European Equities: A Month in Review – July 2021It was another bullish month for the European majors. The DAX30 struggled, however, with economic data from Germany failing to impress in the month.
It was another bullish month for the European majors in July, logging a 6th consecutive monthly gain.
The CAC40 and the EuroStoxx600 rose by 1.61% and by 1.97% respectively, while the DAX30 struggled, rising by just 0.09%.
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It was a choppier month for the European majors. Concerns over the resilience of the economic recovery tested support for the majors at the start of the 3rd quarter of the year.
A continued rise in new COVID-19 cases across the world added to the market angst in the month.
Economic data from Germany was also disappointing, pegging the DAX30 back.
Central bank assurance of support, dip buying, corporate earnings, and economic data for France and the Eurozone delivered support, however.
Key stats in the month included inflation, consumer spending, consumer sentiment, private sector PMIs, and 2nd quarter GDP numbers.
Once more, the stats were skewed to the positive, delivering support to the broader market.
The Private Sector
The Eurozone’s composite PMI rose from 59.5 to 60.6 in July, according to prelim numbers. Service sector activity picked up, delivering the upside at composite level.
Germany’s Manufacturing PMI increased from 65.1 to 65.6, which was key as private sector activity across France saw slower growth.
As a result of weak numbers from France, the Eurozone’s Manufacturing PMI fell from 63.4 to 62.6.
The German Economy
From Germany, while survey-based numbers were upbeat, non-survey-based data disappointed in the month.
Factory orders (-3.7%) and industrial production (-0.30%) were weak, with Germany’s trade surplus narrowing from 15.9bn to 12.6bn EUR.
German business and consumer confidence also failed to impress in spite of the reopening of the economy. Rising cases of the Delta variant across the world raised uncertainties over the economic outlook in the month.
Late in the month, 1st estimate GDP numbers for the 2nd quarter were also in focus.
The German economy expanded by 1.5%, quarter-on-quarter, partially reversing a 2.1% contraction from the previous quarter. Economists had forecast 1.9% growth.
A positive in the week, however, was a fall in the unemployment rate from 5.9% to 5.7%, which should support consumption.
For the Eurozone, the economy expanded by 2.00% in the 2nd quarter, reversing a 0.3% contraction from the previous quarter.
The numbers were aligned with the ECB’s optimistic outlook on the economic recovery.
In the month, the ECB also revised its price stability target, increasing the inflation target to 2.0%. The move was viewed as dovish, giving the ECB more legroom before having to make a move on the policy front.
In spite of this, the Eurozone’s annual rate of inflation accelerated from 1.9% to 2.2% in July, according to prelim figures.
From the U.S
Economic data delivered mixed results for the markets.
Inflationary pressures continued to build, though following assurances from the FED, failed to spook the markets.
The market’s preferred ISM private sector PMIs for June were disappointing for June, which raised concerns over the economic recovery.
Weekly jobless claim figures also failed to impress, with claims falling to a month low 360k before climbing to a high 419k.
In the final week of the month, consumer confidence and 2nd quarter GDP numbers delivered mixed results.
Consumer confidence picked up in July, suggesting a further increase in consumption. In June, retail sales had risen by a modest 0.5%. On the economic growth front, however, the U.S economy grew by just 6.5% in the quarter, falling well short of a forecasted 8.5%.
In July, both the ECB and the FED left monetary policy unchanged. Both central banks delivered assurances of unwavering support, ultimately propping up the European majors in the month.
The Market Movers
For the DAX: It was a bearish month for the auto sector in June. Continental and BMW slid by 7.88% and by 6.09% respectively. Daimler and Volkswagen ended the month down by 0.44% and by 2.49% respectively.
It was also a bearish month for the banks. Deutsche Bank fell by 2.86%, with Commerzbank sliding by 9.03%.
From the CAC, it was a bearish month for the banking sector. BNP Paribas fell by 2.69%, with Credit Agricole and Soc Gen seeing losses of 0.42% and 0.52% respectively.
It was also a bearish month for the auto sector. Renault slid by 6.02%, with Stellantis NV ending the month down by 2.20%.
Air France-KLM fell by a further 3.71%, while Airbus SE rallied by 6.69%.
On the VIX Index
It was a first monthly gain in 6-months for the VIX in July.
Reversing a 5.55% loss from June, the VIX rose by 15.22% to end the month at 18.24.
In July, the S&P500 rallied by 2.27%, with the Dow and the NASDAQ ending the month up by 1.25% and by 1.16% respectively.
The Month Ahead
Following some mixed numbers from Germany, we can expect increased sensitivity to the German numbers in the month ahead.
Private sector PMIs will also remain key, with any fall back in private sector PMIs likely to test support for the majors.
Following the latest spike in inflation, a further pickup in inflationary pressure will also raise questions over consumption. As a key component of the economic recovery, any concerns over consumption would also pressure the majors.
From the U.S, labor market numbers will now be the key area of focus as inflationary pressures continue to pick up.
Consumer confidence and consumption numbers will need to impress to support riskier assets.
From elsewhere, private sector PMIs and trade data from China will also need tracking.
Away from the economic calendar, COVID-19 news will also need monitoring. As new cases continued to rise in July, the threat of a vaccine resilient variant remains, which would materially impact the growth outlook.