Stocks declined in a cautious start on Monday as investors await a slew of interest rate decisions in the days ahead and after global equities notched their worst week since hitting this year’s low in June.
The Stoxx Europe 600 Index opened 0.5% lower, led by consumer, technology and construction stocks. The index headed for its lowest close since July 5, wiping out most of its summer rally. Futures on the S&P 500 index also dropped, indicating extended declines for the benchmark after its worst weekly performance since June 17.
Activity was muted by a holiday in Japan and the UK observing a day of mourning for Queen Elizabeth II, with no trading in cash Treasuries during the Asian and European sessions.
The weakness in markets reflects expectations for an outsized interest rate hike from the Federal Reserve on Wednesday and worries that its aggressive tightening to quell inflation will trigger a recession.
Investors also face potential volatility from policy decisions this week by the Bank of England, the Bank of Japan and a host of other central banks. The British pound sank to its weakest level against the dollar since 1985 on Friday and the yen remains under pressure, though it has backed off from just below the key 145 level versus the dollar. A gauge of the greenback was little changed.
“We need to wait until the Fed hike, and then need to understand the dot plot,” Wendy Liu, chief Asia and China equity strategist at JPMorgan Chase & Co. said on Bloomberg TV.
The slump in global stocks deepened after hotter-than-expected inflation data spurred traders to ratchet up wagers for rate hikes. Swaps continue to price in a 75 basis-point hike when the Fed meets — with some wagers leaning toward a full point.
Traders briefly priced the Fed’s key policy rate peaking at 4.5% in March last week as the central bank escalates its effort to contain inflation. That expected peak was up by a full percentage point since the Fed’s last policy meeting in July.
“It is clear that the Fed will project hawkish messaging, once again re-iterating that it will bring down inflation unconditionally,” Vasileios Gkionakis, head of European currency strategy at Citigroup Inc. wrote in a note to clients. While Fed hawkishness is already priced in, much will depend on “pre-positioning in the few days before.”
Oil climbed slid below $85 per barrel amid the downbeat sentiment, despite a boost to the outlook for demand as the Chinese city of Chengdu ended a two-week lockdown. The offshore yuan extended its decline against the dollar as the People’s Bank of China tried to contain the slide by setting a reference rate with a record bias toward the strong side. The PBOC warned companies against shorting the currency last week.
Cryptocurrencies were also weighed by pre-Fed jitters. Bitcoin fell below $19 000 while Ether extended its drop after its blockchain was upgraded last week.
Some key events this week:
- World Bank President David Malpass speaks in New York, Monday.
- European Central Bank vice president Luis de Guindos speaks in Madrid, Monday
- China loan prime rates, Tuesday.
- Sweden interest rate decision, Tuesday.
- Federal Reserve interest rate decision, Wednesday.
- Big-bank CEOs including Jamie Dimon of JPMorgan Chase and Co. and Brian Moynihan of Bank of America Corp. testify before the US House Financial Services Committee, Wednesday.
- Reserve Bank of Australia Deputy Governor Michele Bullock speaks at a Bloomberg event in Sydney, Wednesday.
- Central bank policy meetings in Japan, UK, Indonesia, South Africa, Turkey and Switzerland, Thursday.
- US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen speaks in Washington, Thursday.
- Eurozone PMIs, Friday.
Some of the main moves in markets:
- The Stoxx Europe 600 fell 0.3% as of 8:20 a.m. London time
- Futures on the S&P 500 fell 0.6%
- Futures on the Nasdaq 100 fell 0.7%
- Futures on the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.5%
- The MSCI Asia Pacific Index fell 0.5%
- The MSCI Emerging Markets Index fell 0.8%
- The Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index rose 0.3%
- The euro fell 0.4% to $0.9975
- The Japanese yen fell 0.3% to 143.35 per dollar
- The offshore yuan fell 0.3% to 7.0180 per dollar
- The British pound fell 0.3% to $1.1387
- The yield on 10-year Treasuries was little changed at 3.45%
- Germany’s 10-year yield was little changed at 1.77%
- Brent crude fell 0.8% to $90.61 a barrel
- Spot gold fell 0.7% to $1 662.70 an ounce
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