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Was Powell’s Speech That Bullish? No. Here’s Why.

What’s in Today’s Report:

  • Was Powell’s Speech That Bullish?  No.  Here’s Why
  • Jobs Report Preview
  • EIA Update and Oil Market Analysis

Futures are slightly lower as markets digest yesterday’s post-Powell speech rally and focus on key economic data today (manufacturing PMI) and tomorrow (jobs report).

Global economic data underwhelmed overnight, as the Euro Zone manufacturing PMI missed estimates (47.1 vs. (E) 47.3) while the UK manufacturing PMI remained firmly in contraction territory (46.5 vs. (E) 46.2).

Looking forward to today, there are three important economic reports including (in order of importance):  ISM Manufacturing Index (E: 49.9), Core PCE Price Index (E: 0.3% m/m, 5.0% y/y), and Jobless Claims (E: 235K).  Markets will want to see 1) More evidence of easing price pressures in the ISM Manufacturing PMI and Core PCE Price Index and 2) Further labor market deterioration in jobless claims if the data is to help extend yesterday’s rally.

We also get three Fed speakers today, Logan (9:25 a.m. ET), Bowman (9:30 a.m. ET), and Barr (3:00 p.m. ET), but their commentary should be largely overshadowed by Powell’s less hawkish-than-feared remarks yesterday and I don’t expect them to move markets.

Current Fed Expectations

What’s in Today’s Report:

  • Current Fed Expectations (Print This Table/Section)
  • VIX Chart – Getting Closer to a Bearish Signal

Stock futures are rebounding modestly this morning following yesterday’s sharp drop as worries surrounding China’s Covid policies and the subsequent protests ease.

The Hang Seng jumped over 5% and the offshore yuan rallied 1% after the Chinese government announced a renewed push to vaccinate elderly citizens and said excessive restrictions will be avoided, both of which are incremental steps away from “Covid Zero.”

Today, market focus will be on housing data early with the Case-Shiller Home Price Index (E: -1.3%) and FHFA House Price Index (E: -1.2) due out ahead of the bell and then the Consumer Confidence (E: 100.0) report will print shortly after the open.

There are no Fed officials scheduled to speak today so focus will likely remain on the situation in China, and if sentiment towards Covid policy expectations and the latest wide-spread protests improves then stocks will be able to stabilize as that was a major bearish influence on the market yesterday.

What the Fed Decision Means for Markets (Not a Bearish Gamechanger)

What’s in Today’s Report:

  • What the Fed Decision Means for Markets (Not a Bearish Gamechanger)
  • EIA Analysis and Oil Update

Futures are lower on underwhelming earnings and further digestions of Powell’s hawkish press conference.

Earnings results have turned more negative this week and that included last night as ATUS and CF both posted disappointing results (among others).

Today’s focus will be on the Bank of England Rate Decision (E: 75 bps hike) and economic data, as we get Jobless Claims (E: 222K), Unit Labor Costs (E: 4.0%) and the ISM Services Index (E: 55.4).  Especially in light of Powell’s comments, markets will want to see data that shows resilient economic activity and falling inflation/deteriorating labor markets.

On the earnings front, the season largely wraps up at the end of the week but there are still some important reports to watch today including:  COP ($3.41), RCL ($0.23), MAR ($1.69), PYPL ($0.96) and SBUX ($0.73).

Sevens Report Analysts Quoted in Market Watch on August 31st, 2022

Oil futures end lower, with economic jitters fueling a more than 9% monthly loss for U.S. prices

All of yesterday’s news flow was digested as bearish for oil as the threat of OPEC+ cuts were reduced, demand estimates in Europe were adjusted lower on poor data while ‘hot’ data in the U.S. added to already hawkish money flows that bolstered the dollar and further pressured oil, wrote analysts at Sevens Report Research, in a note. Click here to read the full article.

What the Bulls Believe (Four Assumptions)

What’s in Today’s Report:

  • Four Bullish Assumptions Currently in the Market
  • Weekly Market Preview:  All About Powell (Speech on Friday)
  • Weekly Economic Cheat Sheet:  How Solid Is the Economy?  (Important Growth Data This Week)

Futures are sharply lower as markets price in a greater chance of a hawkish speech from Fed Chair Powell this Friday.

Markets are reversing some of the “Fed Pivot” gains of the past few weeks ahead of Chair Powell’s speech in Jackson Hole on Friday, as investors fear the markets’ expectations for the Fed have become too dovish.

Economically, China cut interest rates again to stimulate the economy, although the rate cuts were small and stocks declined anyway, as the Chinese economy continues to face numerous large challenges (Zero COVID policy, drought, property market decline, etc.).

Today there are no Fed speakers and only one notable economic report, the Chicago Fed National Activity Index (E: -0.19), and as has been the case markets will want to see stability in the date to reinforce that the U.S. economy is not moving closer to stagflation.

Why the Transmission Protection Instrument Matters to Markets

What’s in Today’s Report:

  • Why the Transmission Protection Instrument Matters to Markets
  • ECB Decision Takeaways (Not Hawkish Enough)
  • Another Sign Inflation Has Peaked?

Stocks are resilient this morning as futures are only slightly lower despite disappointing overnight earnings and ugly economic reports from Europe.

Earnings overnight were bad with several ugly reports including SNAP (-30%), COF (-3.5%), and STX (-13%).

Economically, July flash PMIs from the EU were also ugly as the composite PMI fell into contraction territory at 49.6 vs. (E) 51.0.

Hope that inflation has peaked is the reason stocks are resilient lately, so today’s focus will be on the July Flash Manufacturing PMI (E: 51.8) and the July Flash Services PMI (E: 52.3).  If these reports show meaningful drops in the price indices (like we’ve seen in the Empire and Philly Fed surveys) then that will further the idea that inflation is peaking and support stocks (as long as the headline readings aren’t huge misses).

On the earnings front, results to watch today include TWTR (-$0.06), VZ $1.34), and AXP ($2.37).

Dow Theory Update (Bearish)

What’s in Today’s Report:

  • Dow Theory Update (Bearish)
  • VIX Analysis Update

Futures are moderately higher following positive China COVID news.

Chinese authorities said they hoped to end all lockdowns in Shanghai by May 20th as cases continue to fall.  If the Chinese economy can fully reopen in the coming weeks that will remove a big headwind from stocks.

Economically, EU Industrial Production wasn’t as bad as feared, as IP fell –1.8% vs. (E) -2.0%.

Today the focus will be on the inflation expectations contained in the Consumer Sentiment (E: 63.7) report and if five-year inflation expectations can decline from 3%, that will be another anecdotal signal that inflation pressures have likely peaked (and it should add incrementally to this morning’s rally).     We also get two Fed speakers, Kashkari (11:00 a.m. ET) and Mester (12:00 p.m. ET), but we don’t expect them to move markets (look for them to reiterate the current Fed mantra of two more 50 bps hikes).

Technical Update

What’s in Today’s Report:

  • Technical Update – Bearish Price Patterns and Dow Theory Threatens to Turn Bearish

Futures are modestly lower this morning after a quiet night of news as yesterday’s big intraday reversal higher is being digested.

Today is lining up to be a busy one with a slew of economic data due to be released, in order of importance: Durable Goods (E: 1.0%), Consumer Confidence (E: 106.8), Case-Shiller Home Price Index (E: 1.5%), FHFA House Price Index (E: 1.6%), and New Home Sales (E: 772K). Investors will want to see solid data that contradicts the growing fear that the Fed is getting more aggressive with policy into an economic slowdown.

There are no Fed speakers today but there is a 2-Yr Treasury Note auction at 1:00 p.m. ET that could move the bond market and ultimately impact stocks in the early afternoon.

The market’s main focus today will be on earnings with: UPS ($2.87), PEP ($1.24), GE ($0.20), MMM ($2.33), and JBLU (-$0.85) reporting ahead of the bell while MSFT ($2.18), GOOGL ($25.63), GM ($1.57), V ($1.65), and COF ($5.39) are all scheduled to release results after the close.

Bottom line, for yesterday’s late day reversal higher in equity markets to continue today, we need to see good economic data, steady or falling bond yields, and most importantly favorable earnings, especially out of big tech names like GOOGL and MSFT.

Is a Russian Invasion of Ukraine a Bearish Gamechanger? (Updated)

What’s in Today’s Report:

  • Is a Russian Invasion of Ukraine a Bearish Gamechanger?  (Updated)

Futures are enjoying a modest bounce as the headlines on Russia/Ukraine turned a bit more positive overnight.

The U.S. Secretary of State and his Russian counterpart will meet next week, signaling diplomatic efforts to de-escalate will continue.

Economic data was sparse but generally solid as Japanese CPI met expectations while UK Retail Sales beat estimates.

Today’s focus will again be on geopolitical headlines, and any reports of de-escalation will help stocks recoup more of Thursday’s losses, while negative headlines will likely erase these early gains.

Beyond the Russia/Ukraine situation, we do get three Fed speakers today, two of which are Fed leadership:  Williams (11:00 a.m. ET) and Brainard (1:30 p.m. ET). If they make hawkish commentary (especially Brainard) look for stocks to drop again.  Fed President Evans (10:15 a.m. ET) also speaks this morning.

Finally, on the economic front, we get one report today, Existing Home Sales (E: 6.08M), but that shouldn’t move markets.

Is the Ukraine Conflict a Threat to Stocks?

What’s in Today’s Report:

  • Is Russia/Ukraine a Potential Major Bearish Event? (Good, Bad, and Ugly Scenarios)
  • Chart: S&P 500 Tipping Points to Watch

Stock futures are flat and international markets traded mixed through a quiet night of news however Treasury yields notably continued to grind higher overnight.

Economically, the January NFIB Small Business Optimism Index fell to 97.1 vs. (E) 97.5 but the release is not materially moving markets this morning.

Looking into today’s session, there is just one lesser followed economic report due out: International Trade in Goods (E: -$83.0B), which should not have a major impact on trading, while no Fed officials are scheduled to speak.

Earnings season is already beginning to wind down but a few notable releases today include: PFE ($0.85), BP ($1.18), and PTON (-$1.18).

Bottom line, investors are continuing to digest last week’s jobs print and looking ahead to the CPI report on Thursday as the main driver of the market remains central bank policy expectations. There is a 3-Yr Treasury Note auction at 1:00 p.m. ET today and with an otherwise quiet calendar the results could move markets (strong auction = dovish, stocks can rebound; weak auction = hawkish, volatility likely to rise).