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Omicron Bounce, ADP & ISM, China Listing Loophole - What's Moving Markets

EconomyDec 01, 2021 12:18
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By Geoffrey Smith -- Global markets rebound on signs that Omicron may not be quite such a big deal. ADP (NASDAQ:ADP) releases its private payrolls survey and the Institute of Supply Management gives its latest update on the manufacturing survey as China's factories slip backs into contraction. Salesforce is under pressure after a disappointing update and David Marcus, the crypto guru at Facebook owner Meta, is stepping down. Oil stages an impressive comeback after an even more impressive rout ahead of a keenly-awaited OPEC+ meeting. Here's what you need to know in financial markets on Wednesday, 1st December.

1. Global markets bounce

Global markets returned, cautiously, to risk-on mode, digesting Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell’s hawkish turn in Congress on Tuesday and daring to hope that the new Omicron variant of Covid-19 may yet turn out to be not the dramatic new bearish development that many fear.

By 6:15 AM ET (1115 GMT), the dollar index was trading back under 96 at 95.933,  down 0.1% on the day, with its biggest losses coming against high-yielding currencies rather than against havens. The yield on the interest rate sensitive two-year Treasury bond had meanwhile settled into a range around 0.61%, still some eight basis points off last week’s peak.

Israel’s Health Minister said overnight that those with three doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine appeared to have adequate immune defense against Omicron, adding to suggestions that the new strain can be coped with by existing medicine. Also conspicuous is the failure – so far – of its spread in South Africa to lead to any notable spike in deaths or serious illness.

2. ADP, ISM and a Powell reprise 

With Fed Chair Powell being forced to acknowledge that inflation is spiking higher and lasting longer than he expected, all eyes will be on the latest barrage of U.S. economic data. Powell meanwhile, will reprise his testimony in the House of Representatives.

The most important number will likely be ADP’s private payrolls survey for November, the traditional warm-up act for the government’s labour market report on Friday. Analysts expect the economy to have added another 525,000 jobs last month, down a little from 571,000 in October.

Also due are the Institute of Supply Management’s purchasing managers index for November at 10 AM ET. Overnight, comparable surveys from IHSMarkit and Caixin showed Chinese manufacturing activity falling back into contraction, but a slightly better-than-expected performance in a Europe still beset by supply chain problems.

3. Stocks set to open higher; Salesforce disappoints

U.S. stock markets are set to open higher although, as with Monday, the bounce is not as big as the preceding drop. Powell’s comments, while widely anticipated and actively encouraged by many voices in the market, still represent a milestone in the policy response to the pandemic that accelerates the withdrawal of the market’s biggest supporting factor for the last 20 months.

By 6:20 AM ET, Dow Jones futures were up 285 points, or 0.8%, while S&P 500 futures were up 1.2% and Nasdaq futures were up 1.4%. The three indices had lost 1.9%, 1.9% and 1.6% respectively on Tuesday.

Stocks likely to be in focus later include Salesforce (NYSE:CRM), whose guidance for the current quarter was substantially below street forecasts when it published its results on Tuesday. Also in focus will be Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) owner Meta, after David Marcus stepped down from his role leading its virtual currency project.  Crowdstrike, Synopsis, Okta (NASDAQ:OKTA), Splunk (NASDAQ:SPLK) and PVH (NYSE:PVH) all report earnings after the close.

4. Bye-bye, VIE?

China is set to close the loophole that has allowed dozens of mainland Chinese companies to list in the U.S. without first listing domestically, according to a report by Bloomberg.

The move has been widely predicted, as an inevitable logical conclusion to the security-related concerns flagged by the regulators in their clampdown on the country’s tech giants earlier in the year.

Regulators in Beijing have already asked ride-hailing giant Didi Global to delist from the New York Stock Exchange, having defied their request that it pause the listing while a security review was completed. Bloomberg said it isn’t clear whether other companies would be forced to delist under the planned regulations, which are still being worked out.

Alibaba (NYSE:BABA) and many others have used a vehicle called a Variable Interest Entity, registered outside China, to list in New York in the last couple of decades.

5. Oil bounces on OPEC speculation

Crude oil prices rebounded vigorously on growing speculation that OPEC and its partners (notably Russia) will pause their monthly sequence of output increases in an effort to stop the market tilting back into surplus too quickly.

The ministers from the so-called OPEC+ bloc meet on Thursday to fix output levels for January. Data released by OPEC on Tuesday showed that, for the third month in a row, the cartel had failed to raise its output in line with its quota adjustment, although only by some 30,000 barrels a day.

By 6:30 AM, U.S. crude futures were up 4.4% at $69.06 a barrel, recovering from heavily oversold levels, while Brent crude was up 4.6% at $72.43 a barrel. U.S. government data on crude inventories are due at 10:30 AM ET, a day after the American Petroleum Institute reported a smaller draw on stocks than analysts had expected.

Omicron Bounce, ADP & ISM, China Listing Loophole - What's Moving Markets

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