APAC Daily Digest: What is happening in markets and what to consider next – September 13, 2022
APAC Strategy Team
Summary: Equity sentiment remained upbeat and the US dollar weakened further despite a surge higher in US Treasury yields. Globally sustained inflation pressures, such as those in Japan’s producer prices and New Zealand’s food prices, continues to raise concerns. US inflation print for August takes all the attention today with impact likely to reverberate through markets but unlikely to change the Fed’s upcoming rate hike at the September meeting. Precious metals tested key resistance levels and crude oil prices made a recovery as well. The lack of consensus on EU energy proposals may spark some concerns.
What is happening in markets?
Nasdaq 100 (USNAS100.I) and S&P 500 (US500.I) extend their bear market bounce
U.S. equities extended the bear market bounce for the fourth day amid a relatively uneventful and light volume day. The S&P 500 rose 1.1%, Nasdaq 100 up 1.2%. It comes despite bond yields rising, with the 30-year yield hitting a new high of 3.53%. Meanwhile the volatility index, the VIX rose for the first time in four days to 23.9, suggesting uncertainty could be brewing.
Noteworthy moves in US stocks
Apple (AAPL:xnas) contributed to the days move, accounting for more than 60 points of the 151 points in Nasdaq 100, after the stock surged 3.9% on strong pre-order data of the new iPhone 14. A larger number of call options were traded on Apple shares on Monday. Twitter (TWTR:xnys) lost 1.7% after it sent a letter to Elon Musk and said the company intends to enforce Musk’s agreement to buy the company. Oracle (ORCL:xnys) reported sales growth of 18% to $11.4 billion, with higher contributions from cloud computing and the newly acquired Cerner, a health records provider. Adjusted EPS came in at $1.03, below the analyst consensus of $1.06 as per the Bloomberg survey. Oracle shares gained 1.3% in after-hours trading. Gilead Sciences (GILD:xnas) surged 4.2% following the settlement of an HIV drug intellectual property dispute. Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMY:xnys) gained 3.2% as regulators approved the company’s psoriasis drug.
US treasuries (TLT:xnas, IEF:xnas, SHY:xnas)
The treasury yield curve bear steepened on Monday, with the 30-year yield finishing the day at 3.51%, a new high just a little above the previous high print in June. The long-end, yields of the 10-years through 30-years jumped 5 to 6 bps after the poor 3-year notes and 10-year notes auctions, in particular the latter. The 10-year auction stopped at a yield of 3.33%, which was 2.7 bps higher than the notes were trading at 1:00 pm New York time when the results were announced. The 10-year notes weakened to finish the day at 3.36%. In addition to the USD41 billion 3-year and USD32 billion 10-year auctions, eight corporate new issues with a total size of about USD12 billion came to the market yesterday. The decline in the inflation expectations print in the New York Fed’s survey of consumer expectations did not move the treasury markets which had the day’s focus on supply.
Hong Kong’s Hang Seng (HSIU2) and China’s CSI300 (03188:xhkg)
Hong Kong and China markets were closed on Monday for a public holiday. Overnight in U.S. trading, the Nasdaq Golden Dragon China Index bounced by 2.8%. Chinese EV maker, NIO (NIO:xnys) soared 13.7% following Deutsche Bank and BoA Merrill Lynch analysts reiterating “buy” rating as well as reiterating and raising price targets respectively.
EURUSD recovery extended, but risks ahead
EURUSD tested highs of 1.02 on Monday amid some optimism on Ukraine’s military advances and Bundesbank President Joachim Nagel signaling support for further interest-rate hikes in Europe. Gains however cooled later with ECB's Scicluna suggesting the central bank will continue with rate hikes but they are unlikely to be as large as the 75bps hike seen last week. Meanwhile, EUR/GBP printed a fresh YTD high of 0.8722 before unwinding the gains later. Pressure could build on EUR as the EU energy proposals will likely face some opposition, and US CPI data today will also be on watch. Russia may also increase the energy pressure on Europe if Ukraine’s advances stick.
Crude oil prices (CLU2 & LCOV2)
Crude oil prices saw some recovery on Monday amid a softer USD as well as weaker US inflation expectations from the NY Fed offset some of the weaker dollar concerns. Iran nuclear deal also seems to be making little progress, delaying any possible relief on the supply side. WTI futures rose to $88/barrel while the Brent futures were up at $94/barrel. US CPI data due later today is key to further gauge the path of Fed’s rate hikes from here, and the EU energy proposals will also be a key catalyst.
Gold (XAUUSD) and Silver (XAGUSD)
Gold rose on Monday as the dollar extended its retreat from a record high ahead of US inflation data due later today, which could potentially slow down the pace of Fed’s rate hikes if the headline print is softer than expected. Gold tested $1734, the 21-day SMA and 38.2% retracement of the August slump, but was rejected and back below $1730 in early Asian trading. Silver also rallied sharply to touch the $20-mark supported by a weaker dollar, higher gold prices and signs of tightness supporting the copper market. Last Tuesday speculators held the largest short position in three years and the continued rally is now forcing broad short covering.
What to consider?
US CPI print will point to higher and stickier price pressures
With the labor market remaining strong in the U.S. over the last few months, the focus has remained on the inflation data to predict the path of the Fed’s rate hikes. Clearly, all of the Fed’s members have had a unified hawkish stance since the Jackson Hole conference, and many have clearly hinted at a 75bps rate hike for September. Tuesday’s US CPI report is the one to watch, as it can move the market pricing of the Fed’s rate path and is the last key data point scheduled to release ahead of the September 21 Fed meeting. After some softening in July, it can be expected that the headline print may ease further in August as well given the decline in gasoline prices. Still, the inflation print is likely to stay elevated due to the stickier shelter and services costs, as well as still-high energy and food prices. Consensus estimates point to a mild decline of 0.1% MoM while the core remains strong at 0.3% MoM.
EU proposes mandatory cuts to power use and profit levies
It is expected that the EU draft energy plan will include mandatory power demand cut, an “exception and temporary” levy on oil, gas, coal and refining companies, as well as revenue caps for non-gas fuelled power generators. There is likely to be opposition from some of the member states, as the plan is detailed out tomorrow.
Here is another sign inflation is not peaking; New Zealand food inflation hits a 13-year high
New Zealand food prices rose 8.3% over the year to August 2022, which is the biggest annual increase since July 2009, according to data from Statistics New Zealand. The surge was mainly driven by a 8.7% increase in grocery food prices compared to a year ago, after fruit and vegetable prices rose 15%. Prices for staples like, eggs, yogurt, and cheddar cheese saw the largest moves in grocery prices. Companies to look at that sell food and dairy products to supermarkets include Costa Group (CGC), as well as A2 Milk (A2M) and Bega Cheese (BGA) and Synlait Milk (SM1). The New Zealand dollar rose to a two-week high against the USD, on expectation the Reserve Bank of New Zealand (RBNZ) will need to keep hiking rates.
Japan producer prices remain above expectations
Japan’s August PPI was up 9.0% y/y (vs. 8.9% y/y expected) while last month’s was also revised higher to 9.0% y/y from 8.6% y/y previously. The m/m print was slightly softer at 0.2% vs. 0.4% expected, but continued to show rising cost pressures amid the surge in commodity prices and a weaker yen. This suggests more CPI pain is in the pipeline, and the resolve of Bank of Japan to maintain accommodative policy will continue to be tested.
New York Fed 1-year consumer inflation expectations at 10-month lows
The latest NY Fed consumer inflation expectation gauges declined sharply, suggesting easing price pressures. Expectations for US inflation three-years ahead fell to two-year lows to come in at 2.8% in August, while the one-year ahead gauge was at 5.7%, a 10-month low. Meanwhile, inflation expectations on a five-year horizon fell to 2% from 2.3% previously, suggesting that inflation expectations remain anchored.
Gloomy economic outlook for the United Kingdom
According to the Office of National Statistics, UK GDP grew only 0.2% month-over-month in July. This is less than expected (0.4 % month-over-month). The weakness is mostly centered on the industry and the construction sector. This is worrying. There is no big bank holiday effect. However, there is anecdotal evidence of a reduction in demand for power because of cost, but it was also a hot month. In addition, the UK July industrial production fell 0.3% month-over-month versus expected +0.3%. Expect negative print in the eurozone for the same period too.
California’s electricity infrastructure is under severe tension
According to data released over the weekend by California Independent System Operator, demand on California’s power grid hit an all-time high on 6 September above 50,000 MW. The last two times it was close to this threshold was in 2007 and in 2017. The situation is getting worse and worse.
Oracle reported sales in line with expectations but missed EPS estimates
Oracle (ORCL:xnys) reported sales growth of 18% to $11.4 billion, in line with expectations. The sales growth was largely attributable to contributions from cloud computing and the newly acquired Cerner, a health records provider. Adjusted income came in at USD1.68 billion, a 33% drop from last year quarter and missing analyst estimates. Adjusted EPS was $1.03, below the analyst consensus of $1.06 as per the Bloomberg survey. The earnings miss was partly due to FX losses which were results of a stronger dollar.
Banking job cuts? Goldman Sachs is getting ready for jobs cuts. Who’s next?
Goldman to report a 40% drop in earnings, which will foreshadow job cuts. However, there could be a lot of stake; in July Goldman said it planned to slow hiring and reinstate performance reviews. There is a huge question looming about how banks will get work with global deal volumes having dropped by about $1 trillion from a year ago. Investment banks are reliant on equity capital markets and IPOs and our sense is that more job cuts could be coming with inflation set to continue to rise, and push up the yield curve, and official interest rates into next year. For investors the takeaway here is that while markets remain uncertainty and rates are rising, investment banks will likely continue to face pressure. Banking ETFs, such as Vanguard Financials ETF (VFH) and Financial Select Sector SPDR ETF (XLF) are both down about 13% from their October 2021 peaks. Although they are both rallying amid the bear market bounce lately, we think the sector is likely to pair back again once stronger US data comes out and Fed suggests more rate hikes are coming.
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