Financial Markets Today: Quick Take – April 26, 2022
Saxo Strategy Team
Summary: Market sentiment stabilized yesterday ahead of the heart of earnings season kicking off today, with the slide in the Chinese renminbi halted after official moves signaled some support for the currency. Still, the threat of Covid lockdowns looms in Beijing with tens of millions set for testing. Elsewhere, Elon Musk is set to take Twitter private in a debt-heavy deal, oil rebounded from a deep sell-off and gold has tested existential support.
What is our trading focus?
Nasdaq 100 (USNAS100.I) and S&P 500 (US500.I) - S&P 500 futures tested the 4,200 level yesterday as we highlighted was possible but found quick support before bouncing back to close above Friday’s close. That is a short-term positive signal but earning releases this week can still wreck this rebound trade, so we expect volatility to remain high over the coming days.
Hong Kong’s Hang Seng (HSI.I) and China’s CSI300 (000300.I) - with another round of supportive rhetoric from central bank officials and pledge from the State Council to boost domestic consumption, markets found a bid in morning trading but their gains pared in the afternoon. Hang Seng Index was up 1.5% while CSI300 was down modestly. Chinese mega cap internet names traded in Hong Kong and retailers traded in the mainland were among the top gainers. HSBC reported in-line earnings, but common equity tier 1 (‘CET1’) capital ratio came at 14.1%, down 1.7 per centage point from 4Q21. Share price fell over 3%.
Stoxx 50 (EU50.I) - signals from PBOC to support the Chinese economy and better than expected earnings from HSBC, UBS, Santander, and a FY profit guidance increase from Maersk are lifting equity sentiment with Stoxx 50 futures trading around the 3,735 level in early trading hours. That puts European equity futures back into the trading range from the past two weeks, but technically European equities remain weak it requires good news from earnings, China, and the war in Ukraine to move things higher.
GBPUSD and USD/commodity currency and USD/EM pairs – with some relief in risk sentiment yesterday, the US dollar rally eased after first having extended its strength earlier in the day. As noted below, much of the force of the recent move has been linked by a jolt higher in USDCNH, which after a long period of quiet is finally catching up to the broader picture of USD strength and adding to that USD strength elsewhere. The weakest of currencies against the greenback in recent sessions have been commodity-linked, EM and Asian currencies with a significant exposure to China, but also sterling, which has suffered a vicious sell-off as the outlook for the UK economy rapidly deteriorates amidst soaring cost-of-living headwinds, cratering confidence, supply-side limitations, and massive external deficits. GBPUSD traders may eventually eye the ultimate support of 1.2000.
USDCNH at the center of the recent violent extension of the US dollar rally has been a marked weakening of the Chinese renminbi, which has come after a long period of extreme quiet even as volatility picked up elsewhere. Yesterday, China moved to cut the reserve-ratio-requirement for Chinese banks’ forex reserves by 1% (to 8% from 9%) to increase the supply of USD, a gesture suggesting that the recent pace of CNY devaluation has proceeded more rapidly than desired. The PBOC overnight promised targeted support for the economy, but the concerns linked to China’s zero-Covid strategy and threat weighs of a lockdown of Beijing similar to the recent experience in Shanghai.
Gold (XAUUSD) trades back above $1900 supported by higher oil prices and a softer dollar. This following a two-day sell off that was triggered by aggressive US rate hike signals and a sharp drop in silver (XAGUSD) on growth concerns. With support around $1890 holding once again the yellow metal needs a break above support-turned-resistance at $1915. The Fed is currently on a collision course with the PBoC which needs to add stimulus on mounting growth fears, and it raises the question of whether the FOMC will be able to hike rates as aggressively as expected by the market. Until that question gets answered, the market is likely to get its directional input from oil (inflation and geo-risk gauge) as well as developments in China.
Crude oil (OILUKJUN22 & OILUSJUN22) bounced back following a two-day decline that briefly saw Bent crude dip below $100. A lockdown related drop in Chinese demand for fuel together with the prospect of a rapid succession of US rate hikes to curb growth have been the focus this past week. However, with the supply picture being as tight as it currently is, especially with Europe considering a ban on Russian crude imports, any signs of an improve situation in China would attract a renewed bid. Until then these major opposing forces are likely to keep the market rangebound and nervous. In Brent, only a break below $98 would signal additional and potential deep losses from technical selling. Resistance just above $106.50 where the 21- and 50-day moving averages meet.
US Treasuries (IEF, TLT) were sold late yesterday after posting a new 1-week low in yields, taking the yield for the 10-year benchmark back into the range above 2.82%. The high for the cycle in that important yield has been just above 2.95% - with 3.00% perhaps a psychological resistance ahead of the 2018 high near 3.26%.
What is going on?
US planting progress and crop conditions continue to highlight a challenging situation. A weekly report released Monday showed corn planting (CORNDEC22) had advanced by 3% to being 7% complete, the slowest pace in almost ten years and trailing last year’s pace of 17%. Winter wheat rated good/excellent dropped 3% to 27% and was near the worst on record. The planting delays and conditions have been caused by the weather being too cold, too wet, or a combination of both. Big grain harvests in North America are needed this year after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has reduced shipments out of the Black Sea, from where 25% of the global wheat export originates, while raising doubts about this year’s crop production in Ukraine.
Twitter board agrees with Musk on deal. The two parties agreed yesterday with a purchase price of $54.20/share translating into a takeover market value of $44bn and part of the deal is massive use of debt which multiplied with the current interest rates will eat most of Twitter’s immediate operating profits, but since the company is going private the profit generation is no longer the main objective. Our view is that Musk’s acquisition of Twitter could be a problem for Tesla going forward as governments may use Musk’s ownership of Twitter against him in negotiations with Tesla.
Bank of Canada Governor Tiff Macklem says BoC considering 50 basis point hike. In testimony before Parliament, Macklem admitted that the BoC “got some things wrong” in its policy mix, voiced concern about broadening price pressures and guided for further tightening. Bank of Canada rate expectations were actually slightly lower yesterday, with CAD moves of late, at least in USDCAD, yesterday more correlated with risk sentiment and crude oil prices. The Bank of Canada is already priced to hike at least 50 basis points at each of its next three meeting.
USDJPY lacks direction ahead of BoJ meeting on Thursday. The Japanese yen gains yesterday and overnight were capped by a rebound in US treasury yields. Japan finance minister Suzuki said that there is no truth to the media report on Japan/US discussion on joint FX intervention. While there may be room for a further fall in USDJPY given the outsized gains we have seen so far, policy divergence between the Fed and Japan remains the key theme and any BOJ policy tweak this week remains on watch.
US earnings recap. Coca-Cola beat expectations yesterday and is seeing higher revenue growth than what analysts had expected suggesting analysts are behind the curve on inflation dynamics and what it means for revenue growth. Activision Blizzard also reported earnings yesterday, which is part of the entertainment industry, and reported worse than expected figures with revenue especially disappointing at $1.48bn vs est. $1.81bn.
IMF warns on Asia stagflation risk. IMF has said that the Asian region faces stagflationary outlook with growth being lower than previously expected and inflation being higher. The larger-than-expected slowdown in China due to prolonged or more widespread lockdowns, longer-than-expected slump in the property market, constitutes significant risk for Asia. Monetary tightening will be needed in most countries, with speed of tightening depending on domestic inflation developments and external pressures.
IFO April German business confidence surprises on the upside. The headline index was up at 91.8 versus an estimated 89.0. The current assessment index is moving upward too, at 97.2 versus estimated 95.9. Finally, the expectations index is out at 86.7 versus estimated 83.5. This is very positive, of course. But we think optimism will not last. There are several factors which will negatively impact the German economy in the coming months: the possible new cold war, prevalent supply chain disruptions, higher energy bills, the acceleration of deglobalisation etc. All of this will have negative consequences on the German export industry. Be ready for worse data in the coming months.
Inflation is hitting the UK consumer hard. According to the latest ONS survey, 43 % of UK households said they encountered difficulties paying their energy bill in March and 43 % say they will probably be unable to save in the next twelve months. These data are compared with a year ago. Expect UK consumption to fall sharply in the coming months. The likelihood of a recession is increasing, of course.
What are we watching next?
Risk of further Chinese Covid lockdowns. The current focus in China as Covid spreads there is Beijing, where partial shutdowns were already ordered yesterday of one region of the city, but with mass testing of 20 million Beijing area residents set to begin. The province of Inner Mongolia is also a focus on concerns that Covid-related disruptions are set to reduce rare earth metal production there.
Technology earnings and their profit margins. Net profit margins are confirming their downtrend in Q1 according to preliminary earnings data, but technology companies measured by the Nasdaq 100 are seeing less impact on margins from rising input costs. As technology companies are the biggest constituents in the main indices it crucial how these companies perform on earnings this week, but also that they can demonstrate less impact from inflation. The first test of this thesis is tonight with earnings from Microsoft, Alphabet, and Visa.
Earnings Watch. Today’s earnings focus is on Microsoft, Alphabet and Visa which are all reporting after the US market close, which is the first real test of the US technology sector for the Q1 following preliminary disappointments from Netflix and yesterday’s Activision Blizzard earnings.
- Today: Kweichow Moutai, Ganfeng Lithium, First Quantum Minerals, Tryg, FANUC, Canon, HSBC, Banco Santander, Iberdrola, Atlas Copco, Novartis, UBS Group, Kuehne + Nagel, Microsoft, Alphabet, Visa, PepsiCo, UPS, Texas Instruments, Raytheon Technologies, General Electric, Mondelez, Chubb, 3M
- Wednesday: LONGi Green Energy, Teck Resources, DSV, Novozymes, Kone, Dassault Systemes, STMicroelectronics, Deutsche Bank, BYD, China Shenhua Energy, China Petroleum & Chemical, UniCredit, Keyence, GlaxoSmithKline, Lloyds Banking Group, Yara International, Iberdrola, Assa Abloy, SEB, Credit Suisse, Meta, Qualcomm, Amgen, Boeing, PayPal, ServiceNow, Ford, Southern Copper
- Thursday: Nokia, Sanofi, TotalEnergies, Denso, Hitachi, Barclays, Nordea, Apple, Amazon, Mastercard, Eli Lilly, Thermo Fisher, Merck, Comcast, Intel, McDonald’s, Linde, Caterpillar, Hershey, Twitter
- Friday: ICBC, China Yangtze Power, Midea Group, WuXi AppTec, TC Energy, Imperial Oil, Orsted, Neste Danske Bank, BASF, China Construction Bank, Agricultural Bank of China, Ping An Insurance, COSCO Shipping, Eni, AstraZeneca, BBVA, Hexagon, Exxon Mobil, Chevron, AbbVie, Bristol-Myers, Honeywell, Colgate-Palmolive
Economic calendar highlights for today (times GMT)
- 0900 – ECB’s de Cos to speak
- 1040 – ECB's de Cos to speak
- 1200 – Hungary Central Bank Rate Decision
- 1215 – ECB's Villeroy to speak
- 1230 – US Mar. Preliminary Durable Goods Orders
- 1300 – US Feb. S&P CoreLogic Home Price Index
- 1400 – US Apr. Conference Board Consumer Confidence
- 1400 – US Apr. Richmond Fed Manufacturing Index
- 1400 – US Mar. New Home Sales
- 0130 – Australia Q1 CPI
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