What’s happening in markets?
The Nasdaq 100 (USNAS100.I) and S&P 500 (US500.I) rebounded on Friday but were still down for the week
Following a mixed job report, the U.S. equity markets had a choppy session on Friday, fluctuating between gains and losses, and finished the day higher. S&P500 gained 1.4% and Nasdaq 100 climbed 1.6%. For the week, however, S&P 500 was down 3.4% and Nasdaq 100 was 5.7% lower. All 11 sectors of the S&P 500 gained on Friday, with materials having done the best and up 3.4%. Software names underperformed on earnings and revenue misses.
US treasury (TLT:xnas, IEF:xnas, SHY:xnas) yields were largely steady after the job report
U.S. treasury yields surged initially on the stronger-than-expected non-farm payroll gain of 261K jobs in the establishment survey but pared the rise after the market focus shifted to the higher unemployment rate of 3.7% and a decline of 328K in employment in the household survey. The yield curve turned steeper notably, with the 2-year yield down 6bps to 4.66%, the 10-year yield up 1bp to 4.16%, and the 30-year yield jumping 7bps to 4.25%. The market is pricing in a 65% chance of a 50bp hike at the December FOMC and a terminal Fed Fund rate at around 5.1% next year.
Hong Kong’s Hang Seng (HSIX2) China’s CSI300 (03188:xhkg) rallied dramatically on reopening hope
Stocks in Hong Kong and the mainland surged on intensification of speculation on relaxation (not abandoning but relaxing) of the dynamic zero-Covid policy, newswire stories reporting that the U.S. Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (PCAOB) has completed the first round of inspection on Chinese ADR ahead of schedule, and an article from Vice-Premier Liu He on the People’s Daily pledging to boost domestic aggregate demand. Hang Seng Index jumped 5.4% and CSI300 surged 3.3%. Hang Seng China Enterprise Index surged 6% and China Internet stocks climbed 10% to 17%, with Alibaba (09988:xhkg) up 11%, and Tencent (00700:hkxg) up 7.8%. FX: USD gains return as China asserts commitment to Zero Covid
FX: USD gains return as China asserts commitment to Zero Covid
With plenty of chatter last week about China’s reopening, commodity currencies had been supported with NZD leading the gains against the USD and being up over 2%. AUDUSD also surged above 0.6450 into the end of the week on hopes of a recovery in commodities demand. However, weekend reports from China’s Health Ministry confirmed that China will maintain its present zero-Covid regulations but improve the pandemic control measures, hinting that protracted lockdowns will be avoided. This has sent dollar back into gains this morning, with AUD and NZD leading the declines. GBPUSD also slid back to 1.1300 and EURUSD back at the 0.99 handle.
Commodity screens all in the green on the back China reopening hopes. The Crude Oil (CLX2 & LCOZ2) price rose 5% to $92.61, its highest level since August after rising 5.4% last week. Iron Ore (SCOA, SCOZ2) is up 1.6% today $87.30 after gaining 8.3% last week. The Copper price (HGA, HGZ2) rose 7.8% today, after rising 7.5% last week.
What to consider
Mixed US jobs report to keep the Fed on a tightening path
US NFP headline gains of 261k were above expectations of 200k but slowed from last month’s 315k which was revised higher from 263k. Job gains were broad-based with strong gains in healthcare, professional and business services and manufacturing. Wage growth also held up strongly, coming in at 0.4% MoM in October from 0.3% MoM previously although a tad softer on a YoY basis at 4.7% from 5.0% YoY previously. However, the unemployment rate ticked up to 3.7% from 3.5% (exp. 3.6%), although it was met with a 0.1% decline in the participation rate to 62.2%. However, with layoffs rising recently, especially in tech, it will be interesting to see how that impacts the headline NFP and the Fed tightening path in the months to come.
Heightened anticipation of relaxation of the implementation of pandemic control in China
Speaking at a meeting hosted by a U.S. investment bank last Friday, the former Chief Expert of Epidemiology of the Chinese Centre for Disease Control and Prevention said the relaxation of pandemic control had already started and more would come, citing the resumption of state visits, sports events (e.g. the Beijing Marathon this Sunday), and relaxing PCR test requirements and starting to charge for the tests. At a press conference last Saturday, China’s National Administration of Disease Control and Prevention reiterated adherence to the dynamic zero-Covid policy. This may dampen somewhat investors’ optimism about reopening. Nonetheless, the Chinese health officials pledged at the same press conference to improve the implementation of the pandemic control measures so as to avoid massive and protracted lockdowns. China’s approval of BioNTech vaccine for foreigners living in mainland China also stirred up some anticipation of the possibility of allowing the more effective BioNTech vaccine to be available eventually beyond foreign residents.
Stocks of interest to watch
First up this week, Champion Iron (CIA) goes ex-dividend today, along with Macquarie (MGQ). National Australia Bank (NAB) is due to report results on Wednesday 9th. Mosaic (MOS) a fertilizer giant reports on Monday in the US. Walt Disney (DIS) reports 9th November. On with Occidental Petroleum (OXY) and Constellation Energy (CEG) report as well. Note Oxy and CEG are some of the US' best performers this year). Ralph Lauren (RL) reports on Thursday.
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