Friday sees a quiet end to the week, but there will likely be plenty of headline generation as the leaders of the G7 industrialised nations gather in Taormina, Sicily.
Also Friday, ECB Executive Board member Benoit Coeure participation in 24th Central Banks' Governors Meeting of Francophone Countries, in Montreux, Switzerland.
The European data calendar kicks off at 0800GMT, with the release of the Italian ISTAT Consumer Confidence and Business Confidence data.
Across the Atlantic, the US calendar gets underway at 1230GMT, with the release of the durable goods data and the 2nd reading of the US GDP report.
Durable goods orders are expected to fall by 1.6% in April after a revised 1.7% jump in March. Boeing reported 15 orders in the month, down sharply from 147 in March. Orders excluding transportation are expected to post a 0.5% gain after rising 0.8% in March. The data include the annual revisions released on May 18.
First quarter GDP is expected to be revised up to a still weak 0.9% rate from the 0.7% gain in the advance estimate, with the key factors being stronger nonresidential fixed investment and inventory investment. The chain price index is expected to be unrevised at a 2.3% increase.
At 1400GMT, the final Michigan Sentiment Index will cross the wires.
The Michigan Sentiment index is expected to be revised down very slightly to a reading of 97.6 in May, down from 97.0 in April.
The St Louis Fed Real GDP Nowcast will be published at 1500GMT, with the NY Fed GDP Nowcast due at 1515GMT.
SNAPSHOT: Below gives key levels of markets in the second half of the Asia-Pac session: - Nikkei 225 down 71.69 points at 19741.05 - ASX 200 down 38.729 points at 5750.9 - Shanghai Comp. down 1.168 points at 3105.491 - JGB 10-Yr future up 15 ticks at 150.71, JGB 10-Yr yield down 1.2bp at 0.038% - Aussie 3-Yr future up 2 ticks at 98.3, Aussie 3-Yr yield down 1.8bp at 1.658% - Aussie 10-Yr future up 3.5 ticks at 97.565, Aussie 10-Yr yield down 3.3bp at
2.407% - US 10-Yr future up 4 ticks at 126.08, US 10-Year yield down 1.05bp at 2.2449%
* JAPAN APR CORE CPI +0.3% Y/Y; MNI MEDIAN +0.4%; MAR +0.2%
* FEDS BULLARD: FED HIKE PATH MAY BE TOO AGGRESSIVE
* FEDS BULLARD: WANT TO START SHRINKING BALANCE SHEET 2H 2017
* FEDS WILLIAMS: SEES 3 HIKES IN 2017
US TSY/RECAP: Treasuries end Thu mildly firmer after mixed $28B 7Y sale (stopped through to 2.060%, moderate 61.24% indirect, strong 17.2% direct, 21.6% dealers.) T-Notes open Asia down 1+ ticks at 126.04, 10-Year yield last 2.255%.
US EURODLR FUTURES: Slightly higher across the strip, moving within yesterday's range. Conflicting comments from two FOMC non voters doing little to drive price action. San Francisco Fed's Williams said he still expects 3 hikes this year,
St. Louis Fed's Bullard says the Fed hike path may be overly aggressive.
Current White pack (Jun'17-Mar'18):
* Jun'17 unch at 98.7425
* Sep'17 +0.005 at 98.660
* Dec'17 unch at 98.580
* Mar'18 +0.005 at 98.505
* Red pack (Jun'18-Mar'19) +0.005
JAPAN STOCKS: Japanese stocks went in to the lunch break in negative territory, after opening slightly lower Japanese stocks accelerated the decline at the open. The Nikkei 225 went into the break at 19,762.11, down 51.02 points. – Some of the decline is being attributed to a stronger JPY which has risen some 20 pips against USD, USDJPY last at 111.63. - Lower oil is hitting energy stocks as well. Oil dropped around 6.5% yesterday after OPEC reached a deal to extend the output cut to March 2018, a 9-month extension. Unfortunately the deal wasn't enough to inspire confidence in markets, especially as a 12-month extension was discussed. Utilities and energy are the biggest losers today, with 9/11 sectors in the red. - Also hitting markets is the CPI data, though slightly higher than last month, the core measure was below expectations at 0.3%, while PPI services also weakened. While there is a glimmer of inflation the boost from higher energy prices should fade in the second half of the year.
OIL: After plummeting yesterday oil has had a quiet session in Asia. During European/US hours WTI fell almost 6.5% after OPEC announced a deal to extend the output cuts by 9-months to March 2018. unfortunately, these measures were not enough to inspire confidence in markets, especially after a 12-month extension was discussed. - After the deal was announced Saudi energy minister Al-Falih said that reductions in stockpiles will start to become evident in Q3, and predicting that inventories will hit the 5-year average early in 2018. – WTI last trades at $48.83, down $0.07 having moved in a very narrow range during Asia hours.
GOLD: Gold is higher in Asia-Pac trade, the yellow metal last trades up $1,257.57 at $1.89. - Gold initially mover lower at the start of the Asia session after declining steadily throughout Thursday. - Stocks are down and bonds are higher in Asia trade as lower oil hits energy stocks on the indices. This risk off sentiment is helping support gold.
FOREX: The pound took centre stage in the Asia-Pacific region, a YouGov Poll for the Times showed Labour narrowing the gap over the Conservatives to 5%, the smallest margin since Theresa May came to power. After a delayed reaction, cable plunged lower from $1.2947 to $1.2868 and was last at $1.2894. US dollar strength seen against the pound then rolled over to other currency pairs. Aussie-dollar dropped from $0.7458 to $0.7423, softer ore and steel futures helped the move along. Euro-dollar eased from $1.1216 to $1.1185 before moving back to $1.1205 as UST yields weakened. Meanwhile, dollar-yen was in consolidation mode holding a narrow Y111.55 to Y111.85 range, last at Y111.60.
BUND: (M17) 161.67 Resistance Remains Key
*RES 4: 162.09 Bollinger band top
*RES 3: 162.02 High May 18
*RES 2: 161.67 Hourly resistance May 18
*RES 1: 161.55 High May 29, Daily Bear channel top
*PREVIOUS CLOSE: 161.36
*SUP 1: 161.13 High May 24 now support
*SUP 2: 161.03 21-DMA
*SUP 3: 160.59 Low May 23
*SUP 4: 160.32 Rising daily trend line
*COMMENTARY: Bears have failed to capitalise on the close below the 100-DMA (160.85) Tuesday with bulls recovering a little lost ground and pressure returning to key resistance layers. Bulls still need a close above 161.67 to ease bearish pressure and above 162.49 to confirm an end to bearish hopes and shift focus back to 2017 highs. Bears now need a close below the 21-DMA to ease pressure on resistance layers.
EUROSTOXX50: Remains Capped Around 21-DMA
*RES 4: 3650.81 High May 11
*RES 3: 3635.33 High May 17
*RES 2: 3607.87 Low May 11 now resistance
*RES 1: 3604.39 21-DMA
*PREVIOUS CLOSE: 3584.55
*SUP 1: 3567.77 Low May 23
*SUP 2: 3529.35 Low May 18
*SUP 3: 3524.04 Monthly High Nov 30 2015 now support
*SUP 4: 3514.45 55-DMA
*COMMENTARY: Hesitation around the 21-DMA and ahead of the 3607.87 resistance continues with bulls needing a close above 3607.87 to confirm a break of the 21-DMA and shift focus back to 3650.81-3666.80 where 2017 highs are situated. While 3607.87 caps bears retain the upper hand but still need a close below 3567.77 to retain focus on the 3497.72-3529.35 region where the 55-DMA is located.
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The US Dollar Index (DX) continued a near-term bottoming pattern yesterday as it edged higher just off downchannel support (on the daily chart). Significantly, the DX is trying to bounce off the support of a downchannel (on the weekly chart) that began last December, along with the same chart's uptrend support line. As the weekly MACD still slopes firmly down, DX bulls will remain cautious for now. Nevertheless, any rally to the daily chart's downchannel resistance next week would be meaningful to day traders. I will look to enter long intraday in the green zone (of the daily chart), targeting the red zone by late next week.
US Dollar Index (ICE DX Jun17) Weekly/Daily/4hr/Hourly
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When GE gets into a funk, so do legions of investors.
As one of America’s most-widely held stocks, General Electric’s (ticker: GE) recent drop below $30 to near a 52-week low is causing pain. (Investors who have held the stock since its 2000 peak are in profound pain, as shares have tumbled more than 50% since then.)
One way to deal with the latest weakness – and it does seem the stock will be stuck near $28 for a while – is to sell upside calls against shares. The strategy is called overwriting, an odd name that merely means someone owns a stock and sells calls against the position. This classic trading strategy is widely used to generate returns on moribund stocks.
Here’s how it works.
With GE at $28, investors would sell the September $30 call for 26 cents.
If the stock is below the call strike price at expiration, investors can keep the money received for selling the call. The company pays an annual dividend of 96 cents (the stock yields 3.4%) so within that context the call premium is a meaningful number. If the trade is done four times a year, investors can collect a conditional dividend of $1.04. What is the condition of the dividend-like payment? A willingness to sell the stock at the strike price, and give up any potential gains.
The trade has some key drawbacks. The amount of money received for selling the call is not huge. Some would say that the premium does not do enough to offset the risk that anyone who sells a call is obligated to sell the stock at the call’s strike price. If the stock trades at $30 or higher when the options expire, the stock will be exercised and sold. To prevent the exercise, investors can buy back the short call to close out the position.
Though the stock has ranged over the past 52 weeks from $27.10 to $33, and charts suggest shares could drop into a lower trading range, the stock has upside potential.
The trade has some event risk. GE is scheduled to report second-quarter earnings on July 21. A good report – even though it may seem unlikely today – could move the stock through the call strike price. The company also will participate in a series of bank conferences that provide ample opportunity for executives to say something that moves the stock.
GE also has attracted an activist investor. Trian Fund Management is pressuring GE’s management to improve performance. Subsequently, GE has cut $2 billion of expenses. Still, the stock has dropped despite Trian’s interest, suggesting that the risk of selling calls is somewhat tempered as it is hard to imagine an activist investor, even one well respected like Trian, can do much to unlock value in a $242 billion international conglomerate that is confronting profitability pressures. Moreover, the analyst community is turning on GE.
To be sure, it is hard to make a convincing bull thesis for why anyone would want to initiate a new position in GE – a point that points back to managing existing positions with options to increase returns. It is perhaps possible that the stock price would jump if the company were broken up into a bunch of smaller, listed stocks, but who knows if that is even realistic.
The facts are that the stock is behaving weakly, options trading patterns are mixed, and the sale of a well-placed call should help investors incrementally increase the returns of a stalled stock.
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