It took a while, but market participants got it: “Draghi made the mistake of essentially saying that the ECB was done with stimulus, and the market overreacted to this,” said Teis Knuthsen, CIO at Saxo Bank’s private- banking unit. “At the end of the day, the ECB delivered more than expected and is pumping a lot of money into the system. A few years ago this would have marked the start of a significant rally, but now there seems to be a widespread fatigue with monetary policy.”
Maybe, but not today, because the result has been that after “reassessing” – in Bloomberg’s parlance – what the ECB did, following yesterday’s plunge, risk has soared overnight with both Asian and European stocks surging, sparing Draghi the indignity of having to explain why he did what he did, and that it was all to prop stocks higher. Sure enough, as of this moment European bourses are all broadly higher led by banks, with the DAX and FTSE both up over 2.7%, while the Stoxx 600 is higher by 2.3% as of this writing.
Nowhere is the return of euphoria clearer, however, than in bank stocks, which as seen below are soaring.
Still, as Bloomberg notes, despite today’s advances, European equities are heading for their first weekly drop in four, with the Stoxx 600 down 0.6 percent. Commodity producers, automakers and banks – the most battered in the recent selloff – had led a 13 percent rebound from February’s low through a five-week high on March 4. As of yesterday, the index traded at 14.6 times estimated earnings, still far below the 16.7 multiple reached last April.
As Bloomberg adds, “investors have had to deal with increased volatility this year, and Thursday’s market reaction exemplifies a trend that’s been intensifying in recent months: central banks are increasingly powerless when it comes to calming markets. The Euro Stoxx 50 Index of the biggest euro-area companies moved more than 5 percent intraday, its wildest swings since August, and the most on an ECB day since 2011. A measure of volatility expectations increased for four straight days, its longest streak this year. It tumbled 10 percent on Friday.”