January 19, 2018 / 5:54 PM / 9 months ago

Take Five: World markets themes for the week ahead

LONDON (Reuters) - Following are five big themes likely to dominate thinking of investors and traders in the coming week and the Reuters stories related to them.

Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange shortly after the opening bell in New York, U.S., January 19, 2018. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson

1/DRAIN THE SW...ISS SKI RESORT

Donald Trump headlines the annual gathering of capitalism’s finest at Switzerland’s Davos ski resort next week. Davos always generates news for markets but the U.S. president’s appearance could cause an avalanche — hopefully not literally — by giving him the perfect platform for attacks on the elite and on unbalanced global trade.

He may have to face some of those targets head on. German Chancellor Angela Merkel will be there, as will India’s Narendra Modi and French President Emmanuel Macron. A paper will also be presented by Davos’ organizers that takes direct aim at the Trump administration’s understanding of international commerce.

Fireside chat about NAFTA’s merits anyone?

U.S. trade deficit has been widening: reut.rs/2Di1bmN

2/#ASKMARIO

The ECB has got a PR drive on at the moment encouraging young people to #ASKMARIO about the benefits of the euro. But on Thursday there will be a much more important Q&A session, when the central bank’s policymakers hold their first get-together of 2018.

The main focus will be whether the ECB thinks the euro zone recovery is now so strong that it can end its 2.5 trillion euro bond buying largesse in one fell swoop in September, as some in its ranks have been suggesting.

Such speculation has sent the euro on another surge this year and Bund and other benchmark bond yields finally look to be traveling with it. Draghi though has plenty of form in cooling these rallies and might do so again, even if we are nearing the stage of #WHATEVERITTOOK.

The ECB's QE programme: reut.rs/2Did6kM

3/MEXICAN (AND CANADIAN) STANDOFF

Mexican markets’ two-year long rollercoaster ride over Trump’s threats to kill off the NAFTA trade agreement will continue next week as the final negotiation round gets going in Montreal.

Trump said recently that terminating the 24-year old pact would be the “best deal” for the United States, but at five-week highs, the peso seems to be pricing in a positive outcome. A Reuters poll predicts it will all end up with only minor changes as the deal underpins $1 trillion in U.S., Mexican and Canadian trade.

That may send the peso as much as 8 percent higher according to some of those polled, while the Canadian dollar would weaken modestly.

But if NAFTA is scrapped, the peso will fall sharply, given Mexico sells 80 percent of its exports to the United States.

That outcome may force central bank interventions while the threat to inflation — already at 16-1/2 year highs — will make a February interest rate rise a certainty. Ten-year bond yields are at 7.6 percent and approaching the six-year highs hit last January around Trump’s inauguration MX10YT=RR.

NAFTA: reut.rs/2DSHDXz

4/LOST IN TRANSLATION

Japan’s central bank also meets next week and though it is unlikely to change its policy any time soon, the moody reaction of the markets earlier this month to a small tweak in its bond purchases might require some verbal massaging.

Investors are sensitive to any subtle sign the Bank of Japan will follow the U.S. Federal Reserve and ECB and start tapering. The economy has had a very strong run by Japanese standards and inflation is creeping higher, although it remains far below the 2 percent target.

Governor Haruhiko Kuroda can therefore paint a brighter picture for the economy but may also remind investors that an exit from unconventional policies remains a distant prospect. Whether his words will be lost in translation remains to be seen but with the yen near a four-month high, markets seem to have their own interpretation.

BOJ purchases: reut.rs/2Dd0Cuv

5/BURNING HOT EARNINGS

Equities markets will be entering the white heat phase of the latest earnings season next week and so far a number of things have stood out.

Firstly the numbers look strong. The 9 percent of U.S. companies that have reported so far have racked up overall earnings growth of 12.3 percent, with 75 percent of them also surprising on the upside.

In terms of the scale of the surprise, the total wow factor is 4.5 percent, slightly down on the same time last year, when S&P 500 companies were scoring a slightly better 5 percent beat.

Next week’s heavy slate includes U.S. manufacturers, basic industries and tech, while in Europe there is Swiss bank UBS on Monday, Novartis on Wednesday and Nordea, Sky and Diageo to come on Thursday.

Most money managers say European stocks still look cheaper than their U.S. counterparts, but with the euro at lofty levels and the ECB now looking to rein in stimulus, any disappointments could be harshly punished.

Euro zone has never been this cheap vs Wall Street: reut.rs/2DIvbJz

Additional reporting by Sujata Rao, Marius Zaharia, Tom Pfeiffer and Megan Davies; Editing by Catherine Evans

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