What is our trading focus?
Nasdaq 100 (USNAS100.I) and S&P 500 (US500.I)
The US November CPI report was exactly what the market was hoping for, sending S&P 500 futures on a rally to the 4,180 level before being sold off declining 3% from the high to the close. This rejection indicates that the market is doubting itself despite the lower US core inflation print. A weak session by Tesla suggests that while inflation fears might be disappearing growth fears will begin to take hold instead posing a new threat to the equity market.
Hong Kong’s Hang Seng (HIZ2) and China’s CSI300 (03188:xhkg)
Hong Kong and Chinese stocks edged up higher. The news about a delay in China’s central economic work conference due to a surge in Covid inflections in Beijing. Investors are encouraged by signs that the Chinese authorities are not reversing course despite outbreaks after the easing of restrictions. China will stop reporting infections without symptoms as mandatory testing has been dropped. Hang Seng Index climbed 0.7%, led by technology names. Chinese educational services providers were among the top gainers. In A-shares, CSI 300 gained 0.3%, with tourism, lodging, Chinese liquor, and semiconductor outperforming.
FX: USD dumped after another soft CPI print
The US dollar sold off on Tuesday on the softer November CPI print in the US taking US treasury yields sharply lower. AUDUSD pared some of the gains in early Asian trade and slid below 0.6840 amid concerns on China’s Covid cases ramping up further which also led to the postponement of the Central Economic Work Conference. USDJPY took a brief look below 135 after the CPI release but some of the move was erased later. EURUSD surged to 1.0673 and remains supported above 1.0620 ahead of the FOMC meeting today and ECB meeting tomorrow.
Crude oil (CLF3 & LCOG3) pauses ahead of FOMC
Crude oil trades softer ahead of FOMC after rallying 6% over the previous two sessions, driven by an improved risk appetite following Tuesday's CPI print and encouraging signs from China where easing restrictions eventually will boost demand. The rally however slowed after the API reported a 7.8 million barrel rise in crude inventories versus expectations for a +3 million barrel draw from EIA later, and OPEC urged caution as it cut its Q1 23 oil demand forecast. The IEA will publish its monthly report later today. Goldman cut its Q1 price forecast by $20 to $90/bbl siting weak demand while saying “The structural oil cycle has taken a pause this year”. Apart from IEA, also focus on a potential Russian response to the price cap and not least today’s FOMC result.
Gold (XAUUSD), silver (XAGUSD) and copper (HGH3) all rallied strongly following the lower-than-expected US CPI print
Gold closed at its highest level since July above $1808 while silver reached an 8-month high above $24. The recovery in silver has been impressive with the market only requiring 15 weeks to recover half of what it lost during an 82-week period from Feb 2021 to Sept this year. Copper meanwhile briefly traded above its 200-day moving at $3.913/lb before finding stiff resistance ahead of the $4/lb area. All metals finding support from a weaker dollar and lower bond yields on signs that the worst inflation has likely passes, suggesting the Fed could further slow the pace of rate hikes next year.
US 10-year treasury benchmark rebounds further (TLT:xnas, IEF:xnas, SHY:xnas)
Immediately after the release of the soft CPI data which increased the chance of further downshift to a 25bp hike instead of 50bps in February, the whole yield curve shifted down with the 2-year at one point shedding 24bps to 4.13% and the 10-year 20bps richer to as low as 3.41%. The money market curve now prices the terminal rate at around 4.82% in 2023, down from 4.98%. The long-end however did not manage to keep their gains after some large block selling in the 10-year contracts and a weak 30-year auction. The 10-year gave back nearly half of the gain to close the session 11bps richer at 3.50%. The 2-10-year curve steepened to 72bps. The yield on the 30-year long bonds finished the day only down 4bps at 3.53%.
What is going on?
Another softer US CPI print
The November CPI report was cooler-than-expected across the board, highlighted by the headline cooling to 7.1% from 7.7% (exp. 7.3%), with a M/M gain of 0.1%, slowing from the prior 0.4% and beneath the expected 0.3%. Core metrics saw Y/Y print 6.0% vs 6.3% prior and beneath the 6.1% expectation, while the M/M saw a 0.2% gain, lower than the prior and expected 0.3%. The market pricing has shifted towards a 25-bp rate hike from the Fed for February after we are nearly certain to get a 50bp hike today, while the terminal rate forecast has drifted lower to 4.82%. If we dig into the details, the disinflation is clearly driven by goods and energy, while services prices continue to rise further. This means wage pressures will continue and provides room for the Fed to continue to beat the drum on rates being higher-for-longer.
Tesla shares down another 4%
Headwinds are mounting for Tesla as EV demand is coming down in China and VW CEO said yesterday that EV sales in Europe is slowing down due to high price points and elevated electricity prices. Tesla shares closed just above the $160 level, which is just below the 200-day moving average at $164, the lowest levels since November 2020. High battery materials prices are also weighing on the outlook for EV makers. Finally, CEO Elon Musk’s endeavour at Twitter is potentially pressuring Tesla shares as he might be forced to put up Tesla shares as collateral for refinanced Twitter debt.
Inditex Q3 results in line with estimates
The European fast fashion retailer has delivered nine-months results (ending in October) with revenue at €23.1bn and EBIT at €4.2bn in line with estimates.
Apple to allow alternative App Stores on its devices
This move is a response to new European Union requirements under the Digital Markets Act that are set to go in effect in 2024. The move will initially only apply to the European market unless regulators elsewhere make similar moves. This will allow app developers to avoid paying Apple up to 30% of revenues for payments made through Apple’s app store. Several large app makers’ shares, including those for streaming service Spotify and dating services app Match group jumped on the news.
New Zealand forecasts a recession starting Q2 2023
New Zealand Treasury Department issued 2022 half-year economic and fiscal update, forecasting three quarters of negative GDP growth from Q2 2023. Overall, the forecast calls for 0.8% contraction in 2023. Still, comments from RBNZ this morning suggested inflation focus will continue to drive more rate hikes, even as spending slows and unemployment levels increase as more people join the workforce over the coming year, partially helped by improving migration levels.
Bank of Japan’s Tankan survey shows weakening business sentiment
Sentiment among Japan's large manufacturers deteriorated slightly in the three months to December amid concerns over the global economic slowdown. The main index for sentiment among large manufacturers was +7, compared with +8 in Q3, according to the Bank of Japan's quarterly Tankan survey. Non-manufacturers still took a more positive view as the economic reopening gathered momentum, and large non-manufacturer index rose to 19 in Q4 from 17 previously.
US places 30 additional Chinese companies on Entity List, a trade blacklist
The companies included Yangtze Memory Technologies, China’s top memory chip producer and others and will prevent them from purchasing selected American components. This expands the original Entity List of companies that were blacklisted back in October for their connection with China’s military.
What are we watching next?
December FOMC and dot plot may have little new to offer, so focus remains on Powell’s press conference
The Fed is expected to lift its Federal Funds Rate target by 50bps to 4.25-4.50%, according to the consensus as well as the general commentary from Fed officials signalling a downshift in the pace of rate hikes. The updated economic projections will also be released, as will the latest “dot plot” projections of the Fed policy rate, which are expected to show a median terminal rate that is higher than the September projections (4.6%, with the market currently projecting 4.32%), as has been alluded to by Chair Powell at the November FOMC and in remarks made in December. Easing financial conditions and an anticipated China stimulus could see the Fed Chair Powell remaining in hawkish mode, so Powell’s press conference remains key to watch. There will have to be a lot of focus on pushing back against the market’s anticipation that the Fed will be trimming rates by Q4 of next year, emphasising that the Fed will not ease prematurely if Powell and committee want to avoid further easing of financial conditions.
Four more central bank meetings tomorrow
The Swiss National Bank, Norway’s Norges Bank, Bank of England and the European Central Bank will all meet tomorrow, with the Norges Bank expected to hike 25 basis points and the three others expected to hike 50 basis points. Markets will look for the relative degree to which the central banks signal that they are ready to declare at least a pause in the hiking cycle soon. The Norges Bank has hinted that it sees its tightening cycle near an end and the BoE has said that the peak rate will likely prove lower than the market was forecasting around the time of its last meeting. With the late dollar weakness, a dovish shift is more likely.
Earnings to watch
Inditex has reported its Q3 results in early European hours (see review above) which extends today’s earnings focus to the US session where our focus will be on Lennar, a US homebuilder. Lennar is expected to show 20% revenue growth y/y in its FY22 Q4 period (ending November), which is expected to decline to 5% y/y in FY23 Q1 (ending February).
- Today: Lennar, Trip.com, Nordson, Inditex
- Thursday: Adobe
- Friday: Accenture, Darden Restaurants
Economic calendar highlights for today (times GMT)
- 0900 – IEA's Monthly Oil Market Report
- 1000 – Euro Zone Oct. Industrial Production
- 1330 – Canada Oct. Manufacturing Sales
- 1530 – EIA's Weekly Crude and Fuel Stock Report
- 1900 – US FOMC Meeting
- 1930 – US Fed Chair Powell Press Conference
- 2145 – New Zealand Q3 GDP
- 0030 – Australia Nov. Employment Change / Unemployment Rate
- 0120 – China Rate Decision
- 0200 – China Nov. Retail Sales
- 0200 – China Nov. Industrial Production
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