Shares shuffle higher, dollar lays low ahead of U.S. jobs data
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[November 01, 2019]
By Marc Jones
LONDON (Reuters) - World shares were eyeing
two-year highs and a fourth straight week of gains on Friday as the
third U.S. interest rate cut of the year and a surprise bounce in
Chinese manufacturing activity eclipsed a blizzard of otherwise sickly
Reports of more U.S.-China trade difficulties, impeachment strains on
Washington, the first day at the ECB without Mario Draghi and monthly
U.S. jobs figures were all in the mix too, but markets marched on.
Europe's STOXX 600 index <.STOXX> started 0.3% higher, led by a 0.4%
rise in Germany's China-exposed firms <.GDAXI> after the overnight news
that China's factory activity expanded at its fastest pace in more than
two years last month.
That had helped Asia too. Chinese blue chips <.CSI300> jumped 1.7% in
their best day since mid-August, Seoul's Kospi <.KS11> rose 0.77% and
Hong Kong's Hang Seng <.HSI> added 0.65% despite data confirming
protests there had pushed city into its first recession in a decade.
"The (Chinese) numbers are good given it came ahead of expectations and
expansion is always a welcome," said David Madden, an analyst at CMC
markets in London.
There had been a slight wobble in sentiment overnight after a Bloomberg
report citing unnamed Chinese officials airing doubts over whether a
comprehensive long-term trade deal is possible.
Efforts by Washington and Beijing to end their bruising nearly 16-month
trade war had appeared on track on Thursday. U.S. President Donald Trump
said the two sides would soon announce a new venue for the signing of a
"Phase One" trade deal, after protests in Chile had seen a planned
summit there this month canceled.
China's doubts were "not entirely unexpected", Greg McKenna, strategist
at McKenna Macro, said in a note to clients, saying that the falls in
equity markets overnight were relatively small.
"Either way, today's deluge of manufacturing PMI's and then U.S.
non-farm (payrolls) will be an important factor in where markets head
next," he added.
Payrolls figures are always closely scrutinized by traders as they are
seen as an up-to-date gauge of U.S. economic health. Forecasts this time
are for 89,000 new jobs last month which would be well below September's
136,000 and the recent average.
There also will be the ISM manufacturing PMI reading which is expected
to see a rise to 48.9 from 47.8 in September. A separate PMI survey from
the Chicago Fed <USCPMI=ECI> on Thursday showed a sharper contraction in
midwestern manufacturing activity for October.
The expectation of more soft data kept the dollar down against the yen
at 107.97 <JPY=> and on track for its biggest weekly loss against the
Japanese currency since Oct. 4.
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The London Stock Exchange Group offices are seen in the City of
London, Britain, December 29, 2017. REUTERS/Toby Melville
It was also at a 10-day low versus the euro at $1.1165 <EUR=EBS>,
still struggling after the Federal Reserve had cut U.S. interest
rates for a third time this year on Wednesday.
Euro zone government bond yields steadied near two-week lows
meanwhile, on course for their biggest weekly decline in five weeks
as Christine Lagarde officially began her presidency of the European
Analysts said the resumption of asset purchases by the ECB this week
had also been helping the bond markets, though focus is already
turning to what Lagarde will do during her eight-year term.
The decision to resume asset purchases has divided the central bank
and fueled a perception in markets that the bar to further monetary
easing is now high.
Having discounted an ECB depo rate of close to -0.8% just a couple
of months ago, the market no longer expects another cut of 10 basis
points in 2020 <ECBWATCH>.
"It's pretty clear that Lagarde has an uphill task in trying to
promote unity that leads to a coherent set of policies going
forward," said Philip Shaw, chief economist at Investec. "Her own
views can be characterized as continuity with" former ECB chief
Among the main commodities, oil prices were little changed on Friday
but set for a slide of around 3.5% on the week hurt by rising global
supply and concerns about future demand.
Despite the positive China surprise, Japanese factory activity sank
to more than a three-year low last month data there had shown. Japan
is the world's third largest economy.
U.S. crude inventories <USOILC=ECI> rose by 5.7 million barrels in
the week to Oct. 25 too, dwarfing analyst expectations for an
increase of just 494,000 barrels.
Brent crude <LCOc1> ticked up 27 cents, or 0.4%, at $59.89 a barrel
by 0955 GMT, on course for a drop of about 3.4% for the week.
West Texas Intermediate crude CLc1 rose 32 cents to $54.50 a barrel,
which would leave it with a weekly loss of more than 3.8%.
(Additional reporting by Andrew Galbraith in Shanghai and Dhara
Ranasinghe in London; Editing by Angus MacSwan)
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