Good morning! Here’s what you need to know:
China Is Slowing. China’s flash manufacturing PMI fell to a three-month low of 50.3 in August, signaling decelerating growth in the world’s second-largest economy. This was worse than the 51.5 expected by economists. “Both domestic and external new orders rose at slower rates compared to the previous month,” HSBC’s Hongbin Qu said. “Meanwhile, disinflationary pressure returned as input and output prices contracted over the month … We think more policy support is needed to help consolidate the recovery. Both monetary and fiscal policy should remain accommodative until there is a more sustained rebound in economic activity.”
Europe Is Slowing. The eurozone’s flash manufacturing PMI was also disappointing, falling to 52.8 in August. This was down from 53.8 in July and worse than the 53.4 expected by economists. “Even before rising geopolitical headwinds began to buffet the economy, the double-digit unemployment rate prevailing in the eurozone was already excessively high,” noted Markit’s Rob Dobson. “Signs are that the modest job creation of recent months has stalled in August.”
Could Europe Possibly Be Worse Than We Think? Growth in the eurozone screeched to a halt in Q2. Pantheon Macro Economics notes that the PMI reports were actually stronger back then, which suggests we are seeing no Q3 rebound in the local economy. “The the real story is the ongoing relative weakness in the industrial sector,” Pantheon’s Claus Vistesen said. “This rather worrying trend is driven mainly by the slump in France, but the manufacturing sector is also relatively weak in Germany indicating a wide divergence between these two industries in Europe. The services sector accounts for the largest share of the economy, but movements in the manufacturing sector tends to have a better correlation with movements in GDP. Our bet is that a big part of the recent indication that the headline eurozone PMI is overestimating growth is probably due to this divergence. We expect Q3 GDP to be better than the poor 0.0% quarter-on-quarter due to a rebound in German growth, but the sequential drop in the manufacturing PMIs, and the fact that the Q3 composite PMI is now lower relative to Q2 has increased risks to the downside.”
Markets Are Up. U.S. futures are rallying, with Dow futures up 34 points and S&P 500 futures up 3 points. In Europe, Britain’s FTSE is up 0.2%, France’s CAC 40 is up 0.6%, and Germany’s DAX is up 0.4%. In Asia, Japan closed up 0.8% and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng closed down 0.6%.
Lots Of US Economic Data Coming. Things kick off in the U.S. with weekly initial jobless claim. The economists estimate ticked up to 303,000 from 311,000 a week ago. “Although claims ticked up in the latest week, the overall trend appears to be lower, suggesting that the labour market is continuing to improve,” Nomura economists said.
2 US Manufacturing Reports. Markit’s preliminary U.S. PMI will be released at 9:45 a.m. ET. Economists estimate this manufacturing index slipped to 55.7 in August, down from 55.8 in July. That report will be followed by the Philadelphia Fed’s Business Outlook report at 10 a.m. ET. Economists estimate this activity index fell to 19.7 in August from 23.9 in July. “A key indicator of future activity within the survey, the new orders sub-index, jumped by almost 20 pts in July and provides support for manufacturing activity in the near term,” Nomura economists said. “It is possible that the recent volatility in markets could weigh on business sentiment this month, providing some downside risk.”
Housing Market Update. Also at 10 a.m. is the existing home sale report. Economists estimate the pace of sales fell 0.5% in July to an annualized rate of 5.02 million. “Leading indicators for existing home sales have been weak, as pending home sales dropped 4.5% in June on a year-ago basis and consumers reporting plans to buy a home dropped a percentage point in July to its lowest level this year,” Wells Fargo’s John Silvia said. “Mortgage rates, which rose in the first half of the year, have moderated slightly and could help fuel demand for existing home sales moving forward.”
American Doctor Who Had Ebola Has Been Released. “An American doctor who contracted Ebola treating victims of the deadly virus in Liberia has been released from a U.S. hospital after receiving treatment with an experimental drug, his charity said on Thursday,” reported Reuters’ Joe Bavier. “Kent Brantly was given ZMapp, a trial drug used on a handful of patients in the West African outbreak, and flown to the United States this month. He was released from Atlanta’s Emory University Hospital, according to a statement from Samaritan’s Purse.”
Who Makes ZMapp?!?! ZMapp was developed by Mapp Biopharmaceutical, a privately held company. It’s not to be confused with MAP Pharmceuticals, which was acquired by Allergan in 2013. Oddly, Tekmira Pharmaceuticals, which also has an experimental ebola drug in the works, is up by around 7% in pre-market trading.
Wall Street’s Junior Bankers Should Stand By For A Raise. According to a series of reports from Bloomberg and Reuters, Wall Street’s biggest banks are preparing to raise the pay for junior employees by at least 20%. Among the banks cited were JP Morgan Chase, Bank of America, Goldman Sachs, and Citigroup.
*HEADS UP: The Kansas City Fed’s annual Economic Symposium kicks off Thursday evening. Fed Chair Janet Yellen presents on Friday morning. “Clearly, the conference topic — ‘Re-Evaluating Labour Market Dynamics’ — offers plenty of room for discussion,” said Bank of America Merrill Lynch’s Ethan Harris. “Hence, if the Chair wants to be a bit more interesting, presumably, she will talk a bit about why she still sees a long recovery ahead in the labour market, pointing to the weakness in wages and broader measures of slack.” The agenda will be released at 8 p.m. ET.
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