What is our trading focus?
US equities (US500.I and USNAS100.I): It is all about today’s CPI report
US equity futures pushed lower yesterday with S&P 500 futures hitting a new low at the 4,485 level on the close for the downward cycle that started on 1 August; S&P 500 futures are rebound a bit this morning trading slightly above the 4,500 level. The market is waiting for the US July inflation report later which will provide fresh information on the underlying inflation in the US economy. Yesterday’s big moves across energy markets and new highs in price of rice might indicate that inflation can quickly come back to haunt the market.
Hong Kong & Chinese equities (HK50.I & 02846:xhkg): markets declined on the US curbing investments into China
Stocks declined in Hong Kong and mainland bourses after the Biden administration signed a well-anticipated executive order to curb US investments into China. The relatively narrow scope of the curb in terms of industries was in line with expectations leading to the announcement but the “intangible benefits” phrase and the possibility that Congress might push for a broader coverage such as including biotechnology and energy investments remain an overhanging concern among investors. Consumer discretionary, property, and Internet stocks were laggards in Hong Kong trading. Telco, oil and gas, coal mining, and tourism names gained. Cathay Pacific (00293:xhkg) rose 1.7% after reporting a 13-year high profit for H1. The Hang Seng Index shed 1% while the CSI300 slid around 0.4%.
FX: No fireworks ahead of US CPI
Dollar is little changed ahead of the US inflation release due for today. Despite a likely soft print today, inflation expectations may surge as crude oil and natural gas prices have been rising. EURUSD recovered from Tuesday’s lows of 1.0929 and 1.10 may come in focus again after Italy government decided to soften its stance on the windfall taxes on banks. USDJPY back higher to a fresh one-month high above 144, threatening more measures from authorities.
Natural gas: Spikes on Australian supply risks
The EU gas price surged higher on Wednesday and briefly headed above €43/MWh, up 40%, before closing lower. Concerns about supply interruptions due to strike actions in Australia, which could impact 10% of global LNG shipments, may cause increased competition for gas otherwise destined for Europe. Europe has become more reliant on LNG imports following the Ukraine war. But increasing competition with Asia has seen its imports fall in recently. Strong demand amid extreme weather in Asia has seen inventories fall sharply. Moves in North Asian LNG on watch today. Daily volumes in the prompt gas contract tripled to 155k contracts with the rally being exacerbated by short covering from contango-riding short-sellers
Crude oil: Supply concerns offset mixed US inventory report
Crude oil prices extended their month-long rally on Wednesday with WTI and Brent hitting nine and seven-month highs, as supply concerns continue to underpin prices. A Ukrainian drone attack on a Russian tanker in the Black Sea has raised concerns about the safe passage of around 15-20% of Russia’s daily oil exports, and potentially adding to the tightness already seen following recent voluntary production cuts. The EIA reported a 5.9m barrel rise in crude stocks, production was raised 0.4m b/d to a March 2020 high at 12.6m b/d while Strategic Reserves rose by 1m bbl. Focus on the US CPI print as well as OPEC’s Monthly Oil Market Report.
Gold: Extending downturn ahead of CPI print
Gold prices extended the slide on Wednesday to reach its lowest levels in a month at $1914, breaking below its recent $1920-1937 range. Weighed down by the prospect of an energy-related rise in inflation while short-term momentum focused traders continue to exit recently established longs. Total ETF holdings meanwhile continue to slump, down 109 tons this quarter to 2821 tons and lowest since April 2020. Key support ahead of $1900 where the June low and the 200-day moving average meet.
US Treasuries: CPI data and 30-year US Treasury auction in focus today (2YYU3, 10YU3, 30YU3)
Yesterday’s 10-year auction received strong demand, with indirect bidders rising to 72.2% and the bid-to-cover to 2.56x. Yet, the auction tailed slightly, showing investors require a higher yield to hold US Treasuries. The US yield curve flattened as China's trade slumped more than expected and entered deflation. Today the US Treasury is selling $23bn new 30-year notes, and if they are price above 4.08%, the auction would offer the highest yield in more than a decade. Therefore, we expect strong bidding metrics although the auction size has increased by 38% in size from last month. If CPI data shows an increase in core monthly inflation at 0.2% yields could fall, yet we expect their uptrend to remain intact.
European sovereign yields adjust higher (ECHB:xetr, IS0L:xetr)
As Italy backtracked parts of its windfall tax on banks, investors sold safe assets and took more risk yesterday. Yet, we might see markets removing bets of another rate hike by the end of the year if today US core CPI comes as expected at 0.2% MoM. Yet, when inflation concerns will be renewed by the fall, front-term government bonds will be in peril again before the bond bull market begins.
What is going on?
US CPI may not be able to get a Fed rate hike priced in for September
After a mixed US NFP jobs report on Friday failed to provide conviction to markets that the Fed can hike more from here, the focus turns to July inflation due on Thursday. The disinflation theme has so far been supported this year by the goods sector, while services have continued to create upside pressures. However, good prices may be seeing some pressures return amid an unfavourable base effect and modestly higher gas prices. Risks continue to escalate from drought conditions in the Panama Canal, El Nino weather patterns, labor strikes, and six consecutive weeks of gains in oil prices. However, shelter inflation now appears to be easing with the expected 12-month lag from measures of new rents and house prices. Shelter has been the biggest driver of services inflation, and it seems to be turning lower. Bloomberg consensus expects headline CPI to accelerate to 3.3% YoY in July from 3.0% YoY in June but stay unchanged at 0.2% MoM. On a core basis, CPI is expected to moderate to 4.7% YoY while remaining at 0.2% MoM. If inflation undershoots consensus expectations, the disinflation narrative will continue to gain traction, supporting risk assets.
Biden administration to restrain US investment in China's military-linked tech advancements
The Biden administration signed an executive order that aims to limit China’s progress in “sensitive” technology that “significantly enhances” that enhances China’s “abilities to conduct activities that threaten the national security of the U.S.” To do so, it'll restrict American investments as well as “intangible benefits” accompanying these investments including market access and networking in advanced semiconductors, AI, and quantum computing in China, including Hong Kong and Macao. This signifies unprecedented federal oversight to scrutinize and sometimes hinder such investments in China's tech sector. The order prevents U.S. funds from aiding China's military modernization. However, the rules won't take effect until 2024. During this time, public input will be sought for refining these regulations before finalization. Initially broader, the administration's investment limitations were refined after engaging with the private sector for months.
Novo Nordisk Q2 Wegovy sales exceed estimates
The recent trial data announcement from Novo Nordisk, which we reflected on in yesterday’s equity note, has bolstered the long-term growth outlook as the company’s weight-loss drug Wegovy is shown to reduce heart risks by 20%. Despite high expectations Novo Nordisk is reporting Q2 figures this morning beating expectations in its obesity segment with Wegovy Q2 sales at DKK 7.5bn vs est. DKK 7bn, but overall revenue and EBIT slightly disappointed. In its outlook, Novo Nordisk continues to be conservative saying that it expects Wegovy to gradually be rolled out internationally, but also saying that it is adding significant Wegovy capacity daily. Finally, Novo Nordisk will split shares 2-for-1 on 13 September.
Siemens shares slide 4% on disappointing Q3 earnings figures
Siemens reports FY23 Q3 (ending 30 June) earnings this morning with revenue at €18.9bn vs est. €19.3bn. The industrial company is saying that it is going to continue reducing its shares in the troubled Siemens Energy, and the CEO said China’s economy is much weaker than expected earlier this year. Shares are down 4% in pre-market trading.
Disney shares rise despite big miss on Disney+ streaming
Disney reported last night Q3 earnings (ending 30 June) Disney+ subscriber figures of 146.1mn vs est. 154.8mn as the company is raising prices on its Disney+ streaming service. The company announced that it is raising prices by as much as 27% globally which should help drastically on profitability going forward in the Disney+ business. Investors clearly liked the message of focus on profits rather than pursuing high growth shares share up 2% in extended trading.
What are we watching next?
Analysts expect robust growth in Alibaba's Q1 FY24 revenue and earnings
Alibaba is poised to unveil its Q1 FY24 results today, with consensus estimates projecting a 9% Y/Y rise in revenue, reaching RMB223.8 billion, and a substantial 27% surge in adjusted net income, amounting to RMB38.4 billion. Anticipations indicate that both Customer Management Revenue (CMR) and Gross Merchandise Value (GMV) are set to experience high-single-digit growth, leveraging the success of the robust 6.18 shopping festival. Notably, Alibaba's reporting will be structured around the six newly established business segments.
- S&P 500. Downtrend. Support at 4,455. Likely to drop below 4,400. Support at 4,340
- Nasdaq 100. Correction down to 14,750 likely
- Hang Seng broken bullish. Likely move to 20,155 and 20,865.
- DAX Bearish. Likely to drop to 15,482 support area
- AEX25 Closed below support at 768 i.e., downtrend to 748 support
- BEL20 uptrend but likely minor correction
- CAC40 Key support at 7,251. If broken downtrend to 7,100
- EURUSD Finding support at 0.786 retracement. Likely bounce and uptrend to resume
- Dollar Index rejected at 0.786 retracement at 102.41
- GBPUSD bounced just above key support at 1.2590. RSI bullish indicating higher GBPUSD
- USDJPY above resist at 143.40. Likely to test 145
- EURJPY above strong resist at 158. Likely to move to 160.60
- Gold below support at 1,929. Now at 0.786 retracement. Could test June low at 1,892
- Copper below support at 382. Next support 370
- Brent above resistance at 83. Next resistance at 88.20. Minor correction could be seen
- WTI above resistance at 83.35
- Dutch Gas resistance at 50.30
- US 10-year correction but uptrend intact. Support at 3.90. Resistance at 4.22
Earnings to watch
Today’s US earnings focus is Alibaba which reports FY24 Q1 (ending 30 June) earnings before the market opens with analysts expecting revenue growth of 9% y/y and EBITDA of CNY 44.8bn vs CNY 36.1bn a year ago. Given the lackluster macroeconomic performance in China the revenue expectations may be too optimistic.
- Thursday: KBC Group, Brookfield, Novo Nordisk, Orsted, Siemens, Deutsche Telekom, Allianz, Munich Re, Hapag-Lloyd, RWE, Antofagasta, Zurich Insurance, Alibaba
- Friday: Constellation Software, Wilmar International
Economic calendar highlights for today (times GMT)
- During the day: OPEC’s Monthly Oil Market Report
- 1230 – US Continuing Claims
- 12:30 – US July CPI
- 1300 – Fed's Daly (non-voting) Speaks on Yahoo Finance
- 1430 – EIA's Weekly Natural Gas Storage Change
- 1900 – Fed's Bostic (non-voting) Gives Remarks at Event About Employment
- 2015 – Fed's Harker (voting) Speaks on Employment