Equities feel the hangover

Morning Note

Equity markets look a tad bleary-eyed and hungover this morning after a bit of binge. Call it exuberance, but the strong rally in China stoked by the state-run press left markets with only way to travel on Monday and now the price has to be paid. Meanwhile we continue to monitor the rising cases in the US and an emerging spat between the UK and China over Hong Kong and Huawei which simply evinces the fact that Covid is reshaping the world.

European stocks handed back some of Monday’s gains on the open on Tuesday after the strong start to the trading week pushed the FTSE 100 back above 6200. Energy and financials led the fall but all Stoxx 600 sectors dropped in the first hour of trade. Tokyo and Hong Kong fell, but shares in China continued to rally on very high volumes.

Nasdaq hits fresh record high, but is a correction incoming for Wall Street?

Wall Street also rallied after the bump up in China, with the Nasdaq hitting a fresh all-time high, but yesterday had a feel of a frothy move based on nothing but fumes. The put/call ratio for the S&P 500, which reflects market positioning and sentiment, has fallen to levels that have in the past indicated a correction is in the offing. Speculators have also lately aggressively cut their net long positioning on S&P 500 futures.

The upcoming earnings season will be crucial, and investors may see earnings estimates reduced given that many companies simply scrapped guidance, which could call for a rethink of valuations. Indices continue to track the ranges of June, so until we break out in either direction the pattern is one of a choppy but sideways market as investors try to figure out the balance on offer between reopening & stimulus vs cases & permanent economic damage from falling confidence and increased saving.

Recovery is happening, but is it fast enough: German industrial production rose 7.8% in May, but the figure was short of the 11% that was expected. Meanwhile, BMW Q2 sales in China rose from the same period a year ago, which might be down to the pent-up demand from the shutdown in the country in Q1, but nevertheless indicates a decent pace of recovery in the world’s second largest economy.

The UK’s Halifax mortgage survey showed prices fell for a fourth month in a row in June, but activity levels are rebounding, with enquiries up 100% from May. It’s too early to tell if this rebound can be sustained – a truism across the economic data prints we see right now.

Fed’s Bostic cautious over US recovery

Meanwhile we got another dose of salt from Raphael Bostic, the Atlanta Fed president, who warned of signs the US recovery is levelling off. Indeed, the headline nonfarm payrolls number last Thursday masks a lot of ills. Not least of which, permanent job losses are on the rise: while the number of unemployed classed as being on temporary layoff decreased by 4.8m in June to 10.6m, following a decline of 2.7m in May, the number of permanent job losers continued to rise, increasing by 588,000 to 2.9m in June.

Additionally, the data for the June report was collected largely before the spike in cases in several of the big economically important states like Texas and California. Dr Fauci said the US is still ‘knee-deep’ in the first wave.

RBA holds rates, notes increased uncertainty on rising Covid-19 cases

The Reserve Bank of Australia left interest rates on hold at the record low 0.25%, but noted households and businesses are worried about the state of the economy after the jump in cases in Victoria raised doubts about the country’s handling of the outbreak, which had been assumed to be as good as New Zealand.

“The downturn has been less severe than earlier expected,” RBA governor Philip Lowe said in a statement, but added that “uncertainty about the health situation and the future strength of the economy is making many households and businesses cautious, and this is affecting consumption and investment plans”. Scott Morrison’s government will deliver a statement on July 23rd outlining further support on the fiscal side.

Gold still bullish, EUR and GBP drift lower

Elsewhere, gold’s bullish bias remains intact as it consolidates around $1780 and may be preparing for a fresh run towards $1800 – first up it needs to clear the seven-year highs at $1789. WTI (Aug) is steady at $40 for now and in FX we see the majors still trading within recent ranges as the dollar recovers a little from Monday’s risk-on sell-off.

EURUSD failed to break the June swing high at 1.1345 yesterday and has pulled back towards the middle of the bullish pennant. GBPUSD has also drifted lower after several failed attempts in the last session to clear the 1.2520 resistance, finding some immediate support on the 200-period SMA on the 4-hr chart. Sterling has that RoRo feel.

Week Ahead: Pressure builds on RBA to go negative, high hopes for US ISM

Week Ahead

Coming up this week – can Eurozone retail sales follow in Germany’s forecast-shattering footsteps; will the US ISM Nonmanufacturing Index return to growth against expectations, and is the pressure mounting on the RBA to push interest rates into negative territory? 

Read on for your full breakdown of the key events to watch this week.

Eurozone confidence and retail sales 

Investor confidence in the Eurozone improved last month, although the Sentix index missed expectations with a rise from -41.8 to -24.8 against forecasts of a rebound to -22.5. 

It still represented a solid rebound after May’s index barely moved, and participants reported a much more positive outlook than before. Since then we’ve had a lot of positive data in terms of PMIs and forecast-crushing German retail sales, which grew 13.9% on the month in May, against expectations of 3.9%, which could prompt another uptick in confidence when the next reading is published on Monday. 

Eurozone retail sales figures are also due on Monday. Forecasts are for growth of 7.8% on the month after May’s -11.7% decline. 

Surprise return to growth on the cards for US ISM Nonmanufacturing Index? 

Last week’s US ISM Manufacturing Index smashed expectations with a surprise leap back into growth territory. Economists had expected the index to recover to 49.5, just shy of the 50 level that shows no change, but the index instead jumped to 52.6, with the majority of industries surveyed reporting expansion, in particular improvements in employment, production, and new orders. 

This week’s nonmanufacturing index is predicted to improve from 45.4 to 49, but after the strength seen in the manufacturing counterpart, markets will be hoping to see a reading above 50 here as well to reinforce hopes of a quick recovery for the US economy. 

Markets bet on Reserve Bank of Australia rate cut 

The Reserve Bank of Australia held interest rates at 0.25% during its last policy meeting. ASX 30 Day Interbank Cash Rate Futures show the market is pricing in a 60% chance that the RBA will cut rates to 0% during the next board meeting. Doing so would effectively take rates negative, which policymakers have been reluctant to do. 

However, pressure is mounting after localised spikes in coronavirus infections forced the government to lockdown parts of Melbourne. A further spread of infections could hamper Australia’s economic recovery, forcing the RBA to unleash more stimulus. 

Corporate earnings: Paychex, Walgreens Boots Alliance 

Paychex is expected to report earnings of $0.61 per share for the quarter ended May 2020, down -3.1% on the same period the previous year. Revenue is projected -7% lower compared to Q4 of the previous fiscal year at $911 million. The stock has moved largely in tandem with the S&P 500 all year, although since the March selloff Paychex has struggled to recoup losses as quickly, leaving it down -10% on the year, compared to -4% for the S&P 500. 

Walgreens Boots Alliance stock is up 11% from its year-to-date low, but remains over 30% lower since January 1st. According to research from Thompson Reuters, the stock has an average “Hold” rating amongst 21 analysts – you can download the full report from the Key Statistics tab in the platform. Q3 earnings are due ahead of the market open on July 9th. 

Weekly US jobless claims remain in focus 

US weekly jobless claims figures have proven stubbornly high over the past few weeks, despite having come down significantly from the record high of 6.6 million reported on April 5th. However, while initial claims have continued to disappoint forecasts, the number of continuing claims has come down a bit more than expected – although at 19.5 million it remains remarkably high and shows just how far there is to go to restoring anything like normal levels of employment. 

The latest figures are due on Thursday.

Highlights on XRay this Week 

Read the full schedule of financial market analysis and training.

07.15 UTC Daily European Morning Call
20.00 UTC 06-Jul 10 Trading Rules to Live By
From 15.30 UTC 07-Jul Weekly Gold, Silver, and Oil Forecasts
17.00 UTC 08-Jul Blonde Markets
09.00 UTC 09-Jul How to Use the 200-day Moving Average Indicator

 

Key Events this Week

Watch out for the biggest events on the economic calendar this week:

08.30 UTC 06-Jul Eurozone Sentix Investor Confidence Index
09.00 UTC 06-Jul Eurozone Retail Sales
14.00 UTC 06-Jul US ISM Nonmanufacturing
14.30 UTC 06-Jul CA BOC Business Outlook Survey
04.30 UTC 07-Jul RBA Official Cash Rate Decision
06.00 UTC 07-Jul German Industrial Production
Pre-Market 07-Jul Paychex – Q4 2020
After-Market 07-Jul Levi’s – Q2 2020
05.00 UTC 08-Jul Japan Eco Watchers Survey
14.30 UTC 08-Jul US EIA Crude Oil Inventories
08-Jul FirstGroup – Q4 2020 (Preliminary)
Pre-Market 09-Jul Walgreens Boots Alliance – Q3 2020
12.30 UTC 09-Jul US Weekly Jobless Claims
14.30 UTC 09-Jul US EIA Natural Gas Storage
12.30 UTC 10-Jul Canada Employment Change & Unemployment Rate

Week Ahead: RBA and BoE, Disney Earnings, US NFP

Week Ahead

Expect policy decisions from the RBA and BoE, a host more earnings reports, the US nonmanufacturing PMI, and of course the highly anticipated/dreaded April nonfarm payrolls report. Keep track of the biggest market-moving events with the Events Calendar in the Marketsx trading platform. 

Reserve Bank of Australia interest rate decision 

Data is tentatively showing that lockdown measures in Australia might have succeeded in flattening the curve of infections, and several states have already started relaxing social distancing rules.

The Reserve Bank of Australia has previously stated that it believes the economy will begin to rebound once the outbreak was contained, therefore it seems unlikely we will be getting any further stimulus announcements as a result of this week’s meeting. It’s too early to expect the board to start tightening again, but we could see some comments regarding plans to begin tapering the quantitative easing programme. 

Regeneron earnings 

Regeneron Pharmaceuticals is one of the leading companies in the race to find treatments and a vaccine for COVID-19. The stock is up 40% since the start of the year, and is a constituent of our Corona BlendAnalysts are expecting EPS of $5.99 per share – growth of 34.6% on the year. Revenue is forecast up 16% from the same period a year ago at $1.99 billion. 

US ISM Nonmanufacturing PMI 

Last month the US ISM Nonmanufacturing PMI fared much better than expected, clocking in at 52.5 versus the consensus forecast of 43.0. Companies reported a jump in supplier deliveries, with the subindex leaping to 62.1 versus 52.4 the previous month. 

Digging further into numbers, however, it’s clear to see that this helped mask wider weakness. The employment index recorded the largest drop since 2008, tumbling from 55.6 to 47.0, and the business activity index dropped almost 10 points to 48.0. New export orders and imports also collapsed.

April’s report is likely to see the headline number more accurately reflecting the weakness in the sub-indices – some forecasts suggest a drop to as low as 32.0. 

Walt Disney earnings 

Disney’s latest earnings report will be more of a preview than the main event. The company’s second-quarter period ends just a couple of weeks after social distancing measures and business closures were enforced. Like so much of the current data and reports, the rule is to expect bad news now, and brace for even worse to come. 

Business closures and social distancing will have hit Disney from all directions, forcing closures of its parks, curtailing or delaying theatrical releases of its latest films, and hurting demand in its retail stores.

The effect has clearly been significantthe company has already announced that it would slash executive salaries. 

The one positive in the report is likely to be the strong performance of the company’s streaming service, Disney+. The service enjoyed a strong launch, and demand is likely to have been bolstered even further thanks to global lockdowns. 

Guidance for the next quarter won’t be able to answer all investor’s questions – such as whether parks will be able to reopen in time for the busy summer season – but will give details on how the company plans to endure these punishing conditions until the economy gets back to something that vaguely resembles normality. 

PayPal 

PayPal stock has been one of the most resilient of those belonging to the payment processing industry. The company is likely to benefit from a surge in online shopping and demand for online services.

However, PayPal has also announced various measures to support its smaller partners, such as deferring business loan payments and waving certain fees for small business customers who are most affected by the impact of COVID-19. This will hit the company’s bottom line and revenue growth is expected to be negative for the quarter.

Bank of England interest rate decision 

The Bank of England faces the same situation as the Fed and ECB – interest rates are already as low as policymakers are willing to go (for the time being, at least), so it’s unlikely we will see any change to the base rate on Thursday. We could see an increase in the size of the asset purchasing programme, however, or alterations to its short-term repo operations.

The BoE also publishes its latest Inflation Report, which will detail the expected hit to the UK economy from the coronavirus pandemic.  The latest decision and report will be announced at 06.00 UTC on Thursday May 7th, instead of the usual time of 11.00 UTC.

Nonfarm payrolls 

Last month, the nonfarm payrolls report showed a drop of 701,000 jobs in March. The unemployment rate leapt past expectations to 4.4%. The market reaction was muted, however, because everyone from economists to traders knew that there was far worse to come. 

Since the 21st of March, over 25 million Americans have filed jobless claims. Marchs NFP may have been the worst report since 2009, but the numbers will seem trifling compared to those reported for April. 

We’ve seen recently that markets are able to shrug off backward-looking data even if the readings are dire. It was the fear of numbers like these, after all, that saw stock markets posting record declines in Q1.

It is also worth noting that, since late March, the number of Americans filing for new jobless claims has fallen each week, suggesting the worst of the job losses may be behind us. 

But there is a risk that the numbers will be so appalling that markets will have to rethink their already bearish forecasts. 

Heads-Up on Earnings 

The following companies are set to publish their quarterly earnings reports this week: 

Pre-Market  05-May  Thompson Reuters – Q1 2020 
Pre-Market  05-May  Regeneron Pharmaceuticals – Q1 2020 
12.00 UTC  05-May  BNP Paribas – Q1 2020 
By 13.00 UTC  05-May  Fiat Chrysler – Q1 2020 
After-Market  05-May  Walt Disney – Q2 2020 
After-Market  05-May  Activision Blizzard – Q1 2020 
After-Market  05-May  Prudential Financial – Q1 2020 
After-Market  05-May  Occidental Petroleum – Q1 2020 
Pre-Market (Europe)  06-May  BMW – Q1 2020 
  06-May  Credit Agricole – Q1 2020 
  06-May  Societe Generale 
  06-May  Shopify – Q1 2020 
Pre-Market  06-May  General Motors – Q1 2020 
After-Market  06-May  PayPal – Q1 2020 
After-Market  06-May  T-Mobile US – Q1 2020 
After-Market  06-May  Lyft – Q1 2020 
  07-May  BT Group – Q4 2020 
Pre-Market  07-May  Wheaton Precious Metals – Q1 2020 
  08-May  Siemens – Q2 2020 

 

Highlights on XRay this Week 

07.15 UTC   Daily   European Morning Call 
09.00 UTC   Daily   Earnings Season Daily Special 
10.00 UTC   May 6th  Live Market Analysis with Neil Wilson 
12.20 UTC   May 8th  Platform Walkthrough 
12.30 UTC   May 8th  US Nonfarm Payrolls Live 

 

Key Economic Events 

Watch out for the biggest events on the economic calendar this week: 

08.15 – 09.00 UTC  04-May  Finalised Eurozone Member / Bloc Manufacturing PMIs 
04.30 UTC  05-May  Reserve Bank of Australia Interest Rate Decision 
14.00 UTC  05-May  US ISM Nonmanufacturing PMI 
08.15 – 09.00 UTC  06-May  Finalised Eurozone Member / Bloc Services PMIs 
14.30 UTC  06-May  US EIA crude Oil Inventories 
01.30 UTC  07-May  Australia Trade Balance 
01.45 UTC  07-May  Caixin Services PMI 
10.00 UTC  07-May  EU Economic Forecasts 
06.00 UTC  07-May  Bank of England Interest Rate Decision 
12.30 UTC  07-May  US Jobless Claims 
01.30 UTC  08-May  Reserve Bank of Australia Monetary Policy Statement 
12.30 UTC  08-May  US Nonfarm Payrolls / Unemployment Rate 

RBA expected to hold policy, but for how long?

Forex

Up until a couple of weeks ago markets were pricing in strong odds that the Reserve Bank of Australia would cut the Official Cash Rate to 0.50% from 0.75%.

All that changed after December’s labour market data was released. Unemployment dropped for a second consecutive month, hitting the lowest levels since April 2019 at 5.1%. Unemployment decreased by 13,000, largely thanks to a 29,000 increase in the number of workers employed part-time.

While still leaving the jobless rate significantly above 4.5% – a level be RBA believes will prompt an acceleration in wage growth – the unexpectedly strong report saw markets slashing odds of further easing in February.

The Australian dollar snapped a 5-day downtrend against the US dollar, spiking to test 0.6880, but the selloff quickly resumed as the focus returned to the viral outbreak in China.

AUD/USD chart, MARKETSX, 16.00 GMT, January 29th, 2020

Bets on easing in February drop after jobs data

According to ASX 30 day interbank cash rate futures contracts for February 2020, the probability of a cut has fallen from 56% as of January 16th to 30% by January 28th.

Westpac also noted that the strong data lowered the odds of further accommodation, with chief economist Bill Evans stating:

“Prior to the release of the surprisingly strong December Employment Report we had expected the cuts to be timed for February and June.”

“Given this strength and the significance of the labour market in the mind of the RBA, we have consequently decided to push out our forecast for two further cash rate cuts from February and June to April and August 2020.”

However, Westpac believes that the recent strength in the labour market won’t last, supporting the call for further easing. Evans explained:

“The importance of the April date is that the Board will have seen another print of the national accounts for the December quarter which is likely to highlight the soft growth environment while we expect that the surprise improvement in the unemployment rate will be unravelling.”

Consensus: cuts are still coming

The general consensus is that the RBA will have to ease further as the year progresses. While some parts of the economy are stabilising, particularly the property market (which has of course been helped by 75 basis points worth of easing during 2019), others are flagging.

Construction and consumer confidence are weak, and expectations for retail sales over the Christmas period are low. Construction output has declined for five straight quarters, while consumer confidence has erased most of the rebound recorded after hitting the lowest levels since mid-2015 in October.

There are also questions over the impact of the bushfires upon monetary policy. It is believed that, despite the economic damage estimated to be in the region of $100 billion, the bushfires will have only a short-term impact and therefore may not have any bearing on monetary policy. However, if it serves to further knock consumer confidence, it could be a contributing factor in any decision to ease policy.

The Chinese coronavirus outbreak is another large unknown; Australia trades heavily with China, so talk of factory shutdowns and a reduction in consumption could hurt the Australian economy.

What will the guidance say?

It can take 12 to 18 months for the impact of monetary policy adjustments to be fully known, so the RBA is likely to claim next month that it needs more time to assess the effects of 2019’s trifecta of cuts.

But how much time? Some analysts, like Evans at Westpac, believe the RBA will tee up a cut for April, while others think we may have to wait until the second half of the year to see further easing.

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