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Market Insights Today: US equities off lows, RBNZ in focus, – October 5, 2022

APAC Strategy Team

Summary:  Oil rallies for the second day with OPEC+ considering an output cut as much as 2 million barrels a day, which is more than anticipated. US stocks rallied for the second day, moving off their lows on softer than expected labor market data that supported the notion of central bank peak hawkishness. The Reserve Bank of Australia hikes less than expected, and the Reserve Bank of New Zealand meeting ahead today. Also watch for the US ISM services print later, pivotal for Fed pivot expectations that are gaining momentum prematurely.


What is happening in markets?

Nasdaq 100 (USNAS100.I) and S&P 500 (US500.I) rally for the second day, moving off lows

US stocks rallied for the second day, rebounding from their deeply oversold levels with the S&P500 seeing its best two-day surge since April 2020. The S&P500 ended up almost 3.1% higher on Wednesday, the Nasdaq 100 up 3.1%. Retail favorite, Tesla (TSLA) shares revved up 2.9% after Cathie Wood scooped up 132,000 more shares in the electric vehicle giant. Tesla was among the biggest contributors to the S&P500’s gains, along with Amazon and Microsoft. For a detailed discussion of Tesla’s challenges ahead, please refer to Peter Garnry’s excellent article here. The Energy sector was the best performer in the S&P 500, gaining 4.3%, followed by Financials which were up 3.8%. Only seven stocks in the S&P500 closed in the red. However, the news of the day was that Twitter’s takeover by Musk is back on. On top of that, softer US economic data out also boosted sentiment, with the market thinking the Fed might not be as fierce with rate hikes later this month. US job openings sank to a 14-month low, following the day prior weaker than expected manufacturing data. So, perhaps a short-squeeze is fueling the rally here.

U.S. treasury yields (TLT:xnas, IEF:xnas, SHY:xnas) declined modestly on the front end

Treasury yields fell first on a dovish hike (25bps vs the 50bps expected) from the Reserve Bank of Australia during Asian hours and then on the biggest decline of the JOLTS job opening (10,053K vs prior 11,239K).  10-year yields made an intraday low at 3.56% before paring it and settled little changed at 3.63%.  The curve bull steepened with the front-end 2 to 5-year fell 2-3bps in yield and the 30-year yield edging up 1bp. 

Australia’s ASX200 (ASXSP200.1) rallied above 6,700, snapping its downtrend

The ASX200 charged 3.75% yesterday (including the 1.2% rise after the RBA’s pivoted to going softer on rate hikes) which took the market to its highest level since September 23 (just shy of 6,700, closing at 6,699). Today the market opened 0.8% up in the first 10 minutes of trading, with the futures implying the market could rise 1.6% on Thursday to 6,803. If the market can hold above 6,700 it means the market will effectively have broken its downtrend and is staging a comeback. This notion was supported by our technical analyst. For more read on here.

EURUSD touches parity again

Lower US yields and a softer US dollar is turning things around in the FX space, although pricing out the Fed rate hikes from 2023 appears to be premature. Some of this could also be the positioning ahead of key US NFP data due this week. EUR made a strong recovery on the back of a weaker dollar, as it rose from lows of 0.9800 to touch parity. Commentary from the ECB’s Villeroy also helped, as he said that interest rates will be raised as much as necessary to lower core inflation and called for rates to go to neutral by year-end without hesitation. Meanwhile, President Lagarde reiterated her view that inflation was undesirably high, and it is difficult to say whether or not it had peaked.

Crude oil (CLX2 & LCOX2) higher on OPEC cut expectations

Crude oil prices rose further amid speculation that OPEC is considering an even larger cut to production than first thought. The group is said to be considering a cut of up to 2mb/d, according to media reports. It is also being reported that the cuts will be made from current production levels and not the quotas as most members are already producing below their quota. That, if true, will likely tighten the market especially as European sanctions will kick in from December and US is also pausing the release from its strategic reserves. This tightness could be exacerbated by a rebound in Chinese demand if it can contain outbreaks of COVID-19. WTI futures rose above $86/barrel while brent crossed the key $90-mark. A significant draw was also reported in API inventories, with crude stocks down 1.77mn.

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

Hong Kong is set to have some catch-up to do with the 5.7% gain in the S&P 500 and 6.1% rise in the NASDAQ Golden Dragon China Index when it returns from a public holiday today.  The stock markets in Shanghai and Shenzhen remain closed for the rest of the week for public holidays.  

 

What to consider?

US JOLTs signalling the tightness in the labor market may be moderating

US JOLTs data was out with a weaker than expected number. The number of job openings in the U.S. declined to 10.1 million in August, the lowest since June 2021, and below expectations of 10.8 million. The job openings rate was down to 6.2% from 6.9% in July, and puts the focus on the ADP data due today in the run upto the NFP data on Friday.

OPEC+ meeting to bring production cuts

There have been some reports that OPEC members have started talking about cuts with Russia proposing a 1 mln barrels per day cut, a reduction towards which they are unlikely to contribute much as they are already producing below their quota. At its last meeting on September 5, the group agreed a token reduction of 100,000 barrels a day for October, despite calls from consuming nations to help tame rampant inflation by keeping the taps open. With gasoline prices retreating in the US, some of that external pressure may now be easing, and that further raises the prospects of some price-supportive action. FT also reported the production cuts will be from current production levels, not from the quota's which many producers do not meet - emphasising the impact of the production cut.

The credit market showed signs of calming down

Over the past two days, the sharp rise in investment credit spreads has tentatively reserved, showing some sign of relief in the investment grade credit market.  The Markit CDX North America Investment Grade Index (CDX IG39), which represents an equal-weighted average of credit default swap spreads of 125 North American investment grade corporate, fell more than 6bps on Tuesday to 98bps, a decline of nearly 16bps from its intraday high of 114 last week.

The Reserve Bank of New Zealand meeting ahead

The RBNZ will announce its latest monetary policy decision today. NZ house prices have seen one of their biggest quarterly drops on record in the three months to September. It’s worth watching the NZD against the AUD (NZDAUD) given their current account trajectories.

RBA hiked less than expected, signaling peak hawkishness could be behind it. What does it mean to traders and investors?

Yesterday the RBA rose rates by just 25bps (0.25%) instead of the 50bps (0.5%) expected, which took the cash rate to 2.6%. The RBA’s hiking power has been diminished as household spending is dropping, along with forward looking projections. We know it typically takes 3-months for an interest rate hike to be felt by the consumer, and the RBA alluded to this, in saying higher inflation and interest rates are putting pressure on households, with the full effects yet to be felt. The RBA referenced although consumer confidence and house prices had fallen, the central bank is still focused on slowing inflation which it sees increasing ‘over the coming months ahead’. Plus the RBA expects unemployment will continue to fall over the months ahead, before rising. This means, the RBA could slow the pace of hikes after December onwards. This implies peak hawkishness is behind us. AUDUSD fell 1% after the meeting however it since reversed those losses and trades 0.6% higher from the meeting. It’s been supported as the USD continued to roll over on expectations the Fed might not be as aggressive with rate hikes later this month. However if the Fed perhaps hikes by 0.75% the AUDUSD might revert back to a bearish stance. For investors, the RBA pivot supports a risk-on tone in equities which is why all 11 sectors rose yesterday, with tech and mining up the most. Energy markets saw the most gains as they have the most momentum amid the energy crisis. Lithium and agricultural stocks dominated the top 10 risers; with lithium stocks Sayona Mining (SYA), Lake Resources (LKE), Core Lithium (CXO), Pilbara Minerals (PLS) and Allkem (AKE), gaining 10%+ each.

Musk revived his $44 billion Twitter bid send Twitter shares up 22%

Billionaire Elon Musk revived his bid for the social media giant, at the original offer of $54.20 a share after spending months trying to back out of it. Shares of Twitter (TWTR) jumped almost 22% to $52.00 on the news.

US ISM services will be key to watch today

With chatter on Fed pivot gaining momentum out of a miss in one ISM manufacturing print, possibly also underpinned by the turmoil in the financial system, it will become more key to watch the services sector data out today. Consensus expects the number to be 56, down from 56.9, as higher interest rates and high inflation begins to eat into services spending after a solid post-pandemic rebound.

 

 

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