Marketmind: Mind the (Europe-U.S.) gap

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People walk past 214 Oxford Street, the former flagship store of British fashion chain Topshop, that has been purchased by the Swedish furniture brand IKEA

A look at the day ahead from Sujata Rao.

When advance prints of Purchasing managers’ Indexes (PMI) land, focus will be on businesses’ input cost increases and whether they show signs of easing.

The readings may also reinforce the gap between robust U.S. activity and COVID-plagued Europe, potentially further depressing the euro, which plumbed new 16-month lows on Monday.

Monday’s euro area consumer confidence indicator offered a warning, falling back below pre-pandemic levels. October PMIs showed bloc’s activity slowing the weakest in six months, while businesses’ costs rose at the fastest pace in two decades. U.S. and British PMIs fared better but eye-popping price increases still featured.

A price slowdown would vindicate central bankers’ who have until now rejected surging inflation as transitory. But Fed Chairman Jerome Powell (re-appointed for another four years) spoke on Monday the corrosive impact of inflation. The United States may also unveil an emergency oil release later in the day to dent energy prices.

Powell’s reappointment sent markets into a frenzy of policy-tightening bets; three U.S. rate hikes are priced for 2022, starting June.

U.S. Treasury yields are higher again this morning after 5-8 basis-point rises on Tuesday, while the dollar has moved into a fifth straight week of gains against a basket of currencies.

When does this become a problem for stock markets?

Nasdaq-listed tech shares, vulnerable to higher rates, fell on Monday and are tipped for another lossmaking session. Even a 2% rally in bank shares did not prevent a weaker S&P 500 close. Futures signal weakness there and for European shares.

Finally, El Salvador’s plans for a $1 billion bitcoin-backed bond doesn’t seem to have benefited the coin very much; it’s holding near one-month lows.

Key developments that should provide more direction to markets on Tuesday:

Tuesday, Nov 23

-E.ON to invest $30 billion for green transition

-BOE MPC member Jonathan Haskel speaks

-ECB speakers: ECB board member Pentti Hakkarainen

-U.S. Treasury auctions 7-year notes, 2-year floating rate notes

-Philly Fed Non-manufacturing Business Outlook Survey

-Emerging markets: Nigeria central bank meets

-U.S. earnings:  American Eagle, Medtronic, Best Buy, Dollar Tree, Abercrombie and Fitch, Hewlett Packard, Nordstrom, Gap, Dell Composite PMIs, https://fingfx.thomsonreuters.com/gfx/mkt/lgpdwnbawvo/Pasted%20image%201637613895675.png

(Reporting by Sujata Rao; editing by Dhara Ranasinghe)

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