools and is there still more downside to this market pullback?

Reopening can’t come soon enough: UK GDP expanded by a meagre 0.8% in May, led by indoor hospitality, but held back by a global chip shortage hitting car production. The monthly growth rate was below the 1.5% forecast and leaves the economy 3.1% below its February 2020 pre-pandemic size.

Stocks sold off on Thursday. The kind of worries that have seen narrowing breadth and overbought conditions for the major indices broke over the broader market. Concern about China regulatory pressure on big tech, and concerns about antitrust stuff in the US have gnawed away at the margins. Worries about the rise of the Delta variant globally are also a factor – Tokyo’s decision to ban spectators was taken as a warning that Covid the pandemic is far from over. The biggest worry it seems it this sense that we have hit peak growth – and hit peak expectations a couple months back as evidenced by the top in the commodity market. The last one-two months has seen mega cap growth do all the lifting as the reflation trade unwinds but even with lower rates we saw the market come off yesterday, so there is just this broad sense of being overblown after a 5% rally for the S&P 500 in the last fortnight, while the Treasury market is not making much sense at all and the recent plunge in yields is apparently without any justification and being explained away as a technical thing. This is true but it is not entirely the whole story, and we now face the risk of the 10yr being at 1% at year end and not 2%. Or at least that is what the market seems to be saying – in fact I’d expect once this flushing out of the market (painfully), normal service will resume with the Fed beginning to signal the taper in Aug/Sep.

The US 10yr note yield rallied off a low at 1.25% to reach 1.33% this morning. US equity indices finished Thursday down but well off the lows. The S&P 500 fell 0.86% to 4,320 after hitting a session low of 4,289. The Dow Jones declined 260pts but was about that much off the low of the day by the close. The S&P 500 could still drop another 100 pts to the 4215 area to perform the tap on the 50-day SMA that has been a feature of recent pullbacks. After running up 5% in just two weeks it was ripe for a pause, if not a deeper pullback – the 50day line looks appealing. Current trailing PE of 30 for the S&P 500 suggests it’s heavily overbought – earnings season kicks off next week and with high expectations and the broad market +15% YTD it could be a sell the news affair.

Still a bull market: corrections like these are seen as ‘healthy’, rotation is about positioning for growth not running for cover. Bank of America’s closely followed Flow Show notes that ‘poor level of yields and Wall St dependent Fed remain key reasons why stocks and credit investors still believe in TINA’. Futures this morning indicate a higher open on Wall Street.

The Dow transports index slipped 3% with Biden taking aim at rail and sea shipping with an executive order addressing competition in the US economy. Pain for meme stocks continued with AMC, GME falling sharply in early trade before ending the day higher in an impressive turnaround. Meanwhile, the US is to place more Chinese companies on its blacklist. San Francisco Fed president Mary Daly warned on prematurely declaring victory over the pandemic.

Signs of inflation cooling? China’s factory gate price growth cooled in June, as the rollover in the commodity market following the May peak eased cost pressures. China’s producer price index still rose 8.8% in June, but this was down from the 9% growth in May.

The FTSE 100 is higher in early trade Friday to recover some of the ground lost on Thursday when it declined 1.7%. Continues to tread a 3-month range as the 78.6% Fib level at 7.155 continues to prove a tough nut to crack.

FTSE 100 performance as indicated on multi-symbol chart.

S&P 500: Looking for the 50-day tap on the S&P 500 before the weakest hands are flushed out?

S&P 500 performance indicated on a chart.

EURUSD: looking for a breakout of the trendline, potential bullish crossover on the daily MACD coming?

EURUSD chart showing currency pairing performance.

UK preliminary GDP q/q preview (Wed, 07:00 BST)

The Bank of England anticipates UK economic output contracted by 1.5% in the first quarter of the year, which should be pretty much our reference point for the print on Wednesday, with the consensus at –1.6%. The –2.2% in January was stronger than expected and was followed by a 0.4% expansion in February. Whilst March data does not capture the reopening of non-essential shops, there is evidence that spending and activity were already picking up before the Apr 12th easing of lockdown restrictions. Moreover, the UK economy has proved to be a lot more resilient to lockdown 3 than lockdown 1. Put that down to the adjustment of people and business to the displacement; for instance the embrace of remote working, as well the lockdown rules themselves being less restrictive to economic activity than the first lockdown a year before. Better and more comprehensive testing has also played an important part in keeping in most economic activity going.

The March IHS Markit / CIPS services PMI showed a strong rebound in March, with the index rising to 56.3 from 49.5 in Feb. The robust PMI coupled with other evidence of increased card spending and mobility suggest a solid bounce back in the final month of the quarter, with a month-on-month expansion of around 1.3% expected. Whilst not a direct read on the Q1 numbers, Barclays today says that April card spending has exceeded pre-pandemic levels.

But this all remains rear-view fare: the market is more interested in the +7% growth expected in 2021 which is going to imply some pretty impressive expansion in the third and fourth quarters in particular. Strongest expansion since WW2 is more eye-catching than a mild contraction in Q1 that has been well and truly priced. Going forward, we are not really going to know what the true size of the economy really is for some time because there has been a huge displacement in economic activity as well as the velocity of people. Adjusting to this new normal will take time and measures of output will always lag what is really happening. Moreover, as Friday’s nonfarm payrolls report in the US evinces, hard data is liable to being way off forecasts because it’s so hard to get a handle on what we are comparing it with; furlough and other emergency schemes masked the true depth of the economic contraction. Just as the pandemic led to an unprecedented contraction, there is not really a playbook for this recovery, so we should be careful not to over-read individual prints.

By way of context, the NIESR this morning estimates that the UK economy will recover 2019 levels by the end of 2022. The recovery is strong but it’s coming from a low base. To add further context, as of Feb the British economy remains 7.8% smaller than it was a year before. Moreover, it is still 3.1% below where it was at the peak of the post-lockdown recovery in October 2020 – evidence that this long third lockdown over the first quarter has set things back some way. NIESR also estimates that UK unemployment will peak at 6.5% rather than 7.5%, reflecting the extent to which government support schemes have masked what is really going on.

Chart showing UK GDP performance.

Adelanto semanal: publicaciones del PIB del 1T en Reino Unido y del IPC y ventas minoristas en EE. UU.

Hoy conoceremos los nuevos datos del PIB británico del 1T, que nos revelarán la tónica de este año. ¿Serán certeras las optimistas previsiones de los economistas? En EE. UU., se publicarán los informes de ventas minoristas y del IPC, que posiblemente acentuarán la potencial inflación con el avance de la economía. Por su parte, Wall Street acoge una nueva ronda de resultados.

PIB del 1T en Reino Unido, ¿en línea con las perspectivas optimistas?

Se espera que los datos del PIB del primer trimestre reflejen una contracción más leve de lo previsto en un primer momento, cuando el país iniciaba el confinamiento. La semana pasada, el Banco de Inglaterra afirmó que prevé una contracción de la economía del 1,5 % en el primer trimestre. No obstante, en el Informe sobre política monetaria trimestral, el Comité de Política Monetaria mejoró su previsión de crecimiento anual de la economía británica con un aumento del PIB del 7,25 %.

Esta opinión también la comparten los economistas. En lugar de un contexto aciago, las estimaciones pintan un panorama mucho más halagüeño para la economía británica. Aún no estamos ante unas previsiones espectacularmente optimistas, pero las cifras son esperanzadoras.

El consenso prevé que la caída del PIB se situará entre el 1 % y el 2,5 %. Barclays, Oxford Economics e ING son más pesimistas, ya que calculan que el descenso será de entre el 2 % y el 2,5 %. Por contra, Deloitte estima una bajada del 1,7 %.

Seguimos cantando las alabanzas del sólido programa de vacunación en Reino Unido y es que no se puede subestimar el efecto de su rápido desarrollo y aplicación: cada vez más personas están regresando a sus lugares de trabajo, las medidas de confinamiento se están levantando, los pubs y restaurantes pronto estarán totalmente operativos y el sector de la construcción depara un crecimiento de dos dígitos.

Si nos fijamos en las predicciones a largo plazo, puede que asistamos a uno de los crecimientos más rápidos del PIB británico en 30 años.

La previsión de primavera de EY ITEM Club apunta a un crecimiento anualizado del 6,8 % para todo 2021 y que la economía regresará a los niveles previos a la pandemia en el 2T de 2022. Goldman se muestra aún más optimista, ya que su analista Sven Jari Stehn prevé un crecimiento del 7,8 %.

Cuando el confinamiento se levante por completo y la economía regrese a la normalidad, probablemente seremos testigos de uno de los mayores crecimientos económicos en décadas. Todo dependerá de cómo el país dirija el desconfinamiento.

Foco en el IPC de EE. UU. ante el despertar de la inflación

La inflación podría estar a punto de surgir en la economía de EE. UU. El IPC de marzo mostró un gran aumento intermensual, por lo que la publicación esta semana de este indicador de las subidas de precio en abril adquiere una nueva importancia.

Según los datos de marzo, los precios al consumo aumentaron un 0,6 % con respecto a febrero, aunque eran un 2,6 % superiores a los de marzo de 2020. El incremento del 9,1 % en la gasolina impulsó el aumento del IPC, que fue mayor del crecimiento mensual del 0,5 % y anual del 2,5 % previsto por Dow Jones.

En adelante, no habrá que perder de vista la presión inflacionista en la economía. Unos precios al consumo más elevados podrían impulsar un incremento del tipo de interés de referencia, algo que el Presidente de la Fed, Jerome Powell, hasta ahora ha rechazado categóricamente llevar a cabo. La estrategia actual de la Fed es dejar que la economía coja impulso.

Sin embargo, hasta ahora, los mercados prevén un crecimiento e inflación mayores durante el año. El rendimiento de los bonos gubernamentales también ha dado que hablar este año, dado que han alcanzado máximos que no se veían desde antes de la pandemia. En general, la reapertura económica, más un importante estímulo público, actualmente contribuye a un entorno inflacionista, por lo que la Fed debería escudriñar los datos del IPC de este mes.

Ventas minoristas en EE. UU.: ¿se repetirá en abril el gran éxito de marzo?

Hemos visto cómo la economía ha cogido velocidad en 2021 con un repunte del 6,4 % en el 1T. En general, las perspectivas son más optimistas, aunque ligeramente empañadas por la sombra de la inflación. Tras un mes de marzo extraordinario, los datos minoristas de abril verán la luz esta semana, aunque posiblemente atisbaremos un cambio en la tendencia de consumo de los consumidores estadounidenses.

Las ventas minoristas en el país experimentaron un monumental aumento intermensual del 9,8 % en marzo. La combinación de temperaturas más agradables, medidas de confinamiento menos estrictas y los estímulo para promover el gasto impulsaron aún más las ventas. El crecimiento interanual fue inmenso: del 30,4 %.

Los segmentos que mayor crecimiento registraron fueron los de artículos deportivos (23,5 %), ropa (18,3 %) y vehículos de motor (15,1 %).

Sin embargo, con la reapertura de la economía, los consumidores estadounidenses podrían gastar su dinero en otros bienes. Con el levantamiento de las restricciones a los desplazamientos, el segmento de «experiencias» y viajes podría experimentar un aumento de los ingresos este mes, así como el de la hostelería. Este cambio de tendencia podría perjudicar al sector minorista, por lo que el crecimiento de abril puede que no sea tan espectacular como el de marzo.

Nueva ronda de resultados en Wall Street

Wall Street se prepara para una nueva semana de resultados trimestrales de grandes empresas.

Algunos gigantes darán a conocer sus informes en la siguiente fase de la temporada de ganancias. Estaremos pendientes del informe de Disney. Los parques han reabierto, pero este hecho ya no se reflejará en los resultados del 1T. En lo que sí hay que fijarse es en el servicio de streaming Disney+, que durante el año pasado sumó numerosos suscriptores.

Los resultados del 1T de Alibaba, el titán del comercio electrónico chino, también tendrán nuestra atención. En los dos trimestres anteriores, el gigante asiático superó con creces las expectativas en un 19,29 % de media, y puede que mantenga esta tendencia este trimestre. Las previsiones de Zack son positivas, lo que normalmente apunta a un inminente récord de ganancias.

A continuación, encontrará un resumen de los informes de esta semana de empresas de gran capitalización.

Principales datos económicos

Date  Time (GMT+1)  Currency  Event 
Mon 10-May  02.30am  AUD  Retail sales m/m 
Tue 11-May  10.30am  AUD  Annual budget release 
Wed 12-May  07.00am  GBP  Prelim GDP q/q 
  1.30pm  USD  CPI m/m 
  1.30pm  USD  Core CPI m/m 
  3.30pm  USD  US Crude Oil Inventories 
Thu 13-May  1.30pm  USD  Unemployment Claims 
  3.30pm  USD  US Natural Gas Inventories 
Fri 14-May  1.30pm  USD  Retail Sales m/m 
  1.30pm  USD  Core Retail Sales m/m 
  2.15pm  USD  Industrial Production m/m 
  3.30pm  USD  Prelim UoM Consumer Sentiment 


Principales informes de resultados

Date  Company  Event 
Mon 10-May  Duke Energy  Q1 2021 Earnings 
  Air  Q1 2021 Earnings 
  Mariott Inc.  Q1 2021 Earnings 
  Tyson Foods  Q4 2021 Earnings 
  Panasonic Corp.  Q4 2021 Earnings 
Tue 11-May  Palantir Technologies  Q1 2021 Earnings 
  Electronic Arts  Q4 2021 Earnings 
  E.ON  Q1 2021 Earnings 
  Alstrom  Q4 2021 Earnings 
  Nissan  Q4 2020 Earnings 
  NAMCO BANDAI  Q4 2021 Earnings 
Wed 12-May  Toyota  Q4 2021 Earnings 
  Allianz  Q1 2021 Earnings 
  Deutsche Telekom  Q1 2021 Earnings 
  Merck  Q1 2021 Earnings 
  Bayer  Q1 2021 Earnings 
  Hapag-Lloyd   Q1 2021 Earnings 
  Fujifilm  Q4 2021 Earnings 
  Polyus Gold  Q1 2021 Earnings 
Thu 13-May  Alibaba  Q4 2021 Earnings 
  Walt Disney  Q2 2021 Earnings 
  Airbnb  Q1 2021 Earnings 
  Coinbase  Q1 2021 Earnings 
  Petrobras  Q1 2021 Earnings 
  Telefonica  Q1 2021 Earnings 
  BT Group  Q4 2021 Earnings 
  Mitsubishi  Q4 2021 Earnings 
  Suzuki  Q4 2020 Earnings 
  Rakuten  Q1 2021 Earnings 
  Burberry  Q4 2021 Earnings 
Fri 14-May  Rosneft  Q1 2021 Earnings 
  Honda  Q4 2021 Earnings 
  UNICHARM  Q1 2021 Earnings 
  Knorr-Bremse  Q1 2021 Earnings 
  Toshiba  Q4 2020 Earnings 

Adelanto semanal: perspectivas económicas para la UE y la publicación del IPC de EE. UU. y del PIB británico

En la semana entrante, la UE desvelará unas perspectivas económicas que podrían ser poco optimistas. El Reino Unido también publicará sus datos del PIB, ¿estaremos a las puertas de una doble recesión? Al otro lado del Atlántico, conoceremos los datos del IPC estadounidense, el cual podría apuntar hacia la inflación. Asimismo, la temporada de ganancias sigue su curso en Wall Street con los resultados de Disney y otras empresas de gran capitalización.

IPC estadounidense: ¿ante un aumento de la inflación?

¿Alzará la inflación por fin la voz? Lo descubriremos esta semana en EE. UU., con la publicación de los datos del IPC de enero.

El Departamento de Trabajo informó de un aumento del 0,4 % del IPC en diciembre, tras el incremento del 0,2 % de noviembre. Puede que los precios al consumo hayan subido, pero el catalizador determinante en este caso ha sido la gasolina: su precio se catapultó un 8,4 % en el último periodo de análisis del IPC, lo que representa un 60 % del crecimiento total del índice. La alimentación, por su parte, ascendió un 0,4 %.

Si no tenemos en cuenta los volátiles precios de los alimentos y la energía, el crecimiento del IPC en diciembre fue del 0,1 %, contenido por una bajada del precio de vehículos de segunda mano, así como en las tarifas aéreas, los costes sanitarios y las actividades recreativas.

El mes pasado, los datos del IPC coincidieron con las expectativas de los economistas. En general, el IPC ascendió un 1,4 % en 2020 —en lo que supone el menor aumento anual desde 2015—, lo que representa una caída desde el 2,3 % alcanzado en 2019.

Las perspectivas de cara al futuro son variadas. Por un lado, ya se han inyectado más de 4,03 billones de dólares en la economía a través de estímulos y el Presidente Biden pretende añadir otros 1,9 billones más. Aún no sabemos si esa cifra contará con la aprobación del Congreso, pero, en cualquier caso, es probable que se promulgue más estímulo, lo que podría provocar que la inflación no cumpla sus objetivos.

Por otro lado, las presiones sobre los precios podrían mantenerse benignas. En torno a 19 millones de estadounidenses perciben subsidios por desempleo. Asimismo, la tensión del mercado laboral podría frenar el crecimiento de los salarios y el aumento de las tasas de alquileres vacíos podría contener la inflación.

Un panorama económico poco halagüeño para la UE

Europa podría encontrarse en la senda de una doble recesión. Este es el duro titular que se extrae de la publicación de las perspectivas económicas de la UE en la semana entrante.

En el último trimestre de 2020, se perdieron algunas de las ganancias cosechadas ese año y la economía general de la UE se contrajo un 0,5 % en los últimos tres meses de 2020. Es el mismo patrón que se ha repetido durante el año pasado: los confinamientos se alivian, el PIB sube, pero los casos de coronavirus repuntan; los confinamientos se endurecen, el PIB se contrae, pero los casos de coronavirus siguen aumentando.

El programa de vacunación está resultando particularmente complicado para la UE, aunque la coordinación del trabajo entre los numerosos miembros del bloque requiere un esfuerzo casi hercúleo. A día de hoy, no parece que esté dando frutos. Los problemas con el abastecimiento de vacunas es uno de los aspectos de las tribulaciones de la vacunación de la UE y, más concretamente, la reciente disputa entre la UE y el Reino Unido por las exportaciones de la vacuna de AstraZeneca de la Universidad de Oxford.

El euro se ha contraído frente al dólar y la libra: en el momento de escribir este análisis, 1 euro equivale a unos 88 peniques y a aproximadamente1,20 $, lo que representan mínimos de nueve meses para la moneda común y un indicador nada halagüeño de la salud de la economía.

¿Entrará Europa en una doble recesión? Es posible. En esencia, el bloque debe recuperar el ritmo de vacunaciones para que las personas puedan volver a la normalidad. El estímulo desempeñará un papel importante en este aspecto, ya que la primera partida de efectivo del estímulo de 750 000 millones de euros debería entrar en la economía europea en el primer semestre de 2021. ¿Un motivo para la esperanza? Quizá, pero, por ahora, las perspectivas no son precisamente optimistas.

PIB británico: ¿le aguarda una doble recesión al Reino Unido?

Esta semana, el Reino Unido publica sus últimos datos del PIB. En el 3T de 2020, se registró un dinámico crecimiento del 16 %, según las principales cifras que publicó la Biblioteca Cámara de los Comunes. Sin embargo, este dato se situaba un 8,6 % por debajo del registrado el año anterior. ¿Asistiremos a una contracción de las próximas cifras trimestrales o continuará el crecimiento?

El informe del 4 de febrero del Banco de Inglaterra es, de hecho, más favorable de lo que se temía. Se espera que un aumento moderado del PIB del Reino Unido en el último trimestre, hasta un nivel aproximadamente un 8 % inferior al del 4T de 2019.

Este dato nos pilla de sorpresa. La mayor parte del país recuperó las estrictas restricciones de confinamiento durante noviembre con el cierre de los establecimientos no esenciales. A pesar de que se permitió la apertura de alguno de estos establecimientos en los días previos a Navidad, y de la adaptación de empresas de todo tipo a la inestable situación, podría no ser suficiente para evitar una recesión. No obstante, la temporada de mayor consumo de Navidad y del Black Friday tuvo lugar en el pasado trimestre. Es posible que este factor haya contribuido a mantener la economía británica a flote.

La sombra de la recesión seguirá planeando ante los datos oficiales del PIB del 4T, ya que suponen un barómetro sobre lo que le depara al 1T de 2021. En el Reino Unido se han impuesto duras medidas de confinamiento y, en el futuro cercano, los negocios no esenciales permanecerán cerrados. Goldman Sachs ha revisado su perspectiva de crecimiento del país para el 1T de 2021 al 1,5 %.

En consecuencia, tenemos ante nosotros unas perspectivas heterogéneas, aunque se percibe una tenue luz al final del túnel. El programa de vacunación del Reino Unido ha sido uno de los más eficaces del mundo, con pruebas que apuntan a una menor propagación del virus con la administración de las vacunas. Sin embargo, con los establecimientos con el cierre echado, el crecimiento del PIB aún parece lejos del alcance de la economía británica en el futuro. Sabremos más al respecto cuando se publiquen los datos oficiales del PIB.

La temporada de ganancias sigue su curso

La temporada de ganancias aún no ha finalizado en Wall Street: numerosas empresas de gran capitalización aún tienen pendiente publicar sus últimos resultados.

Disney es una de las empresas más interesantes de este trimestre. La empresa toca muchos palos, pero, ante la caída en sus principales fuentes de ingresos (como los parques temáticos y resorts y, por supuesto, las películas en salas), tendrá que apuntalarlas cosechando ganancias en otras áreas de negocio.

Parece que esta táctica ya está dando sus frutos: las suscripciones a Disney+ —su propio servicio de streaming— ya ha arrasado con todas las previsiones. En abril de 2020, Disney se marcó como objetivo contar con entre 60 a 90 millones de suscriptores en 2024. A febrero de 2021, ya cuenta con 87 millones de suscriptores. Actualmente, las predicciones de futuros suscriptores se sitúan en el rango de los 250 millones.

Además de sus propias creaciones desarrolladas a lo largo de décadas, las adquisiciones de Marvel y Star Wars por parte de Disney hicieron que, esencialmente, dos de las franquicias más populares cayeran en manos de una empresa que ya estaba habituada a ostentar, comercializar y crear productos de entretenimiento de una popularidad escandalosa. En esencia, limitar el acceso a las series y películas de ambas franquicias a una sola plataforma es tremendamente astuto.

Por lo tanto, aunque las ganancias de los soportes físicos se hayan podido estancar, la producción digital podría ayudar a Walt Disney a impulsar un muy buen trimestre.

Actualmente, Disney ocupa el cuarto puesto en la lista de Fortune de las empresas más admiradas del mundo y lidera las empresas de entretenimiento en general. Su reconocimiento de marca ya es descomunal, pero, según Fortune, sus operaciones comerciales constituyen un caso de manual acerca de identificar cómo y cuándo cosechar éxito.

A continuación, incluimos el resto de empresas de gran capitalización clave que publicarán sus resultados esta semana.


Principales datos económicos de esta semana

Date  Time (GMT)  Currency  Event 
Wed 10 Feb  1.30pm  USD  CPI m/m 
  1.30pm  USD  Core CPI m/m 
  3.30pm  USD  US Crude Oil Inventories 
Thu 11 Feb  10.00am  EUR  EU Economic Forecasts 
  1.30pm  USD  US Unemployment Claims 
  3.30pm  USD  US Natural Gas Inventories 
Fri 12 Feb  7.00am  USD  Prelim GDP q/q 


Principales informes de resultados de esta semana

Date  Company  Event 
Mon 8 Feb  Softbank  Q3 2020 Earnings 
  Take Two  Q3 2021 Earnings 
  Loews  Q4 2020 Earnings 
  Hasbro  Q4 2020 Earnings 
  Namco Bandai  Q3 2021 Earnings 
Tue 9 Feb  Cisco  Q2 2021 Earnings 
  Total  Q4 2020 Earnings 
  S&P Global  Q4 2020 Earnings 
  Daikin  Q3 2020 Earnings 
  DuPont  Q4 2020 Earnings 
  Honda  Q3 2020 Earnings 
  Twitter  Q4 2020 Earnings 
  Ocado  Q4 2020 Earnings 
  Fujifilm  Q3 2021 Earnings 
  Nissan  Q4 2020 Earnings 
Wed 10 Feb  Coca-Cola  Q4 2020 Earnings 
  Toyota  Q3 2021 Earnings 
  Commonwealth Bank Australia  Q2 2021 Earnings 
  General Motors  Q4 2020 Earnings 
  Heineken  Q4 2020 Earnings 
  Vestas  Q4 2020 Earnings 
  A.P Moeller-Maersk  Q4 2020 Earnings 
  IQVIA  Q4 2020 Earnings 
  Sun Life  Q4 2020 Earnings 
  Uber  Q4 2020 Earnings 
Thu 11 Feb  L’Oreal  Q4 2020 Earnings 
  AstraZeneca  Q4 2020 Earnings 
  Schneider Electric  Q4 2020 Earnings 
  Duke Energy  Q4 2020 Earnings 
  Kraft Heinz  Q4 2020 Earnings 
  Credit Agricole  Q4 2020 Earnings 
  Tyson Foods  Q1 2021 Earnings 
  ArcelorMittal  Q4 2020 Earnings 
  UniCredit  Q4 2020 Earnings 
  Kellogg  Q4 2020 Earnings 
  Expedia  Q4 2020 Earnings 
  HubSpot  Q4 2020 Earnings 
Fri 12 Feb  ING  Q4 2020 Earnings 

Thursday running order: Ocado Q4, UK GDP, ECB and US CPI

US stock markets hit fresh record highs in the early part of the session before paring gains and turning a little softer. European markets remain broadly higher, albeit more modestly than they were in the morning session. It’s a big day tomorrow with UK growth figures, the ECB meeting and some bumper US data all on the slate. In addition, we have earnings from DS Smith and Ocado to look forward to.

Traders are likely to be greeted with some more Brexit headlines – so far no is prepared to take a decisive position and cable continues to chop around the 1.33-34 area. This only shows that traders think both outcomes – deal or no-deal – are still very much in the running. We await signals from the dinner between Boris Johnson and Ursula von der Leyen this evening.

Thursday’s running order:

UK GDP: The UK economy grew 15.5% in the third quarter as since stalled reopening of the economy saw spending and activity bounce back between July and September. Nevertheless, the economy remains 9.7% smaller than it was before the pandemic and the November lockdown will smash the Q4 recovery. October’s data due tomorrow at 7am will likely show a modest 0.4% month-on-month gain.

ECB: The European Central Bank is likely to announce fresh stimulus by way of expanding its Pandemic Emergency Purchase Programme (PEPP) by an additional €500bn and extend it beyond the current Jun 2021 cut-off to the end of next year. This is not likely to produce much volatility in EUR crosses as there was a strong pre-commitment at the October meeting to taking additional easing measures in December. As we said at the time, it’s all but a down deal now that France and Germany have locked down and the economy is heading for another recession. Last time Christine Lagarde said staff were working on recalibrating all instruments, which means even interest rates could be cut further in addition to expanding QE envelopes, however any tweak to rates looks unlikely at this stage.
Recent survey data has been soft and hard data for November when it comes is not going to be pretty. Q4 is shaping up badly, though Lagarde and co may now be willing to jump the shark on vaccines and prep for a rosier 2021 – which would suggest no dovish surprise from the ECB. Inflation remains very weak and has been stable at –0.3% since September.

The stronger euro exchange is another headache for the ECB – traders will be closely watching for any jawboning by Lagarde around the recent euro strength. We should also look for extension of TLTROs and upping the tiering facility to help banks. Lagarde will look to show that the ECB will stay super-loose for as long as necessary but will lean hard on the fiscal side too and not want to do too much. Moreover, the advent of vaccines will keep the ECB from over-doing it now. As ever, the announcement is at 12:45 GMT and presser follows at 13:30.

US CPI and weekly unemployment claims: After a tame reading for October, core and headline CPI are seen ticking up marginally to 0.1% over last month and +1.1% year-on-year for the headline number and +1.8% for the core reading. US inflation expectations have hit 18-month highs, but it’s not thought that we will see a material imprint on last month’s figures – expectations seem to be more about the coming Great Monetary Inflation caused by central bank printing and pro-cyclical fiscal stimulus in 2021 as vaccines allow the economy to bounce back. Nevertheless, the latest PMI surveys for November showed the quickest rise in selling prices yet recorded, with the rate of inflation hitting a record high in the service sector and a 25-month high in manufacturing. Inflation may be coming, but probably not until the pandemic is over. Data on tap at 13:30 GMT with unemployment weekly claims numbers (seen at +723k vs 712k last week) coming at the same time.

Ocado Q4 trading statement: Ocado has been a big winner from the pandemic and shares are +75% YTD, putting in the top three FTSE 100 performers this year (after Scottish Mortgage and Fresnillo). Two key questions are on the lips of investors: how has the M&S tie-up fared and has Ocado been able to ride the November boom in grocery spending? It’s been operating at full capacity every day – any progress on increasing capacity will be another q for investors.

The Marks and Spencer partnership has now had a full quarter to deliver some initial indications of consumer demand. I’d expect the progress to be strong given both the rising demand for online and the increased consumer spend on groceries due to lockdowns.

Last time (Nov 2nd) Ocado raised its full-year EBITDA guidance to £60m from £40m. Given the massive surge in grocery sales in November reported by Kantar, which said sales rose 13.9% year-on-year in the four weeks to Nov 29th. A total of 6m households shopped online in November, with digital platforms accounting for 13.7% of all sales – both are records and may call for another, albeit modest, upgrade to the FY earnings. Kantar notes: Ocado demonstrated the trend, growing by 38.3% in the latest 12 weeks. This period also fully covers the time since Ocado started selling M&S products, during which its share of the chilled ready meals market has tripled to just over 3%. Shares were up over 2% today to 2,319p ahead of the announcement. Look for a push to 2,400p to recapture the Nov highs around 2,580p.

Stocks pull back as California shuts up shop again, pound retreats

A rolling back of the reopening process in California and rising US-China tensions left Wall St and Asian markets weaker, with stocks in Europe following their lead as surprisingly good Chinese trade data was not enough to calm markets.

European equity indices fell back in early trade on Tuesday after stocks on Wall Street suffered a stunning reversal late in yesterday’s session. At one point the S&P 500 touched its highest since level since the end of February at 3,235 before sellers sold hard into that level and we saw a very sharp pullback to 3,155 at stumps.

After threatening to break free from the Jun-Jul trading range, the fact the S&P was unable to make good on its promise could signal fresh concerns about the pandemic but also investor caution as we head into earnings season – the fact is the market should not be up for the year. Although it’s hard to get a real feel for valuations because so many companies scrapped earnings guidance, the S&P 500 is trading on a forward PE multiple that is way too optimistic, you would feel. Earnings season gets underway properly today with JPMorgan and Wells Fargo.

The Nasdaq also slipped 2% as tech stocks rolled over, with profit-taking a possible explanation after a) a very strong run for the market has left prices very high and, b) signs of a pullback for the broader market indicated now might be a good time to take stock. Tesla rode a $200 range in a wild day of trading that saw the stock open at $1,659, rally to $1,795 and close down 3% at $1,497.

Stocks retreat as California rolls back reopening, US-China tensions rise

California’s economy is larger than that of the UK or France, so when Governor Gavin Newsom rolled back the reopening of the state on Monday, investors took notice. The closure of bars, barbers and cinemas among other business venues followed moves in economically important states like Texas, Florida and elsewhere, indicating the rate of change in the recovery is not going to improve.

Whilst the market had developed a degree of immunity to case numbers rising, it is susceptible to signs that the economic recovery will be a lot slower than the rally for stocks in the last three months suggests.

Overnight Chinese trade data surprised to the upside with exports up 0.5% in June and imports rising 2.7%, beating expectations for a decline and signalling that domestic demand is holding up well. Singapore’s economy plunged into a recession with a 41.2% drop in GDP, while Japan’s industrial production figures were revised lower.

Tensions between the US and China took another sour turn as the White House rejected China’s claims to islands in the South China Sea, which aligns the US with a UN ruling in 2016. It had previously declined to take sides – the move indicates Washington’s displeasure and willingness to go up against China on multiple fronts now.

UK economy undershoots forecasts with tepid recovery

The UK is already seeing what a non-V recovery looks like. GDP growth rebounded 1.8% in May, which was well short of the 5.5% expected. In the three months to May, the economy contracted by 19.1%. Some of the numbers are truly horrendous and it’s hard to see how the economy can deliver the +20% rebound required to get back to 2019 with confidence sapped like it is and unemployment set to rise sharply.

UK retail sales rose 10.9% in June on a like for like basis excluding temporarily closed stores, whilst overall sales rose a more modest 3.4% and non-food sales in stores were down a whopping 46.8% for the quarter. Suffice to say that headlines of rebounds mask many ills.

Sterling extended a selloff after the GDP numbers disappointed. The reversal in risk appetite late yesterday saw GBPUSD break down through the channel support and this move has continued to build momentum overnight and into the European morning session. The rejection of the 1.2667 region seems to have made the near-term top for the rally. The 38.2% retrace line at 1.250 may offer support before the old 50% retracement level at 1.2464.

WTI (Aug) was a little softer under $40 as market participants eye the OPEC+ JMMC meeting on Wednesday. This will decide whether to roll back some of the 9.6m barrels or so in production cuts by the cartel and allies. The risk is that if OPEC acts too earnestly to raise production again the market could swiftly tip back into oversupply should the economic recovery globally fail to build the momentum required.

Another factor to consider is whether giving the green light to up production is taken by some members as an excuse to open the taps again and result in more production than agreed – compliance remains the ever-present risk for any OPEC deal.

Stocks head for best quarter in years, Powell testimony weighs on yields

The UK’s economy shrank a little more than expected in the first quarter – the 2.2% plunge was the joint worst since 1979. Of course, it will be dwarfed by the Q2 drop, with April already printing 20% lower. Meanwhile China’s PMI data showed a slight improvement and Japan’s industrial production plunged over 8%.

Does any of this tell us much as investors and traders? In normal times, yes of course, as it might make a difference of a few points on the margins, but in the time of coronavirus there is an awful lot of noise around the data which makes it a lot more challenging, as well as of course all the stimulus, which muffles the notes that the data is trying to sound. Boris Johnson will launch an FDR-like New Deal infrastructure package today to distract us from the harsh reality of rising unemployment and ongoing restrictions on our liberties.

Powell’s economic outlook weighs on US yields

US Treasury yields declined as Federal Reserve chair Jay Powell said the outlook for the economy is ‘extraordinarily uncertain’. In prepared remarks for today’s Congressional hearing alongside Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, Mr Powell said output and employment remain ‘far below their pre-pandemic levels’, adding: ‘The path forward for the economy is extraordinarily uncertain and will depend in large part on our success in containing the virus.’

He also noted that ‘a full recovery is unlikely until people are confident that it is safe to reengage in a broad range of activities’. San Francisco Federal Reserve President Mary Daly said it’s too early to tell and is just ‘watching the data’. Aren’t we all.

A strong quarter for stocks, but risks of a sharp pullback abound

Stocks rallied on Monday despite a wobbly start, as US pending home sales jumped the most on record in May, whilst Boeing surged 14%, heaping dozens of points on the Dow as it restarted test flights on the 737 MAX aircraft yesterday.

But as I keep stressing, this is a very rangebound market. The S&P 500 rose 1.5% but is caught between the 38.2% and 50% retracement of the pullback in the second week of June. The Dow added more than 2% but couldn’t even achieve the 38.2% line. Whilst indices are still trading this range, there is a downside bias evident lately and emerging down trend channels as we’ve made a couple of lower highs and lower lows. If this trend strengthens it could gain enough momentum to retest of the June lows.

Indeed, during cash equity trading hours the last 5 sessions has produced a lower low and lower high on the S&P 500. Valuations still look too high and based on a far-too-optimistic view of an earnings rebound in 2021 and does not account for permanent productivity and demand destruction. Of course stimulus is making a big difference here, but risk assets are exposed if we see the pandemic get worse from here. World Health Organisation boss Tedros said the worst is yet to come. Cases across states like Arizona, Texas and Florida continue to surge and look to be completely out of control.  A short, sharp pullback is a very real possibility.

Nevertheless, it’s been a solid month and an exceptionally strong quarter. US equities have enjoyed their best quarter in 20 years, whilst stocks in Europe have fared pretty well too as investors participated in the rebound off the March lows. It’s mirrored elsewhere in risk assets – copper is up a fifth, but is slightly weaker for the year. For instance, the S&P 500 is up 18% QTD, but down 5% YTD. The FTSE 100 is up almost 10% QTD, but down over 17% YTD.

On the open on Tuesday, European stocks were mixed and lacking direction as they traded either side of the flatline. The FTSE 100 was trading around the 50% retracement of the June pullback and took a little hit as Shell downgraded its oil outlook and warned it will need to take up to write down the value of its assets by as much as $22bn. This follows a similar move by BP, which moved lower apparently on the Shell read-across.

Chart: Dow tests 50-day SMA support, downtrend starts to gain momentum.

Elsewhere, gold was supported around $1770 but slightly below the recent 8-year high as the flag pattern starts to near completion following the leg up on Friday. Needless to say, we can look to US real rates and 10yr Treasury Inflation Protected Securities (TIPS) dipping to –0.7%, a new seven-year low. Across the curve real rates are more negative than they have been a decent while.

Crude oil recovered the $39 handle but has failed to ascend all the way to $40 and has peeled back this morning. The near-term rising trend is offering support but the double top still exerts its influence and may well result in a further pullback to $35.

In FX, the dollar continues to find bid and the dollar index is making a nice little move off its lows still in a strong uptrend channel but is just running into horizontal resistance around the 97.65 area – breakout could see 98 handle again in short order. The downtrend dominates for cable as the pair continued south down the channel to test 1.2250. Whilst this held, the failure to recover 1.23150 on the swing higher may call for a further decline to the 1.22 round number support, and thence our old friend 1.2160 may come into play.

Chart: Downward trend dominates for cable

Week Ahead: UK and Eurozone GDP, NZ Budget, Marriott earnings

Economic data at the moment tends to fall into one of two categories: 1) How bad did things get in Q1, and, 2) How quickly are they likely to get better? Everyone knows the Q2 data is where the real pain lies, but markets want an idea of where things stood before the effects of COVID-19 lockdowns really began to bite. 

To this end flash Q1 GDP figures from the UK, Germany, and the Eurozone this week will act as a primer ahead of data for the current quarter. The US has already reported its advanced GDP estimate for Q1, showing that the economy contracted 4.8% during the first three months of the year, compared to expectations of 4%. 

The UK economy is expected to shrink 4.4% on the previous quarter, the German economy by 2.8%, and the Eurozone by 3.8%. If the US data is any indication, these forecasts may not be bleak enough. 

The key question, though, is whether this weakness is the predicted impact of COVID-19 arriving earlier than expected, or a sign that the impact is worse than the already dire expectations. 

The US will post inflation and retail sales data, and the University of Michigan will publish its preliminary reading of its latest sentiment index. Australian releases this week include the wage price index and employment change and unemployment rate figures. 

China industry, retail sales and New Zealand Budget 

On the other end of the scale, Chinese industrial production and retail sales figures for April will give markets a vague idea of what an economy on the other side of lockdown looks like. It’s not an entirely accurate bellwether – China returned to work around the same time that Europe battened down the hatches. 

The shuttering of businesses across the West will damage manufacturing demand in Asia. Industrial production is expected to drop 4.2%, compared to 1.1% drop in March. Retail sales had cratered nearly 16% in February. The unemployment rate is expected to tick higher to 6.3% from 5.9%. 

Also on the postCOVID front, the New Zealand government will hand down its latest Budget release this week. Finance Minister Grant Robertson has already laid out his strategy in a prebudget speech (delivered via video link, of course): respond, recovery, rebuild. 

Particularly interesting is that Robertson says this will be a chance to not just rebuild the economy, but rebuild it better. Will other finance ministers around the globe be looking to reshape their economies over the coming months and years, or simply get the train back on the rails? The notion could drastically change what markets should expect from the coming years. 

Earning season: Marriott, Cisco, Tencent 

Marriott earnings are due before the market opens on the 11thThe hotel giant recently raised $920 million in new cash through its credit card partners. Revenue per available room was down 60% during March. 

The stock has a “Hold” consensus with a 19% upside (based on the May 6th closing price) according to our Analyst Recommendations tool. Hedge funds has sold shares in the previous quarter, while insiders have snapped up the stock. The latest research on the stock from Thompson Reuters is available to download in the Marketsx platform.

Marketsx stock sentiment tools: Marriott International Inc (MAR – NASDAQ)

Cisco reports after the market close on May 13th. While analysts rate the stock a “Buy”, hedge funds dumped 83 million shares in the last quarter, with company insiders selling over 9 million in the last three months. The latest research on the stock from Thompson Reuters is available to download in the Marketsx platform.

Marketsx stock sentiment tools: Cisco Systems Inc (CSCO – NASDAQ)

Tencent Holdings, Sony, and Wirecard also report this week.


Heads-Up on Earnings 

The following companies are set to publish their quarterly earnings reports this week: 

Pre-Market 11-May Marriott – Q1 2020
11-May Bridgestone Corp – Q1 2020
05.00 UTC 12-May Allianz – Q1 2020
12-May Vodafone Group – Q4 2020
Pre-Market 13-May Tencent Holdings – Q1 2020
After-Market 13-May Cisco – Q3 2020
13-May Sony Corp – FY 2019/20
14-May Wirecard – Q1 2020
14-May Astellas Pharma – Q4 2019

Highlights on XRay this Week 

07.15 UTC   Daily      European Morning Call 
09.00 UTC   Daily   Earnings Season Daily Special 
 15.30 UTC 12-May   Weekly Gold Forecast
12.50 UTC 13-May Indices Insights
18.00 UTC  14-May BlondeMoney Gamma Special

Key Economic Events 

Watch out for the biggest events on the economic calendar this week: 

23.50 UTC 10-May Bank of Japan Summary of Opinions
01.30 UTC 12-May China CPI
07.00 UTC 12-May UK Preliminary Quarterly GDP
12.30 UTC 12-May US CPI
01.30 UTC 13-May Australia Wage Price Index (Q/Q)
03.00 UTC 13-May RBNZ Interest Rate Decision
14.30 UTC 13-May US EIA Crude Oil Inventories
01.30 UTC 14-May Australia Employment Change / Unemployment Rate
02.00 UTC 14-May New Zealand Annual Budget Release
12.30 UTC 14-May US Jobless Claims
14.30 UTC 14-May US EIA Natural Gas Storage
02.00 UTC 15-May China Industrial Production / Retail Sales
06.00 UTC 15-May Germany Preliminary GDP (Q1)
09.00 UTC 15-May Eurozone Preliminary GDP and Employment Change (Q1)
12.30 UTC 15-May US Retail Sales
14.00 UTC 15-May Preliminary University of Michigan Sentiment Index

UK GDP could wake sluggish pound, but the outlook is far from rosy

The UK’s first-quarter GDP print could be a good one, but will everything be as it appears?

Analysts at EY ITEM Club expect an uptick in growth during the months in what should have been the final quarter before the UK began its transition out of the European Union. A frantic few months, several baffling votes, and two extensions later, and the government now has until October to figure it out.

It’s longer than we need, Theresa May boldly claimed, seemingly having forgotten how the last few months have unfolded. Since then the political front has fallen eerily quiet, but the same cannot be said for businesses.

Brexit preparations to inflate growth figures?

If the UK economy did indeed pick up pace at the start of 2019, it could be because companies were busy stockpiling ahead of – what seemed at the time – an almost unavoidable no-deal Brexit.

PMIs for the quarter have made unpleasant reading; March saw the key services index collapse into contraction territory with a 48.9 reading. Construction, meanwhile, recorded the first consecutive output decline since August 2016.

Manufacturing, on the other hand, hit a 13-month high of 55.1 during March. The key phrase from survey-conductors Markit, though, was «The impact of Brexit preparations remained a prominent feature at manufacturers in March. Efforts to build safety stocks led to survey-record increases in inventories of both purchases and finished products».

It’s even possible that consumers have been stockpiling, and that this will increase growth as well.

How will sluggish pound respond to growth data?

Brexit and the associated political drama have worked to effectively anaesthetise sterling from economic data. Even key data like services PMIs have been met with a muted response of late; until the outcome of the Brexit negotiations is known, the economic calendar for the UK is somewhat moot.

Growth data could be different.


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