Market Insights Today: U.S. equities snapped a 5-day losing streak and bond yields bounced ahead of PPI; Hong Kong stocked rallied – 9 December 2022
APAC Strategy Team
Summary: U.S. equities rallied after declining for five consecutive days as investors took a pause in the growth-fear-triggered selling as treasury yields bounced. Hong Kong stocks surged by 3.4%, completely reversing their loss on Wednesday after profit-taking being out of the way and investors looking at the potential improvement to the economic outlook in China.
What’s happening in markets?
Nasdaq 100 (NAS100.I) and S&P 500 (US500.I) snapped a 5-day losing streak
An interesting recent development in the U.S equity markets was that investors worried about falls in long-term treasury yields and cheered rises of them as their focus shifted from long-term treasury yields’ negative impact on equity valuation to their signaling function of potentially a U.S. recession, especially when the yield curve going more inverted in the process. The bounce of the 10-year treasury yield by 7bps to 3.48% on Thursday was cited as positive for equities by some investors. Optimism about the outlook of an economic recovery in China also contributed to the improvement in sentiment. S&P 500 gained 0.8% and Nasdaq 100 advanced 1.1%. Nine of the 11 S&P500 sectors climbed, with information technology, consumer discretionary, and healthcare leading the gain, while communication services and energy lost by 0.5%. The Federal Trade Commission is seeking to block Microsoft’s (MSFT:xnas) acquisition of Activision Blizzard (ATVI:xnas). Shares of Microsoft rose by 1.2% while Activision dropped by 1.5%.
US treasury yields (TLT:xnas, IEF:xnas, SHY:xnas) bounced on a rise in continuous jobless claims and ahead of PPI and supply
U.S. treasury yields took a little pause in their continuous falls. The 2-year yield rose 5bps to 4.31% and the 10-year yield was 7bps cheaper to 3.48%, after retesting the 3.5% level during the day. Initial jobless claims were in line with expectations but traders took note of the larger-than-expected increase in continuous jobless claims to 1,671K from the prior week’s 1,608K. Trading activities were muted ahead of the PPI on Friday and the CPI next week. The Treasury Department announced USD90 billion in the 3-year, 10-year, and 30-year auctions next week. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen told reporters that “whether or not we can avoid a recession, I believe the answer is yes.”
Hong Kong’s Hang Seng (HIZ2) and China’s CSI300 (03188:xhkg) rallied after profit-taking subsided
Hang Seng Index rallied strongly, up 3.4% on Thursday and recovered all the loss from “buy the rumor, sell the news” profit-taking selling the day before. The 10 additional fine-tuning measures to ease pandemic containment may be underwhelming relative to the high expectations. However, when reading together with the readout of the Politburo, an overall direction of a gradual and now seemingly determined loosening of restrictions seems to have taken hold. Omitting the language of “housing is for living in, not for speculation” and pledging to “be vigilant of large economic and financial risks and strive to prevent systemic risks” point to conditional support to the property sector when socioeconomic and financial stability are at stake. After the profit-taking selling out of the way, technology stocks led the rally. Hang Seng TECH Index surged 6.6% with Bilibili (09626:xhkg), soaring 22%, being the top gainer within the index. Alibaba (09988:xhkg), Meituan (03690:xhkg), and Tencent (00700:xhkg) advanced 5%-6%. Shares of Macao casino operators soared 12%-22%, following Macao said it will stop requiring negative PCR or RAT test result proof from Chinese visitors. Hong Kong shortened the home isolation period for people infected with Covid-10 to five days from seven days. A newspaper story suggests that the Hong Kong authorities are considering relaxing the outdoor mask rule. Cosmetic chain Sa Sa (00178:xhkg) jumped 19.7%. In A shares, trading was lackluster with CSI300 ending the session flat. Among industries, property, financials, telecom services, and healthcare outperformed.
Australia’s share market rises for the first time in four days, with miners leading the charge
The Australian benchmark index, the ASX200 (ASXSP200.1) opened 0.7% higher on Friday but looks like it could close off the week lower, with the market now down 1.5%, which marks the first weekly drop in three weeks. The ASX200 holds six-month high territory largely buoyed by the mining sector being bought up (bid) on forward looking hopes that China will ramp up economic activity next year and keep accommodative monetary support in place, which will likely support infrastructure and property. As such, this has supported the key steel making ingredient, iron ore (SCOA) raise 3.6% this week and elevated Fortescue Metals (FMG) shares by 8% this week, with Champion Iron (CIA) up 7%, with Rio Tino (RIO) following. Fortescue Metals shares are on watch as they appear in overbought territory, but what support likely further upside is the iron ore price hit a fresh four-month high today, $109.60, which suggests if this uptrend in iron ore continue, Fortescue Metals earnings could pick up. And it could see subsequent share price upgrades from buy and sell side brokers.
FX: The U.S. dollar index weakened modestly by 0.3% to 104.77
The US dollar weakened modestly against all G10 currencies except for being unchanged versus the Yen. The Aussie dollar gained the most against the U.S. dollar and it rose by 0.7% to 0.6770.
Crude oil (CLF3 & LCOF3) declined nearly 10% so far this week
At USD72, WTI crude was down nearly 10% over the week on worries of a slowing U.S. economy and larger-than-expected buildup in U.S. fuel product inventories. The first five month of the WTI futures contracts are now in contango.
What to consider?
Look for more hints about U.S. inflation from the PPI and the University of Michigan Consumer Survey
Economists surveyed by Bloomberg are expecting the headline PPI growth in the U.S. to slow to 7.2% Y/Y in November from 8.0% in October and PPI ex-Food and Energy to come at 5.9% Y/Y in November versus 6.7% in October as supply chains continue to improve. Investors will dig in the components of PPI to scrutinize the price changes in various services to gauge their impacts on the more important core personal expenditure price (core PCE). Investors will also look for hints about the trend of the U.S. inflation from the inflation expectation numbers in the University of Michigan Consumer Survey.
China’s inflation is expected to have moderated in November
The Bloomberg consensus is expecting China’s PPI to shrink further by -1.5% Y/Y in November (vs Oct: -1.3% Y/Y) and CPI to slow to +1.6% in November from +2.1% in October. Weak industrial demand in the midst of countrywide pandemic control-related restrictions during the month and weakness in energy prices would likely have contributed to the decline in the PPI. November CPI would have been dragged by base effects and weakness in food prices.
China’s new aggregate financing and RMB loans are expected to have bounced in November
Market economists, as surveyed by Bloomberg, are expecting China’s new aggregate financing to bounce to RMB 2,100 billion in November from RMB 907.9 billion in October and new RMB loans to rise to RMB 1,400 billion in November from RMB 615.2 billion as People’s Bank of China urged banks to extend credits to support private enterprises including property developers. Less bond issuance by local governments and corporate and weak loan demand however might have weighed on the pace of credit expansion in November.
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