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European Stocks Slip as Traders Weigh Weak US Data: Markets Wrap

In Business
June 04, 2024

(Bloomberg) — European stocks slipped as investors weighed concerns about the health of the US economy against stronger expectations for early Federal Reserve policy easing.

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Energy stocks led a decline in Europe’s Stoxx 600 Index as crude oil prices extended losses amid concerns about oversupply. BP Plc and TotalEnergies SE both dropped more than 2%. US equity futures edged lower. The dollar was flat, while Treasuries steadied after Monday’s rally prompted by signs of slowing in the economy.

Asian equities struggled in a mixed session. The spotlight was on India, where the country’s stocks, currency and bonds all dropped as initial ballot counting signaled a narrow victory for Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led Bharatiya Janata Party.

US data out Monday showed factory activity shrank at a faster pace as output came close to stagnating and a measure of orders dropped by the most in nearly two years. Later Tuesday, economists expect figures to show a third consecutive monthly drop in job openings, while Friday’s payroll numbers loom as crucial in the search for clues about the outlook for the world’s No. 1 economy and interest rates.

“Additional cooling in job openings this week would also help to bring home the message that the labor market is no longer a meaningful threat for near-term inflation dynamics,” said Oscar Munoz at TD Securities.

Swap contracts tied to upcoming Fed meetings continue to fully price in a quarter-point rate cut in December, with the odds of a move as soon as September edging up to around 50% and November also given high odds.

In Europe meanwhile, strong economic data and vocal European Central Bank hawks are pushing some analysts and investors to waver in their expectations for rate cuts this year. While most economists still foresee quarterly reductions following an initial move this week, some reckon sticky inflation, rapid wage growth and surprisingly robust euro-zone output will constrain loosening.

The region’s equities are still in line for a boost from rate cuts and an improving corporate earnings outlook, according to Citigroup Inc. strategists led by Beata Manthey. If rates settle at pre-global financial crisis levels — as expected by the bank’s economists — that would be a longer-lasting tailwind for stocks, according to the Citi team.

Back in Asia, Japan’s finance minister said the government’s intervention in the currency market a little over a month ago was effective to some extent, in the first official acknowledgment of the action after the ministry disclosed data indicating it spent a record amount to prop up the yen. The yen slipped as traders assessed the commentary.

Corporate Highlights:

  • GameStop Corp. surged as the Reddit account that drove the meme-stock mania of 2021 posted what appeared to be a $116 million position in the video-game retailer.

  • Airbus SE is negotiating a major sale of A330neo aircraft to China, with talks gaining momentum since President Xi Jinping visited his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron last month.

  • JetBlue Airways Corp.’s sales performance for this quarter will be somewhat better than expected as the carrier works to improve operations and capitalize on “healthy overall demand trends.”

  • Skydance Media plans to offer $23 a share to investors in Paramount Global’s voting stock as part of its plan to merge with the film and TV giant, according to people with knowledge of the matter.

  • Bill Ackman’s Pershing Square aims to raise $25 billion for a new closed-end fund targeting US retail investors, which would more than double the fee-paying assets the firm manages, according to people with direct knowledge of the plans.

  • A.P. Moller-Maersk A/S, a bellwether for global trade, raised its full-year profit forecast, saying the congestion in the Red Sea is having a larger than previously expected impact on the world’s supply lines, which in turn is boosting freight rates.

Key events this week:

  • US factory orders, JOLTS, Tuesday

  • China Caixin services PMI, Wednesday

  • Eurozone S&P Global Services PMI, PPI, Wednesday

  • Canada rate decision, Wednesday

  • US ISM services, Wednesday

  • Eurozone retail sales, ECB rate decision, Thursday

  • US initial jobless claims, trade, Thursday

  • China trade, forex reserves, Friday

  • Eurozone GDP, Friday

  • US unemployment rate, nonfarm payrolls, Friday

Some of the main moves in markets:

Stocks

  • The Stoxx Europe 600 fell 0.3% as of 8:14 a.m. London time

  • S&P 500 futures fell 0.3%

  • Nasdaq 100 futures fell 0.4%

  • Futures on the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.2%

  • The MSCI Asia Pacific Index fell 1.1%

  • The MSCI Emerging Markets Index fell 1.6%

Currencies

  • The Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index was little changed

  • The euro fell 0.1% to $1.0893

  • The Japanese yen rose 0.3% to 155.64 per dollar

  • The offshore yuan was little changed at 7.2564 per dollar

  • The British pound was little changed at $1.2796

Cryptocurrencies

  • Bitcoin fell 0.1% to $69,026.57

  • Ether was little changed at $3,770.15

Bonds

  • The yield on 10-year Treasuries was little changed at 4.39%

  • Germany’s 10-year yield declined two basis points to 2.56%

  • Britain’s 10-year yield declined two basis points to 4.20%

Commodities

  • Brent crude fell 1.1% to $77.51 a barrel

  • Spot gold fell 0.3% to $2,343.83 an ounce

This story was produced with the assistance of Bloomberg Automation.

–With assistance from Alex Gabriel Simon, Shen Hong and Liau Y-Sing.

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