What is our trading focus?
Nasdaq 100 (USNAS100.I) and S&P 500 (US500.I)
S&P 500 futures are still boxed into a tighter and tighter range between the 100-day moving average at 3,927 and the 200-day moving average at 4,051. The key event today is of course the FOMC rate decision and more importantly the subsequent press conference where all eyes are on Fed Chair Jerome Powell following the latest rally due to the recently lower US inflation print. Financial conditions have eased considerably, and Powell will likely not get away with talking about terminal rates if he wants to tighten conditions again in line with their strategy of easing inflationary pressures. After the US market call, there are key earnings from Salesforce and Snowflake which could impact sentiment in Nasdaq 100 futures.
Hong Kong’s Hang Seng (HISX2) and China’s CSI300 (03188:xhkg)
Hang Seng Index climbed 0.8% and The CSI 300 gained 0.2% as optimism returned about an exit from the stringent dynamic zero-Covid policy, if not in name, at least gradually in practice in mainland China. Investors looked beyond the disappointing Manufacturing PMI data, which came at 48, weaker than expectations and further into the contractionary territory. The focus of the investors, however, was on the recent supportive measures to the real estate sector and signs of sticking to or even preparing for more relaxation of China’s stringent pandemic control restrictions even as Covid cases are on the rise. Teleco names outperformed, with China Unicom (00762:xhkg) and China Telecom (00728:xhkg) rising 6-7%.
USD edging higher ahead of anticipated hawkishness from Fed Chair Powell
Concerns are mounting that Fed Chair Powell is set to administer a hawkish broadside to US markets after a powerful easing of financial conditions in recent weeks and the pricing in of a significant Fed policy easing starting in late 2023 (see more below). But USD bulls have their work cut out for them if they expect to reverse the recent USD sell-off, even if we have seen a solid reversal in places. The key zone for EURUSD stretches from the 1.0223 pivot low and down to perhaps 1.0100, while the similar zone for USDJPY stretches from the 142.25 pivot high all the way to 145.00.
Crude oil (CLF3 & LCOF3) volatile with large inventory drawdown ahead of OPEC
The relief from continued commitment of China officials to ease zero covid restrictions helped crude oil prices gather some momentum early on Tuesday, but the cheer was short-lived as production cut expectations from OPEC+ this Sunday eased as the meeting moved online and economic data from the US and China showed weakening momentum. Focus on speech from Fed Chair Powell given its potential impact on the dollar, and EIA’s weekly report after the API reported a larger than expected crude draw, with inventories down 7.80mm b/d (exp -2.49mm b/d). WTI futures traded around $79/barrel, while Brent trades back below $84 after touching $86/barrel on Tuesday.
US treasury yields recovered after dip to local lows. (TLT:xnas, IEF:xnas, SHY:xnas)
Yields edged up across the yield curve with those in the long end rising the most. The 2-year yield rose 4bps to 4.47% while the 10-year rose 6 bps to 3.74%. Large supply from corporate issuance put some upward pressure on yields. There were about 11 deals with a total amount of about USD18 billion, including USD8.25 billion from Amazon, on Tuesday. Fed Chair Powell to speak later today. (more below)
What is going on?
Reopening optimism returned in China
While the daily new cases continued to surge and anti-restriction protests sprang up across major cities, investors took comfort from the light-touch reactions from the Chinese authorities and hints of preparing to ease the pandemic control measures further. A Party-controlled newspaper in Beijing published a long article reporting the stories of people having recovered from Covid, which seemingly aimed at easing people’s worries about the disease. The National Health Commission issued a memo pledging to increase the vaccination rate of the country’s senior population. In a press conference later in the afternoon, health officers again emphasized increasing the senior population’s vaccination rate as a priority and highlighted the Omicron variants as being less severe than the original virus. Officials and the state-controlled media have taken a light-touch approach to the recent protests and have largely refrained from putting any political stigma on the incidents. Putting these together, investors are taking the development as hints of the Chinese authorities to prepare for further easing in its Covid policy.
Apple criticized by possible 2024 presidential hopeful DeSantis, also in the anti-trust spotlight
Florida governor Ron DeSantis, a potential rival of Donald Trump for the 2024 presidential nomination, inveighed against Apple for providing “aid and comfort to the CCP” by turning off access in China to the AirDrop app that could be used to organize protests. As well, he warned against Apple’s monopoly powers after Twitter CEO Elon Musk complained that Apple had pulled virtually all advertising from the platform and threatened to remove it from their app store. “Don’t be a vassal of the [Chinese Communist Party] on one hand and then use your corporate power in the United States on the other to suffocate Americans and try to suppress their right to express themselves” DeSantis said. US Senators also weighed in against the company on the issue as anti-trust efforts are afoot in Congress.
Crowdstrike beats estimates
The US cyber security company reported Q3 revenue of $581mn vs est. $574mn and adj. EPS of $0.40 vs est. $0.31 as the underlying structural growth is still strong in the industry. The Q4 outlook on earnings was much better than expected but the Q4 revenue outlook at $620-628mn vs est. $635mn spooked investors, sending shares down 19%. Management said that the lower guidance was due to increased macroeconomic headwinds.
Commodities see November gains on China optimism and Fed Pivot
The Bloomberg Commodity Index trades up 2% on the month with strong gains among industrial and precious metals offsetting minor declines in energy and grains. The sector has been supported by a 4% drop in the dollar and sharply lower US bond yields on speculation the FOMC will soon slow its pace of rate hikes. The industrial metal sector trades up 12% on optimism that China may shift away from Covid Zero policies and provide additional stimulus to boost demand in the top metal-consuming economy. Copper, up 8%, is heading for its best month since April 2021 while gold and silver has been supported by the change in direction for the dollar and yields. Wheat prices in Chicago and Paris scrap the bottom with ample supply, especially from the Black Sea region adding downward pressure.
What are we watching next?
OPEC+ weekend meeting goes virtual
Instead of meeting in Vienna as planned earlier, OPEC+ has now moved its December 4 meeting online which is downplaying expectations of any significant policy change after production cut expectations gathered hopes this week with crude oil prices falling to test key support levels. Some delegates also suggested that the cartel is leaning towards approving the same production levels agreed in October, when a 2mb/d cut in output was announced.
Fed Chair Powell to speak today – will he lean hawkish?
Fed Chair Powell is scheduled to speak on the economy and labor market at a Brookings Institution event today at 13:30 U.S. eastern time. Market participants are expecting hawkish comments from Powell about higher terminal rates for 2023. Given the huge shift in market pricing of the Fed policy rate in 2024 (cuts of over 150 basis points from the 2023 rate peak are currently priced by end 2024) the more interesting angle on Powell’s comments are whether he pushes back against the recent strong easing of financial conditions and this anticipation that the Fed will be in full retreat in 2024. The September FOMC “dot plot” projections show a wide dispersion of forecasts, but the median projection is that the policy rate will drop about 100 basis points by end 2024 from end 2023.
Earnings to watch
Today’s earnings focus is US technology sector earnings from Salesforce and Snowflake. Analysts expect Salesforce FY23 Q3 (ending 31 October) revenue growth to slow down to 14% y/y down from 27% y/y a year ago supporting the growth slowdown in the technology sector. To avoid the negative impact from the earnings release Salesforce must deliver meaningful improvement in profitability or face downward pressure on its share price. Snowflake is expected to see FY23 Q3 (ending 31 October) revenue growth to slow down to 61% y/y down from 110% y/y a year ago. As with Salesforce, Snowflake must deliver significant improvements in profitability to avoid a negative impact from falling revenue growth which current trajectory is worse than estimated just one year a ago.
- Today: Royal Bank of Canada, National Bank of Canada, Salesforce, Synopsys, Snowflake, Splunk, Hormel Foods, KE Holdings
- Thursday: Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce, Bank of Montreal, Toronto-Dominion Bank, Marvell Technology, Veeva Systems, Ulta Beauty, Zscaler, Dollar General, Kroger
Economic calendar highlights for today (times GMT)
- 0745 – France Nov. Flash CPI
- 0830 – UK Bank of England Chief Economist Huw Pill to speak
- 0855 – Germany Nov. Unemployment Rate / Change
- 0900 – Poland Nov. Flash CPI
- 1000 – Eurozone Nov. Flash CPI
- 1315 – US Nov. ADP Employment Change
- 1330 – US Fed’s Bowman (Voter) to speak
- 1445 – US Nov. Chicago PMI
- 1500 – US Oct. JOLTS Job Openings
- 1530 – US Weekly DoE Crude Oil and Product Inventories
- 1735 – US Fed’s Cook (Voter) to speak
- 1830 – US Fed Chair Powell to discuss Economic and Policy Outlook
- 1900 – US Fed’s Beige Book
- 0145 – China Nov. Caixin Manufacturing PMI
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