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Euphoria Returns: European Stocks Soar, Dax Hits Record; S&P Futs Surge In “French Relief Rally”

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Risk is definitely on this morning as European shares soar, led by French stocks and a new record high in Germany’s Dax, after a “French relief rally” in which the first round of the country’s presidential elections prompted investors to bet that establishment candidate Emmanuel Macron will win a runoff vote next month, and who is seen as a 61% to 39% favorite to defeat Le Pen according to the latest just released Opinionway poll.

For those who may have missed yesterday’s events, here is a quick recap from DB:

The fact that Macron and Le Pen have made it through to the second round was in line with the most likely scenario for the last several weeks and is a big market positive given their head-to-head polling numbers but make no mistake viewed over a longer-term horizon its another political shockwave as the two mainstream party’s candidates have been eliminated in the first round for the first time under the 5th Republic.

 

A reminder that the polls have suggested that in a run-off Macron has consistently been 20-30% ahead of Marine Le Pen. It would take a numerical shock perhaps 5-10 times larger than Brexit or Trump for Le Pen to win. It does seem that the prefirst round polls have been relatively accurate so Macron should rightly be red hot favourite now. The fact that many of the losing candidates (not Melenchon) have been throwing their support behind Macron helps reinforce this.

 

So this was a big anti-establishment vote but a tame one for now due to the fact that a market friendly candidate made it through and is very much expected to win. The first round polls were close enough that you couldn’t have ruled out a very market unfriendly Le Pen/Melenchon run-off but now that risk has been eliminated the second round is perhaps more straight forward. The latest numbers with 97% counted are Macron 23.9%, Le Pen 21.4%, with Fillon and Melenchon with just over 19% each.

Asian stocks also surged, expect for China, which suffered its biggest drop of the year, down 1.4%, ending the streak of losses no greater than 1% going back to December. The dollar has tumbled against the euro, while crude oil rises. In the US, S&P futures surged 1.2% to 2,374.5, again approaching an all time high, on the heels of the favorable France vote and as Trump vowed to announce tax reforms this week.

Back to Europe where French stocks led gains in European equities as traders speculated that candidate Emmanuel Macron will win the country’s presidential election after he made it through to the second round. Led by gains in French banks, the CAC 40 Index surged 4.4% at 11 a.m. in Paris, poised for its best advance since June 2012, while the Euro Stoxx 50 Index jumped 3.2 percent and the broader Stoxx Europe 600 Index rose 2 percent, both heading for their highest levels since August 2015. Banks were the biggest winners among Stoxx 600 groups. The Euro Stoxx Banks Index surged 6.7 percent, heading for its highest level since December 2015.

As shown in the chart below, the CAC 40 is poised to close at its highest level in more than nine years. It could outperform Germany’s DAX Index by 3 percent to 4 percent within a few days, Natixis strategist Sylvian Goyon told Bloomberg. The French benchmark had advanced less than the DAX in the year through Friday’s close, before outperforming on Monday.

Commenting on the move, Andrea Tueni, a trader at Saxo Bank, said that “the result will bring some relief to the market. This confirms the ‘central scenario’ that was mostly priced in already, so I don’t expect euphoria on the markets. Banking stocks could outperform after their recent weakness.” And yet euphoria is precisely what has been unleashed looking at not only the CAC but also Germany’s Dax, which is trading at record highs this morning.

Germany’s DAX Index rallied in sympathy to a new all time high.

More on the “unexpcted” euphoria: every industry group in the Europe 600 Index rose, volatility fell the most since 2005, and the cost of insuring against losses on French banks’ junior debt fell by the most in almost seven years. The VStoxx Index of euro-area volatility slumped 30% , poised for a record decline. France’s VCAC Index tumbled 36%. Gold was on course for its biggest drop in seven weeks and the yen was the worst performer among major currencies. Hinting that early euphoria may have been overdone, the euro scaled back gains after it’s best open on record.

“Macron will not only help stabilize the European Union, but also help build stronger support mechanisms,” Azad Zangana, senior economist for Europe at Schroders Plc in London, wrote in a note to clients. “The contest is not over yet, but investors are likely to take comfort and to begin to think about the more attractive valuations that European equities offer.”

The spread between German and French 10Y yields, aka “le spread” plunged by over17 bps, and has dropped to under 50 bps as fears of a French shock evaporate. The spread was just under 80bps in February when fears of a Le Pen win peaked, and has since narrowed to the lowest level since late 2016.

While Europe and the rest of the world soared, China tumbled, and a selloff in Chinese stocks deepened after the Shanghai Composite plunged 1.4%, the most in four months, amid the previously noted concern authorities will step up measures to crack down on leveraged trading. The Composite suffered its biggest one-day loss since Dec. 12, as industrial companies and material producers led losses. The ChiNext small-cap gauge slipped 1.6 percent to 1,809.91, its lowest closing level since September 2015.

China’s authorities are taking advantage of a strengthening economy to reduce financial-system risk by tightening the screws on leverage. The banking regulator said late Friday it will strengthen a crackdown on irregularities in the financial sector, echoing comments by the securities watchdog just days earlier, while the top insurance official is being investigated on suspicion of “severe” disciplinary violations. The Shanghai Composite has slumped almost 5 percent since closing at a 15-month high on April 11, the biggest loss among global gauges.

“Market sentiment has been damped by recent tightening supervision on all fronts such as the banking commission, insurance commission, securities regulator,” said Ben Kwong, executive director of KGI Asia Ltd. in Hong Kong. “They expressed concern about bubbles and credit defaults. The deleveraging process is still in progress.”

 

The declines dented optimism in Hong Kong, where the Hang Seng Index rose 0.4 percent, paring an earlier gain of as much as 0.7 percent that had come amid global risk appetite on bets that pro-growth centrist Emmanuel Macron will be France’s next president. The Hang Seng China Enterprises Index climbed 0.6 percent at the close, trimming an advance of 1.1%.

However, China’s potential tightening was not enough to dent today’s global euphoria which spilled out from equities and across all risk assets, including most currencies even as the dollar dropped as safe haven trades were unwound, dragging Treasurys lower.

With France in the rearview mirror, there will be some focus on potential other big events this week. As we ended last week the market mood was improved with reports of both a renewed push for Trump tax reform and also talk of another healthcare vote occurring sooner rather than later. Trump used his media on choice – twitter – to proclaim on Saturday that “Big TAX REFORM AND TAX REDUCTION will be announced next Wednesday”. The capitals are his emphasis and he is not turning the dial down much from his “phenomenal” tax plan comment on February 9th. However that one he promised within 2-3 weeks. The consistent certainty and hyperbole make it a nightmare for markets as how do you analyse how realistic delivery is? It would be hard for credibility if this week brings nothing of note but this is a way of doing things that is unique to Mr Trump’s presidency and with it the uncertainty level is high. Over the weekend Mick Mulvaney, director of the Office of Management and Budget suggested that Wednesday will bring the administration’s “principles” and “some of the ideas that we like, some of the ideas we don’t like” and intimated that the full plan won’t be released until June. So we’ll have to wait and see.

Meanwhile, the euro climbed 1.3 percent to $1.0863 as of 10:18 a.m. in London. It soared as much as 2 percent earlier. Other European currencies rallied, with the Swedish krona and the Norwegian krone each increasing at least 1.8 percent. The yen fell 0.9 percent to 110.06 per dollar, after capping the first weekly loss in three on Friday. The Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index slipped 0.7 percent, trading at the lowest level since the U.S. election in November.

In rates, French 10-year notes dropped 11 basis points to 0.84 percent. Portuguese and Spanish bonds also rallied. Meanwhile, Europe’s “safe” German benchmark yields climbed 10 basis points and those in the U.K. added eight basis points. In the US, Treasury 10-year yields rose six basis points to 2.31%, rising back over the key support leve of 2.30%. 

In commodities, WTI climbed back over $50, rising 1% to 50.10 as gold slipped 1% to $1,271.92, its biggest drop since Mar. 2.

Economic data Monday includes Chicago Fed Nat Activity. Alcoa, Halliburton are among companies scheduled to publish results.

Global Markets Snapshot

  • S&P 500 futures up 1.2%2 to 2,374.50
  • STOXX Europe 600 up 2% to 385.57, highest since Decembr 2015
  • France’s CAC 40 up 4.3% 
  • Germany’s DAX up 2.8%
  • U.K.’s FTSE 100 up 1.9%
  • MXAP up 0.4% to 147.57
  • MXAPJ up 0.6% to 481.24
  • Nikkei up 1.4% to 18,875.88
  • Topix up 1% to 1,503.19
  • Hang Seng Index up 0.4% to 24,139.48
  • Shanghai Composite down 1.4% to 3,129.53
  • Sensex up 1% to 29,646.34
  • Australia S&P/ASX 200 up 0.3% to 5,871.78
  • Kospi up 0.4% to 2,173.74
  • Brent Futures up 0.8% to $52.37/bbl
  • Gold spot down 1% to $1,271.73
  • U.S. Dollar Index down 1% to 99.03
  • German 10Y yield rose 9.4 bps to 0.347%
  • Euro up 1.3% to 1.0863 per US$
  • Italian 10Y yield fell 0.6 bps to 1.968%
  • Spanish 10Y yield fell 8.2 bps to 1.613%

Top overnight news from Bloomberg

  • French Establishment in Disarray as Le Pen, Macron in Runoff
  • Euro Rises to Five-Month High as Macron, Le Pen Win French Vote
  • Freeport to Start Concentrate Exports From No. 2 Copper Mine
  • Actelion Says J&J Deal on Track to Close Toward End of 2Q 2017
  • Trump Plans Top-Level Briefing With Senators on North Korea
  • Jimmy Choo Puts Itself Up for Sale as JAB Shifts From Luxury
  • LafargeHolcim CEO Olsen Resigns Amid Probe on Syria Dealings
  • India Top Court Issues Notice to Google on Antitrust Body Plea
  • Top Iron Ore Forecaster Says Prices Will Sink Back Below $50
  • Creditors Lose Bankruptcy Lawsuit Over Lyondelbasell Merger
  • L&T Tech, Microsoft Win Multi-Million Dollar Project in Israel
  • Blackstone, RWE Won’t Start New German Plants Before 2021: BDEW

Asian equities traded mostly higher amid heightened risk sentiment across asset classes following the French Presidential election 1st round. ASX 200 (+0.2%) was led by financials although underperformance in gold miners limited gains, while Nikkei 225 (+1.4%) outperformed on JPY weakness. Shanghai Comp (-1.4%) and Hang Seng (+0.4%) underperformed with heavy losses in the mainland after the PBoC reduced its liquidity injection and amid regulatory concerns after the CIRC warned of key risks and called for prudent investment plans. T-notes dropped 20 ticks and 10yr JGBs were also weighed as safe-havens suffered from the French election, while slight pressure was also seen following the BoJ Rinban announcement where it reduced its buying in 3yr-5yr maturities. PBoC injected CNY 10bIn in 7-day reverse repos, CNY 10bIn in 14-day reverse repos and CNY 10bIn in 28-day reverse repos. PBoC set CNY mid-point at 6.8673 (Prey. 6.8823). China’s CIRC warned on risks facing the insurance industry and stated that companies must guard against liquidity risks with regular cash flow tests and called for a prudent investment scheme to be established to strengthen asset and liability management. Furthermore, there were separate reports that China is expected to implement further deleveraging measures.

Top Asian News

  • Shandong to Continue Work on Barrick Mine Bid, Australian Says
  • Consortium Will Allow Further Dividend Payments to Tatts Holders
  • Jack Ma Sees Decades of Pain as Internet Upends Older Economy
  • Massacre of Soldiers by Taliban Spurs Afghan Minister to Resign
  • China Bonds Extend Drop as 10-Year Yield Rises to 20-Month High
  • PLDT in Talks for Manila Electric Stake, May Close Deal in 1H
  • Nikon Sues ASML and Carl Zeiss Over Semiconductor Patents

European equities started off the week by surging notable outperformance in the CAC 40 (+4.0%) amid the fallout of last night’s French Presidential election 1st round. Given that Macron has made it into the second round on Sunday May 7th and is widely touted to defeat Le Pen, this has spurred risk on sentiment with the financial sector the main beneficiary as French banks opened higher by 8-10%. This positive sentiment has spilled into other European financials with Commerzbank (+9.1%) and Deutsche Bank (+6.0%) supported as markets keep half an eye on the ramifications of upcoming domestic elections later this year. Fixed income markets have followed a similar vain to equities with French paper a key focus for markets with the GE-FR spread narrowing to circa 45bps as investors re-enter French bonds amid an unwind of political concerns. Conversely, USTs, Bunds and Gilts trade lower in more of a risk-play while peripheral markets have tightened against their core counterparts. Interestingly, Jun’17 BTPs have printed fresh contract highs despite Friday’s downgrade by Fitch.

Top European News

  • German Business Confidence Climbs to Highest Since July 2011
  • Draghi Seen Choosing Faster Exit Once French Hurdle Cleared
  • Top Kazakh Bank on the Block for Under $1 May Need $738 Million
  • Europe Banks in Biggest Relief Rally as Electoral Clouds Clear
  • Romania Is Considering Policy Tightening, Central Banker Says

In currencies, it’s been a quiet morning with the EUR gap contracting slightly, but all pairs still significantly higher from late Friday. Emmanuel Macron is now expected to win the second round vote, as his marginal lead over Le Pen will be enhanced to some degree by the backing from Fillon and Hamon first and foremost. EUR/USD looks comfortable in the mid 1.0800’s for now, as does EUR/GBP in the mid 0.8400’s, but EUR/JPY is now 1 big figure off its best levels. German IFO was supportive based on the business climate and current conditions. Risk sentiment will remain heavy on the weekend developments surrounding North Korea, who continue to sound off warnings to all and sundry in response to the US presence in the region. USD/JPY gapped to just under 110.00 before an eventual and brief look above 110.50, but the pair is looking heavy at these levels despite the pick up in US Treasury yields — 10yr is 2.30%+ this morning.  The commodity currencies are all moving higher in tandem as the risk element supports all in equal measure. Marginal outperformance in the CAD as WTI moves above USD50.00 again, with the USD rate having tested through 1.3500 at the end of last week in the wake of the softer Canadian inflation read. Strong resistance seen through here, and we are now looking on a move on 1.3400. AUD/USD is hitting highs around 0.7580 this morning, but we note strong selling interest from 0.7600 higher up. NZD/USD trade extremely tight but gains now testing resistance just above 0.7050, more seen ahead of 0.7100.

In commodities, outside of the risk events affecting all markets at the present time, it is the usual mix of supply issues which have been impacting on metals and Oil. Gold is naturally lower in the wake of the Macron win, with favourable conditions for the second round vote conspiring to send the yellow metal back under USD1270, but we have since recovered back above there as the USD index softens a little. Silver suffered the bulk of losses last week, but remains firmly camped below USD18.00. Oil prices have slipped on inventory levels again, with the DoE report instrumental in pushing WTI below USD50.00. USD45-55.00 is now the range the market looks comfortable with ahead of any proposed extension to the production cuts. Base metals higher with the equity market lift, but Copper lagging as Grasberg output set to resume. Iranian oil minister Zanganeh said that OPEC & non-OPEC producers have sent positive signals regarding an extension of production cuts. Zanganeh added that Iran would second any decision made unanimously by OPEC. members and commented that one shouldn’t be hopeful about oil prices beyond USD 60/bbl for the time being.

Looking at today’s calendar, it’s a fairly quiet start to the week today with the only data in Europe this morning being the April IFO survey in Germany and CBI total orders data in the UK. In the US we have the April Dallas Fed manufacturing activity survey.

US Event Calendar

  • 8:30am: Chicago Fed Nat Activity Index, est. 0.5, prior 0.3
  • 10:30am: Dallas Fed Manf. Activity, est. 17, prior 16.9
  • 11:30am: Fed’s Kashkari Speaks at UCLA in Los Angeles
  • 3:15pm: Fed’s Kashkari Participates in Q&A at Claremont McKenna

DB’s Jim Reid concludes the overnight wrap

Straight to France this morning. The fact that Macron and Le Pen have made it through to the second round was in line with the most likely scenario for the last several weeks and is a big market positive given their head-to-head polling numbers but make no mistake viewed over a longer-term horizon its another political shockwave as the two mainstream party’s candidates have been eliminated in the first round for the first time under the 5th Republic. A reminder that the polls have suggested that in a run-off Macron has consistently been 20-30% ahead of Marine Le Pen. It would take a numerical shock perhaps 5-10 times larger than Brexit or Trump for Le Pen to win. It does seem that the prefirst round polls have been relatively accurate so Macron should rightly be red hot favourite now. The fact that many of the losing candidates (not Melenchon) have been throwing their support behind Macron helps reinforce this. So this was a big anti-establishment vote but a tame one for now due to the fact that a market friendly candidate made it through and is very much expected to win. The first round polls were close enough that you couldn’t have ruled out a very market unfriendly Le Pen/Melenchon run-off but now that risk has been eliminated the second round is perhaps more straight forward. The latest numbers with 97% counted are Macron 23.9%, Le Pen 21.4%, with Fillon and Melenchon with just over 19% each. The Euro was the biggest early beneficiary, rising around 2% as soon as the exit polls were released and trading at around 5 month highs but as we go to print is now +1.1% at 1.0847 vs. the USD.

Equity markets are firm outside of China without being euphoric. The Nikkei is 1.3% higher with US futures +0.8% higher. China is beating to its own drum and off over a percent following on from losses last week on market regulation worries. Treasury yields are 6bps higher. In credit Main, Senior Financials and Crossover are 5.75, 10.25 and 19bps tighter in overnight trading.

To be fair markets hadn’t aggressively priced in the alternative high risk scenario so there will likely be a limit to the inevitable risk-on from this first round result. Perhaps VSTOXX (vol on EU equities) has been as big a mover as any pre-election and may therefore be the main beneficiary. Expect Bunds to sell-off notably today (5-10bps??), OATs to out-perform, and Euro risk to perform well. The risk-on will be limited by the fact that as we discussed there hadn’t been a huge amount of risk-off ahead of the event and also because a lot of the recent global softness was more due to recent US political and data disappointments.

On that, with the first round of the French election out the way, there will be some focus on potential other big events this week. As we ended last week the market mood was improved with reports of both a renewed push for Trump tax reform and also talk of another healthcare vote occurring sooner rather than later. Mr Trump used his media on choice – namely twitter – to proclaim on Saturday that “Big TAX REFORM AND TAX REDUCTION will be announced next Wednesday”. The capitals are his emphasis and he is not turning the dial down much from his “phenomenal” tax plan comment on February 9th. However that one he promised within 2-3 weeks. The consistent certainty and hyperbole make it a nightmare for markets as how do you analyse how realistic delivery is? It would be hard for credibility if this week brings nothing of note but this is a way of doing things that is unique to Mr Trump’s presidency and with it the uncertainty level is high. Over the weekend Mick Mulvaney, director of the Office of Management and Budget suggested that Wednesday will bring the administration’s “principles” and “some of the ideas that we like, some of the ideas we don’t like” and intimated that the full plan won’t be released until June. So we’ll have to wait and see.

We should also note that Friday marks the deadline to avoid a government shutdown and agree a new spending plan, and Saturday marks Trump’s first 100 days in office. Ryan was bullish on avoiding the shutdown over the weekend and things will heat up on all things US governmental from tomorrow after House members return from a two week recess. So a very busy week ahead in Washington.

The ECB will also get a lot of focus given their meeting on Thursday. As DB’s Mark Wall has recently discussed, senior ECB Council members have for now shut down the debate on an early deposit rate hike with the normalization of inflation as yet unconvincing. However assuming France avoids a political shock, Mark expects the market to refocus on euro area reflation risks this summer but this meeting is too early for there to be too much change in language or emphasis outside of acknowledgment of an improving outlook, especially during the French campaign where Le Pen remains a runner. If Macron wins in 2 weeks, Mark thinks that with their inflation models and leading indicators consistent with underlying inflation rising in H2 we’ll see more hawkish ECB behaviour from June onwards. They are keeping their baseline expectation for ECB exit largely intact. Based on their forecasts for growth and inflation, they expect forward guidance to be adjusted in June, tapering to be pre-announced in September and a oneoff deposit rate hike in December; the probably of the latter has declined but it remains our baseline. They expect tapering in H1 2018 and the first refi hike around the end of 2018.

Rounding off last week, global markets were largely muted and remained cautious on Friday ahead of the French elections. Both the S&P 500 reversed some of its gains from Thursday (-0.3%) while the STOXX  (+0.02%) was broadly flat on the day, with the indices ending the week up +0.8% and down -0.65% respectively. The CAC (-0.37%) ended the day slightly lower, having dipped on the open by about 1% but recovering thereafter later in the day. French OAT 10Y yields at were also little changed at 0.94% (+1bp) in line with the bund move 10yr USTs were 1.5bps higher. Gold rose a touch to end the week nearly flat but Oil fell over 2% on Friday and fell from around $53 to $49.62 over the course of the week closing below $50 for the first in April. FX markets were also fairly quiet on Friday: the Euro (-0.4%) and Sterling (-0.1%) were lower on the day while the dollar ticked up by +0.1%. Over in commodity markets.

Taking a look at data out of Europe on Friday, we saw flash PMI numbers for April for France, Germany and the Eurozone. The Eurozone numbers as a whole were positive with manufacturing and services rising to 56.8 (vs. 56.0 expected) and 56.2 (vs. 55.9 expected) respectively. Numbers out of France beat expectations across both manufacturing (55.1 vs. 53.1 expected) and services (57.7 vs. 57 expected). Nevertheless markets seemed reluctant to respond immediately as the weekend election risks took centre stage. Over in Germany the data was a little more mixed with manufacturing PMIs roughly in line with expectations (58.2 vs. 58.0 expected) while services fell (54.7 vs. 55.5 expected). Away from PMIs, we also saw UK retail sales data for March which recorded its largest monthly decline since 2010, falling -1.8% mom (vs. -0.5% expected; +1.7% previous). Over in the US we also saw Markit Flash PMI numbers for April, with both manufacturing (52.8 vs. 53.8 expected; 53.3 previous) and service PMIs (52.5 vs. 53.2 expected; 52.8 previous) falling on the month. Existing home sales data for March was however positive (5.71m vs. 5.60m expected).

Looking at this week’s calendar, it’s a fairly quiet start to the week today with the only data in Europe this morning being the April IFO survey in Germany and CBI total orders data in the UK. In the US we’ll get the April Dallas Fed manufacturing activity survey. Kicking Tuesday off will be France where we get the April confidence indicators. Shortly after that its worth keeping an eye on the ECB’s bank lending survey before we then get public sector net borrowing data in the UK. Over in the US tomorrow we get the S&P/Case-Shiller house price index, FHFA house price index, new home sales in March, conference board consumer confidence for April and the Richmond Fed manufacturing survey for April. Turning to Wednesday, it look set to be a pretty quiet day with Japan machine tool orders, French consumer confidence and US retail sales revisions the only prints of note. In China on Thursday we get March industrial profits data. The main focus in the Asia session though will be the BoJ policy meeting outcome. During the European session we’ll get Germany CPI in April, Euro area consumer confidence and of course the ECB rate decision around midday with Draghi due to speak after. It looks set to be a busy session in the US  on Thursday too with March durable and capital goods orders data, wholesale inventories,  advance goods trade balance, pending home sales, initial jobless claims and Kansas City Fed’s manufacturing survey. We close the week out in Japan on Friday with a bumper day of data including CPI, retail sales, jobless rate and industrial production. In Europe we’ll get CPI, PPI and Q1 GDP in France, along with Q1 GDP for the UK and CPI and money and credit aggregates data for the Euro area. We finish with a bumper afternoon of data in the US on Friday including Q1 GDP, core PCE, Chicago PMI and University of Michigan consumer sentiment.

Away from the data, the Fedspeak this week consists of just Kashkari today and Harker on Friday. Away from that, Russia is due to hold talks with the US and UN today to discuss the Syrian peace process. UK PM Theresa May hosts EC President Juncker and EU’s Brexit negotiator Michal Barnier on Wednesday. President Trump also hosts Argentina President Mauricio Macri on Thursday. Earnings will be the other big focus this week with 194 S&P 500 companies due.



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