Shortly after the European open news broke of the Belgium terror attacks and we saw the usual flight to quality. Treasuries rallied, as did Gold and the US Dollar while stocks fell and in particular airlines and travel companies. At one stage we saw the DAX down over -1.5% with CAC, IBEX and FTSE not far behind. By the close of business most indices had recovered as had Gold and Bonds but the USD has held its ground – especially against GBP.
Barclays stock was a talking point between dealers today after they suffered a price cut by Goldman resulting in a 2% decline on the day. On the data front we saw German IFO (Business climate indicator) and then an hour later the ZEW (confidence) release. The IFO was mildly better than forecast (106.7 against a 106 estimated) but that was balanced by the ZEW which was estimated at 53 but released at 50.7. Despite the early confusion and a mixed bag of data releases most core indices closed better on the day. However, the DAX remains below the psychological 10k level.
Japan’s return after a long weekend was a relief for Asian market by providing a 2% amist a sea of declines. China returned some of yesterdays gain and closed down just -0.6% and the HSI almost unchanged. Shanghai continues to play around the psychological 3k level and in late US trading China 300 futures are edging better +0.5%.
We saw another mixed session in the US markets eventually ending with small gains. After the initial concerns over the terror atrocities in Belgium, the nervous cash open was fortunately the lows of the day and prices rose with confidence throughout the rest of the session. Markets are hearing more from Fed speakers after today, we heard from Charles Evans (Chicago President) and so it is not surprising the market watches the spread between rates and the presented “Dot Plot”.
In the Treasury market the curve saw an under-performance in the belly as 5’s and 10’s gained 4bp whilst the 2’s and 30’s gained just 1bp. 2/10’s closed tonight at +105bp whilst 10/30’s closed at +76bp. The nerves in Europe kept the bid present for Bunds with 10yr closing tonight at 0.21%. That closes the spread US/Germany at +173bp. Italy 10yr closed 1.24%, Greece at 8.53%, Turkey 10yr 9.88% and UK Gilt closed 1.45%.
The USD returned a lot of the early gains made when we saw the flight to quality but not against GBP. The UK CPI print at 0.3% it was a disappointment as market was expecting a 0.4% print. The more talk we hear from Fed members the more the trend will continue. Against the backdrop of a quarrelling British government, an obvious slowdown in UK growth, the BREXIT debate heating up and now talk of US rate rise possible next month GBP does not have many friends.