Financial Markets Today: Quick Take – August 12, 2022
Saxo Strategy Team
Summary: US treasury yields at the long end of the curve surged over 15 basis points at one point yesterday in the wake of heavy treasury futures selling and a somewhat soft T-bond auction, which helped to turn sentiment lower in the equity market after the major averages had advanced to new local highs. The jump in US yields checked the US dollar’s descent as traders mull whether a break higher in US treasury yields will offer the currency fresh support after its break lower this week in many USD pairs.
What is our trading focus?
Nasdaq 100 (USNAS100.I) and S&P 500 (US500.I)
S&P 500 futures attempted to run higher above the key 4,200 level but was rejected forcefully, closing a bit lower for the session and just above the 4,200 level. This morning the index futures are again trying to push higher trading around the 4,222 level with yesterday’s high at 4,260 being the natural resistance level in the short-term. Today’s earnings and macro calendar are light except for the Michigan surveys at 1400 GMT on consumer sentiment and expectations for the economy and inflation which could move the market on a surprise print.
Hong Kong’s Hang Seng (HSI.I) and China’s CSI300 (000300.I)
Hong Kong and mainland Chinese equities treaded water, fluctuating between small gains and losses. Sportswear and EV names gained. Li Ning (02332:xhkg) climbed more than 4% after reporting better than expected 1H results with sales growth of 22% and net profit growth of 12% from last year. The solid sales growth was led by online sales and wholesale business. China’s EV sales volumes grew 124% YoY (wholesale) and 117% YoY (retail) in July, much faster than the growth of the overall passenger vehicle market and had a penetration rate of 26.7%. XPeng (09868:xhkg) led the charge higher, gaining 4.2%, NIO (09866:xhkg) +3.6%, Li Auto (02015:xhkg) +1.7%. Leading semiconductor names, SMIC (00981:xhkg) and Hua Hong (01347:xhkg) reported inline and better-than expected results respectively. In its earnings call, the management of SMIC noted orders from some of its customers could fall meaningfully in near-term due to high inventories and suggested that recovery could come at around end of 2022 or early 2023. Share prices of SMIC declined 1.8%.
USD: jump in long treasury yields checks the greenback’s descent
After USDJPY traded to new local lows yesterday below 132.00, the pair snapped back well north of 133.00 in the wake of a surge in long US treasury yields (more below) and the USD sell-off was likewise checked elsewhere as risk sentiment also rolled over by late in the US equity trading session. The USD resilience is not yet technically significant and won’t be on a broad basis until/unless USDJPY surges back above perhaps 136.00, the EURUSD surge above 1.0300 is pushed back below 1.0250, and the aggressive AUDUSD move is pummeled back below 0.7000. The get a broader USD resurgence might require higher US yields and a deepening turn to the negative in risk sentiment, until then.
Gold (XAUUSD) is heading for a fourth weekly gain
... supported by a weaker dollar after lower-than-expected CPI and PPI data helped reduce expectations for how high the Fed will allow rates to run. However, rising risk appetite as seen through surging stocks and bond yields trading higher on the week, have so far prevented the yellow metal from making a decisive challenge at key resistance above $1800/oz, and the recent decline in ETF holdings and low open interest in COMEX futures points to a market that is looking for a fresh and decisive trigger. Gold needs to hold $1760 in order to avoid a fresh round of long liquidation, while silver is looking for support at $20.23, its 50-day SMA. Copper and industrial metals in general have seen a strong recovery with COPPERSEP22 now eying resistance at $3.7150, its 50-day SMA.
Crude oil (CLU2 & LCOV2) traded higher on Thursday
... before some light profit emerged overnight in Asia. Prices have been supported by signs of softer inflation improving the growth outlook, weaker dollar and improving demand, especially in the US where gasoline prices at the pumps have fallen below $4 per gallon for the first time since March. In addition, the International Energy Agency (IEA) lifted its consumption estimate by 380 kb/d, saying soaring gas prices amid strong demand for electricity is driving utilities to switch from expensive gas to fuel based products. Meanwhile, OPEC may struggle to raise output in coming months due to limited spare capacity. WTI futures touched $94/barrel while Brent futures returned to the 100-mark, thereby supporting our view that oil prices have reached a potential through in this correction phase.
US Treasuries (IEF, TLT) see long-end yields surging
US yields at the long end of the curve ripped higher with the move aggravated by a somewhat soft 30-year T-bond auction, though the bulk of the move higher in yields unfolded earlier in the day on heavy selling of treasury futures. The 30-year yield rose a chunky 15.5 basis points at one point yesterday and traded to the highest levels in weeks, with the 10-year likewise poking above local highs in the 2.87% yield area. The jump in yields is technically significant if it holds and proceeds to 3.00%, suggesting that the consolidation phase is over. As well, the rise at the long end of the curve has significantly steepened the yield curve from a recent extreme in the 2-10 inversion of –49 basis points to –34 basis points.
What is going on?
US jobless claims rise, University of Michigan ahead
US initial jobless claims 262K vs 265K estimate, notably higher than the 248k the prior week and the highest since November 2021. The 4-week moving average of initial jobless claims increased to 252K vs 247.5K last week, but still below 350k levels that can cause an alarm. The modest pickup in claims suggests that turnover at weaker firms is increasing. Key data to watch today is the preliminary University of Michigan survey for August, where expectations are for a modest improvement given lower gasoline prices.
The grains sector trades at a five-week high ahead of today’s supply and demand report
The Bloomberg Grains Index continues to recover following its 28% June to July correction with gains this past week being led by wheat (WHEATDEC22) and corn (CORNDEC22) in response to a weaker dollar and not least hot and dry weather in the US and another heatwave in Europe raising concerns about yield and production. Hot and dry weather at a critical stage for yield developments ahead of the soon to be harvested crop has given today’s World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates report some additional attention with surveys looking for lower yields and with that lower ending stocks.
San Francisco Fed President Mary Daly sees 50 basis point hike at September FOMC meeting
Daly is not an FOMC voter this year. Unlike her colleague (also a non-voter this year) Neel Kashkari at the Minneapolis Fed, she is satisfied with the median forecast of a 3.4% policy rate by year-end, which would be achieved with a 50 basis point move in September, followed by two 25 basis point hikes in November and December. Kashkari thinks 3.9% is more appropriate for a year-end target policy rate. Daly noted that she is happy to see inflation coming down, but is still open for a larger rate increase in September if necessary. “It really behooves us to stay data dependent and not call it”. The market is currently priced for 60 basis points of hiking at the September 21 FOMC meeting.
Illumina shares down 23% on massive earnings miss
The DNA-sequencing company slashed its fiscal year outlook last night due to potential penalties in Europe from its acquisition of another company. Its FY EPS forecast is now $2.75-2.90 down from previously $4-4.20.
What are we watching next?
UK Q2 GDP likely to show a contraction... after April was down 0.2% and May up 0.5%. June GDP is likely to have seen a larger contraction given less working days in the month, as well as constrained household spending as inflation surged to a fresh record high. While there may be a growth recovery in the near-term, the Bank of England clearly outlined a recession scenario from Q4 2022 and that would last for five quarters. Our Macro Strategist Chris Dembik has painted a rather pessimistic picture of the UK economy.
Another downside surprise in US inflationUS July PPI dipped into negative territory to come in at -0.5% MoM, much cooler than 1% last month or the +0.2% expected. But on a YoY basis, PPI remains up a shocking 9.8%. Core PPI rose 0.4% MoM, which means on a YoY basis core producer prices are up 7.6% (lower than June's +8.2% but still near record highs). Goods PPI fell 1.8%, dominated by a 9.0% drop in energy. Meanwhile, services PPI was up 0.1% in July. Despite the slowdown in both PPI and CPI this week, PPI is still 1.3% points above CPI, suggesting margin pressures and a possible earnings recession. Fed’s Daly said she will be open to a 75bps rate hike at the September meeting.
Next signals from the Fed at Jackson Hole conference Aug 25-27
There is a considerable tension between the market’s forecast for the economy and the resulting expected path of Fed policy for the rest of this year and particularly next year, as the market believes that a cooling economy and inflation will allow the Fed to reverse course and cut rates in a “soft landing” environment (the latter presumably because financial conditions have eased aggressively since June, suggesting that markets are not fearing a hard landing/recession). Some Fed members have tried to push back against the market’s expectations for Fed rate cuts next year it was likely never the Fed’s intention to allow financial conditions to ease so swiftly and deeply as they have in recent weeks. The risks, therefore, point to a Fed that may mount a more determined pushback at the Jackson Hole forum, the Fed’s yearly gathering at Jackson Hole, Wyoming that is often used to air longer term policy guidance.
Earnings to watch
There are no important earnings today except for Flutter Entertainment which has already reported ahead of the trading start in London. Flutter reports first-half revenue of £3.4bn vs est. £3.2bn.
- Today: Flutter Entertainment
Economic calendar highlights for today (times GMT)
- 0900 – Eurozone Jun. Industrial Production
- 1400 – US Fed’s Barkin (non-voter) to speak
- 1400 – US Aug. Preliminary University of Michigan sentiment
- 1600 – USDA's World Agriculture Supply and Demand report (WASDE)
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