What is happening in markets?
Nasdaq 100 (USNAS100.I) and S&P 500 (US500.I) declined in a light volume session
U.S. stocks declined on Thursday, giving back further the rally earlier in the week. S&P500 dropped 1%, with 10 out of 11 sectors in the red with the exception of the energy sector which benefited from a 1.4% rise in WTI crude to USD89.1. Tech-heavy Nasdaq 100 was down 0.8%. Hawkish Fed official commentaries kept investors cautious of taking on risks ahead of the employment report today and the CPI release next week. The trading volume was light. Twitter (TWTR:xnys) fell 3.7% as investors awaiting Musk’s acquisition of the company to complete. Social networking site Pinterest (PINS:xnys) surged 4.8% and game software developer Take-Two Interactive (TTWO:xnas) climbed 3.5% on analyst upgrades. Advanced Micro Devices (AMD:xnas) plunged nearly 4% during the extended-hour trading after the chip maker announced preliminary Q3 sales missing expectations.
U.S. treasury yields (TLT:xnas, IEF:xnas, SHY:xnas) cheapened on hawkish Fed official commentaries
U.S. treasuries bear flattened on Thursday as the front end of the curve got cheaper on more pushbacks from the Fed’s Cook, Kashkari, and Waller to the idea of a Fed pivot. Traders have taken the terminal Fed Fund rate expectation back up to 4.57% and a 77% probability of a 75bp rate hike in the November FOMC. 2-year yields surged 11bps to 4.26% and 10-year yields climbed 7bps to 3.82%.
Hong Kong’s Hang Seng (HSIU2) took a pause after a strong rally the day before
The Hang Seng Index took a pause after yesterday’s 5.9% rally, trading side-way throughout the day and finished 0.4% lower after a failed attempt to climb to positive territory in the early afternoon. In anticipation of eventually removing all pandemic control restrictions for people arriving in Hong Kong, shopping malls, retailers, and airlines gained. In addition, the Hong Kong Government plans to give away 500,000 free air tickets to attract travellers to visit Hong Kong. Wharf Real Estate (01997:xhkg), which owns commercial properties, gained 4.7% and was the best performer in the benchmark index. Chow Tai Fook, a jewelry retailer, climbed 1.4%. Cathay Pacific (0293:xhhg) gained 3.5% and China Eastern Airlines (00670:xhkg), China Southern Airlines (01055:xhkg), and China Airlines (00753:xhkg) surged from 5.7% to 6.9%. Automakers were laggards, with leading names falling from 2.5% to 7%. Despite the latest research note from a major U.S. investment bank forecasting a 30% drop in Hong Kong’s residential property prices on higher interest rates, shares of local developers finished the day with modest gains. On the other hand, CIFI (00884:xhkg) tumbled 15.3% as the mainland China developer is in discussion with banks about posting an interest payment. Alibaba (09988:xhkg) shed 1.2% following the news that the Shanghai Municipal Government removed Alipay from its list of high-tech companies which are entitled to tax benefits because Alipay failed to meet the requirement on spending on research and development.
The dollar rose on higher bond yields
The DXY rose 0.9% to 112.2 on higher U.S. bond yields, gaining against G10 currencies. The Aussie dollar sold off to 0.6410, approaching its September 28 ow of 0.6363. USDJPY moved back up to above 145, testing the Ministry of Finance’s resolve to cap the depreciation of the Yen.
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.
Metals gain as LME places restrictions on Russian copper, zinc and aluminium
The London Metal Exchange said it will restrict deliveries of some Russian metal. Starting immediately, metal from UMMC or its Chelyabinsk Zinc unit can only be delivered to LME warehouses if the owner can prove it won’t constitute a breach of recent sanctions on the firm’s co-founder, Iskandar Makhmudov. The industry has been grappling with the question of how to handle supplies from Russia - a major producer of aluminium, nickel and copper - since the invasion of Ukraine in February, and the debate has intensified over the past month. HG Copper (HGZ2) rose to a near one-month high of $3.59 before reversing gains later as a strong dollar weighed on investor appetite.
What to consider?
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 form a pause in rate hikes” and “not seeing evidence that underlying inflation peaked”. 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. Charles Evans 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.
ECB minutes suggest inflation concerns
The ECB minutes from the September 7-8 meeting were released, 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 fully price a 50bps rate hike for October, and an increasing chance of another 75bps move as well.
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.
Advanced Micro Devices (AMD:xnas) announced preliminary Q3 sales missing expectations
AMD pre-announced Q3 revenues at around USD5.6 billion, much below its previous guidance of about USD6.7 billion. The company cited weaker demand for PC and a build-up of inventory in the PC supply chain for the poor performance. Later on, in the Asian session, Samsung pre-announced a weaker profit for Q3 as well, signalling the margin squeeze that is likely to become broader into the Q3 earnings season. Samsung said Q3 profit is likely to fall 32% as demand slumped.
The World Bank cut India’s growth forecast by 1% point to 6.5%
The World Bank reduced its forecast for India’s GDP growth in the year to March 2023 by 1% to 6.5%, citing a slowdown in the global economy and rising interest rates. This comes despite a double-digit growth in the April-June quarter and RBI’s 7% growth forecast for FY 2023, and generally reflects the tough global macro environment, along with some pullback in consumption as RBI raises rates.
US NFP data key for markets
The payrolls data is due in the US today, and it is likely to give out further signals on the tightness in the labor market even if we see some slight cooling in the headline print. Bloomberg consensus estimate stand at gains of 255k for September from 315k last month, with unemployment rate and average hourly earnings steady at 3.7% and 0.3% respectively. The annual rate of wage growth is expected to cool a notch. Initial jobless claims rose to 219k after a sub-200k print last week, but it does not feed directly into the NFP. With markets at the edge on whether to price in further Fed tightening or not, even a slight miss in the NFP data could result in some more calls of a Fed pivot, and greater Fed pushback will be needed to pushback easing expectations from 2023 market pricing.
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