European Stocks Set to Open Lower Before Powell: Markets Wrap


(Bloomberg) — European stocks look set to open lower as investors await Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell’s testimony to Congress for clues on the US interest-rate outlook.

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Futures on the Euro Stoxx 50 ticked lower early Tuesday, even after the S&P 500 closed 0.1% up in New York to set its 35th all-time high for this year. Japanese stocks led gains in Asia as semiconductor-related shares followed gains in their US peers. The dollar and US Treasuries were both little changed.

Powell faces pressure from lawmakers growing impatient for interest-rate cuts and others who are unhappy with the Fed’s latest plan to boost capital requirements for Wall Street lenders. Markets are pricing the chance of two rate cuts this year, with a roughly 70% chance of the first in September, according to swaps data compiled by Bloomberg.

“With the recent signs of softer growth and labor market, markets will closely watch if Powell gives any hints on the timing of rate cuts,” said Carol Kong, a strategist at Commonwealth Bank of Australia in Sydney. “Market pricing for a September cut can increase and the US dollar can fall further if Powell’s comments are perceived as dovish.”

US consumers’ near-term inflation expectations fell for the second month in June as Americans lowered their outlook for how much they expect home prices and the cost of other goods to rise, a Fed Bank of New York survey showed Monday.

Information technology shares were the largest contributors to gains in the MSCI Asia Pacific Index. The Nikkei 225 Stock Average climbed to a record, extending its advance for the year to more than 24%.

The Bank of Japan will speak face-to-face with market participants over the next couple of days in key meetings aimed at gauging a realistic pace for a reduction of its bond purchases to be announced later this month. Demand increased at a Japanese five-year auction even as traders speculated about when and how much the BOJ will trim back bond buying.

In China, investors remain uncertain about the central bank’s new liquidity operations unveiled on Monday with policymakers having tightened their grip on interest rates and taken greater control over short-term borrowing costs. Investors read the move as if the People’s Bank of China just raised rates, triggering a bond market selloff. Market participants are also looking ahead to one of the country’s biggest annual policy meetings, approaching next week.

Long Bias

Bond markets appear to be beginning the back half of 2024 with a long bias, as economic data weakens as rate cuts approach in the fall, according to Thomas Tzitzouris at Strategas. Despite the long positioning, there are preliminary signs of shorts coming back, he said.

“When we break down the positioning data, we see a market that despite showing a long bias in anticipation of cuts, is not fully convinced this will occur with shorts slowly returning to the market,” Tzitzouris said.

The S&P 500 topped 5,570 on Monday ahead of Powell’s testimony, and as traders position for earnings from some of the largest American banks which unofficially kick off the second-quarter reporting season Friday. Expectations for the season are on the rise. Analysts’ upgrades to profit estimates have outnumbered downgrades, while forecasts for 12-month forward earnings stand at an all-time high.

In commodities, oil was little changed after a two-day decline as Hurricane Beryl looked less likely to pose major disruptions to crude infrastructure in Texas. Gold steadied after dropping by the most in two weeks on Monday. Copper crept lower.

Key events this week:

  • China aggregate financing, money supply, new yuan loans, from Tuesday

  • Jerome Powell delivers semi-annual testimony to the Senate Banking Committee, Tuesday

  • US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen testifies to the House Financial Services Committee, Tuesday

  • Fed’s Michael Barr and Michelle Bowman speak, Tuesday

  • China PPI, CPI, Wednesday

  • Jerome Powell testifies to the House Financial Services Committee, Wednesday

  • Fed’s Austan Goolsbee, Michelle Bowman and Lisa Cook speak, Wednesday

  • US CPI, initial jobless claims, Thursday

  • Fed’s Raphael Bostic and Alberto Musalem speak, Thursday

  • China trade, Friday

  • University of Michigan consumer sentiment, US PPI, Friday

  • Citigroup, JPMorgan and Wells Fargo’s earnings, Friday

Some of the main moves in markets:

Stocks

  • S&P 500 futures rose 0.2% as of 2:49 p.m. Tokyo time

  • Nikkei 225 futures (OSE) rose 2.2%

  • Japan’s Topix rose 1.3%

  • Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 rose 0.9%

  • Hong Kong’s Hang Seng rose 0.4%

  • The Shanghai Composite rose 1.1%

  • Euro Stoxx 50 futures fell 0.2%

Currencies

  • The Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index was little changed

  • The euro was little changed at $1.0827

  • The Japanese yen was little changed at 160.98 per dollar

  • The offshore yuan was little changed at 7.2898 per dollar

Cryptocurrencies

  • Bitcoin rose 1.9% to $57,307.08

  • Ether rose 2.2% to $3,063.89

Bonds

  • The yield on 10-year Treasuries was little changed at 4.28%

  • Japan’s 10-year yield declined one basis point to 1.075%

  • Australia’s 10-year yield declined one basis point to 4.35%

Commodities

  • West Texas Intermediate crude was little changed

  • Spot gold rose 0.3% to $2,365.03 an ounce

This story was produced with the assistance of Bloomberg Automation.

–With assistance from Matthew Burgess.

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