What is our trading focus?
US equities (US500.I and USNAS100.I): a warning shot has been fired
The equity market has moved into risk-off mode following the 60% plunge in SVB Financial (indicated down again pre-market) as the bank has been forced to sell a considerable amount of its bond holdings causing big losses and the need raise more equity and hybrid capital. The S&P 500 Banks Index plunged 6.5% with JPMorgan Chase down 5.4%. We have seen a more muted reaction in the VIX Index only increasing to 22.6 which is a low figure given the risks coming into the market. Bill Ackman, a hedge fund manager, has said that the US government should consider bailing out SVB Financial as the bank is important the Silicon Valley ecosystem and for funding of start-ups in the US. The discussions about zero-days to expiry options (0DTE) and to what extent they can cause a big intraday move in the market will be tested today if the US jobs report fails to calm the market.
Chinese equities (HK50.I and 02846:xhkg): tumbled on cautious consumer and tech war
Hang Seng Index plunged 2.6% and CSI300 shed 1%. Investors were selling China internet and consumer names following downbeat comments from JD.COM on Chinese consumers. The management of the Chinese e-commerce giant said that the sentiment of Chinese consumers is still fragile and consumers have become more prudent on discretionary items. In addition, reopening might also divert some of the online purchasing to offline consumption such as dining and traveling. JD.Com (09618:xhkg) tumbled 11.2%. Meanwhile, Hang Seng TECH Index dropped 3.2%. EV stocks fell sharply, led by an 8.7% decline of BYD (01211:xhkg). The tech war on semiconductors may extend from advanced equipment to materials. Investors are concerned that Japan may impose restrictions on the export of essential chemicals such as photoresist to China. The U.S. banking stock turmoil overnight in the U.S. also weighed on sentiment.
FX: USD modestly weaker as risk sentiment weakens, JPY sold on unchanged BOJ
The rise in jobless claims as well as the broader risk off arising from the SVB scare on Thursday saw yields dipping lower, taking the dollar off the recent highs as well but the decline remained modest with the USD coming in favor on the safe haven bid as well. Swiss franc also got a safe haven bid, and USDCHF plunged below 0.93 bringing the 50DMA at 0.9269 in focus. Bank of Japan’s unchanged monetary policy saw the JPY being the underperformer in the Asian session on Friday, but USDJPY could not pierce above 137. GBPUSD rose back above 1.19 ahead of UK data dump today likely to show that a recession has been delayed, but focus will shift to NFP later as the key USD driver in the very near-term. USDCAD continued to surge to fresh highs as Fed-BOC divergence widened and oil prices remained weak.
The choppiness in crude oil prices continued
Crude oil is heading for a weekly loss following another choppy session on Thursday which in the end took its cue from another loss of risk appetite as stress emerged in the US banking sector. Brent trades back below $81 after breaking below the trendline going back to the December low. While the signs of a pickup in Chinese demand remain mixed, the market has also been spooked by Powell’s combatant mood on Capitol Hill earlier in the week where he basically said recession was a price worth paying to get inflation under control.
Gold finds support as stock market weakness drives bond yields sharply lower
Gold caught a bid on Thursday in response to the high US jobless claims number and later a steep drop in US bond yields as the US banking sector slumped. The terminal US Fed fund rate dropped back to 1.5% while the market priced in a 1.25% rate cut in the following 12 months, developments that highlights the potential for US rates not being raised to the extend Fed chair Powell led the market to believe earlier in the week. Focus now turns to today’s job report after Fed Chair Powell in his testimony said the strength and duration of future rate hikes would be data dependent. Gold is once again testing the 21-day moving average resistance at $1835 ahead of at $1858 while support in the $1800 remains firm.
Yields drop on financial market turbulence and spike in jobless claims
A bounce in initial jobless claims to 211K (consensus 195K) from 190K kicked off the short-covering in the front end ahead of the employment report, due later today. The buying intensified later in the US on safe haven buying after the banking sector suffered its biggest drop since June 2020, with stocks in troubled Silvergate Capital and SVB Financial both tumbling. Yields on the 2-year plunged from 5.08% to 4.78% while the 10-year yield trades down to 3.82% from above 4% earlier in the week. The 2-10-year yield curve steepened to –97bps from –111 bps earlier in the session.
What is going on?
SVB’s 60% slump highlights the venture capital and tech bubble is spilling over to banks
Investors were spooked by Silicon Valley Bank announcing it taking emergency steps to shore up capital after suffering a $1.8 billion after-tax loss in the first quarter. SVB sold about $21 billion of securities from its portfolio and plans to raise $2.25 billion. Having ended the regular session down 60% at 106 it went on the drop another 22% to 83 in afterhours trading. This reflects the pain of higher interest rates and tighter liquidity on the venture capital start-up bubble and it triggered heavy selling across banking stocks with KBW Bank Index tumbling 7.7%, its biggest drop since June 2020. Also on Thursday, another California lender, Silvergate Capital Corp, down 80% this month, which is targeting cryptocurrency firms, such as FTX, announced its winding down operations, following the meltdown of its financial strength, after digital assets plunged.
Oracle shares down on cloud miss
The software and database maker reported FY23 Q3 revenue growth of 18% y/y and adjusted EPS of $0.71 down 17%, but the disappointment was mostly in the outlook and especially in Oracle’s cloud business as customers are reducing spending growth. Oracle shares were down 4% in extended trading.
Bank of Japan’s Kuroda ends term without sparks
The Bank of Japan kept its policy unchanged at Governor Kuroda’s last meeting of his decade-long tenure. The target band for the 10-year JGB yield was kept unchanged at around 0%, with an upper limit of 0.50% after being raised in December. The BOJ held its short-term rate at -0.1%. Although data and recent communication had hinted at no change in monetary policy, there were some apprehensions given Kuroda is famous for giving surprises to the market. However, the outcome carried his usual dovish tone, ensuring a smooth handover to incoming Governor Kazuo Ueda who has conveyed policy continuity in his first remarks after being nominated.
Jobless claims cool, focus now on NFP data today
Initial claims rose 211k in the week of 4th March, above the 190k prior and the 195k expected. It was the first time that the jobless claims came above the 200k mark since January, and it was the highest claim YTD. The continued claims also rose to 1.718 mn from 1.649 mn, coming in above estimates as well. While this may have raised some concerns that the US labor market is softening, the print is still strong and eyes now turn to the February payrolls data out today in the US. Our full preview is here, which says that Overall message, despite a potentially softer headline print, is likely to be that US labor market is still tight and there are millions of open positions even as layoffs continue to ramp up in some of the sectors. Headline jobs are expected to come in again at 200k+, but risk of disappointment remains given the scope of correction from +517k in January. A strong print could further cement the case for a 50bps rate hike this month.
US-India ties expand into semiconductors
The US and India are looking to sign an agreement to boost coordination of their chip industry to focus further on information sharing and policy dialogue, as India forges ahead to boost its presence in the global technology supply chain amid China’s crackdowns on the private sector and growing geopolitical issues.
CATL delivers stronger than expected results underscoring surging EV demand
CATL, the world's biggest battery maker and Tesla’s battery supplier, delivered results eclipsing estimates, amid stronger EV demand, while its results also cement CATL as the industry leader. Net income surged 93% y/y, to CNY 30.7bn vs est. CNY 28.8bn with both its power battery and energy storage division’s revenue growing far more than expected amid clean energy demand.
What are we watching next?
The Australia, UK and US alliance thrusts the Defence and Nuclear sectors into the spotlight
US President Joe Biden will host a meeting with the UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese in San Diego on Monday, where they are expected to decide on how to move ahead with a multibillion submarine plan, which could involve Australia buying as many as five US Virginia class nuclear-powered submarines in the 2030s. They are also expected to deliberate on how to get other high-tech weaponry to Australia. This is all a part of the AUKUS alliance, which was formed 18 months ago, aimed at the countries sharing defence and military capabilities, to protect the Indo-Pacific region, and counter China. For the investor, it makes one reflect on the capital being spent in the industry, which may present as a potential investment opportunity to explore. So, we break down the next steps of the AUKUS alliance, where the vessels will be built, the potential financial outlay, the likely companies involved and Saxo’s Equity Defence and Nuclear theme equity baskets to watch. Read our article here.
Earnings to watch
Today’s key earnings releases are not market moving and thus the focus is on next week’s earnings with the most interesting earnings releases being Volkswagen, BMW, Adobe, and FedEx.
- Friday: Daimer Truck, AIA Group, DiDi Global
Next week’s earnings releases:
- Tuesday: Foxconn, Volkswagen, Generali
- Wednesday: Constellation Software, BMW, E.ON, Ping An Insurance, Prudential, Inditex, Adobe, Lennar
- Thursday: Verbund, Rheinmetall, KE Holdings, Enel, FedEx, Dollar General
- Friday: Vonovia
Economic calendar highlights for today (times GMT)
1330 – US Feb. Nonfarm Payrolls Change
1330 – US Feb. Unemployment Rate
1330 – US Feb Average Hourly Earnings
1330 – Canada Feb. Employment Data