Futures Extend Slide, European Markets Drop On Growth, Tapering Fears

World stocks receded from the previous session’s record highs, European stocks were headed for the biggest decline in almost three weeks and US futures were set for a third straight day of losses on Wednesday with the global growth outlook coming under increasing pressure while the dollar hit one-week highs and 10Y yields dipped as investors reduced exposure to riskier assets. S&P futures briefly fell 0.5%, tipping below 4,500 before, recovering losses after the S&P 500 fell 0.34% on Tuesday, while Dow futures were flat and Nasdaq emini futs were fractionally in the red as banks from Morgan Stanley to Citigroup turned cautious on US equities.

The S&P 500 and Dow Jones indexes closed lower on Tuesday, but the Nasdaq edged up to an all-time high after shares of Apple and Netflix hit record levels. US stocks have come under increasing pressure in recent days as investors have turned increasingly cautious following Friday’s weak August payrolls data and uncertainty over tapering. 

In the premarket, cryptocurrency-exposed stocks drop as Bitcoin falls along with other digital currencies after Coinbase said it received a warning from the Securities and Exchange Commission. Future Fintech (FTFT) falls 4.1% and Coinbase (COIN) declines 2.2%, while Marathon Digital (MARA) loses 1.3%. FAAMG gigatechs such as Microsoft, Amazon, Facebook and Alphabet Inc fell between 0.1% and 0.3% in premarket trading. PayPal rose 0.7% after it said it would acquire Japanese buy now, pay later (BNPL) firm Paidy in a $2.7 billion largely cash deal. Tesla edged 0.6% higher after the China Passenger Car Association (CPCA) said the electric vehicle maker sold 44,264 China-made vehicles in August and reported a jump on local deliveries.  Here are some of the other big movers today:

  • Coty (COTY) falls 6.8% after announcing the start to offer Class A stock by KKR Rainbow Aggregator LP.
  • India Globalization Capital (IGC) jumps 18% after the company says its cannabis-based drug for Alzheimer’s was safe and well tolerated in an early-stage clinical trial on 12 patients.
  • Kadmon (KDMN) surges 78% after Sanofi’s $1.9 billion cash acquisition of the U.S. biotech.
  • Nio Inc. (NIO) slides 3.1% after announcing a $2 billion at-the-market offering postmarket Tuesday. Its peers like Li Auto (LI) and Xpeng (XPEV) also declines by 0.5% and 0.8% respectively.
  • UiPath (PATH) slips 7% after sales forecast trails some estimates.

And then there is tapering: despite the weakest jobs report in seven months on Friday, St. Louis Fed President James Bullard said in an interview with the Financial Times on Wednesday that the Fed should move forward with a plan to taper QE despite the slowdown in job growth.

"Everything is tapering, tapering, tapering. We are looking at every single central bank - when is the next one?” said Eddie Cheng, head of international multi-asset portfolio management at Wells Fargo Asset Management, though he added: “The Delta variant impact is still running like a wild card”.

MSCI’s world equity index fell 0.17% after seven consecutive days of gains.

European equities slumped, with the Euro Stoxx 50 dropping as much as 1.5%, and the Stoxx 600 gauge headed for the biggest decline in almost three week; the DAX and SMI lag. Autos, industrial and media names are the weakest sectors with travel and retail the sole sectors in the green. Britain’s FTSE 100 struck two-week lows and were down 0.56%. European traders were focused on whether the European Central Bank will this week also begin to scale back its bond purchase program.

“What is likely ahead of us is a continued but temporary deceleration of economic activity of one to three months which likely started in August,” said Sebastien Galy, senior macro strategist at Nordea Asset Management.  "Fears that central banks might start to taper their asset purchases seems to have knocked away a little confidence, particularly given tomorrow’s ECB decision where many expect we’ll begin to see the start of that process, not least with inflation there running at its highest levels in almost a decade,” Deutsche Bank analysts said in a note. 

Here are some of the biggest European movers today:

  • B&M shares gain as much as 5.9% as it says revenue in the year to date has been broadly in line with market expectations, though gross margins have been stronger than originally anticipated in the B&M U.K. fascia business.
  • Dunelm rises as much as 11% after its FY profit topped estimates and it announced a special dividend, with analysts saying the payout points to a more confident outlook for the home furnishings retailer.
  • EasyJet shares rise as much as 3.8% and Ryanair shares up by as much as 2.3% after the Telegraph reported the U.K. may scrap its Green and Amber warning lists for foreign travel next month
  • Siemens Gamesa falls by as much as 7.5% and Siemens Energy drops by as much as 6.1% after JPMorgan downgrades both stocks. Other wind- energy stocks also fell including Orsted, down as much as 3.6%, after UBS cut its rating to neutral.
  • InPost falls as much as 4.2% despite its 2Q results getting a good reception from analysts, who noted its record margins and strong growth in parcel volumes.
  • Interparfums shares sink as much as 7.8% as its sales forecast disappointed and branded fragrances maker was downgraded by both Oddo and Midcap Partners.

Earlier in the session, the MSCI Asia Pacific Index slipped 0.1% while Japan’s Topix index closed 0.8% higher, with the rally driven by Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga’s decision to effectively step down. Asian stocks retreated, led by benchmarks in Korea and Taiwan, as investors awaited fresh catalysts following an eight-day rally. The MSCI Asia Pacific Index fell as much as 0.4%, before paring much of those losses. The regional benchmark is up by more than 8% from its lowest level for this year, marked on Aug. 20. A group of materials firms declined the most, offsetting gains in utilities. Regional equities have been in recovery since late August as concern over any abrupt tapering by the U.S. Federal Reserve abated and a selloff in Chinese equities eased. Still, stocks have been whipsawed by the rise and fall of daily virus cases in some countries and attempts by China to regulate a wide range of businesses.  Chinese blue chips dropped 0.41%, weighed down by recent soft data in the world’s second-biggest economy.

“A window remains for positive equity returns before the Fed raises rates in 2023 and a counter-trend dollar rally starts,” Jefferies strategist including Darby wrote in a note. “But a lot depends on further easing by China and better S.E. Asia vaccine roll-outs. The good news is that global trade is booming and an IT spending cycle is unfolding.” Singapore’s Straits Times Index fell more than 1% after local Covid-19 infections jumped to the highest in more than a year. South Korea’s Kospi was driven lower by a plunge in Kakao and Naver, after prominent lawmakers warned internet giants against pursuing profits and abusing their market dominance.

Japan outperformed as investors continued to be cheered by prospects for a new government and a recovery from the pandemic, with the Nikkei 225 Stock Average’s rally bolstered by gains in SoftBank. The Nikkei 225 Stock Average climbed 0.9% to 30,181.21, its highest closing level since March 18. The eight-day rise marks the blue-chip gauge’s longest win streak since November. SoftBank was the largest contributor to the Nikkei 225’s advance, rising for a second day on a deal that may set up a buyback for the Japanese tech giant.  Telecommunications providers and electronics makers were the biggest boosts to the Topix, which rose 0.8% to the highest level since August 1990. Trading volume on the first section of the Tokyo Stock Exchange was 3.7 trillion yen ($33.3 billion), the most since May 27. Friday marks the expiration of options and futures contracts in the so-called “special quotation” settlement. The event often leads to speculative trading in the run-up and heavy volumes on the day, especially in quarter-ending months like September. “Investors are eying positive change in Japanese politics, but they are also looking to the major SQ on Friday -- foreign investors that had sold futures are now trying to buy back positions as the cash market has jumped,” said Masahiro Ichikawa, chief market strategist at Sumitomo Mitsui DS Asset Management Co. “Should the Nikkei 225 exceed the SQ price Friday morning, it would indicate that the market remains firm.”

Australian stocks declined as miners, consumer staples tumble. The S&P/ASX 200 index fell 0.2% to close at 7,512.00 as materials and consumer staples stocks weighed on the benchmark. Eagers was the worst performer, retreating from a record high set Tuesday. Macquarie was among the top performers after issuing positive 1H guidance. In New Zealand, the S&P/NZX 50 index fell 1% to 13,193.01.

In rates, 10Y Yields fell to 1.3512% compared to a U.S. close of 1.371% on Tuesday, retreating from this week’s eight-week highs in a quiet session. Germany’s 10-year Bund yield also hit eight-week highs before edging lower to -0.331%. Peripheral spreads widen a touch with the belly of the Italian curve widening ~1.5bps to Germany.

In FX, USD and haven currencies are modestly bid given the weakness in stocks. The dollar hit a one-week high against the single currency and was trading at $1.1819. It also reached a one-week peak against an index of currencies, recovering from recent five-week lows. It was trading at 92.67 on the index, up 0.15%. The Bloomberg dollar index trades near best levels for the week. CAD and SEK are the weakest in G-10. Turkish lira snaps through 8.40 to lag EMFX peers. The pound weakened for a third day, its longest losing streak in a month, ahead of a Parliament vote on a government tax package that seeks to trim a U.K. budget deficit swollen by pandemic spending; Bank of England Governor Andrew Bailey’s comments will also be in focus as he faces the Treasury Select Committee on Wednesday. The Australian dollar was the worst G-10 performer while Australia’s bonds opened lower following Treasuries and held losses through the day; New Zealand peers also declined following a solid milk auction. The yen touched its weakest level in almost a month before rebounding as risk sentiment soured.

Bitcoin paused for breath after plunging 17% on Monday to a low of around $43,000 before recovering. It was last at $46,552, down 0.7%.

In commodities, crude futures pushed higher, returning toward Asia’s best levels. WTI jumped 1.38% to $69.30 a barrel and Brent crude rose 1.14% to $72.50 per barrel, with prices supported by a slow restart to production in the Gulf of Mexico after Hurricane Ida hit the region. Base metals were mixed: LME copper underperforms, snapping through $9,300/MT to trade down as much as 1.5%.  Gold gained 0.17% to $1796.90 per ounce in line with the risk-averse mood and just below the psychologically key $1,800 level which it fell through in the previous session.

Looking at the day ahead now, and data releases include US job openings and consumer credit for July, alongside Italian retail sales for July as well. From central banks, we’ll get the Bank of Canada’s latest rate decision, the Federal Reserve will be releasing their Beige Book, and speakers include the BoE’s Bailey, Broadbent, Ramsden and Tenreyro, and the Fed’s Williams and Kaplan.

Market Wrap

  • S&P 500 futures down 0.4% to 4,499.75
  • STOXX Europe 600 down 1.2% to 467.39
  • MXAP down 0.2% to 206.88
  • MXAPJ down 0.6% to 671.33
  • Nikkei up 0.9% to 30,181.21
  • Topix up 0.8% to 2,079.61
  • Hang Seng Index down 0.1% to 26,320.93
  • Shanghai Composite little changed at 3,675.19
  • Sensex down 0.3% to 58,082.81
  • Australia S&P/ASX 200 down 0.2% to 7,512.00
  • Kospi down 0.8% to 3,162.99
  • Brent Futures up 0.2% to $71.83/bbl
  • Gold spot up 0.2% to $1,798.76
  • U.S. Dollar Index up 0.20% to 92.70
  • German 10Y yield fell 1.0 bps to -0.332%
  • Euro down 0.2% to $1.1820
  • Brent Futures up 0.2% to $71.83/bbl

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