Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York City, U.S., October 20, 2021.
Brendan McDermid | Reuters
If history is a guide, the market should do well in the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday week.
The S&P 500 was slightly higher in the past week, buoyed by positive economic reports, particularly the unexpectedly strong 1.7% jump in October’s retail sales. There are a number of economic reports in the week ahead. The most important release is Wednesday’s personal consumption expenditures, which includes the inflation measure most watched by the Federal Reserve.
“The last five trading days of November are traditionally positive, since 1950,” said Sam Stovall, chief investment strategist at CFRA. “There’s a two-thirds likelihood the market is up on the day before Thanksgiving and a 57% likelihood the day after Thanksgiving, and a 71% likelihood that it’s up on Monday.”
This year that holiday rally could depend on whether Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell continues in his role after his term expires in February. Biden has also interviewed Fed Governor Lael Brainard, who is supported by progressive Democrats.
Strategists expect market volatility around the appointment, particularly if it is Brainard. She is viewed as more dovish than Powell, meaning she may be slower to raise interest rates. Elevated levels of inflation have been a concern in the market, and the worry is Brainard would not be as aggressive fighting it with rate hikes if necessary.
“Barring a change at the helm of the Fed, I think the market trajectory is going to continue to be higher, as we move toward 2022,” said Jeff Schulze, investment strategist with ClearBridge Investments. “Given that Brainard is even more dovish than Powell, I think markets would recover very quickly… the markets are unsure whether the new Fed chairman could command consensus within the FOMC to effectively deliver policy,” he added.
Schulze said the economic momentum is improving, and he expects that fourth-quarter gross domestic product could be in the double digits after the disappointing 2% pace of the third quarter. The second reading for the third-quarter GDP is released Wednesday.
In the past week, the Philadelphia Fed manufacturing index also showed solid, better-than-expected activity in the mid-Atlantic region. “It really confirms the view that despite supply side constraints, the recovery is on track after the Covid-related slowdown in Q3,” Schulze said. “I think the markets are going to price in better earnings as we move into fourth-quarter earnings and 2022.”
But Stovall said the market may take a pause before it moves higher, and he expects a choppy period. The S&P 500 gains on average 7.2% between its October low and the end of the year. But by early November, the S&P 500 was up more than 9% from its low, and was overbought, he said.
Stovall also said the market could become concerned again about the spread of Covid in Europe and beyond. Due to a high rate of new cases, the government of Austria announced a three-week lockdown and a vaccine mandate.
Stocks reacted negatively to the Austrian news Friday, though the tech-heavy Nasdaq gained. Stocks were mixed for the week, with the Dow down 1.4% and the Nasdaq up 1.2%, lifted by tech stock gains. The S&P 500 was up 0.3% for the week, ending at 4,697.
“There is still upside potential. The worry about inflation and now Covid are reasons for the overbought condition to work itself through,” he said. Stovall added the market could move sideways to lower for awhile, but it should end the year higher. “But right now, there’s a bit of choppiness because of Covid, because of the Fed chair possibly being replaced the worry about inflation and now and a whole variety of things,” he said.
For investors who watch the benchmark 10-year Treasury yield, Wells Fargo bond strategists point out that long-term Treasury yields generally move lower on the Monday and Tuesday before Thanksgiving.
“Our take is straightforward, and is essentially the same rationale as for moves around Labor Day: risk appetite is low on both the buy and sell sides,” they said. But later in the week, starting Wednesday, the yield tends to rise.
10:00 a.m. Existing home sales
Earnings: HP, Dell Technologies, Abercrombie & Fitch, Best Buy, Nordstrom, Gap, VMWare, Cracker Barrel, American Eagle Outfitters, Dick’s Sporting Goods, Pure Storage, AutoDesk, Dollar Tree, JM Smucker
9:45 a.m. Manufacturing PMI
9:45 a.m. Services PMI
8:30 a.m. Initial jobless claims
8:30 a.m. Durable goods
8:30 a.m. Real GDP
8:30 a.m. Advance economic indicators
10:00 a.m. Consumer sentiment
10:00 a.m. Personal income and spending, PCE deflator
10:00 a.m. New home sales
2:00 p.m. FOMC meeting minutes
U.S. markets closed
Stock market closes at 1 p.m.
European Central Bank heads into pivotal meeting with omicron infections rising
Christine Lagarde, president of the ECB, speaks at the Bank’s press conference in Frankfurt, Germany.
Boris Roessler | picture alliance | Getty Images
With inflation surging and the omicron Covid variant expected to spread through the region, the European Central Bank has the unenviable task of presenting its policy outlook for 2022 on Thursday.
The rise in the cost of living for the euro area (the 19 nations that share the euro) reached a record high of 4.9% in November, while omicron looks likely to become the dominant coronavirus strain with some European economies already locked down due to the delta variant.
“The sharp rise in infections and inflation and the emergence of the new Omicron variant has complicated the picture to an extent that the Governing Council may need more time to decide on all the details of adjusting its non-conventional policy tool,” said Dirk Schumacher, an ECB watcher with Natixis, in a recent research note.
The institution led by Christine Lagarde developed a new bond-buying program in the wake of the coronavirus in March 2020 to support the euro zone. The PEPP is due to end in March 2022 with a potential total envelope of 1.85 trillion euros ($2.19 trillion).
The ECB has also kept its asset purchase program, known as APP, amid the pandemic which has a current monthly pace of 20 billion euros. The central bank has been using this program in combination with PEPP to sustain the 19-member economy.
Schumacher added that Natixis still expects an announcement that the PEPP program will end by March and “we expect a clear signal that the APP will be used in a more flexible way.”
A big focus of this week’s meeting will be the new staff projections for inflation and growth. They show whether the inflation target of 2% will be met over the medium term, which is ultimately ECB’s primary mandate.
“I see an inflation profile which looks like a hump. So it has clearly increased over the last three quarters and we know how painful it is,” Lagarde said at a Reuters conference on Dec. 3,
“And a hump eventually declines and this is what we project for 2022,” she added.
Another key question is how the ECB will bridge the end of the PEPP program at the end of March into a more flexible and potentially larger APP without provoking major market volatility and keeping financial conditions on “favourable” terms. The ECB is expected to stress the need for flexibility.
“Flexibility, in our view, means varying purchases depending on the inflation outlook and financing conditions, i.e. preserving the principle of ‘favourable financing conditions’ that characterises the PEPP,” Spyros Andreopoulos, a senior European economist at BNP Paribas, said in a note.
“This view has been supported by recent ECB rhetoric that has emphasised the need to maintain flexibility, as opposed to pre-committing to a fixed volume of purchases.”
UK inflation hits 10-year high ahead of key Bank of England meeting
Shoppers wearing protective face masks walk through the rain on Oxford Street in London on June 18, 2020, as some non-essential retailers reopen from their coronavirus shutdown.
Tolga Akmen/AFP/Getty Images
LONDON — U.K. inflation climbed to a 10-year high in November as consumer prices continued to soar ahead of the Bank of England‘s crunch monetary policy meeting on Thursday.
The Consumer Price Index rose by 5.1% in the 12 months to November, up from 4.2% in October, which was itself the steepest incline for a decade and more than double the central bank’s target.
Economists polled by Reuters had expected a reading of 4.7% for November, and the Bank of England had projected that inflation would hit 5% in the spring of 2022 before moderating towards its 2% target in late 2023.
On a monthly basis, U.K. inflation rose 0.7% in November from October, above a Reuters poll for a 0.4% increase.
Core CPI, which excludes volatile energy, food, alcohol and tobacco prices, rose by 4% year-on-year against a Reuters forecast of 3.7%, and 0.5% month-on-month versus a 0.3% projection.
The Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Committee meets Thursday to decide whether to tighten monetary policy, with inflation surging and the labor market remaining robust, but the rapid spread of the omicron Covid-19 variant has cast fresh uncertainty over the economic recovery in the short term.
The MPC defied market expectations in November by voting 7-2 to hold interest rates at their historic low of 0.1%, but analysts are split on whether it will pull the trigger on rate hikes on Thursday in light of the emergence of omicron.
“Unfortunately for consumers, peak inflation may still be a few months off. Today’s CPI data only serves to increase the pressure on the Bank of England to raise interest rates at its MPC meeting tomorrow,” said Richard Carter, head of fixed interest research at Quilter Cheviot.
“However, the Bank of England may well decide that discretion is the better part of valour and instead opt to wait until next year given the current uncertainty surrounding the impact of the Omicron variant on the economy, coupled with the risk that further restrictions may need to be introduced before long.”
Most Chinese companies could delist from US, says TCW Group
Budrul Chukrut | LightRocket | Getty Images
Chinese companies listed on Wall Street will likely to be cut off from U.S. capital markets in the next three years as tensions between Beijing and Washington persist, says one global asset management firm.
“I think for a lot of Chinese companies listed in U.S. markets, it’s essentially game over,” David Loevinger, managing director for emerging markets sovereign research at TCW Group, told CNBC Wednesday. “This is an issue that’s been hanging out there for 20 years — we haven’t been able to solve it.”
TCW Group had $265.8 billion in assets under management as of September 30, 2021, according to the company’s website.
The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission this month finalized rules to implement a law that would allow the market regulator to ban foreign companies listed in the U.S. from trading if their auditors do not comply with requests for information from American regulators.
The law was passed in 2020 after Chinese regulators repeatedly denied requests from the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board to inspect the audits of Chinese firms that list and trade in the United States.
Given the current level of distrust between the U.S. and Chinese governments, and with the bilateral relationship unlikely to improve anytime soon, there is “no way we are going to solve this in the next few years,” Loevinger said.
“So the reality is, I think, by 2024, most Chinese companies listed on U.S. exchanges are no longer going to be listed in the United States. Most are going to gravitate back to Hong Kong or Shanghai,” he told CNBC’s “Street Signs Asia.”
Less than six months after going public, Chinese ride-hailing giant Didi said it will start delisting from the New York Stock Exchange, and make plans to list in Hong Kong instead.
When a company delists from an exchange like the Nasdaq or the New York Stock Exchange, it loses access to a broad pool of buyers, sellers and intermediaries.
Chinese regulators were reportedly unhappy with Didi’s decision to list in the U.S. without first resolving outstanding cybersecurity concerns. Regulators told the firm’s executives to come up with a plan to delist from the U.S. due to concerns around data leakage, according to reports.
Beyond Didi, many of China’s top internet companies listed in the U.S. have already undertaken dual listings in Hong Kong. Some high-profile names include e-commerce giant Alibaba, its rival JD.com, search engine giant Baidu, gaming firm NetEase and social media giant Weibo.
“We have already hit the turning point,” Loevinger said, pointing to Didi’s delisting announcement. “I just don’t think China’s government is going to allow U.S. regulators to have unfettered access to internal auditing documents of Chinese companies.”
“And if U.S. regulators can’t get access to those documents, then they can’t protect U.S. markets from fraud,” he added.