Moody’s downgrades UK credit rating to Aa3 from Aa2, outlook stable

Moody’s cuts the United Kingdom

Boris Johnson
This isn’t entirely unexpected but you hate to see it. Fitch recently affirmed the UK at AA-, which is the equivalent of Aa3. S&P remains one notch higher at AA but it’s under review.
Moody’s cited three reasons for the sovereign downgrade:

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Eurostoxx futures +0.7% in early European trading

A bit of catch-up play in early trades

  • German DAX futures +0.6%
  • UK FTSE futures +0.8%
  • Spanish IBEX futures +0.4%
European indices close the day near the lows yesterday, down by over 2% across the board, missing out on the late recovery in US equities towards the latter stages.
Hence, the gains here are largely due to some catch-up play and belies the more tepid and cautious risk mood to kick start the session.
US futures aren’t doing a whole lot, with S&P 500 and Nasdaq futures keeping at flat levels at the moment. Major currencies are also mostly little change besides some mild strength in the yen, with AUD/USD seen a little weaker under its 100-day moving average.

Eurostoxx futures +0.5% in early European trading

Some mild optimism flowing in early trades

  • German DAX futures +0.6%
  • UK FTSE futures +0.4%
  • Spanish IBEX futures +0.4%
US futures have also moved higher in the past hour, with S&P 500 futures now up ~0.7% while Nasdaq futures have pared losses to flat levels now and that is feeding to some slight positive momentum to start European morning trade.
In the currencies space, the aussie is also ticking a little higher with AUD/USD now testing 0.7300 and the confluence of its key hourly moving averages @ 0.7294-13.
USD/CAD is also nudged lower from 1.3110 to 1.3090 and testing the confluence of its own key hourly moving averages @ 1.3086-91 currently.

SoftBank sits on $4B profit on options trade – FT

SoftBank up $4B

SoftBank up $4B
All the talk Friday was about SoftBank’s huge position in equity options and how it may have contributed to the blow-off moves we saw in the tech sector last week.
The FT reports that the trade is sitting on a $4 billion trade.
For all the attention it has gotten, that strikes me as a small number. Founder Masayoshi Son once lost $70B in the dot-com crash and the company is worth close to $100B. SoftBank lost $17.7B on WeWork and Uber last year.
The strategy has focused on options related to individual US tech stocks. In total, it has taken on notional exposure of about $30bn using call options – bets on rising stock prices that provide the right to buy stocks at a preset price on future dates. Some of this position has been offset by other contracts bought as hedges.
“It’s just a levered punt on the market,” said one person with direct knowledge of the trades. “The whole strategy is just momentum buying.”
Without knowing the details of the trade — including the timeline — it’s tough to evaluate. However if the whole strategy is really just momentum buying, then Thurs/Fri showed how quickly it could blow up.
For me though, the whole thing is overblown. $30B is notional (again, depending on the details), really isn’t that much.

Eurostoxx futures +0.7% in early European trading

Optimistic tones observed in early trades

  • German DAX futures +0.9%
  • UK FTSE futures +0.9%
  • Spanish IBEX futures +0.6%

European indices ended yesterday more mixed in another somewhat disappointing session, but the late gains seen in US stocks is giving risk buyers another shot in trading today.

This sets up a firmer open for equities later but that isn’t quite translating into much for the major currencies space as the focus remains on the dollar, as it meets some key technical crossroads going into the session ahead.

The weekly oil inventory data is due out at the bottom of the hour

Private data last night showed a bigger than expected drawdown of crude inventories

The Department of Energy will release their weekly inventory data.

The private API numbers from last night showed:
  • crude oil -8.587M vs -3.35M est.
  • gasoline -1.748M vs -1.3M estimate
  • distillates +3.824M vs +100K est
  • Cushing +1.63M
The price of September WTI crude oil futures are up $1.68 or 4.03% at $43.39. The price shot through the 50% retracement of the 2020 move lower at $41.71.  The contracts 200 day moving average is at $43.92. The high price today has reached $43.52

Economic data coming up in the European session

US equities snapped back to losses yesterday, though they finished off the lows at least. Futures are keeping mildly higher today but the overall mood remains more tepid as we start to move towards European morning trade.

The dollar is a touch softer but nothing significant, as major currencies are still keeping in rather narrow ranges for the most part today.
It is still going to be all about risk sentiment ahead of the weekend, so expect virus headlines to dominate once again to see if we can get more meaningful price action rather than the choppy back and forth we have been seeing since last week.
0900 GMT – Eurozone May construction output data
Prior release can be found here. Construction activity is expected to bounce back after bottoming out in April, but overall conditions should remain highly subdued still.
0900 GMT – Eurozone June final CPI figures
The preliminary report can be found here. As this is the final release, it shouldn’t have much – if any – impact to markets.
Also, at 0800 GMT we will be getting the latest ECB survey of professional of forecasters but it isn’t really much of a notable release.
That’s all for the session ahead. I wish you all the best of days to come and good luck with your trading! Stay safe out there.

European shares end the session with mixed results

Italy and Portugal indices move higher

the major European indices are ending the session with mixed results. Germany, France, UK and Spain show declines while Italy and Portugal eked out gains. The closes are showing:

  • German DAX, -0.43%
  • France’s CAC, -0.42%
  • UK’s FTSE 100, -0.62%
  • Spain’s Ibex, -0.2%
  • Italy’s FTSE MIB, +0.3%
  • Portugal’s PSI 20, +0.95%
Italy and Portugal indices move higher_
In the European debt market, benchmark 10 year yields fell across the board with UK yields down the most at -2.8 basis points.
European 10 year yieldsIn other markets as London/European traders look to exit:
  • spot gold $-4.25 or -0.23% $1806.05. The high for the day reached $1813.48. The low extended to $1802.97
  • WTI crude oil futures fell $0.19 or -0.46% to $41.01. It’s high price reached $41.18 while the low extended to $40.60. The September contract is currently down $0.21 or -0.51% of $41.19
In the forex market,
  • GBPUSD. The GBPUSD is trading at new session highs in the currently hourly bar. In the process, the price has moved back above its 200 and 100 hour moving average. That tilted the bias back to the upside in what has been an up and down market over the last 7 or so trading days. On the topside a trendline connecting highs from this we currently comes in at 1.2634. The high from yesterday reached 1.26487. The high for the week on Monday reached 1.26652.
  • EURUSD: The EURUSD moved higher in the London session after finding support buyers near the 38.2% retracement of the move up from the Friday low at 1.13759. The high price reached 1.1441. The high price from yesterday reached 1.14512. There is close support at 1.14223 area

Dollar selling creeps in, S&P 500 futures higher

Risk on the theme

The new week is starting where the last one left off.
S&P 500 futures are up 0.5% to start the week after a massive rally in global equities last week, including +10% in some European equities.
Protests didn’t slow down the market last week and they aren’t having an effect today. In FX, the US dollar and yen are sagging, which is a classic risk-on stance.
So far the moves are modest with the commodity currencies up 15-20 pips. The pound was especially soft late in the day Friday but it’s got some life early, up 27 pips to 1.2695.

Eurostoxx futures +1.1% in early European trading

  • German DAX futures +1.0%
  • UK FTSE futures +2.4%
  • Spanish IBEX futures +1.0%
This follows a round of solid gains across the board to start the week yesterday, in which we saw the DAX starting to break out to fresh highs in nearly two months:
DAX