What is our trading focus?
Nasdaq 100 (USNAS100.I) and S&P 500 (US500.I)
The July CPI report showing core inflation rose only 0.3% m/m compared to 0.5% m/m expected was just what the market was hoping for and had priced into the forward curve for next year’s Fed Funds rate. Long duration assets reacted the most with Nasdaq 100 futures climbing 2.9%. However, investors should be careful not to be too optimistic as we had a similar decline in the CPI core back in March before inflation roared back. As Mester recently stated that the Fed is looking for a sustained reduction in the CPI core m/m, which is likely a 6-month average getting back to around 0.2% m/m. Given the current data points it is not realistic to be comfortable with inflation before late Q1 next year. In Nasdaq 100 future the next natural resistance level is around 13,536 and if the index futures can take out this then the next level be around 14,000 where the 200-day average is coming down to.
Hong Kong’s Hang Seng (HSI.I) and China’s CSI300 (000300.I)
Hong Kong and mainland Chinese equities climbed, Hang Seng Index +1.8%, CSI300 Index +1.6%. In anticipation of a 15% rise in the average selling price of Apple’s iPhone 14 as conjectured by analysts, iPhone parts supplier stocks soared in both Hong Kong and mainland exchanges, Q Technology (01478:xhkg) +16%, Sunny Optical (02382:xhkg) +7%, Cowell E (01415:xhkg) +4%, Lingyi iTech (002600:xsec) +10%. Semiconductors gained, SMIC (00981:xhkg) +3%, Hua Hong (01347:xhkg) +4%. After collapsing 16% in share price yesterday, Longfor (00960) only managed to recover around 3% after the company denied market speculation that it failed to repay commercial papers due. UBS’ downgraded Longfor and Country Garden (02007:xhkkg) yesterday citing negative free cash flows for the first half of 2022 highlighted the tight spots even the leading Chinese private enterprise property developers are in. Chinese internet stocks rallied, Alibaba (09988:xhkg) +3%, Tencent (0700:xhkg) +1%, Meituan (03690:xhkkg) +2.7%. China ended its military drills surrounding Taiwan on Wednesday, which lasted three days longer what had been originally announced.
USD: Treasuries don’t point to further weakness here
The US dollar knee-jerked lower on the softer-than-expected July CPI data, although US yields ended the day unchanged, creating an interesting tension in a pair like USDJPY, which normally takes its lead from longer US yields (unchanged yesterday after a significant dip intraday after the US CPI release). USDJPY dipped almost all the way to 132.00 after trading above 135.00 earlier in the day. What are traders to do – follow the coincident US yield indicator or the negative momentum created by yesterday’s move? Either way, a return above 135.00 would for USDJPY would likely require an extension higher in the US 10-year yield back near 3.00%. EURUSD is another interesting pair technically after local resistance just below 1.0300 gave way, only to see the pair hitting a brick wall in the 1.0350 area (major prior range low from May-June). Was this a break higher or a misleading knee-jerk reaction to the US data? A close below 1.0250 would be needed there to suggest that EURUSD is focusing back lower again. A similar setup can be seen in AUDUSD and the 0.7000 area, with a bit more sensitivity to risk sentiment there.
Gold (XAUUSD) did not have a good day on Wednesday
Gold was trading lower on the day after failing to build on the break above resistance at $1803 as the dollar weakened following the lower-than-expected CPI print, thereby reducing demand for gold as an inflation hedge. Instead, the prospect for a potential shallower pace of future rate hikes supported a major risk on rally in stocks and another daily reduction in bullion-backed ETF holdings. Yet comments by two Fed officials saying it doesn’t change the central bank’s path toward even higher rates – and with that the risk of a gold supportive economic weakness - did not receive much attention. Gold now needs to hold $1760 in order to avoid a fresh round of long liquidation, while silver, which initially received a boost from higher copper prices before following gold lower needs to hold above its 50-day SMA at $20.26.
Crude oil futures (CLU2 & LCOV2) traded higher on Wednesday supported by a weaker dollar after the lower US inflation print gave markets a major risk on boost. Also, the weekly EIA report showed a jump in gasoline demand reversing the prior week’s sharp drop. Gasoline inventories dropped 5 million barrels to their lowest seasonal level since 2015 on a combination of strong exports and improved domestic demand while crude oil stocks rose 5.4m barrels primarily supported by a 5.3 million barrels release from SPR. Focus today on monthly Oil Market Reports from OPEC and the IEA.
Dutch natural gas
The Dutch TTF natural gas benchmark futures (TTFMQ2) rallied amid concerns over Russian gas supplies and falling water levels on the key Rhine River which threatens to disrupt energy shipments of fuel and coal, thereby forcing utilities and industries to consumer more pipelined gas. Dutch front month futures rose 6.9% to EUR 205.47/MWh while the October to March winter contract closed at a fresh cycle high above €200/MWH. European countries have been filling up their gas storage, largely by factories cutting back on their usage and through LNG imports, the flow of the latter likely to be challenged by increased demand from Asia into the autumn. Further demand curbs and more imports of liquefied natural gas are likely the only option for Europe ahead of the winter.
US Treasuries (IEF, TLT) shrug off soft July CPI data
US yields at first reacted strongly to the softer-than-expected July CPI release (details below), but ended the day mostly unchanged at all points along the curve, suggesting that the market is unwilling to extend its already aggressive view that the Fed is set to reach peak policy by the end of this year and begin cutting rates. Some Fed members are pushing back strongly against that notion as noted below (particularly Kashkari). A stronger sign that yields are headed back higher for the US 10-year benchmark would be on a close above 2.87% and especially 3.00%. Yesterday’s 10-year auction saw strong demand.
What is going on?
US July CPI lower than expected
The US CPI print came in lower than expected for both the headline and the core measures. The headline softness was driven by huge drops in energy prices from June levels, with the entire energy category marked -4.6% lower month-on-month and gasoline down -7.7%, much of the latter on record refinery margins collapsing. The ex-Food & Energy category was up only +0.3% vs. the +0.5% expected, with soft prices month-on-month for used cars and trucks (-0.4%) and especially airfares (-7.8%) dragging the most on figure. While this may be an indication that US inflation has peaked, it is still at considerably high levels compared to inflation targets of ~2% and the pace of decline from here matters more than the absolute trend. Shelter costs – the biggest component of services inflation – was up 5.7% y/y, the most since 1991. Fed pricing for the September meeting has tilted towards a 50bps rate hike but that still remains prone to volatility with another set of labor market and inflation prints due ahead of the next meeting.
Fed speakers maintain hawkish message
Fed speaker Evans and Kashkari were both on the hawkish side in rhetoric yesterday. Evans again hinted that tightening will continue into 2023 as inflation remains unacceptably high despite a first sign of cooling prices. The strength of the labor market continued to support the case of a soft landing. Kashkari reaffirmed the view on inflation saying that he is happy to see a downside surprise in inflation, but it remains far from declaring victory. Long thought of previously as the pre-eminent dove among Fed members, he has waxed far more hawkish of late and said yesterday that nothing has changed his view that the Fed funds rate should be at 3.9% at the end of this year (vs. market pricing of 3.5%) and 4.4% by the end 2023 (vs. market pricing of 3.1%).
Siemens cuts outlook
Germany’s largest industrial company is cutting its profit outlook on impairment charges related to its energy division. FY22 Q3 results (ending 30 June) show revenue of €17.9bn vs est. €17.4bn and orders are strong at €22bn vs est. €19.5bn.
Orsted lifts expectations
The largest renewable energy utility company in Europe reports Q2 revenue of DKK 26.3bn vs est. 21.7bn, but EBITDA misses estimates and the fiscal year guidance on EBITDA at DKK 20-22bn is significantly lower than estimates of DKK 30.4bn. However, the new EBITDA guidance range is DKK 1bn above the recently stated guidance, so Orsted is doing better than expected but the market had just become too optimistic.
Disney beats on subscribers
Disney reported FY22 Q3 (ending 2 July) results showing Disney+ subscribers at 152.1mn vs est. 148.4mn surprising the market as several surveys have recently indicated that Amazon Prime and Netflix are losing subscribers. The entertainment company also reported revenue for the quarter of $21.5bn vs est. $21bn with Parks & Experiences deliver the most to the upside surprise. EPS for the quarter was $1.09 vs est. $0.96. If subscribers for ESPN and Hulu are added, then Disney has surpassed Netflix on streaming subscribers. Shares were up 6% in extended trading. Despite the positive result the company lowered its 2024 target for Disney+ subscriber to 135-165mn range.
Coupang lifts fiscal year EBITDA outlook
The South Korean e-commerce company missed slightly on revenue in Q2 but lifted its fiscal year adjusted EBITDA from a loss of $400mn to positive which lifted shares 6% in extended trading.
China’s central bank expects CPI to hover around 3%
In its 2nd quarter monetary policy report released on Wednesday, the People’s Bank of China (PBOC) expects the CPI being at around 3% for the full year of 2022 and at times exceeding 3%. The release of pend-up demand from pandemic restrictions, the upturn of the hog-cycle, and imported inflation, in particular energy, are expected to drive consumer price inflation higher for the rest of the year in China but overall within the range acceptable by the central bank. The PBOC expects the recent downtrend of the PPI to continue and the gap between the CPI and PPI growth rates to narrow.
What are we watching next?
Next signals from the Fed at Jackson Hole conference Aug 25-27
There is a considerable tension between the market’s forecast for the economy and the resulting expected path of Fed policy for the rest of this year and particularly next year, as the market believes that a cooling economy and inflation will allow the Fed to reverse course and cut rates in a “soft landing” environment (the latter presumably because financial conditions have eased aggressively since June, suggesting that markets are not fearing a hard landing/recession). Some Fed members have tried to push back against the market’s expectations for Fed rate cuts next year it was likely never the Fed’s intention to allow financial conditions to ease so swiftly and deeply as they have in recent weeks. The risks, therefore, point to a Fed that may mount a more determined pushback at the Jackson Hole forum, the Fed’s yearly gathering at Jackson Hole, Wyoming that is often used to air longer term policy guidance.
Earnings to watchToday’s US earnings in focus are NIO and Rivian with market running hot again on EV-makers despite challenging environment on input costs and increased competition. NIO is expected to grow revenue by 15% y/y in Q2 before seeing growth jumping to 72% y/y in Q3 as pent-up demand is released following Covid restrictions in China in the first half. Rivian, which partly owned by Amazon and makes EV trucks, is expected to deliver its first quarter with meaningful activity with revenue expected at $336mn but free cash flow is expected at $-1.8bn.
- Today: KBC Group, Brookfield Asset Management, Orsted, Novozymes, Siemens, Hapag-Lloyd, RWE, China Mobile, Antofagasta, Zurich Insurance Group, NIO, Rivian Automotive
- Friday: Flutter Entertainment, Baidu
Economic calendar highlights for today (times GMT)
- 0800 – IEA's Monthly Oil Market Report
- 1230 – US Weekly Initial Jobless Claims
- 1230 – US Jul. PPI
- 1430 – US Weekly Natural Gas Storage Change
- 1700 – US Treasury to auction 30-year T-Bonds
- 2330 – US Fed’s Daly (Non-voter) to speak
- During the day: OPEC’s Monthly Oil Market Report
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