Sept 21 (Reuters) - 1/SNOWFLAKES ON FIRE
IPOs are back. And how. A market that was enduring its worst
slump in eight years has been revived by red-hot equity markets
and floods of central bank stimulus, with listings coming thick
and fast. Alibaba's fintech arm Ant Group is planning for what
could be the largest ever IPO, while e-commerce firm The Hut
Group gave London its biggest IPO in seven years, its shares
immediately rallying 30%.
That was eclipsed by U.S. software firm Snowflake whose
value doubled after its debut -- astonishing even by New York's
incredible history of first-day pops.
Bankers are talking about a swelling pipeline as firms
accelerate listing plans. Europe will soon see German defence
firm Hensoldt's IPO; Russia's Sovcomflot and Poland's Allegro
are also expected.
Upcoming New York IPOs include online prescription drug
platform GoodRx which hopes to raise $1 billion. Year-to-date
IPO volumes are near $120 billion, Refinitiv data shows, a third
higher than year-ago levels.
-Buffett-backed Snowflake's value doubles in stock market's
largest software debut
-The Hut Group shares soar 30% after bumper $7 bln London IPO
2/EARNINGS: POST-PEAK PESSIMISM
Equity analysts may have passed the point of peak pessimism as
earnings forecasts are increasingly revised higher, according to
Refinitiv I/B/E/S. It's an important turning point after a
horrendous second quarter when, according to JPMorgan, earnings
plunged 33% worldwide.
Now analysts appear less gloomy about what remains of 2020
and more confident of a 2021 profits bounceback; globally,
earnings upgrades are outnumbering downgrades. The exception is
Europe where expectations haven't fully stabilized for 2020 --
but even here, a 2021 rebound is expected.
3/FOOD OR LEISURE?
Quarterly results from U.S. firms, Nike and General
Mills will offer different perspectives on consumer
spending in the midst of the pandemic.
Athletic footwear and apparel maker Nike is expected to
report a 15% revenue drop and a 49% tumble in adjusted
earnings-per-share on Tuesday, Refinitiv data shows.
In contrast, pantry staples company General Mills may post a
5% rise in revenue and a 10% jump in adjusted earnings on
Wednesday, benefiting from consumers stocking up on essential
With extended unemployment benefits cut for millions of
Americans, consumer spending slowed in August and a key retail
sales gauge unexpectedly declined. It really boils down to what
you need against what you would like.
-Fading fiscal stimulus restraining U.S. consumer spending
Many central banks are battling to lift inflation and growth but
the Swiss National Bank has it tougher than most. Despite the
world's lowest interest rates, its currency, a popular
safe-haven, is near five-year highs and Switzerland has endured
a seventh month of annual price deflation.
Policymakers will likely hold off on new announcements on
Thursday and wait instead for the European Central Bank's next
move. They have spent 2020 intervening to tamp down the franc;
the result is a swelling portfolio of valuable U.S. tech stocks.
But interventions risk the wrath of the United States, which
has Switzerland on a currency manipulation watchlist. And
despite all efforts, the franc is not far off five-year highs
versus the euro and 5-1/2 year peaks to the dollar
Upcoming meetings of Sweden's Riksbank and Norway's Norges
Bank won't spark fireworks either. Like the SNB, they will
probably pledge to keep rates low as they monitor the ECB's
-Swiss National Bank's Jordan says interventions needed to ease
pressure on safe-haven franc
-COLUMN-SNB's tango with Big Tech could twirl until pandemic
The negative-rates debate is heating up, with the Bank of
England admitting to studying them. All eyes, therefore, on the
Thursday policy meeting of the Reserve Bank of New Zealand,
whose governor Adrian Orr has signalled willingness to take that
So far, Orr is sticking to his line that rates will stay at
0.25% until March. But the meeting takes place just as the
country's largest city Auckland lifts coronavirus restrictions,
New Zealand endures its worst recession in a decade and
campaigning heats up for October elections.
Other countries' experience implies the RBNZ may end up with
asset price inflation rather than a weaker currency, should it
embrace sub-zero rates. While the debate is mostly moot for now,
the RBNZ's latest views on the subject will be watched
New Zealand economy in deepest recession as Q2 GDP shrinks
(Reporting by Abhinav Ramnarayan, Tommy Wilkes and Julien
Ponthus in London; Lewis Krauskopf in New York and Vidya
Ranganathan in Singapore; Compiled by Sujata Rao; Editing by