EU MID-SESSION UPDATE: European equities follow the lead from Asia and Wall St. after a goldilocks backdrop is set for stocks

European cash open mimicked the strong positive sentiment seen in Asia and on Wall St. on Friday following US NFP data beating expectations but wage growth slowing down providing a goldilocks backdrop for stocks. Major bourses are firmly in the green with the exception of the FTSE 100 underperforming weighed down by a strong sterling. DAX 30 is supported by the utilities sector outperforming following reports of RWE (+8.8%) agreeing to swap control of Innogy (+12.9%) for renewable assets with rival E.ON (+5.4%). E.ON has agreed to purchase Innogy from RWE as part of a deal valuing at EUR 20bln, marking one of the largest shake-ups of the European power supply market. This could however place doubt on the deal between Innogy’s Npower and UK listed SSE (-2.2%). Following months of attempted takeover, Melrose (-2.9%) has submitted their final offer to engineering group GKN (+0.8%) of GBP 8.1bln following their previous offer of GBP 7.4bln which GKN described as “fundamentally” undervaluing its business and the approach as “entirely opportunistic”.

A relatively quiet start to the week, but the Greenback is weaker vs all G10 counterparts bar the Loonie, as Usd/Cad hovers above 1.2800 after last Friday’s mixed US and Canadian jobs data (to recap, the former blew away forecasts at 300k+, but latter just missed and would have been negative without part-time workers). The Kiwi is outperforming amidst equity market gains and mostly risk-on trade as it regains 0.7300 status vs the Usd, but Usd/Jpy has pulled back from marginal 107.00+ highs post-NFP to around 106.50 on the land sale scandal involving PM Abe and Finance Minister Aso. Note also, tech resistance around the 21 DMA at 106.79 is capping the pair, but hefty option expiries at 107.00 run off this Thursday and could keep the headline afloat. Aud another relative gainer and firmer within a 0.7845-80 range as Australia negotiates a security deal with the US to avoid aluminium and steel tariffs. Usd/Chf is probing back below 0.9500, Eur/Usd is sitting in a tight band above 1.2300 and Cable is holding between 1.3850-80 ahead of Tuesday’s UK Budget. Back to option expiries, but for today there is 1 bn either side of 1.2300 in Eur/Usd at 1.2275 and 1.2330 and just over 300 mn in Nzd/Usd at 0.7300.       

It’s still relatively low-key, but core bonds have inched a bit higher in recent trade, with Bunds rising to 157.17 (+19 ticks vs -7 ticks at the early Eurex low) and Gilts reaching 121.37 at one stage (+13 ticks vs flat at the Liffe intraday base). Looking at the charts, the 10 year German debt future will be eyeing last Friday’s high at 157.25 next, and market contacts flag 157.36 as another upside objective before the mtd peak at 157.69 after that. No real fundamental catalyst behind the bid, but last Friday’s post-NFP sell off may have simply been overdone and presented dip buyers with better opportunities to reload. However, daily tech studies/analysis suggests that Bunds need to settle above key trend-line resistance around 157.14 to maintain the recovery or risk reversing again towards the lows.   

Oil prices pared back gains seen on Friday with WTI (-0.5%) and Brent (-0.6%) seen lower amid concerns of rising US output looming in the market despite a slowdown in rig drilling activity recorded at the back end of last week. In the metals complex, following the US steel and aluminium tariffs, Chinese iron ore future fell for a 3rd straight session hitting near four-month lows closing down 2.6%. The steelmaking raw materials are under pressure from softer demand and high product inventories held by trading companies