January 19, 2018 / 3:23 PM / 3 months ago

LIVE MARKETS-Carpetright stains to spread?

    * Euro zone shares hit ten year high
    * STOXX 600 at 2 1/2 year peak
    * Carpetright, Dignity drop after profit warnings

    Jan 19 (Reuters) - Welcome to the home for real time coverage of European equity markets
brought to you by Reuters stocks reporters and anchored today by Danilo Masoni. Reach him on
Messenger to share your thoughts on market moves: danilo.masoni.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net  
   
 
 
    CARPETRIGHT STAINS TO SPREAD? (1512 GMT)
    "Carpetright's update indicates that sales have been weak in big ticket housing-related
areas (bed, flooring, sofas) at an important point in the promotional calendar," note Stifel
analysts. 
    Companies yet to report that are the most exposed to apathetic general and home-related
retail spending are DFS Furniture, Dixons Carphone and Kingfisher, they say, adding that macro
data has also been pretty downbeat.
    Northern Trust Capital Markets analysts previously said Carpetright's issues were relatively
company-specific, but they reckon the scale of today's warning spells trouble for Kingfisher,
whose brands include home improvement chain B&Q.
    "Trading updates to come are likely to give further colour on the polarisation of the larger
ticket spend following Carpetright's profit warning today, whilst we anticipate that the
pure-play apparel operators, following Boohoo's update, will continue to gain share and drive
substantial sales growth," says Shore Capital head of research Clive Black.
    Stay tuned next week as clothing retailer N Brown reports on Jan 23, Dixons Carphone reports
on Jan 24, and ASOS on Jan 25. DFS Furniture will give its half-year trading update on Feb 8.
    The FTSE's general retail index is heading for its worst day in more than two
months, reflecting the downbeat mood:
 
    (Helen Reid)
    *****
    
    BACKWARDATION SHOULD DRIVE ENERGY STOCKS FORWARD (1400 GMT)
    The oil market's recent move into 'backwardation' - meaning later-dated crude futures are
trading lower than the spot price - is a boon for oil and gas stocks, Morgan Stanley reckons.
    Europe's energy stocks have on average outperformed by 6 percent per year in periods of
backwardation, against a 4.7 percent underperformance during contango, MS analysts find. 
    And the sector is still "too cheap", with  a massive valuation gap to catch up on. Stocks
are pricing in crude "in the mid 40s", they calculate - far shy of the $75 the bank targets for
Q3.
    "If the market moved to price in $60-$70 oil on this basis it would imply the sector
generates $50-60 billion of free cash flow and re-rates by c.15-20 percent," MS forecasts - and
hopes - the bank's got an overweight on the sector. 
    You can track global oil stocks as they progress and (potentially) catch up with crude price
gains here: tmsnrt.rs/2DPMJUs
 
    (Helen Reid)
    *****
    
    HALF SESSION UPDATE: EUROPE ON A HIGH (1320 GMT)
    After a rather subdued start, equities in Europe have clearly moved into positive territory
with the pan-regional STOXX 600 benchmark at fresh 2-1/2 year highs and euro zone
stocks at a 10 year peak.
    One supportive factor for the intraday move (and probably the one that "really matters" - to
use the words tweeted by City Index analyst at Ken Odeluga) is that Wall Street is set for a
higher open as investors bet on strong corporate earnings, while playing down fears of a
potential U.S. government shutdown.     
 
    (Danilo Masoni)
    ****
    
    SO GREEK SOVEREIGN BONDS RECOVERED, ARE SHARES NEXT? (1235 GMT) 
    Greek sovereigns bonds have made a spectacular come-back these last two years,
with yields falling from over ten percent to below four percent as the country prepares to exit
its bail-out program and finance itself on the markets.
    "We think that Greek Equities should be next to outperform," writes Lyxor, which notes that
"the Athens Stock Exchange (ASE) has underperformed the EuroStoxx300 by 80% since the Eurozone
crisis started". 
    In a nutshell, if Greek shares catch up with their peers the way the country's sovereign
bonds have with Euro zone so-called peripherals, the upside is impressive. 
    "A recovery of the ASE back to its 2014 highs would grant a lofty 50% price return," Lyxor
adds.
    Here's the chart showing the catch-up potential:   
 
    (Julien Ponthus) 
    ****
    
    HIGH RISK PREMIA PRESERVE DOMINANCE OF STOCKS OVER BONDS (1208 GMT)
    With everyone asking themselves how long this New Year's bull run can continue without a
significant hiccough, Citi's global strategy team reminds us why stocks remain popular from a
cross-asset point of view: a high equity risk premium (ERP).
    "Risk premia across global equities still look attractive compared to those in fixed
income," Citi's Robert Buckland and team write. 
    The high ERP has been part of what's helped stock markets stay relatively unscathed by moves
in bond yields. This buffer is "not exhausted yet", they reckon, but it is shrinking (see the
chart courtesy of Citi below).
    The ERP remains the highest in Europe where bond yields remain very low, while it is lower
in Japan and the U.S. - a divergence Citi strategists recommend playing by going overweight
European equities (ex-UK).
    A falling ERP favours cyclicals, which usually outperform defensives in this environment.
"Financials seem to be the most consistent beneficiary," say Buckland and co. Flows data
certainly reflects this: financials drew the largest inflows ($1.6 bln) this week, according to
EPFR.
 
 (Helen Reid)
    *****
    
    
    SEARCHING FOR VALUE IN CONSUMER STAPLES (1135 GMT)           
    There's been a lot of buzz around cyclicals in 2018, but what about European defensives?
    Given that defensives aren't cheap and are facing the threat of rising bond yields, analysts
at Liberum prefer consumer staples stocks which offer value, FCF yield and self-help stories.
    "While Consumer Staples companies still present relatively resilient, visible earnings
growth, constrained top-line growth, intensely competitive end markets and rising inflation
provide headwinds to EPS growth. Weak sales growth is forcing companies to drive earnings via
aggressive margin expansion," Liberum analysts say in a note.
    Liberum add that they expect the sector to perform in line with the broader market. Their
top picks for 2018 include Reckitt Benckiser, Heineken, Danone and
Tate & Lyle.
 
    (Kit Rees)
    *****
    
    STOXX 600 - ENJOY THE MOMENTUM WHILE YOU CAN (1121 GMT) 
    The economic momentum which has driven the STOXX 600 up to 400 points is set to fade in the
next couple of months, meaning the pan-European index should settle on a downward path, Deutsche
Bank reckons. 
    "Accelerating growth momentum has done wonders for European asset prices over the past 18
months, but we expect this acceleration to start reversing over the coming months," Sebastian
Raedler, head of European equity strategy at Deutsche Bank just told us.
    "We project the fair-value level for the Stoxx 600 declining from around 410 at the moment
to around 370 by mid-year", he said.
    With December's euro zone manufacturing Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) at 60.6, the
highest since the survey began in June 1997, there isn't much room left for the pace to improve
further and DB expects it to decline this month.
    "When the Euro area PMI is above 56, PMI momentum is rarely positive over the following six
months", Raedler said, explaining that "it's not the level of growth that matters for equities,
but the rate of change of growth, i.e. whether growth is accelerating or decelerating". 
    Based on this model, Deutsche has been "tactically neutral" on the STOXX 600 since September
while most of its peers generally take a more optimistic view.
    Here's their chart : 
 
    (Julien Ponthus) 
    *****  
    
    EURO ZONE STOCKS LOOK PAST FX STRENGTH, HITTING 10-YEAR HIGH (1015 GMT)
    Deutsche Bank may be bearish on euro zone stocks because of the single currency's strength
but the market appears to be going in another direction: the euro zone's STOXX
benchmark index has just risen to its highest level in 10 years.    
    A number of analysts and fund managers are very upbeat on euro zone equities because of
their cheap valuations relative to the U.S., an economic recovery that gets stronger and
stronger and the underlying quality of company earnings. 
    That is boosting confidence euro zone stocks could outperform Wall Street in 2018 and catch
up with stellar gains seen across the pond. Strength in the euro could surely reduce
competitiveness in the region but at the same time it also reduces its import costs.    
 
   (Danilo Masoni)
    *****    

    SEMIS: IN CHIP SHAPE (0951 GMT)
    You'd think European semiconductor stocks wouldn't have much impetus for going higher given
the gains we saw last year: ASML, AMS, Infineon and STMicro
 rose between 36 and 208 percent in 2017.
    But the tech sector is once again outstripping the STOXX even this early in the
year, while this week's results from ASML and subsequent 5 percent rise in its shares
plus broker upgrades suggest that there is further strength in these stocks, defying Morgan
Stanley's view in their November note "Global Technology: Time for a Pause".
    Marcus Morris-Eyton, European equities portfolio manager at Allianz, for whom ASML is a core
holding, said that ASML's results and commentary illustrated the end market demand that semis
are seeing at the moment.
    "At the moment, (ASML are) in a beautiful place where their demand is outstripping their
production so they are getting increasing demand from customers to bring forward some of their
equipment," Morris-Eyton said.
    "A company like ASML with their EUV technology - that will be the market-leading technology
now for many, many years to come." Extreme Ultra Violet technology aims to make smaller and more
powerful mobile devices.
    Morris-Eyton added that while he is confident for tech in 2018 and it remains his biggest
sector, it is unlikely to see the same multiple expansion as in 2017.
    Allianz Global Investors are the biggest shareholder in Infineon, one of Morris-Eyton's top
three positions.
    As you can see in the chart below, European tech firm valuations are approaching those of
the U.S.:
 
    (Kit Rees)
    *****
    
    FURTHER EURO STRENGTH COULD DENT EARNINGS, SAYS DEUTSCHE  (0943 GMT)
    With the euro rising again to a new 18-month high against the dollar, Deutsche Bank's
forex strategists up their forecasts for the currency - which they say doesn't bode well for
European earnings and could worsen the region's underperformance relative to the US. 
    They've raised their year-end prediction for the trade-weighted index by 4 percent, implying
7 percent upside from current levels. Every 10 percent rise in the euro TWI reduces STOXX 600
EPS growth by 5 percentage points, they reckon. 
    This could bring them closer to increasing their relative underweight Europe vs US equities,
which we mentioned earlier this week.
    They see European EPS growing 2 percent this year, already significantly under the 9 percent
consensus estimate.    
    (Helen Reid)
    *****
    
    UK FIRMS UNDER THE COSH ONCE AGAIN (0836 GMT)
    It's a familiar story with Carpetright and Dignity - big falls after profit
warnings, which has been the case this year with UK firms such as Mothercare, Countrywide and
Debenhams.
    Inflationary pressures on consumers seem to be to blame, with Dignity caught in a price
battle and forced to cut funeral prices, while Carpetright's sales in the post-Christmas period
missed expectations.
    "Again it's the same old story as with other brands that have failed to adapt to changing
consumer trends – lower footfall has left transaction numbers down significantly from last
year," Neil Wilson, senior market analyst at ETX Capital, said in relation to Carpetright.
    "We must also consider weaker consumer sentiment for big ticket items as a factor, as well
tougher competition from a more diverse marketplace."
    Dignity is also in the top 20 most-shorted stocks in the UK, according to regulatory data.
As you can see from the chart below, shares in both stocks have struggled over the past two
years.
 
    (Kit Rees)
    *****
    
    OPENING SNAPSHOT: EUROPEAN SHARES NUDGE HIGHER, PROFIT WARNINGS DOMINATE UK STOCKS (0812
GMT)
    It's not a particularly strong open in Europe as gains for basic resources and defensive
stocks only just outweigh losses among financials and energy.
    Likewise moves among individual stocks are limited to a range of between +3 to -3 percent on
the STOXX, but elsewhere UK firms Dignity and Carpetright have just opened and slumped 41
percent and 48 percent respectively.
    Here's your opening snapshot:
 
    (Kit Rees)
    *****
    
    WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW (0750 GMT)
    European shares are expected to open little changed at the end of a directionless week that
has seen the top pan-regional STOXX 600 benchmark steady around  a 2 ½ year peak as confidence
over economic and earnings growth helped consolidate a strong start of the year. 
    In spite of the flat weekly performance EPFR Global said it was a good week for European
equity funds with inflows into Sweden and the UK more than offsetting outflows from France and
Italy. Futures were last up 0.1 percent.
    On the corporate front earnings are in focus. In the UK shares in Carpetright and
Dignity could be heavily hit after both groups issued a profit warning, while French
spirits group Remy Cointreau are seen rising after like-for-like sales growth slowed
to 3.2 percent but topped expectations.
    For other possible stock movers see the post below on overnight headlines.
    (Danilo Masoni)
    ****

    OVERNIGHT HEADLINES (0744 GMT)
Nestle nominates three board directors to help advance strategy    
Deutsche Bank CEO says overhaul will take time          
UK's Carpetright warns on profit after post-Christmas sales fall   
Software AG takes hit on U.S. tax reform              
Peugeot CEO: UK plants uncompetitive,open to S.America alliance   
British Land names Simon Carter as next CFO                
BASF says 2017 adjusted EBIT up 32 percent on basic chemicals    
UK's esure CEO steps down, finance chief at helm in interim    
Thyssenkrupp CEO says will sharpen strategy - Handelsblatt      
Daimler, Bosch hit by walkouts in sector-wide labour dispute     
Airbus says supplier bottlenecks easing as deliveries rise      
HSBC to pay $100 mln to settle U.S. probe into currency rigging    
TF1 announces deal to buy Aufeminin From Springer        
Late timing of Chinese New Year weighs on Remy Cointreau Q3    
At AstraZeneca, fewer drug projects bring big productivity jump    
Italy's Geox to name top Gucci executive as new CEO          
    (Tom Pfeiffer)
    *****
    
    EUROPE'S STOCK FUTURES FLAT (0710 GMT)
    Futures have opened with marginal gains in Europe, reversing earlier indications from
spreadbetters for a dip. Both however suggest the market is lacking of clear direction and could
move sideways through the session.    
 
    (Danilo Masoni) 
    *****    
    
    "IT WAS A GOOD WEEK FOR EUROPE EQUITY FUNDS" (0640 GMT)
    That's what Cameron Brandt, Research Director at EPFR Global, said in his latest weekly
update on fund flows. The positive week came despite the broader European market was little
changed in percentage terms with the STOXX 600 up less than 0.1 percent so far this week.
    At the country level there were divergences: "flows into Sweden and UK Equity Funds hit 12
and 39-week highs while France Equity Funds saw their three-week inflow streak snapped and Italy
Equity Funds experienced net redemptions for the 11th time in the past 12 weeks," he added.    
 
    On sectors globally, cyclicals dominated. Financials, Industrials and Technology Sector
Funds all took in over $600 million during the week ending Jan. 17 while Real Estate Sector
Funds recorded their biggest outflow since late October, he said.
    (Danilo Masoni)
    *****
    
    EUROPEAN MORNING CALL: LOWER (0618 GMT)
    Good morning and welcome to Live Markets. European shares are set to open lower today at the
end of a directionless week where the pan-regional STOXX 600 has gained less than 0.1
percent so far following two weeks of gains.
    Over in Asia, stocks shook off losses on Wall Street and edged up to record highs on Friday
following China's announcement of faster-than-expected fourth quarter growth, while worries over
a possible U.S. government shutdown weighed on the dollar.
    Here are your opening calls, courtesy of CMC Markets:
    FTSE100 is expected to open 6 points lower at 7,694
    DAX is expected to open 20 points lower at 13,261
    CAC40 is expected to open 9 points lower at 5,486    
    And here are the weekly moves on the STOXX over the past 3 months.
 
    (Danilo Masoni)
    *****

    
 (Reporting by Danilo Masoni, Helen Reid, Kit Rees and Julien Ponthus)
  
0 : 0
  • narrow-browser-and-phone
  • medium-browser-and-portrait-tablet
  • landscape-tablet
  • medium-wide-browser
  • wide-browser-and-larger
  • medium-browser-and-landscape-tablet
  • medium-wide-browser-and-larger
  • above-phone
  • portrait-tablet-and-above
  • above-portrait-tablet
  • landscape-tablet-and-above
  • landscape-tablet-and-medium-wide-browser
  • portrait-tablet-and-below
  • landscape-tablet-and-below