Bloomberg Markets Today 04/15/2024

Bloomberg Markets Today 04/15/2024

Global Markets

  • Global markets react to fresh US and UK sanctions on Russian metal, causing a surge in aluminum and nickel prices.
  • European currencies strengthen against the US dollar despite higher yields.

Israel-Iran Tensions

  • Markets uncertain about potential escalation and geopolitical implications following weekend attacks from Iranian soil on Israel.
  • Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu implies a response to the attacks, but no immediate indication of direct strikes on Iranian soil.
  • Timeline for Israel's response unclear, with some Israeli ministers suggesting a measured approach and avoiding immediate or aggressive retaliation.
  • Global leaders, including the US and its allies, urge restraint and condemn the Iranian attack on Israel.
  • International community, including the UK, France, Germany, NATO, and the G7, condemns the attack and considers further sanctions.
  • Regional leaders in the Middle East condemn the attack, with some countries like Saudi Arabia involved in the early hours of the attacks.
  • Situation in Gaza affects regional dynamics, with some countries expressing condemnation of the Iranian attack while also considering their stance on the ongoing conflict in Gaza.
  • Saudi Arabia expresses deep concern over military escalation in the region, particularly with drones and missiles targeting Israel from Iranian soil.
  • Diplomatic efforts underway, including phone calls between Saudi Arabia's and Iran's foreign ministers, indicating pressure on Iran to exercise restraint and prevent further escalation.
  • Iran states the recent attack was a one-time event, while the United States clarifies it will not retaliate against Iran on behalf of Israel or any other party.

Metals Market

  • Oil market initially spikes on Friday due to tensions but largely recovers, with prices returning to pre-attack levels.
  • Metals market experiences supply disruptions due to new sanctions on Russian metals, leading to rising prices on the London Metal Exchange (LME).
  • Russian metal mined before April 13th can still be traded on the LME, creating a bifurcated market with higher prices for LME metal and discounted prices for metal sold to China.
  • Market has been preparing for these sanctions, with some Russian metal already being diverted to China, the largest consumer of industrial metals.

European Stock Market

  • European stock market expected to see a reversal of the risk-off trade, with a potential half a percent move to the upside and a gradual recovery in bonds.
  • Geopolitics now a significant factor in investor sentiment, but muted response from Israel and US efforts to de-escalate tensions provide some relief in the short term.

Inflation and Economic Growth

  • Impact of oil prices on inflation and economic growth uncertain.
  • Upcoming US reporting season and European reporting season will influence equity markets.
  • Positioning in the market currently long, and any disappointment in earnings could lead to a sell-off.
  • Inflation still the primary concern for the Fed, with super core inflation rising in recent months.
  • June rate cut by the Fed seems unlikely due to persistent inflation.
  • Significant dislocation between US and European yields unlikely due to high correlation between global yields.
  • Propensity for European growth to surprise to the upside is larger than the US.
  • If the Fed cuts rates once, the ECB may struggle to cut three times due to exchange rate and inflation concerns.

UK Fintech Sector

  • Policy consistency crucial for attracting investment and supporting fintech startups in the UK.
  • UK fintech sector saw over 5.1 billion USD of investment in 2023 despite economic challenges.
  • UK is a global leader in fintech, second only to the US and ahead of the next 28 European countries combined.
  • UK government, opposition, and regulators recognize the critical importance of fintech for the economy and consumers.
  • 98% of UK fintechs positively impact the economy, with over a quarter directly addressing inequality and over a third supporting institutions that foster strength and social justice.
  • Continued support for fintech requires collaboration among regulators, government, and industry.
  • Proactive regulation that protects consumers while allowing innovation to thrive is essential for maintaining the UK's leadership in fintech.
  • Some argue that the UK's stringent regulatory environment stifles innovation, especially for big tech companies from the US looking to invest.
  • UK government working to ensure regulation does not hinder innovation and taking steps to attract and retain fintech companies, such as launching the Unicorn Council and implementing specific policies to encourage listings in the UK.
  • Despite competition from Silicon Valley and Asia, the UK continues to attract investment and growth in the fintech sector.
  • Collaboration between government, industry, and regulators crucial to compete with Asia's fintech growth.

Diplomatic Response to Iran's Attack

  • UK, Germany, and France coordinating a diplomatic response to Iran's attack on Israel to prevent a regional war in the Middle East.
  • Timing and scale of Israel's potential response have significant implications for the region and the world.

Iran's Attack on Israel

  • Iran launched a drone and missile attack on Israel, but most were intercepted by Israel's defense system.
  • Attack seen as a calibrated move by Iran, intended to demonstrate its military capabilities without causing significant casualties or escalation.
  • Incident has increased tensions between Iran and Israel and raised concerns about the potential for further escalation.
  • Diplomatic efforts underway to prevent a full-blown conflict between the two nations, with European leaders visiting Israel to mediate.
  • Conflict has also drawn attention away from the ongoing situation in Gaza, where there has been no ceasefire and the potential for an incursion into Rafah remains.
  • Hezbollah in southern Lebanon seen as a potential flashpoint for further conflict, as Iran could activate the group to cause damage to Israel.
  • Effectiveness of Israel's defense system in intercepting the Iranian attack may influence Iran's strategic thinking and future actions.

Financial Markets Reaction

  • Financial markets showed relief as the attack did not lead to significant escalation, but there is still uncertainty and risk premium factored into market sentiment.
  • Start of the reporting season, particularly the performance of banks like J.P. Morgan, has impacted market sentiment and raised concerns about meeting elevated earnings expectations.

London Metal Exchange

Company News

  • Adidas received a double upgrade from Morgan Stanley, moving from underweight to overweight, citing success in the Samba brand, basketball, and football, and a lull in Nike's innovation.
  • Italian wire and cable maker Prysmian is acquiring US rival Encore Wire for €3.9 billion, aiming to increase sales by 30% and achieve combined net sales of €7 billion per year.
  • Apple's iPhone market outside of China is experiencing a slump, despite the company's strong performance on Friday.

European Markets

  • Broader market expected to open positively, with some relief after geopolitical tensions over the weekend, but commodity markets remain volatile.
  • Investors will be watching for the impact of the sanctions on metal prices and the reaction of oil companies like Shell and BP.
  • Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan's earnings reports will be closely monitored, along with the broader banking sector and yield movements.
  • European markets are opening, with the FTSE 100 potentially seeing some unwinding of gains due to Shell's significant weight in the index.
  • European markets showing mixed performance, with ASML, LVMH, Safran, Airbus, Shell, BP, and Astra performing well, while mining stocks are dragging the market down.
  • Rio Tinto is the biggest index contributor, benefiting from a defense bid and the shutdown of airspace in the Middle East, which is rerouting flights and benefiting carriers like Emirates.
  • Oil prices are rising, further pressuring European airlines and aerospace companies.
  • Defense companies are seeing gains, including Rolls-Royce.
  • Banks such as Lloyds, Barclays, and Standard Chartered are also showing positive movement.
  • Norsk Hydro, an aluminum producer, is gaining due to the potential disruption of Russian aluminum supply.

Central Bank Policies

  • Conflict and its impact on raw materials raise concerns about inflation and its implications for central bank policies.
  • Federal Reserve cautious about adjusting interest rates and emphasizes the need for inflation to come down before considering a rate cut.
  • Christina Campanelli, a senior portfolio manager, discusses the geopolitical conflict and its impact on inflation.
  • She believes the path is still towards easier policy, but the hurdle for the Fed to start easing has been raised due to recent CPI data.
  • European central banks may diverge from the Fed, with the ECB signaling a potential rate hike in June.
  • Magnitude of the rate hike cycle is a key question, with other central banks potentially having more room for a larger cycle compared to the Fed.
  • Growth differential between the US and Europe attributed to the effectiveness of fiscal policy in the US.
  • Effectiveness of fiscal stimulus in Europe being questioned due to potential bottlenecks in its distribution.
  • Timing of the Fed's rate cut is a subject of debate, with some arguing for an earlier move to avoid potential risks associated with prolonged restrictive policies.
  • Fed's inflation forecast for December is 2.6%, and there is a case to be made that the Fed can achieve a soft landing.
  • Concerns about potential risks associated with a delayed rate cut, including increased stress in certain market segments such as commercial real estate.
  • Risk of a policy mistake by the Fed, either cutting too early or keeping rates too high, is being discussed.
  • Long end of the yield curve expected to reprice regardless of the Fed's actions, with a steeper curve still seen as a reasonable case in the medium term.
  • ECB and other central banks acting in response to their own market conditions, but the next step of their actions will depend on the Fed's moves.


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