MORNING BID-Lockdown easing optimism boosts market mood
LONDON, May 5 (Reuters) – A look at the day ahead from emerging markets chief correspondent Karin Strohecker. The views expressed are her own.
A late bounce on Wall Street over optimism that New York could come out of its lockdown by mid-May and crude oil futures staging a recovery saw concerns over tensions between Washington and Beijing fade into the background on Tuesday. That in turn inspired stocks in Europe to climb higher after days in the red.
The U.S. daily coronavirus death toll coming in below 1,000 for the first time in over a month thanks to a drop in New York numbers spurred risk appetite, with U.S. and euro zone bond benchmark yields grinding higher and the dollar index snapping a two-day winning streak.
California – the first U.S. state to go into lockdown – will ease restrictions from Friday, while some countries including Italy, Spain, Nigeria and India also tweak strict curbs.
Yet there could be a snag around the corner for bond markets, with Germany’s Constitutional Court set to rule later in the day on the legality of the European Central Bank’s bond purchases – a scheme credited with keeping the euro zone afloat during crises, including the coronavirus pandemic.
Many won’t notice if the judges, as expected, don’t stand in the way of the ECB bond buying, which amounts to nearly 3 trillion euros with another 1 trillion on the cards. But the scale of the market shock which would be triggered by the Karlsruhe court ordering the Bundesbank not to take part in new purchases is hard to gauge.
Bourses in Frankfurt, Paris and London jumped around 1.5% at the open as the earnings season rumbled on, with some good news dabbed in between companies announcing profit hits, dividend cuts and outlooks being scrapped.
German meal-kit delivery firm HelloFresh raised its 2020 guidance thanks to a lockdown boost. French oil and gas major Total kept its dividend payout stable despite reporting a sharp fall in Q1 net adjusted profit, and Danish jewellery maker Pandora beat forecasts. There are also signs of life in the M&A market with Swedish cloud computing services provider Sinch AB agreeing to acquire SAP Digital Interconnect, a unit of SAP.
Back to more sobering news. In the banking sector, French lender BNP announced a hit from equity derivatives, much like Societe Generale did last week, and set aside half a billion euros in loan provisions, warning that its 2020 net income could be about 15%-20% lower than in 2019. Staffing firm Adecco said the situation worsened in April as it reported a first quarter loss and halted its share buyback. And warnings that Q2 could be worse than Q1 are coming in thick and fast, today from Oakley and Ray-Ban maker EssilorLuxottica and German fashion house Hugo Boss.
U.S. futures point to a 1% gain at the open on Wall Street.
In currency markets, the softer dollar handed a sliver of its recent gains back to commodity currencies with the Australian dollar the biggest gainer, also thanks to the central bank remaining expansionary and leaving interest rates on hold. Norway’s crown and Russia’s rouble also strengthened thanks to gains in crude oil futures. (editing by John Stonestreet)
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