- Major U.S. indexes gain; Nasdaq up >2%
- Transports, banks, small caps, FANGs, chips outperform
- Energy leads S&P sector gainers; staples sole loser
- Dollar, gold ~flat; crude, bitcoin rally
- U.S. 10-Year Treasury yield rises to ~1.48%
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FITCH SHINES POSITIVE LIGHT ON SEC’S MONEY MARKET FUND MOVE (1405 EST/1905 GMT)
The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission’s (SEC) recently proposed rule amendments aimed at reducing the chances of another run on money market funds could be an incrementally positive credit development and most are likely to win support from market participants, Fitch Ratings said on Tuesday.
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Last week, the SEC said it devised its plan in the wake of large fund outflows in March 2020 sparked by investor concerns over the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. The stress spurred the federal government to launch emergency liquidity facilities to backstop the market. read more
Fitch said it has a positive view on the SEC’s proposal to eliminate liquidity fees and the use of gates to suspend redemptions when a fund’s liquidity drops below a threshold, noting that both have been identified as drivers of the March 2020 fund outflows.
It added that proposed increases to daily and weekly minimum liquidity requirements are “supportive of credit.”
“We expect any rule implementation period would be sufficiently long to reduce potential market disruption,” the credit rating agency said in a report. “However, institutional prime and tax-exempt (money market funds) could see outflows or fund closures if investors or fund managers believe that swing pricing would make the funds unattractive or overly operationally complex.”
As for the SEC’s proposal for adjusting funds’ value in line with dealing activity, a process known as “swing pricing,” Fitch said it was not an explicit ratings factor in its criteria.
“Potential ratings implications will most likely depend on whether a pre-defined swing pricing framework differs from voluntary and subjective liquidity fees,” the report said.
STOCK BUYBACKS AT RECORD HIGH IN Q3 – S&P (1340 EST/ 1840 GMT)
Corporate stock buybacks hit a record $234.6 billion in the third quarter, according to data from Dow Jones Indicies on Tuesday, and they are likely to continue at a higher level in the fourth quarter.
The repurchases marked an 18% increase from the $198.8 billion in the second quarter and are 5.2% more than the prior record from the fourth quarter of 2018.
Of S&P 500 (.SPX) components, 309 reported buybacks of at least $5 million for the quarter, up from the 294 in the prior quarter. The top 20 companies accounted for 53.8% of repurchases in the quarter, down from the 55.7% in the prior quarter.
The tech sector (.SPLRCT) continued to lead in buybacks with 28.2% of the share, although that was down from the 31.6% in the second quarter of 2021. Buybacks in the financial sector increased to 26.4% from 21%.
While the share of buybacks for the tech sector was largely in line with their 27.6% weight of the total S&P market value at the end of the third quarter, Financials were punching above their weight, as the market weight of the sector was only 11.4%.
“While companies spent a record amount on share buybacks for Q3 2021, their expenditures appear cautious when measured against their earnings and market value,” said Howard Silverblatt, senior index analyst at S&P Dow Jones Indices.
“Additionally, the impact on share count remains significantly lower compared to previous years as higher stock prices have reduced the number of shares companies can buy back with their current expenditures.”
Silverblatt also said that while companies are expected to increase expenditures on buybacks in the fourth quarter and into next year in part due to higher share prices, it will not be enough to impact share count.
NUVEEN YEAR-END 2022 S&P 500 TARGET 5,100 (1200 EST/1700 GMT)
Nuveen’s Equities Investment Council (EIC), led by Saira Malik, CIO, Head of Global Equities, is out with their 2022 outlook.
According to Malik, December’s FOMC meeting delivered a highly anticipated shift in policy, which investors ultimately found to be unnerving. Along with this, the Omicron variant remains a source of continued volatility.
That said, Malik believes the focus in 2022 may shift from monetary policy to fiscal policy. Although, we now know that President Biden’s investment bill “Build Back Better,” may have been dealt a fatal blow. read more
In any event, here are a number of the Nuveen EIC’s 2022 forecasts:
** S&P 500 year-end 2022 target of 5,100, or around 11% above current levels (SPX currently up around 22% YTD)
** Favorite S&P 500 sector: Energy
** Least Favorite: Staples
** U.S. 10-Year Treasury yield 2022 year-end level: 2.0% (vs. ~1.48% now)
** U.S. 2022 GDP growth: 3.9%
** U.S. 2022 CPI: 2.75%
AS GAS PRICES SURGE, THE NOK MAY OUTPERFORM FOR CHRISTMAS (1048 EST/1548 GMT)
The Norwegian krone may sparkle this Christmas as the
currency benefits from surging gas prices, positive seasonality and the recent rate hike by the Norwegian central bank, according to an analyst at ING.
Benchmark European and British wholesale gas prices soared to record highs on Tuesday as Russian gas shipments to Germany through a major transit pipeline reversed direction and colder weather increased demand.
This Christmas period “NOK may emerge as the surprise outperformer thanks to surging gas prices,” Francesco Pesole, a fx strategist at ING, said in a note sent on Tuesday, adding that “weather forecasts suggest the Christmas week is set to be a particularly cold one in Europe, which should also keep natural gas prices supported.”
The krone also benefits from positive seasonality, with oil-sensitive currencies typically supported into the New Year period, ING said. In addition, “we think NOK may also see some delayed benefit from the Norges Bank’s December hike.”
Norway’s central bank raised its benchmark interest rate last week and said more hikes were likely next year although that would depend on the impact of a surge in coronavirus infections and the emergence of the Omicron variant. read more
S&P 500 POPS EARLY, BUT 50-DMA SAYS “NOT SO FAST!” (0955 EST/1455 GMT)
Wall Street’s main indexes are gaining early Tuesday as strong quarterly earnings from Nike (NKE.N) and a positive forecast from chipmaker Micron (MU.O) helped boost sentiment.
Not surprisingly, given MU’s forecast, chip stocks are among outperformers. The Philadelphia SE Semiconductor index (.SOX) is rallying nearly 1.2%.
And with the U.S. 10-Year Treasury yield , now around 1.47%, and up more than 10 basis points from Monday’s 1.3530% low, banks (.SPXBK) are posting strong gains and value (.IVX) plays are outperforming growth (.IGX).
With this, the major averages are trying to end three-day losing streaks. However, of note, they are already pulling back off their highs.
The S&P 500 (.SPX) hit a high of 4,614.20 early on, that saw it flirt with its 50-day moving average, around 4,613. However, the benchmark index has since sold back.
Here is where markets stand in early trade:
MARKET INTERNAL MEASURES: BATTLE RAGES ON (0900 EST/1400 GMT)
A couple of measures of Nasdaq and NYSE internal strength are throwing off conflicting signals.
The Nasdaq Composite (.IXIC) closed Monday at its lowest level in more than two months. With this, the Nasdaq McClellan Summation (McSum), a breadth/momentum measure based on advancing and declining issues, ended at -5,084, or a fresh low back to early-April 2020. read more
Against this, the Nasdaq New High/New Low (NH/NL) index, a measure built around new yearly highs and lows, was unchanged on Monday at 24.1% read more :
Of note, the Nasdaq NH/NL index bottomed at 12.5% on December 6, and then reclaimed its 10-day moving average (DMA) on December 10. This short-term moving average has now turned up, and the measure itself is showing a bullish convergence with the IXIC.
In any event, traders will be watching for these measures to sync-up together. That is, for the McSum to begin to rise with the NH/NL index, and reclaim its 10-DMA, or for the NH/NL index to resume a decline, in-gear with the McSum.
With this, there may be greater confidence in the Nasdaq’s next major move.
Meanwhile, readings on the NYSE are showing a similar picture. On Monday, the NYSE McSum ended at its lowest level since April 2020. However, the NYSE NH/NL index, which also bottomed on December 6, and is also above its rising 10-DMA. And, the NYSE measure did tick down Monday for the first time in 10 sessions. This as the NYSE Composite (.NYA) closed below its 200-DMA. read more
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Terence Gabriel is a Reuters market analyst. The views expressed are his own
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