RANsquawk EU Mid Session: Risk sentiment recovers but riding on OPEC and NFP results – 7th December 2018

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EQUITIES

European equities extended on gains from the cash open (Eurostoxx 50 +1.2%) following the cautious trade in the Asia-Pac session and the rebound seen on Wall St where the Dow clawed back nearly 700 points from intraday lows. European sectors are experiencing broad-based gains with marginal outperformance in the tech sector as IT names bounce back from yesterday’s Huawei-driven slump. Meanwhile, energy names are volatile (currently marginally underperforming) as the complex awaits further hints from the key OPEC+ meeting today. In terms of individual movers, Fresenius SE (-15.0%) fell to the foot of the Stoxx 600 after the company cut medium-term guidance, citing lower profit expectations at its clinics unit Helios and medical arm Fresenius Medical Care (-7.8%). On the flip side, Bpost (+7.5%) and Tesco (+4.8%) are hovering near the top of the pan-Europe index amid broker upgrades.

FX

DXY – Typically rangebound trade in the run up to US labour data, and with markets also monitoring OPEC+ headlines as a decision on whether to cut output and if so by how much remains highly uncertain. The index is hovering just under the 97.000 handle within a 96.767-96.931 band, and well within nearest technical support and resistance levels at 96.300 and 97.311 respectively.

GBP – A marginal G10 underperformer as Cable retreats back below 1.2750 from just above 1.2800 at one stage, but this could be more flow-related rather than anything fundamental as Eur/Gbp rallied towards 0.8930 peaks from just under the big figure into the Frankfurt fixing before drifting back again. However, Halifax house prices were much weaker than expected and latest Brexit news is hardly Sterling supportive given more speculation about delaying the meaningful vote to try and avoid a resounding rejection, even though the Government appears to be resolute and standing firm on December 11.

NZD/AUD – The Kiwi is at the opposite end of a relatively narrow Usd/Major spectrum, and like the Pound also impacted by indirect factors to a degree, if not in the main. Indeed, Nzd/Usd remains capped ahead of 0.6900, but Aud/Nzd is pivoting 1.0500 as the Aussie unit continues to feel the adverse effects of recent bearish impulses, namely softer than forecast Q3 GDP and a more dovish RBA via Debelle. Hence, Aud/Usd is softer between 0.7210-40 parameters and bound to be wary of huge option expiries from 0.7250-60 in 6.6 bn that form a formidable barrier ahead of circa 1.2 bn up at 0.7300.

EUR/JPY – In the pre-NFP ‘hiatus’ and awaiting anything further on the Italian budget front, option expiries may also exert directional impetus on Eur/Usd and Usd/Jpy, as the former faces 2+ bn at the 1.1400 strike and latter is flanked by 1+ bn at 112.50 and 113.00.

CAD – The Loonie has pared a bit more lost ground from recent lows, albeit partly due to a broad Usd retracement, eyeing OPEC and also Canada’s jobs report given latest BoC guidance indicating even greater data dependency. Usd/Cad currently just shy of the 1.3400 mark vs 1.3440+ at one stage yesterday.

FIXED INCOME

Gilts trade just below 123.40 (vs. a marginal new low of 123.33) and derived little inspiration from the BoE’s TNS Inflation Attitudes Survey as core EU bonds continue to tread cautiously amidst an improved risk tone due to the stock turnaround and conjecture circulating overnight that the pace of Fed tightening in the near term may be slower than previously perceived or flagged, ahead of NFP today. Bunds are also conforming to the downturn as the German 10 year recently printed fresh session lows of 163.12 and remain pressured under 163.20, in contrast to the revival in its Italian peer (+39 ticks at 123.25). This comes after positive Roman rumblings categorically denying plots to topple Tria, or intentions that the Economy Minister has of resigning himself, alongside Deputy PM Di Maio claiming that the country will not face EDP measures. Strong retail sales may have added some momentum and helped lift the benchmark ahead of the expected budget revision provision next Wednesday.

Elsewhere, US 10-year futures are fractionally softer on balance from yesterday’s close of 120-13 as trade remains nervy ahead of an action-packed session including Fed speak, the continuation of OPEC’s meeting and the aforementioned monthly labour report. In the near term, Treasuries and markets in general are looking to see whether oil prices stabilise post-OPEC, alongside Fed policy implications after the latest update on jobs and wage growth.

COMMODITIES 

WTI (+0.2%) and Brent (+0.9%) are choppy in what was a volatile session thus far as comments from energy ministers emerged ahead of the key OPEC+ meeting, after yesterday’s OPEC talks ended with no deal for the first time in almost five years. Brent rose after source reports noted that Moscow are ready to cut output by 200k BPD (below OPEC’s desire of 250k-300k but above Russia’s prior “maximum” of 150k) if OPEC are willing to curb production by over 1mln BPD. Prices then fell to session lows following a less constructive tone from Saudi Energy Minister who reiterated that he is not confident there will be a deal today, which came after delegates noted that OPEC talks are focused on a combined OPEC+ cut of 1mln BPD (650k from OPEC and 350k from Non-OPEC). Markets are awaiting the start of the OPEC+ meeting after delegates stated that talks are at deadlocked as Iran appears to be the main sticking point to an OPEC deal, though sources emerged stating that Iran, Venezuela and Libya are set to get exemptions from cuts, adding that OPEC and Russia are looking for a symbolic production commitment from Iran as fears arise that Iran may not be able to follow-through on curb pledges due to US sanctions.

In terms of metals, gold hovers around session highs and is set for the best week since August with the USD trading in a tight range ahead of the key US jobs data later today, while London copper rose over a percent is underpinned by the positive risk tone.

(RANsquawk)