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Quiet day for European markets, Tesla shares slide on the US open

Musk on stage

European markets have seen a subdued start to the week, with little directional bias one way or the other, although the DAX still looks on course for a record daily close. The FTSE100 has traded in a fairly tight range, with the best performers being precious metals miners Fresnillo and Evraz.

Europe

Volatility has continued in Darktrace shares after broker Berenberg pushed back on the narrative that the shares were overpriced, and reiterated its buy recommendation on the stock with a 1,000p price target.  

Abrdn shares are higher after the company confirmed it is in discussions to acquire fund supermarket Interactive Investor, which has more than 400k customers and is responsible for around £55bn.  

Airlines have been in focus today, with somewhat mixed results, despite the restart of transatlantic travel, a business that is extremely lucrative for the likes of IAG, Lufthansa and Air France-KLM. We did see the likes of IAG and Lufthansa experience an initial lift higher, with IAG shares initially hitting a three-week high, however the gains proved to be somewhat short-lived, getting rebuffed at the 200-day MA, and have since slipped lower on the day.

Rolls-Royce shares have barely moved after management announced the sale of its civil nuclear instrumentation and control business to Framatome, and relates to its activities overseas, and not its UK civil nuclear business, which remains under its control, as it works with the government to provide provision for small modular reactors.

Defence contractor BAE Systems latest trading update showed that the company remains on course to deliver sales growth of 3% to 5%, above 2020’s £20.86bn, while underlying EBIT is expected to rise between 6-8%.  

US

US markets have started the week on a fairly modest note, as the spillover effect of Friday's positive payrolls report continues to ripple out into the new trading week.

Tesla shares opened over 6% lower after CEO Elon Musk said he would abide by a Twitter poll that said he should sell 10% of his stake in the business and pay the tax on the sale. In the wider scheme of things this shouldn’t make much difference, and has little to no effect on the wider business model. It’s also unlikely that Musk will merely dump the shares on the open market all at once. It’s more likely he’ll drip feed them out over time and it’s not as if there aren’t people queuing up to buy them. This also helps explain why the shares are currently trading well off the lows of the day.

Regeneron shares have edged higher after the company said a single dose of its antibody cocktail can prevent covid-19 infections for up to 8 months.

Moderna shares have regained some ground in the wake of last week’s earnings disappointment, as they look to recover back above the 200-day MA, after closing below it on Friday for the first time since January 2020.

Peloton shares have continued to fall, down another 10% after a broker downgrade sent the shares to their lowest levels since June 2020.

FX

The pound has had a slightly better day today as it claws back some of last week’s losses, as the US dollar gives up some of its gains from last week.

Bond yields which slipped back at the end of last week, are seeing a little bit of a rebound as well, as investors mull the timing of when to expect the first rate rises from various central banks after last week's unexpectedly dovish tilt.

This next couple of weeks is likely to be a key test for both the Federal Reserve and the Bank of England, with the latest US PPI and CPI numbers for October expected to show further upward pressure on prices later this week, with the UK numbers due for release next week.  

Commodities

Having seen two successive weeks of declines, crude oil prices have rebounded modestly, after Saudi Aramco raised its crude selling price to Asia, suggesting that they have confidence in the demand outlook despite a slump in China’s oil imports in October. US rig counts rose by another 6 last week to 550 from 544, with Saudi Arabia ignoring calls from the US to raise production further, as the Biden administration mulled the possibility of doing an SPR release.     

Ethereum prices have hit new record highs today, with bitcoin lagging somewhat behind and only modestly below its own record highs from last month. The increasing popularity of non-fungible tokens or NFT’s appears to be driving the move higher in Ethereum, given that it is the backbone on which most of them are run.

Gold prices have hit a two-month high today, as the aftershocks of last week’s unexpectedly dovish tilt from central banks has continued to push prices higher. The next key resistance is the mid-summer highs of $1,835 which has been a solid barrier since mid-July. It would probably take a further sharp fall in bond yields, and significant further US dollar weakness for a move higher to play out, neither of which looks very likely at this moment in time. It would need a sustained move through $1,840 to potentially retest the highs this year, above $1,900.


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