Here come the Banks

Here come the Banks

Mike van Dulken & Henry Croft at Accendo Markets commented to clients this morning:

FTSE 100 Index called to open +5pts at 7770, having bounced off 7765 intersecting support to maintain the uptrend and potential to keep pushing fresh record highs. Bulls need a break above Jan rising highs resistance at 7785, Bears require a breach of Jan rising lows support at 7750. Watch levels: Bullish 7785, Bearish 7750

Calls for a positive start come after Wall St reverted to gains, following what now appears to be a once-a-week permitted loss, with more fresh record highs thanks to a calming in bond markets and oil making fresh multi-year highs. China exports growth slowed less than expected overnight, helping Miners (BHP and Rio shares up circa 2% down-under) even if imports plunged. Beijing successfully curbing a potential credit bubble while global growth supports demand?

Positive commodity sentiment helping offset weaker USD and thus stronger GBP which would normally hurt the FTSE. The former is derived from EUR strength after yesterday’s hawkish ECB minutes, still hampering the German DAX. Asia mixed overnight with Japan hindered by stronger Yen, Hang Seng up thanks to financials and Australia flat.

In UK corporate news this morning: Bovis Homes completions -8%, average selling prices +7%; fundamentals remain strong, supported by low financing and government initiatives; strong outlook allows 20% div increase in 2018 and allows first special dividend payment towards end of year.

Smiths Group expects impact of US tax reform to be favourable over medium Term; 2pt drop in tax rate from FY19. Mitchells & Butler says sales rose during Christmas period despite adverse weather in run-up; record Christmas day trading. B&M confident in meeting expectations for FY EBITDA.

US equity markets rocketed back to record highs on Thursday, with the Dow Jones climbing over 200 points. Boeing once again saw strong gains, easily offsetting all laggards on the 30-stock index. The S&P 500 and Nasdaq also closed at record highs, with Energy names benefitting the former thanks to fresh Oil highs, while gains for Apple aided the latter.

Crude Oil benchmarks have retreated from yesterday’s fresh 3-year highs, with Brent Crude dipping back below $70 a barrel. However, both the global benchmark and its US equivalent remain supported around the highs, with the former holding above $69 as the US dollar remains weak, while the latter remains a distance above the $63 mark.

Gold has broken out to fresh 3-month highs overnight as the US dollar further retreats, trading above $1330 for the first time since September 2017. With the global reserve currency breaking below support yesterday in reaction to much more hawkish than expected ECB minutes, the precious metal, itself dollar-denominated, reaped the reward, breaking above a du of resistance at $1320 and $1326.

In focus today will be US inflation (1.30pm), the headline rate forecast slower in December although the more important Core metric likely held up. Although still shy of the Fed’s 2% target, it’s unlikely to sway the Fed from further rate hikes this year. With the Phillips Curve relationship between unemployment and inflation is clearly broken, the latest read on Average Hourly/Weekly Earnings may prove more significant in terms of underlying inflationary read-across.

US Retail Sales (1.30pm) are expected to post slower growth for headline, ex-Autos, and ex-Autos & Gas. US Business Inventories (3pm), however, may have rebounded in November. US Q4 banks results are also sure to garner much attention with JPMorgan (midday) and Wells Fargo (1pm) kicking off seasonal proceedings.

Speakers today are limited to the ECB’s in-house hawk and Bundesbank head Weidmann (4:30pm), the Philly Fed President Harker (5:30pm) at a Q&A-based lunch, and the Boston Fed’s Rosengren (non-voter; 9:15pm) delivering a keynote address at the ‘Money, Models, and Digital Innovation’ conference in California.

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