What is our trading focus?
Nasdaq 100 (USNAS100.I) and S&P 500 (US500.I)
US equities are holding up pretty well given the remarks on Wednesday from Fed Chair Powell and assessment by Larry Summers that the terminal rates probably should be closer to 6% than 5%. S&P 500 futures are trading around the 3,767 level with the index futures likely trying to attempt again to move to the 3,800 level, but our view is that tighter central bank policy will begin to impact US equities negatively again and the 3,600 level is our shorter-term target for S&P 500 futures.
Euro STOXX 50 (EU50.I)
European equities are up 13% from late September as European earnings have been better than expected and the energy situation has eased. But this optimistic view might be premature as the economic activity in the euro area is slowing down fast and the winter has not even started, so we do not know the true strength of the European energy market. Also, the idea that ECB will begin pausing is not credible as the inflationary pressures are very high and will force ECB to continue being more aggressive on policy rates. STOXX 50 futures are trading just above the 200-day moving average this morning at the 3,680 level, with some potential to move higher if the index futures can close above Friday’s close. But overall, we maintain that it is more likely that equities will begin to roll over here as central bank hawkishness on terminal rates will sink in.
Hong Kong’s Hang Seng (HSIX2) and China’s CSI300 (03188:xhkg)
While China’s National Administration of Disease Control and Prevention reiterated its adherence to the dynamic zero-Covid policy at a press conference last Saturday, the health officials added that local governments should not unreasonably double down on the implementation and must ensure people’s livelihood and economic activities remain normal. Investors took note of the above and recent signs of incremental flexibility in the implementation of pandemic control measures in China and saw the Hang Seng Index more than 3% higher as of writing. The resumption of large-scale sports events including the Beijing Marathon last Sunday, multinational sports events scheduled for 2023 such as Shanghai F1 and Hangzhou Asian Games, relaxation of PCR test requirements, increases in international flights, cancellation of circuit breaker for international flights, and approval of BioNTech vaccine for foreigners living in mainland China are among the factors cited by investors who anticipate gradual reopening in the coming months. Mainland A-shares’ reactions were more modest, with CSI300 climbing only 0.2%.
FX: USD bounces back as China reasserts Zero Covid commitment after Friday’s huge sell-off
The market absorbed Friday’s US data without further punishing US treasuries, as yields were capped and eased back. This saw the former USD strength reversing sharply to pronounced weakness Friday as risk sentiment also rebounded. Chatter late last week about China’s reopening added to brightening of sentiment. Commodity currencies had been supported with NZD leading the gains against the USD and being up over 2%. AUDUSD also surged above 0.6450 into the end of the week on hopes of a recovery in commodities demand. However, weekend reports from China’s Health Ministry confirmed that China will maintain its present zero-Covid regulations but improve the pandemic control measures, hinting that protracted lockdowns will be avoided. This has sent dollar back higher overnight, with AUD and NZD leading the declines, but this still appears merely a small consolidation of Friday’s weakening move. Focus this week on US CPI release on Thursday (more below).
Gold (XAUUSD), silver (XAGUSD) and copper (HGZ2)
… all raced higher on Friday, before giving back some of those gains overnight. The China reopening story gained its own momentum last week and while the official line has not changed, the tone has softened (see HK and China update above). The extended rally despite a stronger-than-expected US report was driven by copper which recorded its best day since 2009, rallying close to 8% and in the process breaking through several key levels of resistance, thereby triggering some extra buying momentum from traders, not positioned for a bounce. The strong surge fed through to silver, up 7% on day, which found its own momentum above $20 and finally also Gold which had its biggest jump since March 2020. It may still be too early to call for a reversal given continued worries about the global economic outlook and Fed action, but Friday’s action will force a rethink of whether the sell-into-strength strategy is still valid. China developments, the dollar and incoming US data will provide most of the answers to this question.
Crude oil (CLZ2 & LCOF3)
Crude oil trade lower following Friday’s strong gains with the market responding negatively to weekend headlines about zero-Covid policies being maintained in China. However, looking a bit deeper there is no doubt a softening approach is happening. The People’s Daily in an article on November 3 told people not to worry too much about “long Covid” ie the aftermath health problems from Covid while the health officials told local government not to make measures over stringent. With demand in China potentially starting to recover, the ill-timed OPEC+ production cut and EU sanctions against Russian crude is likely to keep the price risk focused to the upside, but with Brent failing to break above $98.75, and WTI above $93.65, the October highs, the market may spend the start of the week consolidating last week’s strong gains.
US treasuries (TLT, IEF)
US Treasury yields dropped back slightly on Friday as the US data was not seen stoking additional fears of the Fed intensifying its hawkish stance further for now, with this Thursday’s CPI weighing more in the balance than the mixed jobs report Friday. Focus is on the 4.32% top in the US 10-year treasury benchmark yield and the 3.90% low-water mark of the recent consolidation lower.
What is going on?
Mixed US jobs report
US NFP headline gains of 261k were above expectations of 200k but slowed from last month’s 315k which was revised higher from 263k. Job gains were broad-based with strong gains in healthcare, professional and business services and manufacturing. Wage growth also held up strongly, coming in at 0.4% MoM in October from 0.3% MoM previously although a tad softer on a YoY basis at 4.7% from 5.0% YoY previously. However, the unemployment rate ticked up to 3.7% from 3.5% (exp. 3.6%) on a rather weak Household Survey although it was met with a 0.1% decline in the participation rate to 62.2%. However, with layoffs rising recently, especially in tech, it will be interesting to see how that impacts the headline NFP and the Fed tightening path in the months to come.
Apple lowers iPhone output by 3mn units
The demand for iPhones is coming down and Apple is now announcing a cut of 3mn units as consumers are under pressure from inflation and might be extending the life of their old phones. Apple has recently hiked prices on some of its services aiming to offset the weakness in its hardware business.
Meta to start layoffs according to WSJ
Investors have been frustrated with Meta following the Q3 earnings release as Mark Zuckerberg has reinforced the image that he does not listen to the concerns of investors that Meta is spending too much capital on its metaverse bets. According to Wall Street Journal, Meta might have listened after all as the technology company is expected to begin laying off thousands of employees.
Ryanair lifts passenger target
If there is an airliner that can do well during a recession in Europe it is Ryanair and the first half result this morning is a bit better than expected and the airliner expects net income of €1-1.2bn in the FY23 (ending 31 March).
The Danish shipping giant Maersk sees the world entering a recession
Maersk cut its forecasts for container demand this year. The drop is expected to reach minus 2 to 4 %. This matters because the company is often seen as a barometer for global trade. This is explained by well-known factors we have mentioned several times here: high inflation across the board, structural energy crisis in Europe, the geopolitical tensions and higher cost of capital. All of this weighs on consumer purchasing power and can potentially cause a global recession. Maersk expects the eurozone to be already or to enter into a recession, and potentially the United States as well. At Saxo Bank, we share this view, especially regarding the recession risk in the eurozone. Last week, ECB governor Martins Kazaks (which is seen as a hawk) acknowledged that the eurozone recession is now the baseline. This was the first time that an ECB governing council member said that officially.
The number of penny stocks is increasing on Euronext Paris
With the significant equity drop that started earlier this year, many stocks are now close to zero. In Euronext Paris, the number of listed companies with stock value below 0.01 euro has jumped in recent months. For instance: Pharnext (biopharmaceutical company), NFTY (NFT and blockchain marketing services), Safe (specialized in the design and manufacture of medical devices) etc. Retail investors need to be very careful regarding small caps investment (especially when the valuation of the company is below 100 million euros). There are a lot of stocks that are not liquid enough and can represent a high risk of losses.
What are we watching next?
US inflation to test the 8% level, watch core and stickier components
Bloomberg consensus expects US October CPI to drop below the 8% mark and come in at 7.9% YoY from 8.2% previously, but still higher at 0.6% MoM from 0.4% in September. The core measure is also expected to ease slightly to 6.5% YoY, 0.5% MoM (prev. 6.6% YoY, 0.6% MoM) but still remain elevated compared to historical levels. Key to watch also will be the drivers of inflation, particularly the stickier shelter and services costs, which if stuck higher could move the December Fed funds future pricing more towards another 75bps rate hike, resulting in another round of selloff in equities and dollar gains. However, with another CPI report due before the next Fed meeting in December, market impact of this week’s report will likely remain restrained unless a major deviation from expectations is seen. For this week’s CPI data, we will be watching the USD, and bond yields, which may be expected to rally up if the data is hotter than expected.
US mid-term elections tomorrow
Pundits suggest that the Republicans have very strong odds of flipping the House of Representatives in their favour, while the odds look finely balanced for whether the Senate ends retaining the slim Democratic majorities. Republicans taking both houses has few immediate ramifications, as US President Biden has the presidential veto, but a stronger than expected Democratic showing that somehow sees them retaining the House and strengthening their Senate majority would be a game changer – opening for more policy dynamism (and inflation from fiscal stimulus) from the US over the next two years rather than the expected lame-duck presidency. Uncertainty is high as pollsters have had a hard time gathering accurate indications for the election results since Trump’s victory in 2016.
Earnings to watch
The Q3 earnings season is slowing down this week but there are still important earnings releases to watch in certain industries or equity themes. Today our earnings focus is Ryanair, Palantir, and SolarEdge. Palantir is part of the technology segment that has been hit hard on valuations and with revenue growth slowing down and a negative EBITDA in Q2 the pressure is on Palantir to deliver a credible path to profitability; analysts expect 21% y/y revenue growth. Solar panel growth is still high and SolarEdge is enjoying this tailwind with revenue expected to grow 57% y/y and EPS up 57% y/y to $1.46.
- Monday: Westpac Banking, Coloplast, Ryanair (see earnings review above), Activision Blizzard, BioNTech, Palantir Technologies, SolarEdge Technologies
- Tuesday: Bayer, Deutsche Post, KE Holdings, Nintendo, Walt Disney, Occidental Petroleum, Lucid Group, DuPont
- Wednesday: National Australia Bank, KBC Group, Genmab, Siemens Healthineers, E.ON, Adidas, Honda Motor, Coupang, Rivian Automotive, Roblox, DR Horton, Trade Desk
- Thursday: Brookfield Asset Management, Fortum, Engie, Credit Agricole, Allianz, Merck, Hapag-Lloyd, RWE, SMIC, Nexi, AstraZeneca, ArcelorMittal, Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy, Becton Dickinson, NIO
- Friday: Richemont
Economic calendar highlights for today (times GMT)
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