Financial Markets Today: Quick Take – October 21, 2022
Saxo Strategy Team
Summary: Equity markets feebly attempted another rally yesterday, but the headwinds of seemingly ever-rising yields proved too strong, sending the indices sharply back lower to the lowest close in three days. This is still a relatively firm performance, given the scale of the rise in yields. Elsewhere, the USDJPY 150.00 level only proved a barrier for about a day, as the weight of rising yields saw the price action spilling higher above this level, with no signs yet of fresh official intervention against JPY weakness.
What is our trading focus?
Nasdaq 100 (USNAS100.I) and S&P 500 (US500.I)
Yesterday saw a session relatively like the prior one, as an early rally simply failed to find sustenance in the face of the ongoing grind higher in US treasury yields. Still, market sentiment seems remarkably quiet despite the strong headwinds of the 25-basis point jump in longer Treasury yields this week. Next week is an important one for equities as the earnings season hits its peak with most of the megacap companies in the US reporting earnings, with the price action currently buried in the middle of the two-week range ahead of today’s session.
Hong Kong’s Hang Seng (HSIV2) and China’s CSI300 (03188:xhkg)
Hang Seng Index and CSI300 fluctuated in a narrow range and were down modestly. In Hong Kong, Chinese developers and China Internet stocks bounced. In mainland bourses, solar, wind power, education, nuclear power, and properties outperformed. General market sentiment is weak as U.S. bond yield risen to new highs and investors pondering the policy implications from the Chinese Communist Party’s National Congress.
USD finds stride again on higher Treasury yields, USDJPY spilling above 150.00
The US dollar behaved rather oddly in recent sessions in trading sideways even as US treasuries continue to provide strong support for the currency. Hesitation yesterday from USD bulls may have been on concern that official intervention and choppy price action across USD pairs might await if USDJPY attempted to trade above the psychological 150.00 level. But that level fell late yesterday without any real fuss, trading nearly to 150.50. Still, while USDJPY moves are heavily correlated with the fresh rise in US Treasury yields, it’s interesting that another 50 basis point jump in long US treasury yields to new 14-year highs has not seen new cycle lows in EURUSD and many other USD pairs.
Crude oil (CLZ2 & LCOZ2)
Crude oil is among just a handful of commodities trading higher in a week that has seen another sharp jump in US bond yields drive down growth expectations. Crude and its related fuel products however continue to be supported by the risk of tightness driven by a period of supply uncertainty in the coming months as OPEC+ cuts supply, and the EU implements sanctions on Russian oil. In addition, uncertainty over Chinese demand as the zero Covid tolerance is being maintained and further incremental SPR sales of 15 million barrels will continue to weigh on prices in the short term. All developments, however, that are likely to keep crude oil rangebound for now, with Brent finding support below $90. Focus next week being earnings from six Big Oil companies, led by Exxon, Chevron and Shell.
Gold trades down 1.5% on the week close to key support at $1617, the September low and 50% retracement of the 2018 to 2022 rally. A second week of weakness being driven by an across the curve surge in US treasury yields with the ten-year yield rising 23 basis points on the week to 4.25%. Hawkish Fed comments and no signs of economic data showing the much-needed slowdown, has seen the market price in a Fed funds rate above 5% by early next year. The exodus from bullion backed ETFs has gathered pace this week as investors instead focus on increasingly attractive bond market yields, not least the two-year yield at 4.6% yield. Gold will likely continue to struggle until we reach peak hawkishness and/or the dollar starts to weaken.
US treasuries (TLT, IEF)
US treasury yields lifted all along the curve again yesterday, posting new highs for the cycle, with rises at the long end outpacing those at the short end, with the 2-10 inversion up to –37 basis points versus the cycle low below –50 bps in Sep and earlier this month. Traders are perhaps awaiting incoming data before trading shorter yields, now that the market has priced the Fed funds rate to reach above 5.00% by early next year (priced to do so at the March 2023 FOMC meeting).
What is going on?
UK Prime Minister Liz Truss resigned in a short statement yesterday
… becoming the shortest serving Prime Minister in Britain’s history. She will stay in power until a new leader of the Conservative party can be chosen. The leading candidate is former Chancellor Rishi Sunak and other top contenders include Boris Johnson as the Conservative party has fallen to a record low in the polls against Labour.
Japan inflation hits 3%, update to CPI forecasts expected next week
Japan’s core inflation touched 3% levels for the first time in over 30 years, matching expectations. Headline inflation came in higher-than-expected at 3.0% y/y while core-core ex fresh food and energy) measure was up at 1.8% y/y from 1.6% y/y previously. The stark yen weakness can prompt further import price pressures in Q4 as well, and demand is likely to push higher as well with Japan reopening its borders from the pandemic restrictions. Bank of Japan meets next week, and while policy change is hard to expect, it is expected that the central bank will raise the CPI forecast for fiscal 2022 (year ending March) from 2.3% to high-2% range.
UK Retail Sales volumes slide badly again in September
Real (volume-based) sales were down for a second consecutive month at –1.4% MoM and –6.9% YoY, with the ex Petrol sales at –1.5% MoM and –6.2% YoY.
China is considering reducing inbound quarantine
The Chinese authorities are considering reducing the current 7 days in hotel plus 3 days at home quarantine requirement for people travelling into China to 2 days in hotel plus 5 days at home. While the move may be small in magnitude, and still not confirmed by the authorities, it may have signaling power in terms of more flexibility in the day-to-day implementation of the zero Covid policy which is constraining consumption, investment and tourism.
Snap earnings send tech earnings fear soaring
Snap (SNAP:xnys) plunged 26.5% in the after-hour trading, following the company reported Q3 revenues growth at 6% Y/Y, largely in line with street estimates, but said its internal forecast for the Q4 revenues growth is decelerating to about flat year on year (vs market expectations of +6% Y/Y). The social media company said that they are finding “advertising partners across many industries are decreasing their marketing budgets, especially in the face of operating environment headwinds, inflation-driven pressures, and rising costs of capital.”
Gas prices in Europe and US see steep weekly declines
US natural gas futures are heading for their longest stretch of weekly declines since 1991 as stockpiles continue to build at a faster than expected pace ahead of winter. The November (NGX2) front month contract trades down by 18% on the week and down 44% since the August peak, driven by mild autumn weather and rising production. In addition, the Freeport LNG export terminal explosion on June 8 has reduced exports, and the terminal will open in November at 85% capacity. In Europe, the TTF price trades down 10% has bounced strongly after almost reaching €100/MWh earlier in the week, a level we do not expect to be challenged until later in the winter when demand becomes more visible. With prices falling and almost full inventories, the political resolve to introduce a price cap has faded, hence the bounce.
What are we watching next?
US is considering national security reviews of Elon Musk business activities
... according to unnamed sources in a Bloomberg story. These would include the acquisition of Twitter and SpaceX’s Starlink satellite network. Musk has expressed his view on the war in Ukraine and investors in his Twitter takeover include Saudi and Chinese individuals. Tesla also has a strong presence in China, an awkward situation as the US has moved recently to cut off China’s access to advanced semiconductor tech.
Market Fed rate expectations reach 5%, can they continue to rise?
Early 2023 Fed rate expectations have now reached over 5%, with the Fed funds rate now fully pricing in a 75bps rate hike for the November meeting and a strong probability of another 75bps rate hike at the December meeting. While the Fed has reiterated it will continue to hike more next year before it pauses, market pricing is now running higher than the September FOMC dot plot forecasts. Some Fed speakers are starting to turn slightly cautious looking at the market pricing, with Charles Evans last night saying that if the Fed pushes its policy rate much further than planned it could start to weigh on the economy and says he is worried that at some point rate increases could have a non-linear impact with businesses becoming more pessimistic. Harker (2023 voter) and Cook reasserted that the Fed needs to continue to hike but will noted that the Fed can pause sometime next year to assess the impact of its tightening on the economy. Another fall in weekly jobless claims for the Oct 15 week continued to suggest labor market strength despite the disruptions from recent hurricanes.
Earnings to watch
Today’s earnings included the report from the world’s largest battery market CATL overnight, with a focus in the US session on consumer demand and consumption patterns in today’s American Express earnings report as well as the largest US oilfield services company Schlumberger.
- Today: CATL, American Express, Schlumberger, Verizon Communications, HCA Healthcare, Sika
Economic calendar highlights for today (times GMT)
- 1230 – Canada Aug. Retail Sales
- 1340 – US Fed’s Evans to speak
- 1400 – Euro Zone Oct. Consumer Confidence
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