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Market Insights Today: More evidence inflation is easing in the US, Hang Seng Index more than 25% higher from its October low - 16 Nov 2022

Equities 5 minutes to read
APAC Strategy Team

Summary:  Nasdaq 100 and S&P 500 ended higher, being lifted by softer-than-expected producer inflation. Walmart and Home Depot beat in earnings and topline. Chinese stocks surged on additional financial support to the property sector and a conciliatory tone from the Biden-Xi meeting. Hang Seng Index rose 4% to 18,343, more than 25% higher from its October low.

What’s happening in markets?

The Nasdaq 100 (NAS100.I) and S&P 500 (US500.I) gained on softer-than-expected US PPI

Investors got a lift from the softer-than-expected PPI data which added to the post-CPI optimism that the US inflation may have peaked. S&P 500 gained 0.9% and NASDAQ 100 rose 1.5%. Stocks pared gains in the afternoon when the news of Russian missiles landing in Poland, a NATO member, hit the wires. Stocks nonetheless managed to recover from the missile news and finished the session higher.  Nine out of 11 S&P 500 sectors gained, with communication services, consumer discretionary, information technology and real estate led. On earnings, retail bellwether Walmart (WMT:xnys) surged 6.7% after reporting earnings and revenue beats and raising full-year outlook guidance. Home Depot (HD:xnys) gained 1.7% on earnings beating estimates and reaffirming full-year guidance.

US  treasuries (TLT:xnas, IEF:xnas, SHY:xnas) rallied on PPI prints, with the 10-year yield falling 8bps to 3.77%

US treasuries rallied, with yields falling 5-9 basis points across the curve. The 10-year yield fell 8bps to 3.77%. The market surged in price after the growth in PPI, both in headlines and core measures, slowed more than expected. A stronger Empire State manufacturing index, returning to the expansionary territory and Fedspeak from Bostic, Barr, and Harker reiterating the slower pace but still additional work to do message, did not tame market sentiment. Adding to the fuel was some safe-haven buying of treasuries after Russian missiles hit Poland and killed two people.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng (HISX2) and China’s CSI300 (03188:xhkg) on fire as risk-on sentiment returned

Hong Kong and China’s equity markets surged for the third day in a row, with Hang Seng Index soaring 4.1 % and CSI 300 climbing 1.9%, as optimism returned to the markets due to favourable policy shifts in China regarding pandemic control and property developers’ access to funding and goodwill gestures shown by China’s President Xi and the US’ President Biden at their first face-to-face meeting after President Biden took office. In addition, the Chinese authorities announced that they will allow developers, after meeting some requirements in their financials and supports from their banks, to tap into some of the presale deposits now placed in escrow accounts. China Internet stocks and semi-conductor names were among the top gainers.

Commodities lift; Crude oil (CLZ2 & LCOF3) rose more than 1% after Russian rockets hit, iron ore (SCOA,SCOZ2) extended its gain and wheat whipped up 1%

Crude oil (CLZ2 & LCOF3) rose more than 1% after the EIA published a report saying inventories in developed nations sunk to an 18-year low of less than 4 billion barrels. The EIA says a potential EU ban on Russian supply will add further pressure, and its output may drop below 10 million b/d next year, from about 10.7 million so far this year. For the next technical indicators and levels to watch in oil, click here. Moving to metals, the Iron ore (SCOA) price rose 1.7%, continuing its rebound and has now risen 25% this month on the back of fresh China stimulus, however the iron ore price is still down 13% from its high. The question is, if China continues to ease restrictions, will the iron ore price continue its rebound, and support affiliated iron ore equities. Meanwhile in crop markets, wheat trades higher on concerns there could be a potential escalation of the war.

What to consider

Fed collects more evidence inflation is easing; US producer prices cool more than expected, clocking smallest gain in a year

Investors got another piece of evidence the inflationary pressures are easing, with US producer price growth rising 8% Y/Y in October (below the 8.3% Bloomberg consensus expected and down from the 8.5% Y/Y in September), with prices rising 0.2% M/M (which was less than the 0.4% expected). Excluding volatile food, energy, and trade services, the core PPI grew 6.7% Y/Y in October- while the market expected the growth remains unchanged from the September level of 7.2%. After peaking in March at 11.7%, producer price growth has moderated from improving supply chains, softer demand, and weakening commodities prices. This means, following the softer-than-expected CPI print last week, the Fed has garnered more catalysts to slow its pace of hikes, which also provides further support to the equity market and bond market rallies. However, the next important data sets the Fed will be watching are due early next month; US jobs, and November CPI, which are ahead of the Fed’s next meeting (in the third week of December).

RBA meeting minutes signal food and energy prices to rise, and property prices to fall

Australia’s central bank sees food price inflation rising, along with energy prices, while the Unemployment rate is expected to rise as well off its lows. The RBA downgraded its outlook for the property market, expecting property prices to continue to fall, as they have in history when the RBA is in a rising cycle. It also sees housing loan commitments further falling. Yet the RBA affirmed it will keep rising rates till inflation is within its targets as the central bank wants underlying inflation to be within 2-3%. The RBA also hinted it may be close to its target, "in underlying terms, inflation was a little over 6% with most components of the CPI rising at annualized rates of more than 3%”. What are the investor takeaways from the RBA minutes? It could be worth looking for potential opportunities in investing in Food stocks, food ETFs, and the as well as wheat and corn. Secondly, it could be worth looking for potential opportunities in energy, like crude oil, or oil stocks such as Woodside Energy and Occidental Petroleum to name a few. And with property prices falling, along with lending, keep an eye on bank shares. Consider looking at CommBank (CBA) as a proxy. Will CBA continue to rally off its low on the back of the RBA's dovish stance, or will CBA and big banks take a haircut as banks’ profits are shrinking?

Walmart and Home Depot earnings beat estimates

Peter Garnry, Head of Equity Strategy wrote in his notes that Walmart showed a positive surprise on its operating margin and an upward revision to the FY results and Home Depot is delivering a decent Q3 result,= as well.  Walmart, the largest US retailer reported FY23 Q3 (ending 31 October) revenue of $152.8bn up 9% y/y beating estimates and adj. EPS of $1.50 vs est. $1.32 while announcing a $20bn buyback programme. The third quarter result is so strong that Walmart is increasing its FY outlook on adj. EPS to -6% to -7% y/y from previously -9% to -11%. The 12-month trailing revenue figure eclipsed $600bn for the first time in its history. As we have seen throughout this Q3 earnings season, retailers and consumer industries have been able to either preserve or expand operating margins. Walmart is valued at a 12-month forward EV/EBITDA of 11.6x compared to 12x for the S&P 500 Index.  The largest US home improvement retailer Home Depot reports FY23 Q3 (ending 31 October) revenue of $38.9bn vs est. $37.9bn up 6% y/y and EPS of $4.24 vs est. $4.13 as the US consumer remains in good shape despite inflation and higher cost of living. Home Depot is confirming its fiscal year guidance.

Tencent (00700) is scheduled to report earnings on Wednesday

Tencent is scheduled to report Q3 results today. Bloomberg survey shows the street is expecting revenues to edge down around 1% Y/Y with both advertisements and gaming down Y/Y. On adjusted EPS, the consensus is calling for an 8% year-on-year decline.

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