Is the fear trade getting too crowded?
Today in many ways is looking like a repeat of yesterday with capital flowing out of stocks and commodities and into defensive havens like gold, USD and particularly JPY.
US index futures are down 0.6% to 0.8% with the Nasdaq taking the biggest hit, which comes as no surprise given its higher weighting in technology and momentum plays. In Asia Pacific trading the Nikkei fell 1.8% but mainland China markets rose 0.3%.
In Europe today, uncertainty over what Brexit could mean sent the Pound sharply lower again breaking 1.3000 against USD and dropping under 1.2800 before starting to bounce back.
As is often the case, the Bank of England's easing of capital buffers to promote bank lending was seen as a sign of potential weakness and trouble ahead. Similarly, Sweden's Riksbank maintained its negative interest rate, pushed out its initial rate hike guidance to late 2017 from early 2017 and indicated it expect to have a negative rate for at least two more years.
The big devaluation of the pound has helped to support UK stocks with the FTSE (which finished in the green yesterday) down 0.9% way less than the 2.2% drop in the Dax.
News flow was light overnight but what we did see sent an interesting message. German factory orders, German Construction PMI and Retail PMI for continental countries all came in well below expectations. This suggests a few things: first it suggests that the soft UK construction PMI may be due to a wider slowdown and not just Brexit related, or that Brexit uncertainty is dragging on the continental economy. Stock action also suggests expectations the UK may come out of this stronger than the EU with the big GBP devaluation making the UK even more competitive relative to its neighbours.
Meanwhile defensive havens are soaring led by the Yen which is testing 100.00 against USD.. Precious metals are also up again with gold rising 1.3% and silver rising 2.3%. This has been having a positive impact softening the blow to the FTSE and could help the Canadian market today as well. Crude oil is down less today falling 0.5% vs 5.0% yesterday as traders await US inventory reports later this afternoon and tomorrow.
Traders should note, however, that the fear trade is looking very crowded and the potential for snap reversals and big intraday swings is growing. GBP has already climbed back above 1.3000 while I have been writing this note in what is starting to look like a bullish key reversal day and the USDJPY 100.00 test is big psychologically too.
Today beings a number of North American data announcements including US and Canada trade balances, US non-manufacturing PMI and Minutes of the June FOMC meeting. While the outlook has become more clouded since the Brexit vote, comments from Fed members about the US economy or the July meeting could still attract attention.
There have been no major corporate announcements so far today.
Sweden interest rate (0.50%) no change as expected
Poland interest rate 1.50% no change as expected
UK BRC Shop prices (2.0%) vs previous (1.8%)
Germany factory orders (0.2%) vs street 0.9%
Spain industrial output 1.0% vs street 2.2%
Germany construction PMI 50.4 vs previous 52.7
Germany retail PMI 51.6 vs previous 54.0
Italy retail PMI 40.2 vs previous 45.2
Sweden unemployment rate 3.8% vs previous 3.6%
Upcoming significant economic announcements include:
8:30 am EDT Canada trade balance street ($2.7B)
8:30 am EDT US trade balance street ($40.0B)
9:00 am EDT FOMC Tarullo speaking
2:00 pm EDT Fed June meeting minutes
9:45 am EDT US Markit service PMI street 51.3
10:00 am EDT US ISM non-manufacturing PMI street 53.3 vs previous 52.9
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