by James Regan Emma O’Brien from Bloomberg.com
Asian equities fall in longest losing streak this year
Australia’s currency gains after trade, retail sales data
European and U.S. stock index futures rose from three-week lows as crude oil climbed toward $45 a barrel. Australia’s currency strengthened after retail sales and trade figures beat estimates, while Asian equities retreated.
Futures on the S&P 500 advanced 0.3 percent, while those on the Euro Stoxx 50 Index gained 0.6 percent. The MSCI Asia Pacific excluding Japan Index declined for a seventh day, its longest losing streak of the year. The Aussie advanced against all of its G-10 counterparts, while South Africa’s rand and Turkey’s lira recouped some of their losses for the week. Crude rallied after data showed U.S. output fell the most in eight months and as wildfires disrupted production in Canada.
April data for manufacturing and services in the world’s leading economies point to a subdued outlook for global growth, while falling corporate earnings in the U.S. are doing little to revive an equities rally that’s petered out over the past two weeks. Stan Druckenmiller, a billionaire investor with one of the best long-term track records in money management, said Wednesday the bull market in stocks has “exhausted itself” and that gold is his largest currency allocation.
“Markets seem to be at something of a crossroads at present, waiting for clearer signals on whether U.S. activity will bounce back in the second quarter,” Sharon Zollner, a senior economist in Auckland at ANZ Bank New Zealand Ltd., said in a client note. “If the global economy were to tip into recession at some point, what ammo, precisely, do central banks have left that won’t do more harm than good?”
Federal Reserve Bank chiefs in Atlanta and San Francisco said this week that a June interest-rate hike could be on the cards and a U.S. employment report on Friday will help shape the market’s assessment of the likelihood, which Fed Funds futures currently put at about 10 percent.
A private-sector report on Thursday showed growth in China’s services output moderated in April, while the European Central Bank is due to publish its monthly Economic Bulletin. A gauge of how the U.K.’s service sector is performing is also scheduled, while Kellogg Co. and News Corp. are among companies releasing earnings. BT Group Plc and Repsol SA announced profits that exceeded analysts’ estimates, while Wm Morrison Supermarkets Plc reported its second consecutive quarter of sales growth.
The MSCI Asia Pacific excluding Japan Index fell 0.2 percent as of 7:15 a.m. in London, with all but one of its 10 industry groups posting losses. Financial markets are shut for holidays in Indonesia, Japan, South Korea and Thailand. Futures on the Nikkei 225 Stock Average added 0.3 percent in Singapore, after sliding 1.2 percent in the last two sessions.
A gauge of Hong Kong property stocks fell to a four-week low, led by a 2.5 percent slide in New World Development Co., after Goldman Sachs Group Inc. downgraded its assessment of the sector and forecast a 20 percent slide in the city’s home prices.National Australia Bank Ltd. jumped as much as 4.1 percent in Sydney after it reported an increase in profit. Crown Resorts Ltd., the gaming company of James Packer, surged as much as 5.8 percent after announcing the sale of an $800 million stake in its Macau venture.
Australia’s dollar strengthened 0.5 percent versus its U.S. counterpart. The nation’s retail sales increased 0.4 percent in March from the previous month, while the trade deficit was smaller than economists forecast. Reserve Bank of Australia said Deputy Governor Philip Lowe will replace Glenn Stevens as head of the monetary authority in September.
The Philippine peso fell to a two-month low as the May 9 presidential election draws closer. The currency has been weakening for three weeks as the mayor of Davao City, Rodrigo Duterte, rises in opinion polls. Duterte ranked third in a Bloomberg survey last month that asked analysts who was the best candidate to run the economy.
The Turkish lira rebounded 1.1 percent versus the dollar. It tumbled 3.8 percent on Wednesday as markets reacted to a deepening rift between President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu that’s set to end with the premier stepping down from his job later this month. South Africa’s rand strengthened 0.9 percent, after sliding 5 percent in three days.
The greenback was little changed at 107 yen, after strengthening 0.6 percent over the last two days. The Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index climbed 1.2 percent over the last two days as the probability that the Fed will raise interest rates this year climbed back above 50 percent. U.S. employers added at least 200,000 workers for a third month in April, according to a Bloomberg survey before the Labor Department releases the data on May 6.
“We’re probably at a bit of an inflection point for the dollar,” said Ray Attrill, co-head of currency strategy at National Australia Bank Ltd. in Sydney. “We’ve come down a long way with virtually any tightening in 2016 priced out, but we’re at a point when there’s almost too much bad news in the dollar. Having said that, we’re on guard for a softer employment number.”
West Texas Intermediate crude climbed 2.2 percent to $44.73 a barrel. U.S. oil production dropped by 113,000 barrels a day to 8.83 million a day last week, the lowest level since September 2014, data showed Wednesday. Fires in Canada may affect more than 1 million barrels a day of capacity, according to company statements and data published in Alberta’s Spring Oil Sands Quarterly.
“The trend of declining U.S. production is a real positive,” said Michael McCarthy, chief strategist at CMC Markets in Sydney. “I expect prices will probably touch the $48 to $50 zone. We will have to see significant inroads into crude stockpiles to push through that area.”
Iron-ore futures fell for a third day in Dalian, declining as much as 4.8 percent after China took steps to limit speculation in commodities contracts. Contracts for steel reinforcement bar and coking coal also fell.
Gold for immediate delivery rose 0.1 percent, after sliding more than 1 percent over the last three days. Nickel led declines among industrial metals, falling 0.9 percent in London.
Australia’s government bonds rose, pushing the 10-year yield down by four basis points to a two-month low of 2.39 percent. The rate on similar-maturity U.S. Treasuries increased by one basis point to 1.79 percent.
Inner Mongolia Nailun Group Inc.’s yuan-denominated bonds due 2018 traded at 31 percent of face value, down from a 2016 high of 98 percent on April 19. The Chinese fertilizer maker said it wouldn’t be able to meet payments due Thursday on the notes, becoming the eighth issuer to default this year in the world’s second-biggest economy.