What’s happening in markets?
US equities edged up modestly, digesting the message from Powell and job data
The Nasdaq 100 (NAS100.I) gained 0.4% and S&P 500 (US500.I) inched up 0.1% on Wednesday, remaining calm to the hotter-than-expected ADP employment and JOLTS job openings data and Powell’s congressional testimony in his second day. The volume of 10.2 billion shares across U.S. exchanges was below average. As WTI crude fell by more than 1% to USD76.5, the energy sector was the biggest loser within the S&P500.
Telsa (TSLA:xnas) slid 3%, following the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration highlighting potential issues in the EV maker’s Autopilot system and steering wheels that can detach on the Model Y SUVs.
Campbell Soup (CPB:xnys) gained nearly 2% on earnings beat and sales increases. Crowdstrike (CRWD:xnas) rose 3.2%, paring some of the post-result after market gains the day before.
In Europe, the STOXX Europe 600 finished the session flat.
Yields on U.S. Treasuries moved higher on hot JOLTS job openings and a poor 10-year auction
The Treasuries market did not act much to the hotter-than-expected ADP employment data and Powell’s second-day congressional testimony. Short-covering flows especially in the futures contracts drove the market higher and yields lower in the morning until selling emerged following the JOLTS job openings data which was stronger than estimates. Demand in the 10-year auction was weak as the auction stopped at nearly 3bps cheaper from the market level at the time of the auction and had a bid-to-cover ratio of 2.35, lower than 2.66 last time. The Treasury is auctioning USD18 billion of 30-year bonds today. The 2-year yield rose 6bps to 5.07% and the 10-year yield edged up 2bps to 3.99%, inverting the curve further to -109bps.
Hang Seng Index and China’s CSI 300 decline on regulatory overhaul in China and U.S. interest rates
Yesterday, the Hang Seng Index dropped by 2.4% and the Hang Seng TECH Index plunged by 3.2%. EV and China Internet stocks led the charge lower. XPeng (09868:xhkg) plunged 7.1% and Li Auto (02015:xhkg) lost 6.3%. China internet names slid, with Alibaba (099088:xhkg), Meituan (03690:xhkg) and JD.com (09618:xhkg) each down 3-4%. On top of the tighter U.S. interest rate outlook stemming from Fed Chain’s Powell’s testimony, the establishment of the National Financial Regulation Bureau and the National Data Bureau and the consolidation of power around them may have stirred up concerns about uncertainty in the mind of investors about the regulatory trend on areas such as mobile payment and e-platform data.
China telecommunication stocks were among the top gainers. China Unicom (00762:xhg) rose 3.5% after reporting Q4 earnings in line with estimates. TVB (00511) jumped 85% on Wednesday, following the Hong Kong TV broadcasting company holding its first live-streaming online shopping on the Taobao platform in mainland China. The 6-hour live-streaming session had around 4.85 million viewers. Over the past 4 sessions, the share price of TVB has gone up by 247%.
In A-shares, the CSI300 finished 0.4% lower, clawing back most of the early losses, with telecommunication, defense, computing, media, and 6G concept names leading the rebound.
The US dollar consolidates, post-Powell gains
The US dollar was little changed versus major currencies and was consolidating its strong gains after Powell’s first-day testimony the day before. USDJPY fell back below 107.
Australia’s shares are under pressure as the heavy weights trade ex-dividend today
BHP and Rio are trading ex-dividend, which is pressuring the equity market, while on the other side Myer shares jolted higher after the retailer declared a super-sized dividend. While accounting software company Xero also trades higher on announcing it will cut 800 jobs to improve its profitability. Meanwhile, in breaking news - part of the Aukus security partnership, Australia looks set to buy as many as five nuclear-powered Virginia class submarines from the US, with the submarine plan expected to be announced next week – when US President Joe Biden meets UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese - as part of the 18-month old Aukus partnership.
Gold ticks higher as the market digests the latest hawkish Fed commentary that could lead the US into a recession
Gold advanced on Wednesday after slipping about 2% in the prior session - gaining strength as the US dollar's rally cooled. Despite the stronger dollar overall, gold has found support in the $1800 area – driven by economic uncertainty and the probability of a recession creeping higher. We await Friday’s jobs report – given rates are expected to remain higher – weakness in the data on Friday may be a catalyst for the US dollar to take a step back, which could theatrically trigger upside in the precious metal.
What to consider?
Bank of Canada kept rates unchanged
The Bank of Canada (BOC) was the first major central bank to pause from hiking rates. As widely expected, The BOC kept the policy rate unchanged at 4.50% but the door is open to come back on the hiking track to fight inflation as the central bank dropped the forward guidance that it expects to hold the policy rate unchanged if the economy evolves in line with its outlook.
Powell largely repeated his message on the second day of his testimony
On the second day of his congressional testimony, this time to the House Financial Services Committee, Powell told lawmakers that no decision had yet been made on the size of the rate hike at the March FOMC while he reiterated that the Fed was likely to bring the policy rate higher than previously anticipated and could move at a faster pace.
More hot job data coming out of the U.S.
The ADP Employment report had a 242K increase in jobs in February, rising from 119K (revised from 106K previously reported) in January and way above the 200K consensus estimate. JOLTS Job Opening also came in stronger than expected at 10,824K (consensus estimate: 10,546K; January 11,234K).
Europe leads Australia, with more females in executive roles. The US lags
Various studies have shown that gender diverse executive teams can outperform the overall equity market. So, for International Women’s Day we dissected the makeup of listed companies' executive teams. We found that Europe has the most female representation followed by Australia - with the US lagging. An astounding 33 companies in the Stoxx600 have executive teams that are made up of over 50% women. Healthcare company Halma - also in the Stoxx600 - has a 60% female executive team. While media business- Future PLC, takes the cake - with a 100% female executive team. Australia follows Europe with a high portion of diversity. 14 of the ASX200 companies have executive teams that are over 50% female lead. Gold mining giant- Newcrest Mining- has an 86% women executive team. What’s also pleasing to see is that the world’s biggest mining company, BHP has over 50% female representation on its executive leadership team. And lastly- in the US- in the S&P500, just five companies have executive teams that are made up over 50% women. That includes Bed & Body Work with its 60% executive team - being female. To explore this thematic further, refer to Saxo’s Women in Leadership equity basket.
China’s inflation is expected to slow in February
The growth in CPI is expected to slow to 1.9% Y/Y in February from 2.1% in January and PPI to contract further to -1.3% Y/Y.
Eyes on CATL’s growth and outlook
CATL, the world’s largest battery maker - and Tesla’s battery supplier - reports results on Thursday. It’s expected to report revenue growth of over 80%. However, there is room for a positive surprise - given strong battery and energy storage demand. CATL is also expanding overseas - teaming up with Ford to build a battery manufacturing plant in Michigan, which we will hopefully get detail on. As for its outlook - we expect it to be strong, as CATL’s increased its war chest, after selling its $856 million stake in Australia’s biggest lithium company, Pilbara Minerals. We also think guidance could be upgraded - given auto sales in China are expected to rise in 2023, following years of lockdowns. CATL outlook’s will be closely watched by not only EV makers - but also by EV investors – as they could give a gauge on how much car maker’s battery costs could rise.
Other company reports to watch ahead include JD.com - a Chinese consumer spending bellwether and DocuSign- a covid-19 stalwart
All eyes will be on JD.com, the Amazon equivalent in China. It could give further insight into Chinese consumers’ appetite post lockdown. And what they’re seeing in consumer spending ahead. It's also worth watching Saxo’s China Consumer and Technology basket of stocks. And in the US - DocuSign reports after the market close on Thursday – this will be interesting to watch as over the last two years DOCU has beaten EPS and revenue estimates. The electronic signature company raised full its guidance when it reported third-quarter results that topped expectations. It’s also joined the spate of tech companies making mass-layoffs and cut 10% of its employees.
For what to watch in the markets this week – read or watch our Saxo Spotlight.
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