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Morning Bid: November bids adieu with inflation data, OPEC

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Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York City, U.S., September 26, 2023. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid/File Photo Acquire Licensing Rights

A look at the day ahead in U.S. and global markets from Mike Dolan

The best month of the year for U.S. stocks and bonds draws to a close on Thursday with investors bulled up by warm feelings about disinflation, even with one wary eye on the latest OPEC+ meet.

World stocks captured by MSCI’s all-country index (.MIWD00000PUS) are doing even better, with November gains of almost 9% marking their best month in three years. Total returns for the month on global sovereign and corporate bonds were flirting with their best four weeks since the crash of 2008.

U.S. Treasury yields alone held near lowest in around two months, with 10-year borrowing rates also heading for their biggest one-month fall since 2008’s banking bust – when the Fed floored rates to near zero and first launched its quantitative easing round of bond buying.

With signs of turn emerging in Federal Reserve policy guidance and October PCE inflation readings set to encourage that later in the day, rate cut fever was in full flow across the Atlantic too.

Money markets now expect the European Central Bank to cut interest rates as soon as April – which would make it the first of the G3 central banks to budge – as November euro zone inflation figures came in much lower than forecast.

Headline annual inflation in the bloc fell as low as 2.4% – within arm’s length of the ECB’s 2% target. ‘Core’ inflation readings favored were higher at 3.6% – but also well below expectations.

Bank of Italy chief and ECB policymaker Fabio Panetta captured the mood on the end of the 20-month rate hike cycle by warning against ‘useless damage’ to the economy and financial stability from any temptation to overtighten.

And while the U.S. dollar (.DXY), had been weakening of late on the back of falling U.S. yields – and futures pricing for as much as two quarter-point Fed rate cuts by June – the prospect of the ECB jumping the gun has dragged the euro back and buoyed the greenback again.

Later on Thursday, U.S. PCE inflation for the prior month is pencilled to fall 3.0% from 3.4% – with a core also ebbing to 3.5%.

Although slowing again the final quarter of the year, the startling performance of the U.S. economy during Q3 was underlined on Wednesday was an upward revision of GDP growth to more than 5% – while quarterly core rates of PCE inflation excluding food, energy and housing were as low as 1.6%.

For a growing number of Fed policymakers, the hiking cycle at least is done and dusted.

“Monetary policy is in a good place,” Cleveland Fed President Loretta Mester said on Wednesday, echoing comments from previously hawkish Fed governor Christopher Waller the previous day.

And the Fed’s ‘Beige Book’ on economic conditions showed activity slowed from early October through mid-November “with four districts reporting modest growth, two indicating conditions were flat to slightly down, and six noting slight declines in activity.”

Concerns about overseas demand also mounted in China.

China’s manufacturing activity shrank for a second straight month in November and at a quicker pace that surprised economists, suggesting more stimulus will be needed to restore confidence in the spluttering economy.

For Thursday alone, stocks were generally higher across the board – with Wall St futures marginally positive too.

Oil prices nudged higher awaiting OPEC+’s decision.

Key developments that should provide more direction to U.S. markets later on Thursday:

* U.S. Oct personal income and consumption and PCE inflation gauge, Dallas Fed Oct PCE cut, U.S. weekly jobless claims, Chicago Nov PMI business survey; Canada Q3 GDP

* New York Federal Reserve President John Williams speaks. European Central Bank President Christine Lagarde speaks. Bank of England policymaker Megan Greene speaks

* OPEC+ ministerial meeting in Vienna

* U.S. corporate earnings: Kroger, Ulta Beauty, Kirkland’s, REE Automotive, Duluth, BOS, Academy Sports and Outdoors, 111, Burning Rock Biotech, Domo, Titan Machinery etc

* U.S. Treasury auctions 4-week bills

Reuters Graphics
Reuters Graphics
Reuters Graphics
Reuters Graphics
Reuters Graphics
Reuters Graphics
Bar chart with data from LSEG Datastream shows actual U.S. non-farm payrolls from Jan. 2022 to Oct. 2023. A bar with stripes shows a Nov. projection of 175,000 new jobs from a Reuters poll.
Bar chart with data from LSEG Datastream shows actual U.S. non-farm payrolls from Jan. 2022 to Oct. 2023. A bar with stripes shows a Nov. projection of 175,000 new jobs from a Reuters poll.
GDP contributors
GDP contributors

By Mike Dolan, Editing by Bernadette Baum; <a href=”mailto:mike.dolan@thomsonreuters.com” target=”_blank”>mike.dolan@thomsonreuters.com</a>

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

Opinions expressed are those of the author. They do not reflect the views of Reuters News, which, under the Trust Principles, is committed to integrity, independence, and freedom from bias.

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