What’s happening in markets?
Nasdaq 100 (NAS100.I) and S&P 500 (US500.I) rallied on lower bond yields, short covering, and optimism of upcoming CPI data potentially soft
With relatively quiet corporate headlines, S&P 500 gained 1.3% and Nasdaq 100 advanced 1.8% as bond yields slid. The interest rate-sensitive real estate sector, up 3.6%, was the top winner within the S&P 500 Index, followed by consumer discretionary and information technology. Traders notably covered some of their shorts ahead of today’s CPI as the most-shorted names were among the best performers on Wednesday. The Nasdaq 100 closed above its 50 day moving average. Meanwhile, the S&P 500 (US500.I) rose for the second day and closed at the high of the day.
Tesla and Amazon shares trade at key levels; but caution is thick in the air
Indeed these were some of the standouts share on Wednesday with Tesla shares up 3.7% after failing to move above a key resistance level. It appears there is some skepticism about the rally as Tesla is selling less EVs than its making and is cutting prices in China. Amazon meanwhile, gained 5.8%, closing near its high of the day and around 15% up from its low last Friday, and moved further above its 50-day moving average. These are positive signs.
US Treasuries (TLT:xnas, IEF:xnas, SHY:xnas) rallied on dovish ECB comments, strong 10-year auction
U.S. Treasuries were well bid through European hours in tandem with German bunds which rallied on dovish remarks from a typically hawkish Holzmann, an ECB Governing Council member. Treasuries held on to their gains and traded sideways for the most part of the New York session before rallying further with yields on the long-end falling further on a strong 10-year note auction. Yields on the 10-year were 8bps richer to 3.54%. Yields on the 2-year were off by 3bps to 4.22, bringing the 2-10-year curve 5bps more inverted to -68. Boston Fed’s Collins (non-voter) said she would “lean at this stage to 25 [basis point hike], but it’s very data-dependent.” Traders’ focus is now on the CPI data scheduled to release today.
What to watch in Australia and Asia: Oil rises for 5th day, Iron ore clears $120, copper rises to six month high entering a bull market
The Australian share market (ASXSP200.I) rose 1% in early trade, with Hong Kong’s market futures in the positive, as well as Japan’s futures. A major focus will be on resources, with the oil price jumping 3% to $77.41, as well as focus on industrial metal equites, that will likely rally again on optimism of China’s reopening, which has pushed some commodities into bull markets. The Copper price rose to $4.18 on the Comex market, rising 2.5% in New York, taking its rally of its July 2022 low to 29%. With copper at $9000 per tonne for the first time since June, Goldman thinks it could hit $11,500 by year-end. Copper remains Saxo’s preferred metal for its use in electrification and urbanisation (for more click here). Popular copper equities include BHP, Oz Minerals, Rio Tinto. Meanwhile, iron ore (SCOA) cleared $120 for the first time in 6-months, with the iron ore price up 54% from its October low. BHP is trading at its highest level in history. It makes 48.7% of its revenue from iron ore, 26.7% from copper and the remainder from coal. It has a PE of 8 times earnings, and a dividend yield of 13.8%. Rio Tinto also trades near its all-time high and it’s also involved in the key metals mention too; making 58% of its revenue from iron ore, 11% from copper, and the rest from aluminum and others. Rio’s PE is 6.8 times earnings, its dividend yield is 8.6%.
Hong Kong’s Hang Seng (HIF3) and China’s CSI300 (03188:xhkg) pared gains after making a 6-month high
After having taken out the top of trading range resistance and making a six-month new high, Hang Seng Index pared most of the gains to finish the Wednesday session up only 0.5%. Alibaba (09988:xhkg) gained 3.1% on the news report that the eCommerce platform giant entered into a strategic cooperation agreement with the municipal government of Hangzhou and a People’s Daily article sounded complimentary to the Ant Group. Air China (00753:xhkg) dropped by 1.2% and China Southern Airlines (01055:xhkg) shed 1.5% following China suspended issuing visas to visitors from South Korea and Japan. EV names gained even though the China Passenger Car Association (CPCA) dismissed the speculation on the relaxation of licensing restrictions in Beijing. EV maker BYD (01211:xhkg) and coal miner China Shenhua Energy (01088:xhkg), each rising around 4.7%, were the two top winners within the Hang Seng Index. Mainland China’s CSI300 was down 0.2%. Stocks in coal mining, oil and gas exploration, and development industries gained.
FX: USDJPY drops below 132 on possible BOJ action next week
The USD was range-bound on Wednesday as it awaited the key US CPI release, despite a drop in yields taking the 10-year yields closer to 3.50% support once again. Fed member Susan Collins, although a non-voter, she is leaning towards a 25bps hike at the February 1st meeting although the data will help guide her decision, adding further dovish hints in the day. However she still favoured rates above 5% and a pause thereafter throughout 2023. EURUSD broke above 1.0760 and EURCHF rose above parity for the first time since July. ECB’s De Cos said he sees “significant” rate hikes at the upcoming meetings. USDJPY saw a big move lower in the Asian morning to drop below 132 from highs of 132.88 yesterday with expectations of BOJ likely considering further tweaks to its YCC policy (read below).
FX watch: Australian trade data surged beyond expectations. US CPI next catalyst for AUDUSD
Australia’s trade balance data released today, rose well beyond expectations, with the trade balance surging to $13.2 billion, when consensus expected exports and imports to have fallen considerably in November, with the market expecting the surplus would fall from $12.2 billion to $11.3 billion. This data shows that trade has been improving, well ahead of China’s easing of restrictions – which is a positive sign. The AUD rallied to 69.18 US, which is the level it hit yesterday after Australian inflation and retail data came out hotter than expected. The next resistance level is a psychological one, 0.700 for the AUD vs the USD. However, if core US CPI comes out hotter than expected (5.7% YoY), then a hotter USD may pressure the AUD back down. Our Head of FX Strategy suggests if that happens the AUD could drop back to another support level. However the next few days are pivotal. Click for more on FX.
Crude oil (CLG3 & LCOH3) prices continue higher on China story
Crude oil prices rallied again overnight as signs of improving Chinese demand boosted sentiment. Chinese buyers have become active in the physical market, with Unipec snapping up about 3-4mbbl of US crude for March and April in recent days. This comes following news that China had issued a fresh batch of import quotas as it reopens following years of COVID-19 restrictions. Supply was supported by a huge build in US inventories, but could not dampen the price sentiment as higher inventories was expected. US crude oil stocks jumped 19m barrels last week, the biggest since Feb 2021, driven by a 2m b/d drop in exports to 2.1m b/d. WTI futures rose above $77.50/barrel while Brent got in close sight of $83.
No stopping the gains in metals space, yet
Industrial metals continued to march higher on positive signals from China on Zero Covid and policy stimulus. An apparent peak in infections follow the sudden dropping of COVID-19 restrictions has raised the prospect of an earlier than expected jump in industrial activity. Pent up consumer demand is likely to add to the clamour for metals. Aluminium, copper and iron ore, all rose to new highs. Iron ore (SCOF3) could be potentially ripe for a reversal, given China’s warning on tightening the supervision on iron ore pricing on Friday to crack down on speculators. Meanwhile, Copper’s gains to $4.16 have also been fast and could see scope for a correction, but the sharply improved technical outlook and limited investor positioning may drive it higher still in the short term.
Gold (XAUUSD) sees correction risks ahead of CPI
Gold prices are hovering around an 8-month high, but our Head of Commodity Strategy sees risk of correction even if ‘lower-than-expected’ CPI print sends gold higher to test the resistance level around $1900. He sees potential of profit taking emerge. He says, “Gold’s price action during the past week has in my opinion showed us the correct direction for 2023, but while the direction is correct, I believe the timing could be wrong.”
What to consider?
US CPI remains the most key data point to watch
There is enough reason to believe that we can get some further disinflationary pressures in the coming weeks. Economic momentum has been weakening, as highlighted by the plunge in ISM services last week into contraction territory, particularly with the forward-looking new orders subcomponent. An unusually warm winter has also helped to provide some reprieve from inflation pains. Bloomberg consensus forecasts are pointing to a softening in headline inflation to 6.5% YoY, 0.0% MoM (from 7.1% YoY, 0.1% MoM prev) while core inflation remains firmer at 5.7% YoY, 0.3% MoM (from 6.0% YoY, 0.2% MoM). Still, these inflation prints remain more than three times faster than the Federal Reserve’s 2% target. Fed officials have made it clear they expect goods price inflation to continue to ease, expecting another big drop in used car prices. But officials are seemingly focused on services ex-housing which remains high. So even a softer inflation print is unlikely to provide enough ammunition for the Fed to further slow down its pace of rate hikes.
Volatility on watch if US CPI sees a big surprise
The last two months have shown that big swings in US CPI can spark significant volatility in the equity markets, given the large amounts of hedging flows and short-term options covering. With a big focus on CPI numbers again this week, similar volatility cannot be ruled out. Volume might be thin still this week as many are still on holidays, so moves in equities could be amplified in either direction. Meanwhile, FX reaction to CPI has been far more muted, but some key levels remain on watch this week. A higher-than-expected CPI print could keep expectations tilted towards a 50bps rate hike again in February, while a miss could mean expectations of further slowdown in Fed’s tightening pace to 25bps in February could pick up which can be yield and dollar negative.
Apple plans to use its own displays in mobile devices
Apple (AAPL:xnas) aims to its own custom displays in the consumer electronic giant’s mobile devices starting in 2024, as opposed to procuring from Samsung and LG. It is the latest move in a series of initiatives from Apple to reduce reliance on sourcing components from partners, including chips from Broadcom and modems from Qualcomm.
China’s CPI expected modestly higher, PPI less negative
Economists surveyed by Bloomberg had a median forecast of China’s December CPI at an increase of 1.8% Y/Y, edging up from 1.6% in November, mainly due to base effects, as food prices are likely to be stable and higher outprices in the manufacturing sector might be offset by a fall in services prices. PPI in December is expected to be -0.1% Y/Y, a smaller decline from -1.3% Y/Y in November, benefiting from base effects. The decline in coal prices was likely to be offset by an increase in steel prices.
Signs of wage growth in Japan; could we see more action from BOJ next week?
The fast-fashion Japanese retailer Uniqlo (owned by Fast Retailing) is set to hike pay for many full-time staff in Japan by as much as 40% and will raise the salary for newly hired graduates by over 17%. Bank of Japan Governor Kuroda has long stated that inflation is only rising sustainably if Japanese wages also begin to rise in line with commodity and other input costs. Meanwhile, Yomuiri reported that BOJ officials will review the side effects of the ultra-easy monetary policy at their policy meeting next week, opening the door for further adjusting the yield curve control policy or the bond-buying as the central bank continues to see 10-year yields testing the new upper limit of 0.5%. Fast Retailing (9983:xtks) reports earnings today and a 10th straight quarter of operating profit growth is seen, although the pace of growth is likely to slow amid China’s lockdowns in the November-ended quarter and fading FX benefits.
TSMC (TSM:xnys) reporting Q4 results, 1H23 outlook and overseas expansion plans key to watch
Given the industry-wide inventory overhang, investors will be closing monitoring the world’s largest foundry’s 1H2023 revenue outlook when TSMC reports Q4 2022 results today. Investors will also pay much attention to the management’s comments on TSMC’s plans for building manufacturing capacities outside of Taiwan and mainland China which have implications on margins and capex spending. For Q4 results, analysts surveyed by Bloomberg, on average, are forecasting revenues coming at TWD636 billion and adjusted earnings at TWD11.087 per share.
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