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APAC Daily Digest: What is happening in markets, what to consider next - September 23, 2022

Equities 7 minutes to read
APAC Research

Summary:  Massive tightening was delivered globally after the Fed’s 75bps rate hike, which saw Bank of England, SNB, Norges Bank, and several emerging market central banks joining the race. Bond yields rose to fresh multiyear highs, with 10yr hitting 3.70% and 2yr well above 4%. The strength in the US labor market continues to hint at more room for tightening, and equities slumped. Japan’s intervention to defend the yen put some brakes on the dollar rally, but it would likely be ‘temporary’ at best, and focus shifts to US/UK and Eurozone PMIs today.

What is happening in markets?

The Nasdaq 100 (USNAS100.I) and S&P 500 (US500.I) pressured by bond yields rising. S&P500 experiencing a rare technical breach

With a parade of central banks joining the Fed in boosting rates to curb inflation, the US 10-year yield rose to 3.7% (its highest since 2011), while the two-year yield rose for the 11th day (which its longest rally in over three decades). This upward pressure in safe-haven yields is luring investors away from investing in companies exposed to inflation and facing earnings slowdowns. The Nasdaq Composite fell 1.4%, on Thursday, shedding 3% over the week, while the S&P500 lost 0.8% on Thursday, falling 3% Monday-Thursday. Of note, the S&P500 is experiencing a rare technical breach, as it trades under its 200-day moving average for over 100 sessions. The last time this occurred in the last 30 years; was in the tech bubble when the index fell 50% before hitting its trough, and before that, the Global Financial Crisis, when the index fell 40% before hitting its trough. The technical indicators show the index is poised for more downside with the June bottom likely to be retested in the coming weeks, then the next level of support is perhaps about the psychological level 3,500, which is 9.1% lower below current levels.

Get to know the best performer in the US stock market this week, with the most momentum, General Mills

The US’s biggest wheat producer General Mills (GIS) has outperformed the S&P500 this week and risen 7.4% and claimed the best performing post this week. It’s vital to reflect on why this is the case. We’ve been speaking about the Wheat (WHEATDEC22) price of late, being supported higher due to deteriorating global wheat supply, and now with Russia mobilizing fleet against Ukraine, the wheat price move supported higher again, on concerns Ukraine’s export terminal will be shut once more. Wheat is also in a technical uptrend, so we think stocks General Mills could be a stock to watch ahead, as its earnings are likely to swell. In the S&P500 this week, following General Mills (GIS) higher is; Kellogg and Campbell Soup, as the second and third best performers in the S&P500. Costco (COST) was down over 2% post-market on Thursday despite reporting better-than-expected earnings results. 

Australia’s ASX200 (ASXSP200.1) to react to the Fed after being closed yesterday for a public holiday

On Friday morning the futures are surprisingly calm, with the ASX200 suggested to only open 0.3% lower. So far this week, the ASX200 has once again outperformed global equities and only lost 0.5%, which is a stark contrast to the S&P500’s drop of 3%.  All eyes will be in cybersecurity stocks with Optus investigating a cyber-attack which may have led to authorized access of customer information. In terms of economic news to watch, S&P Global releases September PMI results. As for stocks to watching Fonterra might see increased bids after its APAC chief executive said she sees strong sales ahead for dairy protein. Rio Tinto will also be on watch after it signed a pact to promote low-carbon solutions for the steel value chain. Rio’s focus areas include low-carbon technology, blast furnace and basic oxygen furnace optimization and carbon capture utilization.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng (HSIU2) and China’s CSI300 (03188:xhkg)

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index was at 11-year lows yesterday amid the massive global tightening as well as rising geopolitical tensions. HSI later recovered some of the losses to end the day down 1.6%. Hong Kong's de-facto central bank mirrored the tightening and raised its base lending rate by 75 basis points to 3.5% with immediate effect. Hong Kong’s banks have waited through five rounds of rate hikes this year before moving. More pain is in store for Hong Kong’s borrowers, as the HKMA has been conducting its monetary policy in lockstep with the Fed since 1983 to maintain the local currency’s peg to the US dollar. EV shares tumbled with Xpeng down 11.6% and Nio falling 7.5%. Property sector continued to show weakness, with NWD down 3.4%. Meanwhile, CSI300 ended the day down 0.9%

EURCHF ignored the intervention warnings

EURCHF surged to 0.9700+ levels from 0.9465 after the SNB’s 75bps rate hike remained short of market’s expectation of a 100bps move. USDCHF also moved higher to touch 0.9850 from sub-0.9650 levels, but that was helped by a weaker US dollar following Japan’s intervention to defend the yen. With higher inflation forecasts, one can argue that there will be more room for the SNB to raise rates, and the CHF’s haven status could also come to its rescue as the case for economic slowdown gets stronger with the massive global tightening being delivered.

Crude oil (CLU2 & LCOV2) focus back on supply issues

Crude oil edged higher as OPEC warned of additional cuts to output. Nigeria’s oil minister, Timipre Sylva, said that OPEC would consider additional cuts if crude prices fall because current levels are affecting the budget of some member states. This helped the crude oil market to shrug off the massive tightening being delivered. A softer USD in the aftermath of Japan’s intervention also created room for the oil prices to focus on the demand-supply fundamentals. WTI futures rose to highs of $86/barrel before some easing, while Brent touched $92+.


What to consider?

SNB delivers a 75bps rate hike

The 75bps rate hike by the Swiss National Bank lifted the policy rate out of NIRP to 0.50% but disappointed the markets which had started to look for a 100bps rate hike. Guidance that further rate hikes cannot be ruled out was also accompanied by repeating guidance that they are willing to intervene in FX markets as necessary with Chairman Jordan subsequently stressing they are ready to step in to prevent excessive weakening or strengthening of the Franc.

Bank of England goes for a dovish 50bps as recession concerns imminent

While the consensus was looking for a 50bps rate hike from the Bank of England, market had started to price in a case for 75bps rate hike as well and so the decision to hike rates by 50bps was a slight disappointment. More so, the decision was not unanimous with three members supporting a 75bps move and one calling for a smaller 25bps move. However, the BoE confirmed that they are going to reduce their holdings of government bonds by GBP 80bln over the next 12 months, although the schedule remains open to amendments. Additionally, the BoE retained its guidance that they will continue to “respond forcefully” as necessary to inflation and while the peak forecast was reduced vs August’s update, it remains elevated and well above target. Finally, the Bank has downgraded its view on the UK economy in the near-term, Q3 2022 is now expected to see GDP declining by 0.1% (vs August projection of +0.4%), for a second quarter of contraction; a forecast which, if confirmed by the ONS release, implies the economy is already in a technical recession.

US jobless claims suggests a resilient labor market

Initial jobless claims marginally rose to 213k from the revised lower 208k but it was beneath the expected 218k. Meanwhile, continued claims fell to 1.379mln (prev. 1.401mln), also lower than the consensus 1.4mln, and dipped beneath 1.4mln for the first time since mid-July. While the strength in the labor market still remains intact given the large number of open positions in the American job market, some moderation can be expected in the coming months with the rapid pace of tightening and still-strained supply chains affecting output. However, as the Fed noted yesterday, the pace of rate hikes is set to continue despite some economic/labor market pain.

Japan’s intervention temporarily strengthens the yen

Japan’s first market intervention in over two decades came right after a hawkish FOMC and a steady policy decision by the Bank of Japan, with the widening yield differential between the US and Japan continuing to weigh on the Japanese yen. The intervention announcement came as USDJPY surged above 145 – the level that has been the line in the sand for last several weeks – and pair dropped to 140.36 over the next few hours. But as with most unilateral interventions, the effect was short-lived and USDJPY returned to 142+ levels subsequently, just as we had expected here. More steps remain likely, and the US Treasury said it understood Tokyo's move, but stopped short of endorsing it.

Eurozone PMIs on the card to gauge how hawkish ECB can get

Eurozone PMIs are likely to dip further into contractionary territory as energy price hikes weigh on spending and business plans. Manufacturing PMIs are likely to ease to 48.8 in September from 49.6 previously, and services are expected to fall to 49.1 from 49.8, according to Bloomberg consensus estimates. A weaker-than-expected number could temper the hawkish ECB bets for the October meeting.

Singapore and Malaysia inflation to see further upside pressures

Singapore’s headline inflation likely jumped further above the 7% mark in August from a reading of 7% YoY in July, underpinned by higher food and energy prices globally, higher rents due to under-supply, and demand side pressures from regional reopening and a pickup in tourism. Malaysia’s continued ban on chicken exports is also adding to the food inflation, and further tightening from the Monetary Authority of Singapore at the October meeting remains likely. Meanwhile, Malaysia’s inflation also likely rose further in August from 4.4% YoY in July due to higher commodity prices and weaker ringgit, as well as the strength in consumer demand. Bank Negara Malaysia’s next meeting is only scheduled in November, before which we will have another CPI print out. However, it can be assumed that monetary tightening will likely continue.

Costco outperforms. Is this a sign of what to expect for fourth quarter earnings season?

Costco reported fourth quarter earnings results that beat average analysts forecast, with total revenue hitting $72.09 billion, vs the $70.3 billion expected. It comes as fourth quarter membership fees rose 7.5% year on year, to $1.33 billion and accounted for 2% of the retailer's revenue. Although the company typically raises membership fees every five to six years (with its last fee increase in June 2017), Costco held off on rising fees “at this time”. Costco flagged that it sees some beginnings in the inflation situation improving, while it also expects to sell an overstock of holiday goods this season, which was left over from last year. Costco shares fell 2% post market after their results, implying its shares will sour when the market opens. 


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