What is our trading focus?
Nasdaq 100 (USNAS100.I) and S&P 500 (US500.I)
US equities retreated yesterday with S&P 500 futures declining 1% yesterday as US bond yields are coming back higher towards the 4% as the US economy is still looking robust despite tighter financial conditions. S&P 500 futures are continuing lower this morning trading around the 3,740 level with the 3,700 level being the next natural gravitational point for the market on the downside. US Nonfarm Payrolls for September is of course today’s main event but it will probably not move much unless we see a big surprise to average hourly earnings figure m/m.
Hong Kong’s Hang Seng (HSIU2) and China’s CSI300 (03188:xhkg)
Hang Seng Index sank for the second day in a row after the sharp rally on Wednesday. Chinese EV stocks tanked, with Li Auto (02015:xhkg) tumbling 16.1%, and Nio (09866:xhkg) and XPeng (09868:xhkg) down from 7% to nearly 9%. Investors were concerned about the severe competition in the EV industry with new entrants to the market and rising battery costs. China developer names plunged from 2% to 11% across the board as sentiment was clouded by CIFI’s (00884:xhkg) discussion with banks about posting an interest payment and a 2-notch downgrade to Caa1 by Moody’s for the developer’s senior unsecured debts. Hang Seng Index lost more than 1% by mid-day. Shanghai and Shenzhen exchanges are closed for a national holiday and will return on Monday.
USD and US yields/risk sentiment
The US dollar bounced back strongly yesterday on the supportive combination of weak risk sentiment and higher US treasury yields, with EURUSD all the way back to 0.9800 this morning after flirting with parity just a couple of sessions ago. The USD strength was most pronounced against the smaller currencies with a pair like AUDUSD trading near the cycle low below 0.6400 ahead of the US jobs data. That combination of higher US yields and weak risk sentiment provides the strongest support for the greenback, with a strong US jobs report the most likely spark for a further rise. Very interesting ahead of the weekend that USDJPY remains pinned near the critical 145.00 level ahead of the US jobs data – will we see a volatility event and official intervention if strong US jobs data sends the pair over the edge?
Gold eased back lower on the fresh rise in US treasury yields and a stronger US dollar, but the retracement of the recent massive rally off the cycle low of 1,1615 has been fairly shallow, with the first support zone of note into 1,680-1,700 area. The most significant challenge to gold would be a strong US jobs report and further USD strength, but a full reversal of the latest rally wave would require a significant plunge. To the upside, the next resistance of note is the 1,1734 level (61.8% retracement of the big sell-off wave into the lows) and then the huge 1,800 area and pivot high of 1,808 in August.
Crude oil (CLX2 & LCOX2)
The energy market tightness concerns continued to underpin further gains in the oil market, with WTI futures now rising towards $89/barrel and Brent above $94 following a 2 million barrels/day cut announced by OPEC+. Other supply issues are also at play with European sanctions on Russian oil coming into effect this quarter, but the US may opt to release more from its strategic reserves to offset some of this decline in supply.
US treasuries (TLT, IEF)
US treasury yields rose all along the curve ahead of today’s important September US jobs report and the market’s attempts to express hope over the last week that the Fed is set to deliver a pivot to less hawkish guidance. The US 10-year benchmark traded this morning aove 3.80%, less than 20 basis points from the significant 4.00% level that was briefly touched during the UK gilt market wipeout that saw some contagion even into US treasuries.
What is going on?
AMD blasted on ugly outlook and Samsung shows 11% in operating income
Advanced Micro Devices revealed preliminary Q3 sales yesterday ahead of its earnings report in coming weeks. These were at $5.6 billion versus company and analyst estimates of $6.7 billion, an enormous miss. Weaker demand in the PC market was cited, with writedowns in inventories also playing a role. Shares traded more than 3% lower after hours late yesterday after having lost some 60% from late 2021 highs. Samsung is also part of the semiconductor industry has announced its preliminary Q3 results this morning showing operating income declined 11% as demand for consumer electronics is coming down hard.
Fed officials reiterated hawkish comments
With the markets anticipating a Fed pivot sooner rather than later, Fed members continue to send stronger hawkish signals with the clear message being higher for longer interest rates. Minneapolis President Kashkari (2023 voter) said the Fed is “quite a ways away from a pause in rate hikes” and “not seeing evidence that underlying inflation peaked”. Fed Governor Cook said “restoring price stability likely will require ongoing rate hikes and then keeping policy restrictive for some time”. Fed Governor Waller joined the chorus saying that the Fed needs to continue to raise rates into early 2023. The Chicago Fed’s Charles Evans (Voter 2023) also reiterated that the Fed is heading to 4.5-4.75% by spring, and another 125bps of rate hikes is seen over the next two meetings.
Credit Suisse is trying to bolster sentiment by buying back credit
The Swiss-based bank is offering this morning to buy back its own debt up to CHF 3bn.
ECB minutes suggest inflation concerns
The ECB minutes from the September 7-8 meeting were released yesterday and suggested that another big rate hike after the last month’s 75bps move is in the cards. There was broad consensus that the key policy rates are still below neutral. While the assessment of economic performance sounded bleak, taming inflation remained the overarching objective and therefore further tightening is still expected. Markets currently price heavy odds that the ECB will deliver a 75 bp hike.
Hong Kong’s PMI fell to the contractionary territory in September
The S&P Global Hong Kong PMI fell to 48.0 in September from 51.2 in August, returning to the contractionary territory for the first time since March this year when Hong Kong was hit hard by an outbreak of COVID-19. The S&P Global Hong Kong PMI surveys activities in manufacturing, wholesale, retail and services, and construction. Among the sub-indices, the new order sub-index fell the most to 46.1 in September from 51.3 in August. The new export orders sub-index deteriorated further to 45.9 from 47.4 in the prior month. The output sub-index fell to 47.3 from 52.2 and the employment sub-index declined to 48.3 from 48.6.
What are we watching next?
Today's US September jobs report and the fate of the “pivot” narrative
Fed speakers of late, including those late yesterday, continue to deliver a consistent message of continuing the current tightening regime, and given the Fed’s forecast that it will continue to tighten even as unemployment begins to rise (September forecasted a rise to a 4.4% unemployment rate next year vs. 3.7% currently), we are likely at least many months from the Fed blinking due to a softening labor market. The Sep. Nonfarm payrolls change is expected near +260k after +315k in August and the Average Hourly Earnings are seen rising +0.3% MoM and +5.0% YoY – the latter would be the slowest pace of wage growth since December.
Earnings to watch
The Q3 earnings season kicks off next week with the most important day being Friday with seven large US financial institutions reporting. The key focus points will be to what extent US banks are able to increase their net interest margin and the levels of credit provisions.
- Wednesday: PepsiCo
- Thursday: Progressive, Fast Retailing, Tryg, Walgreen Boots Alliance, Fastanal, BlackRock, Delta Air Lines, Domino’s Pizza
- Friday: Shanghai Putailai New Energy, YTO Express Group, PNC Financial Services, JPMorgan Chase, Morgan Stanley, Citigroup, UnitedHealth Group, Wells Fargo, US Bancorp, First Republic Bank
Economic calendar highlights for today (times GMT)
- 1100 – Mexico Sep. CPI
- 1230 – US Sep. Nonfarm Payrolls Change
- 1230 – US Sep. Unemployment Rate
- 1230 – US Sep. Average Hourly Earnings
- 1230 – Canada Sep. Employment Change/Unemployment Rate
- 1400 – US Fed’s Williams (Voter) to speak
- 1500 – US Fed’s Kashkari (Voter 2023) to speak
- 1600 – US Fed’s Bostic (Voter 2024) to speak
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