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The bulls are coming back: APAC brief 21 Jan

The bulls are coming back: Traders received the greenlight to jump into risk assets on Friday. It culminated in a substantial jump across global equities and a certain “risk-on” attitude to trading. The impetus was arguably more technical than fundamental. The boost in sentiment in being attributed mostly the leaked news that Treasury Secretary Stephen Mnuchin was planning to lift US tariffs on China. Whatever the motive, nefarious or simply untrue, that story was quickly denied by the White House. However, it signalled enough to the market that progress was being made in trade war negotiations. That extra fuel to this recovery’s fire supported a push above very significant technical levels in Wall Street indices, attracting buyers and further validating the view that the December sell-off is behind us. The stock market’s biggest fan: There’s one market participant who is apparently willing that notion to be true: US President Donald Trump. The US President obviously uses the stock market’s performance as a measure of his success – rightly or wrongly. And over the weekend, amidst the very many Tweets that were Tweeted by Trump, this one outlined his view on the US economy and stock market: “the Economy is one of the best in our history, with unemployment at a 50 year low, and the Stock Market ready to again break a record (set by us many times)…” Quite a pledge to make – and one markets participants aren’t going to take too seriously. Regardless, it does provide a perversely comforting story for markets, to know that the US President is wishing this market higher. Technical indicators strong: For now, at least, the direction for US, and therefore global stocks, is up. The recovery has scarcely taken a breath to start the new year. Indications are now too that the market (as a whole) is starting to believe that 2019’s early rally is for real. Technical indicators for Wall Street’s benchmark S&P500 were as solid as they have been all year on Friday. Resistance at 2630 was broken through, clearly attracting the many sceptical or nervous market-bulls, pushing the index 1.32 per cent higher for the day. Volume was well-above average for the first time in several weeks too, at 9 per cent above the 100-day average. Breadth was also highly impressive, with 91.3 per cent of stocks higher, and every sector in the green for the session. The ASX200 set to follow: Friday’s solid session in US stocks has the ASX200 poised to jump 43 points at the open, according to the last traded price in SPI Futures. The ASX enjoyed its own strong performance on Friday, though it lacked the substance of its US counterparts. Like Wall Street, every sector gained ground on the day. But breadth and volume weren’t a shadow of US markets – in line with the trend of recent weeks. IT stocks were the only sector to attract meaningful interest, largely by way of virtue of a 11 per cent rally from Afterpay Touch Group, after it updated its underlying sales numbers. The ASX200 will eye its 200-day EMA in the day ahead at 5909, a level the index ought to exceed at the open according to SPI Futures. China in the spotlight: For all the excitement that markets have achieved the turnaround they were looking for, the week ahead hurls-up several challenges to this narrative. The macroeconomic drivers of market sentiment remain the dual concerns of global growth and US Federal Reserve monetary policy. The biggest risk to global growth comes from China’s economic slowdown – and how the trade war is exacerbating that. Deep insight into the Chinese economy’s state-of-affairs will come today: a major data-dump from the Middle Kingdom arrives today, with GDP figures headlining the lot. Much of the upside experienced in markets recently has come from hope and speculation that the Chinese (and therefore global) economic outlook is better than previously expected. The data from China today will put this hope to the test. Australian Dollar: As it always is on these occasions, the Australian Dollar will likely prove to be the barometer for sentiment relating to today’s data from China. There’s been relatively thinner commentary about currency markets, and the A-Dollar by extension, in financial markets recently. There was the flash crash which generated headlines, however putting that aside as a temporary quirk of market malfunction, volatility in currency markets has been quite subdued. Realized volatility in the AUD/USD is presently 5.45 – a very low reading, especially for currency so exposed to risk/growth dynamics – with the pair trading within a 100-point range for best part of 2 weeks. Though by no means guaranteed, perhaps today’s Chinese growth figures will ignite some of the action speculators are craving. Other risk events: US markets will be closed on Monday for the Martin Luther King Day public holiday. Several of the secondary and tertiary risk-factors moving markets will keep relevance in the next 24 hours. Brexit will hit the headlines as UK Prime Minister Theresa May prepares to table alternatives to the House of Commons after last week’s failed “meaningful vote”. The US Government shut down will drag on further, after Democrat leaders declined to cooperate with President Donald Trump’s latest salvo to end the stand-off over the funding of his border-wall. And the international economic elite will gather in Davos this week for the World Economic Forum, where issues such as global trade and the normalization of global monetary policy will be the hot topics. Written by Kyle Rodda - IG Australia

MaxIG

MaxIG

Dividend Adjustments 21 Jan - 28 Jan

Expected index adjustments  Please see the expected dividend adjustment figures for a number of our major indices for the week commencing 21 Jan 2019. If you have any queries or questions on this please let us know in the comments section below. For further information regarding dividend adjustments, and how they affect  your positions, please take a look at the video.  NB: All dividend adjustments are forecasts and therefore speculative. A dividend adjustment is a 
cash neutral adjustment on your account. Special Divs are highlighted in orange. Special dividends this week Index Bloomberg Code Effective Date Summary Dividend Amount NIFTY INFO IN 24/01/2019 Special Div. 4 TOP40 NTC SJ 23/01/109 Special Div. 40 RTY CZNC US 25/01/2019 Special Div. 0.1   How do dividend adjustments work?  As you know, constituent stocks of an index will periodically pay dividends to shareholders. When they do, the overall value of the index is affected, causing it to drop by a certain amount. Each week, we receive the forecast for the number of points any index is due to drop by, and we publish this for you. As dividends are scheduled, public events, it is important to remember that leveraged index traders can neither profit nor lose from such price movements. This information has been prepared by IG, a trading name of IG Markets Limited. In addition to the disclaimer below, the material on this page does not contain a record of our trading prices, or an offer of, or solicitation for, a transaction in any financial instrument. IG accepts no responsibility for any use that may be made of these comments and for any consequences that result. No representation or warranty is given as to the accuracy or completeness of this information. Consequently any person acting on it does so entirely at their own risk. Any research provided does not have regard to the specific investment objectives, financial situation and needs of any specific person who may receive it. It has not been prepared in accordance with legal requirements designed to promote the independence of investment research and as such is considered to be a marketing communication. Although we are not specifically constrained from dealing ahead of our recommendations we do not seek to take advantage of them before they are provided to our clients. See full non-independent research disclaimer and quarterly summary.  

MaxIG

MaxIG

Stranger Things Have Happened: Netflix Earnings and More – EMEA Brief 18 Jan

Netflix announced subscriber growth of 8.8 million over the past year giving them a total of more than 139 million. Meanwhile, their quarterly revenue was up 27% from the same period in 2017 but the share price is down 3% as they failed to hit analysts’ expectations. Theresa May has rejected calls of Jeremy Corbyn to rule out a no deal Brexit whilst the FTSE yesterday stayed flat. American Indices were up yesterday with the Dow gaining 0.67% despite no resolution to the US government shutdown yet being found. The US delegation’s trip to the World Economic Forum has been cancelled as a result.  Fidelity Investments stated yesterday that Chinese stocks are “very very attractive”. Asian markets were up yesterday with both the Hang Seng and the Nikkei gaining 1.29%. Brent futures are up 1.19% and WTI futures are up 1.33% this comes as the market for heavy oil such as Heavy Louisiana Sweet is seeing tight supply. Palladium is continuing to trade at its all time high as this month has saw a 11% surge in the precious metal on supply concerns. Meanwhile, Gold has remained steady at around $1290 Morgan Stanley shares are down over 4% following their release yesterday of 80 cents per share compared to 89 cents EPS expected Afterpay Touch group are up almost 13% after their H1 sales surged. UK, US and Europe: Markets have eased on promising signs of trade war progress. A report has stated that the US is considering easing Chinese tariffs during their recent negotiations. Germany have also pledged to deepen financial cooperation with China in areas of banking, finance and capital markets. However Germany have also reported that they are considering banning Huawei products, the latest large country to make such a suggestion over security concerns. South Africa: Global equity market have resumed short term gains as markets find renewed optimism around the progression of trade between China and the US. Oil prices have added more than 1% today following reports that OPEC production had fallen sharply in December 2018. Metal prices are trading relatively flat on the day, while the rand has held onto, although not really extended, its short term strength against the majors. Tencent Holdings is up 1.63% in Asia suggestive of a positive start for major holding company Naspers. BHP Billiton is up 0.73% in Australia suggestive of a positive start for local resource counters. Economic calendar - key events and forecast (times in GMT) Source: Daily FX Economic Calendar Corporate News, Upgrades and Downgrades Ryanair have reduced profit guidance by 100 million. JP Morgan have downgraded EasyJet to Neutral Phillips are to close their UK factory in 2020 resulting in a loss of 400 jobs Lloyds have secured their Berlin Banking Licence as part of their preparation for Brexit IGTV featured video Information has been prepared by IG, a trading name of IG Markets Limited. In addition to the disclaimer below, the material on this page does not contain a record of our trading prices, or an offer of, or solicitation for, a transaction in any financial instrument. IG accepts no responsibility for any use that may be made of these comments and for any consequences that result. No representation or warranty is given as to the accuracy or completeness of this information. Consequently any person acting on it does so entirely at their own risk. Any research provided does not have regard to the specific investment objectives, financial situation and needs of any specific person who may receive it. It has not been prepared in accordance with legal requirements designed to promote the independence of investment research and as such is considered to be a marketing communication. Although we are not specifically constrained from dealing ahead of our recommendations we do not seek to take advantage of them before they are provided to our clients. See full non-independent research disclaimer and quarterly summary. 

IGAaronC

IGAaronC

Mixed trade - APAC brief 18 Jan

Mixed trade across the globe: Global equity indices have traded mixed in the last 24 hours. Asian trade was soft, European trade was poor, while US indices look as though they will deliver another day in the green. This may not be such a bad thing: perhaps the differing performance across regional indices is a sign of a more discerning market place. Panic about the global economic landscape has subsided for now, allowing traders to take a more nuanced view of the asset class. There is a degree of divergence happening again between US equities and the rest of the world – though it must be said the ASX is still following the lead of Wall Street. Optimism about fundamentals in the US is progressively being restored; that of the rest of the world is still in doubt. US macro-outlook apparently strong: The notion the US economy is still on solid footing was supported by strong economic data last night. Both unemployment claims and the Philly Fed Manufacturing Index beat expectations, boosting confidence that the labour market and business activity is strong in the US. As has been repeated many-a-time throughout the recent stock-market funk, economic fundamentals could well be secondary or tertiary to other forces previously supporting equity markets. There are still doubts about the future of financial conditions (read: Fed tightening) and the state of the profit cycle. While the US economy is delivering strong data however, the perma-bears and recessionistas should remain sidelined – at the very least, on the basis that the US economy doesn’t yet appear to be spiralling into recession. Risk-appetite higher: Price action reflects the change in attitude of market participants. US Treasuries have ticked higher as interest rate traders price out rate cuts from the US Fed in 2019. The yield on the US 10 Year note has climbed to 2.72 per cent, and the yield on the US 2 Year note has reached 2.55 per cent. Even more promisingly, the curve is taking on a slightly healthier shape. It’s still quite unattractive, that’s undeniable. But the 2-to-10 spread is widening, as markets price a better economic outlook and a more accommodative Fed. The lift in oil prices has helped this – one point that is still understated and underestimated by many. The recent rebound in the price of the black stuff has led US 5 Year Breakevens back to 1.65 per cent. The elusive goldilocks zone: It will still stay a tight rope walk for equities, especially in the US. The financial system is arguably inherently unstable, and policymakers’ job puts them in the invidious position of keeping markets at an equilibrium, despite this instability. Hence, it’s never the case that markets aren’t at risk of losing balance and falling towards one extreme or another. The particular issue with the set of circumstances market participants find themselves in now is that the tight rope is narrower, and the risks have closed-in tighter around them. Economic data needs to remain strong to keep the recessionistas at bay on one side, but not so strong that it results in the necessity of a hiking US Federal Reserve. US earnings season the new priority: So far, so good for US markets, but of course we are only half-way through January, and there’s a long path ahead of traders, given the risks out in the market place. Focus has been set on US reporting season, given the radio-silence in the trade-war, along with the more dovish-Fed. The financials sector cooled its run on Wall Street overnight, after Morgan Stanley’s results bucked the industries trend of beating forecasts this earnings season. It hasn’t proven so far enough to undermine Wall Street’s recovery. The real interest in gauging US corporate strength will come when the tech-giants begin to report next week. For now, though, keep your eyes peeled for Netflix’s results out this morning: it’s often a volatile stock, and there are big expectations for that company’s latest results. Risks being shrugged off: Back on the risks to market sentiment, and whatever little issue has been hauled at markets this week has been effectively shrugged off. The news about Huawei facing charges in the US on tech theft didn’t undermine sentiment for long. And the bigger headline story this week, the UK parliamentary vote on Brexit, has actually engendered positivity. The GBP for one is edging higher, with the Cable eyeing off 1.30 now. A better indicator of traders’ attitude towards the UK economy is in bond-spreads. The spread between US 10 Year Treasuries and 10 Year UK Gilts has narrowed further to 142 basis points, as markets price in the chance that UK will be heading for another referendum – one that could well yield a Bremain result. A trade-war sentiment boost? There’s an hour left in Wall Street trade at time of writing, and sentiment has apparently received the boost it was looking for: news has crossed the trading terminals that the “US weighs lifting China trade tariffs”. Volume has spiked on the news and the S&P500 has broken resistance at 2630. It’s contentious whether this story has merit. Conflicting reports are coming out suggesting there is more to the story than just the headline. A Treasury spokesperson has leapt out to say that neither Treasury Secretary Mnuchin, nor trade Ambassador Robert Lighthizer have made any recommendations to ease tariffs. It’s causing markets to whipsaw. This one might be a live issue this morning. Keeping abreast of its developments in the day ahead could prove beneficial. ASX keeps grinding: In line with US cash equity markets, SPI Futures are dancing around as traders try to process the news delivered to them. At present, that contract is suggesting an approximate 20-point jump for the ASX200 this morning, up from about 15 before the news release. Whatever the extent of the rise, traders were pricing a positive start for Australian shares this morning. The ASX200 kept defying gravity yesterday, closing trade 0.26 per cent higher at 5850. Indicators relating to the conviction of the session’s move were lacking once more. It’s still January however, and activity is generally lower this time of the year anyway. The ASX200 index looks now to chase down its 200-day EMA at 5910, which itself could prove a significant hurdle. Written by Kyle Rodda - IG Australia

MaxIG

MaxIG

May Day: Theresa survives but for how long?

Theresa May's government holds onto power, winning a no-confidence vote in parliament last night by 325 votes to 306. The Prime Minister has now set out to reach a cross-party solution for Brexit, although this will be extremely difficult as the PM was snubbed by the leader of the opposition last night saying that she is in charge of a "zombie government". Sterling remained steady as the currency traded around the 1.2875 mark against the dollar after, as expected, Mrs May's government won the vote of no-confidence. US equities closed higher on Wednesday after strong quarterly earnings by Bank of America and Goldman. The S&P 500 rose by 0.2% whilst the Dow increased by 140 points, both driven by the financial sector. The Nasdaq followed and increased by 0.15%. Stock markets in Asia were mixed as concerns continue over rising tensions between the US and China. Japan's Topix gained 0.4% at the close, followed by the MSCI Asia Pacific Index which added 0.1%. On the other side of this, the Shanghai Composite and the Hang Seng both slid by 0.1%. Oil slipped 0.5% down to near $52 per barrel as the US reach record output levels, counter-acting the signs of shrinking supply by OPEC+. Gold traded slightly lower at $1,291.65 per ounce. UK, US and Europe: Calls from the opposition and some leading Brexiteers for the Prime Minister to resign seems to have fallen on deaf ears. Last night, Theresa May's government survived a vote of no confidence tabled by Jeremy Corbyn, winning the vote by 325 to 306. It's unclear what is going to happen next in these extraordinary circumstances. Mrs May will seek further concessions from the EU in an attempt to get her 'Plan B' deal through the House of Commons, which the PM must layout to parliament next week. Looking ahead, earnings season continues with Netflix, Morgan Stanley and Taiwan Semiconductor posting results later today. South Africa: Last night saw US markets trading in positive territory led by gains within the banking sector after The Bank Of America reported better than expected earnings. Asian markets and US Index futures are however trading lower this morning tempering the previous days gains somewhat. Last night saw British Prime Minister Theresa May surviving a vote of no confidence in parliament, helping restore some stability in the British Pound. Oil and precious metal prices are trading modestly lower this morning, while base metals are trading positive on the day. Tencent Holdings is up 0.8% in Australia, suggestive of a similar start for major holding company Naspers. BHP Billiton is down 0.2% in Australia suggestive of a slightly weaker start for locally listed diversified resource counters. The South African Reserve Bank (SARB) concludes its monetary policy meeting today where no change in lending rates is the expected outcome. Economic calendar - key events and forecast (times in GMT) Source: Daily FX Economic Calendar Corporate News, Upgrades and Downgrades Primark announce this morning that like-for-like sales fell in the 16 weeks to the 5th of January caused by reduced footfall during November, according to the retailer. Fiserv is set to acquire payment processor First Data in a deal worth $22 billion in one of the largest deals we have seen in the financial technology industry. Bank of America shares soared by 7% yesterday after quarterly profit reached a record level of $7.3 billion. Goldman Sachs also beat expectations yesterday as earnings per share reached $6.05, beating estimates of $4.53, and posting revenue of $8.08 billion for the quarter.  In a statement, CEO David Solomon said "We are pleased with our performance for the year, achieving strong top and bottom line results despite a challenging backdrop for our market-making businesses in the second half". Asset manager firm BlackRock profits fell short of expectations as the company's assets under management has fallen 5% over the last 12 months down to $5.98 trillion. IGTV featured video Information has been prepared by IG, a trading name of IG Markets Limited. In addition to the disclaimer below, the material on this page does not contain a record of our trading prices, or an offer of, or solicitation for, a transaction in any financial instrument. IG accepts no responsibility for any use that may be made of these comments and for any consequences that result. No representation or warranty is given as to the accuracy or completeness of this information. Consequently any person acting on it does so entirely at their own risk. Any research provided does not have regard to the specific investment objectives, financial situation and needs of any specific person who may receive it. It has not been prepared in accordance with legal requirements designed to promote the independence of investment research and as such is considered to be a marketing communication. Although we are not specifically constrained from dealing ahead of our recommendations we do not seek to take advantage of them before they are provided to our clients. See full non-independent research disclaimer and quarterly summary. 

GeorgeIG

GeorgeIG

Bullishness rolls on - APAC brief 17 Jan

Bullishness rolls on: The bullish correction in financial markets continues, and global equity markets are rolling on. It’s a matter of contention as to why this rally hasn’t been faded, just in the short term. Stocks were oversold on a technical basis, and the market internals were very over-stretched at the deepest trough of the recent sell-off. An elastic band effect was expected – a brief snap back in to place. Perhaps complacency will bite at some stage, and the rally in risk-assets will prove a mere counter-trend. Analysing the price-action however, the buyers are controlling the market. Keys levels in several major share-indices have been tested and breached. Yes, without overwhelming conviction, but the technical breaks of resistance are there. One must respect the will of the market. Fear falling, confidence rising: Substance in the move higher is lacking, just at present. Fundamental justifications are emerging, though not in such way yet that justifies out-right bullishness in this market. Earnings season in the US has gotten off to a good start, with bellwether banks beating analyst forecasts thus far, and the overstated effects of Brexit have been contained. The meaty part of reporting season is still ahead of us, so evidence US corporates are in a better than expected shape remains wanting. The simple explanation for why market participants are more confident now is that they believe policymakers have their back. Separating the philosophical arguments about whether that ought to be proper reason to take-risk, invest and trade in a financial market, for self-interested traders, that’s enough of a cue to buy-in now. The political-economic power-axis: The economic and financial world rests on a tripartite axis of economic power: there’s the US, Europe and China. Every other national economy is in some way a satellite to these economic giants. The best set of circumstances for markets is when all three economies are growing and possess solid financial conditions. At-the-moment, only the US comes close to passing that test in the mind of traders. In the absence of solid fundamentals, the next best thing for markets to hear is that the powerful people in these economies intend to do something big about their problems. This week, and more-or-less since the equity market recovery has taken hold, that is what markets have gotten. After months of feeling abandoned, market participants now feel comforted by policymakers soothing assurances. Policymakers making the right noises: There has been delivered numerous announcements from key policymakers in the US, Europe and China. The US Federal Reserve has launched a concerted campaign to soothe markets’ nerves, going as far as implying interest rates will remain on hold until signs of greater financial and economic stability emerge. European Central Bank head Mario Draghi acknowledged in a speech this week that the Eurozone economy is sputtering but pledged that the ECB will stand-by with policy support if necessary. And China’s key-economic boffins have implemented a range of policies – from cutting the Reserve Ratio Requirement for banks, injecting cash through open market operations, and sweeping tax-cuts – which have done enough for now to prove to traders they are serious about tackling China’s economic slow-down. The G20 meeting: The temporary reliance on policymakers to support market sentiment will be put to the test to end the week. Global financial leaders will meet in Tokyo to discuss global economy and the financial world at the latest G20 meeting, in what will certainly be scoured for signs of unity and conviction of purpose. These events are often talk-fests, with little coming out of them more than a rosy-joint press release. But with the way markets have been behaving since the start of January, this may be all that market participants need to keep talking risks and buying back into equities. Talk of stimulatory fiscal policy, looser monetary policy, and better yet, the reduction of trade barriers (read: ending the trade war) will underwrite such risk appetite. The test of fundamentals: Of course, it’s too reductive to suggest that market activity hinges in the immediate future on the outcome of this G20 meeting. Fundamentals will have to come into play and drag sentiment, wherever it goes, back to reality, whatever that happens to be. The good thing is too, that markets won’t have to wait long to get that reality check. Earning’s season is ramping up now, and while some of the more popular companies haven’t yet reported, some important information is being gleaned. In a positive development, Goldman Sachs reported before the US open last night, and broadly beat expectations by way of virtue of solid results in its M&A division. The numbers further eased concerns that the US banking sector, and therefore US economy, is in an increasingly tough-spot. Wall Street to the ASX: The sentiment boost there has lead Wall Street higher, supporting what at time of writing looks like an 8-point gain for the ASX200 this morning, according to SPI Futures. Promisingly, the benchmark S&P500 continues its grind through a marshy resistance zone between 2600-2300, which if traversed, will add weight to the notion US stocks have executed a recovery. The ASX200 is arguably a little further down the true-recovery path: yesterday’s trade saw the Aussie index add 0.35% to close at 5835. Buyers ought to become thinner at these levels, with the daily RSI close to flashing an overbought signal. The next key level to watch out for is approximately 5870 based on a read on the hourly chart, however resistance there doesn’t shape-up as particularly firm. Written by Kyle Rodda - IG Australia

MaxIG

MaxIG

Double defeat: Will May survive no confidence vote? - EMEA Brief 16 Jan

May's Brexit deal rejected by 230 votes making may's defeat the biggest in UK history of sitting governments. The no vote saw the GBP rise 0.05% to $1.28. As a result of the landslide defeat May is to face vote of no confidence, the vote is expected to be held at 19:00 GMT. Asian Stocks saw a mixed reaction following the Brexit news. Japan's Nikkei 225 fell 0.55% to 20,442.75 and the Topix index followed suit falling by 0.32% to 1,537.77 whilst the Kospi rose 0.43% to 2,106.1. As US government shutdown continues Trump administration doubles estimates of the resulting cost. The original estimate stating that the partial shutdown would subtract 0.1% from growth every two weeks has been doubled to 0.1% every week. The US has charged 10 defendants for the 2016 SEC hacking.  The Department of Energy forecasts that US oil production will rise to 12.9 million barrels per day by 2020. A 2 million increase from 2018. Asian overnight: A mixed affair overnight has seen Japanese markets underperform thanks to a strengthening yen, with Brexit turmoil denting confidence and shifting focus onto haven assets. Hong Kong, Chinese, and Australian markets managed to remain in the green though despite this political volatility. Last night’s parliamentary vote saw Theresa May’s deal rejected in huge numbers, yet despite the immediate selling seen in GBPUSD, we have since seen the pair stabilise around the levels seen prior to the vote. UK, US and Europe: Today is likely to remain highly sensitive for UK traders, with Jeremy Corbyn’s vote of no confidence expected to take place at 7pm UK time. With UK inflation data and an appearance from Mark Carney also taking place this morning, it looks like all eyes will be back on the UK today. Also keep an eye out for crude inventories data which is released later in the day. Although a focus of this week Britain is not the only country facing political uncertainty, Greece will also be holding a confidence vote in government, after break down of the coalition. Furthermore, Sweden's parliament is still to vote (for the third time) on a prime minister nominee.  South Africa:  Despite last nights impasse on the UK parliaments Brexit vote, global markets are trading mostly firmer this morning although marginally so. US markets saw tech sector led gains after Netflix announced that it would be raising subscription prices in the near term. Chinese equity markets remain buoyant after policymakers suggested yesterday that further tax relief would be implemented to support the Asian economy. Base metal prices trade firmer this morning while precious metal prices are flat to marginally higher. The rand has renewed some short term strength against the majors. BHP Billiton is down 0.4% in Australia suggestive of a softer start for local resource counters. Tencent Holdings is flat on the day. Economic calendar - key events and forecast (times in GMT)   9.30am – UK CPI (December): prices expected to rise 2.2% YoY, from 2.3%, and 0.3% MoM from 0.2%. Core CPI to rise 2.2% YoY from 1.8%. Market to watch: GBP crosses 1.30pm – US retail sales (December): sales to rise 0.5% MoM from 0.2%. Market to watch: US indices, USD crosses 3.30pm – US EIA crude inventories (w/e 11 January):stockpiles fell by 1.7 million barrels last week. Markets to watch: Brent, WTI Source: Daily FX Economic Calendar   Corporate News, Upgrades and Downgrades Pearson expects to meet forecasts for earnings guidance, with further progress in 2019. The firm said that adjusted operating profit for 2018 would be in the middle of its £540 – 545 million range.  Bovis Homes expects annual profits would be slightly ahead of market forecasts, due to significant improvements in operating margins.   Saga said it was trading in line with forecasts, despite challenging market conditions.   Snap CFO Tim Stone to announced resignation seeing share price tumble by 8%. United Continental Holdings beat profit and revenue expectations resulting in share increase of 6%. Netflix stock saw 6.5% increase despite announcing price hikes for US customers.  Carlsberg upgraded to buy at Jefferies
Laurent-Perrier upgraded to buy at Oddo BHF
Petrofac upgraded to overweight at Morgan Stanley AB InBev downgraded to underperform at Jefferies
Ashmore downgraded to hold at Berenberg
Restaurant Group downgraded to sell at Citi
Synergie downgraded to neutral at Oddo BHF IGTV featured video Information has been prepared by IG, a trading name of IG Markets Limited. In addition to the disclaimer below, the material on this page does not contain a record of our trading prices, or an offer of, or solicitation for, a transaction in any financial instrument. IG accepts no responsibility for any use that may be made of these comments and for any consequences that result. No representation or warranty is given as to the accuracy or completeness of this information. Consequently any person acting on it does so entirely at their own risk. Any research provided does not have regard to the specific investment objectives, financial situation and needs of any specific person who may receive it. It has not been prepared in accordance with legal requirements designed to promote the independence of investment research and as such is considered to be a marketing communication. Although we are not specifically constrained from dealing ahead of our recommendations we do not seek to take advantage of them before they are provided to our clients. See full non-independent research disclaimer and quarterly summary.  

MichaelaIG

MichaelaIG

The Brexit-vote fall-out - APAC brief 16 Jan

ASX’s looming recovery: The ASX200 has clawed itself to a level on the cusp of validating the notion that the market has bottomed. It might feel that we ought to already be at that stage, given we sit 7-and-a-half per cent of the markets lows. But turnarounds take time to be confirmed, and now having broken psychological-resistance at 5800, Australian equities are inches away from that point. There are counterarguments to be made, to be fair: the recent rally has come on the back of lower volumes, and the buyers have lost a degree of momentum. Nevertheless, the capacity to push beyond 5800, and then when the time comes, form a new low when the inevitable short-term retracement arrives, would give credence to the “market-recovery” narrative. ASX today: SPI futures this morning is pointing to a gain on 7 points at the open, at time of writing. There are several risks that could undermine that outlook. As the laptop’s keys are being tapped, there is 2 hours left to go on Wall Street, and the UK Parliament have just begun the process to vote on UK Prime Minister May’s Brexit Bill. More on that later. ASX bulls today will be searching for a solid follow through from yesterday’s 0.71 per cent gain. The daily candle on the ASX200 chart showed a market controlled by buyers from start to finish: the market never dipped below its opening price, and it finished by leaping to a new daily (and 2-month high) at the close. Sentiment; jumping at shadows: There’s a lot of noise in the commentariat about what the price action this week means. It is entirely justified. The December sell-off has punters and pundits hyper-vigilant for a catalyst for the next 4 per-cent intraday move. Collectively, it’s an irrational fear given how rare such occurrences are, but because it is understood that circumstances haven’t changed so drastically from then to now, such a phenomenon feels conceivable. The sentiment in markets has centred largely on speculation about the strength of China’s economy. On Monday, the fall in risk assets was over-attributed to the poor Chinese trade data, while yesterday it was attributed to the announcement that China’s policy makers are preparing stimulus for the world’s second largest economy. Mixed price action: The activity in stocks would lend itself to the belief that it is that story moving markets. The price action doesn’t give such a cut and dry indication to that. Indeed, equities were up across the board, and Chinese and Hong Kong stocks led the way. A better barometer for macro-economic drivers are currencies and bonds, and the activity there was rather mixed. US Treasuries have traded largely unchanged. The Japanese Yen is down, revealing greater appetite for growth and risk, as is gold, for the same reasons.  Commodities are mixed: oil is higher, mostly due to diminishing fears of global over-supply. However, commodity currencies like the A-Dollar are down, on the basis that there has been a bid on the USD at the expense of the EUR. European slow-down: The major laggard in the (major) currency-world was the EUR overnight. It’s come as-a-result of a speech delivered by Mario Draghi, who made uncomfortably clear his view that the Euro-zone economy is slowing down. Much of this view has been baked into markets, as it is. A series of really-poor PMI figures across the continent in the past month shows economic activity is in decline. It has diminished the prospect of a hike in interest rates from the ECB at any point this year. Markets have lowered their bets from a 50/50 proposition to less than a 40 per cent chance. German Bunds have rallied consequently, with 10 Year Bund yields retracing their recent climb to settle back at 0.20 per cent. Brexit vote: Bringing it back to unfolding events, UK Prime Minister May’s Brexit bill, as expected, has been rejected by Parliament. What was perhaps unexpected was the margin of the loss. It was always going to be ugly for May, but the final vote was an abysmal 432-202 against the Prime Minister’s bill. Thus far, and this is fresh as its being written, the price action appears to reflect the old situation of “buy the rumour sell the fact”. The GBP/USD has bounced on the news, rallying from its intraday low at 1.27 to currently trade above the 1.28 handle. Wall Street now, with an hour left to trade, has pared some of the day’s gains. The benchmark S&P500 is battling with the key 2600-level. The Brexit-vote fall-out: The commentary will come thick and fast for the rest of the day on Brexit. Members of the house are still speaking on the matter. Another referendum is being called by some, a general election is being called by others, a popular view seems to be one suggesting a delay of Article 50. How this affects the ASX this morning is contentious. SPI Futures have given up its overnight gains and are currently flat. In all likelihood, given that this morning’s events culminate in another little kick of the can down the road, the lift in volatility will pass for stocks. Markets hate uncertainty, so this relieves that anxiety for now. Using the AUD as a guide, the popular global risk/growth proxy is trading flat as of 7.00AM this morning.   Written by Kyle Rodda - IG Australia    

MaxIG

MaxIG

The meaningful vote: not-so-bad outcome or disaster? - EMEA Brief 15 Jan

Crude oil bounced higher overnight after a free-fall since Friday. WTI floated past $51.50 a barrel, after gaining 1.29%, as the markets struggle to balance out the OPEC production cuts with concerns over global growth and increased US production.  Gold prices held steady as investors balance out the strong trading session in Asia with expectations of fewer interest rate hikes by the US Fed. The yellow metal lost about 0.2%, trading at $1,291.33 at 6am GMT. Asian equities gained as markets recovered after poor economic data in Europe and China. The rebound was helped by Chinese officials’ vow to curb taxes. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng was the top performer with a jump of 1.7%. The MSCI Asia Pacific Index was up 1% at 4am GMT. Will investors hold their nerves during the European session in face of the Brexit vote? Weak China data pushed Yen crosses higher, despite supportive comments from the PBOC and the Ministry of Finance. AUD, EUR, NZD, CAD and GBP all traded higher against CNH.  Bitcoin remained unchanged overnight at $3665.75 as of 7am GMT, after a short rally yesterday. As Russia is reportedly planning to replace US dollar reserves with Bitcoin, investors interest towards cryptocurrencies seem to increase. While the Winklevoss twins are waiting for the SEC to approve their ETF, last week Bitwise Asset Management filed to sell shares of a fund that would own a mix of short-term treasuries, US dollars and Bitcoin. As a speculative asset in its infancy, Bitcoin might not have found price stability just yet. Asian overnight: Asian markets have been on the rise, with Chinese indices leading the charge higher with gains of almost 2%. Japanese markets have returned after yesterday’s national holiday, with both the Nikkei and Topix in the green. As market fears spurred by weak Chinese trade data fade, we have seen sectors such as the mining and energy sector rebound on Tuesday. UK, US and Europe: Looking ahead, today is a hugely momentous occasion for UK politics, with UK Parliament finally afforded the opportunity to vote on Theresa May’s Brexit proposal. The meaningful vote seems to be headed towards a disastrous outcome later today as at least 70 members of the Conservative Party pledged to join opposition. As Theresa May already postponed the vote in December, she might not have much more room for maneuver to avert a disorderly Brexit. The British pound could feel the hit, or the relief, before anything else. Looking ahead, today is a hugely momentous occasion for UK politics, with UK Parliament finally afforded the opportunity to vote on Theresa May’s Brexit proposal. Neil Jones, head of hedge-fund sales at Mizuho Bank, sees the sterling fall to $1.225 if the defeat. For the day-time, eurozone trade balance, US PPI inflation, US Empire state manufacturing survey, and an appearance from the ECB will also help provide market volatility. Economic calendar - key events and forecast (times in GMT) Source: Daily FX Economic Calendar 1.30pm – US NY Empire State mfg index (January): previous reading 10.9. Market to watch: USD crosses Evening – UK Parliament to vote on Brexit deal: the House of Commons will vote on the PM’s Withdrawal Deal. It is still unclear whether it will pass, and the future is uncertain if it does fail. Market to watch: GBP crosses Corporate News, Upgrades and Downgrades Persimmon said that it expects annual profit to be modestly ahead of current forecasts, thanks to higher home completion numbers and better selling prices. Revenue for the year to 31 December was up 4% to £3.74 billion, while completions were up 3% to 16,449. Provident Financial expects annual profits to be at the lower end of expectations. Profits in the year to the end of December were likely to be towards the bottom end of the £151-166 million forecast. Impairments had been modestly higher than expected, the firm said.  Savills said that it expects to report growth in revenue and underlying profit after strong trading in the final quarter of the year. Results for the year are expected to be in line with forecasts, but the outlook for 2019 is overshadowed by uncertainties around the globe.  Hays saw Q2 performance bolstered by growth in its international businesses. For the final quarter of 2018, total net fees were up 8% overall, and 9% on a like-for-like basis. The firm said that the outlook remained good across most markets.  DIA upgraded to hold at HSBC
Eiffage upgraded to buy at HSBC
Weir upgraded to buy at SocGen
Ferrari upgraded to market perform at Bernstei BBVA downgraded to hold at HSBC
IMI downgraded to hold at SocGen
Cairn Energy downgraded to equal-weight at Morgan Stanley
IMI downgraded to hold at SocGe IGTV featured video Information has been prepared by IG, a trading name of IG Markets Limited. In addition to the disclaimer below, the material on this page does not contain a record of our trading prices, or an offer of, or solicitation for, a transaction in any financial instrument. IG accepts no responsibility for any use that may be made of these comments and for any consequences that result. No representation or warranty is given as to the accuracy or completeness of this information. Consequently any person acting on it does so entirely at their own risk. Any research provided does not have regard to the specific investment objectives, financial situation and needs of any specific person who may receive it. It has not been prepared in accordance with legal requirements designed to promote the independence of investment research and as such is considered to be a marketing communication. Although we are not specifically constrained from dealing ahead of our recommendations we do not seek to take advantage of them before they are provided to our clients. See full non-independent research disclaimer and quarterly summary.  

IG-Andi

IG-Andi

A (shallow) sea of red - APAC brief 15 Jan

A (shallow) sea of red: There is a lot of red across the board for global equity indices to start the week, but the extent and strength of the downside swings have so far proven quite benign. The theme dominating markets yesterday and overnight was that of slower global growth. It kicked-off more-or-less following the release of some abysmal Chinese trade figures, that added further concern that the Chinese, and therefore global economy is heading for a significant slow-down. The data sparked a generally bearish mood in global markets, prompting a bid-higher in traditional safe-haven assets. At time of writing, the JPY is up along with gold, equities are down, copper is off, commodity-currencies like the A-Dollar has dipped, while bond prices are relatively steady. A still quiet day: The VIX index jumped at the start of day’s session but is paring its gains. It remains below the 20 level still – far from its lofty December heights. Concerns about slower global growth is the theme as mentioned, however it’s not rattling trader nerves right now as much as it might have in the recent past. Activity has also been thin. Volumes in every major share market were markedly below average. The swings we have seen in prices too are very modest compared to what one might expect in a market still inhibited (somewhat) by thin holiday liquidity. Global growth is a major headwind, markets are sure of that. However, the behaviour of traders could just as readily be attributed positioning ahead of several weeks of event risk and possible uncertainty. Asia pullback: This was especially true in Asia, where Japanese markets were closed for a bank holiday. Looking beyond our local borders for now, Chinese and Hong Kong markets were of primary concern for market participants yesterday. The CSI300 looks like its abandoned its bounce, failing to break through 3100 again. The Hang Seng is trading in a very choppy way and shed 1.38 per cent during trade. Once more: this did occur on rather low volumes. The curious point of price action manifested the USD/CNH, which perhaps owing to the weaker greenback, managed to maintain its rally, to end trade at 6.76. Nevertheless, it was a lacklustre and bearish day in Asian markets, that subsequently flowed into a similar day across Europe. Start of reporting season: For US markets, reporting season tops the list of priorities for traders. It commenced today, with the first week of the season dominated by the financials sector. Citigroup was the first cab off the rank and though it posted lower revenues, it's aggressive cost cutting proved enough to lift earnings for the last quarter. It's a supportive signal for macro-watchers, Citigroup's solid result, given the overall downtrend in bank stocks for the better part of 18 months. The sector is considered often a canary in the coal mine for the broader economy. It sets the tone for the other major financial institutions to report this week, which though unlikely to shift overall market sentiment by way of virtue of their results, will provide handy clues about the economic outlook moving forward. Light-data, Brexit the event-risk: The sentiment generated from US reporting season and the North American session will probably colour Asian trade again today. The economic calendar is very light-on meaningful data, so traders’ leads, in the absence of surprise events, will be taken from Wall Street's activity. In terms of surprises, whispers coming from Westminster Abby could be a possible cause. The "meaningful vote" on UK Prime Minister May's Brexit-deal will transpire in the next 24-48 hours. Betting markets are overwhelmingly pointing to a failure for the bill to pass through the House of Commons. All the anticipation already has traders jumping at shadows: rumours that the pro-Brexit European Research Group would support Prime Minister May's exit-Bill led to a spike in the Pound, before it retraced its gain when that story proved more fluff than something truly substantial. ASX200: Despite Wall Street’s weak-lead, SPI Futures are pointing to a gain of between 5 to 10 points this morning. For the first time in several weeks, the ASX’s trade was dictated by a game of catch-up to news from US markets. It made the session frankly rather dull – although for many surely that was welcomed. There was another challenge and failure of 5800 resistance in the early stages of the session. The bulls quickly gave up the ghost as the broader region’s traders came on line, resulting in a sluggish day for the ASX200. A silver lining for the bulls is that once again, Australian stocks managed to stage a meaningful rally into the close – a sign oftentimes that the “smart” money sees value in the market. Support for the ASX: Even still, like Wall Street indices, the market’s recent rally is looking tired. Upside momentum has truly slowed, and the RSI is flattening out at a stable level around 60. Markets tend to test lows to confirm that whatever sell-off preceded its current level is truly over. On that basis, and given that US earnings, growth-data and Brexit are raising the odds of a significant risk-off event in the short-term, the ASX200 may look to test several possible levels to the downside. 5700 will hold psychological significance, before 5630 opens-up as previous support/resistance. This is followed by 5550, at which the market bounced off twice, with the final and most relevant support level at 5410 – a point that represents the make-or-break between a true recovery or further falls.

Written by Kyle Rodda - IG Australia    

MaxIG

MaxIG

Clouds Loom as Chinese Economy Falters - EMEA Brief 14 Jan

Asian stocks fell as China's export data indicated a shock contraction, declining by 7.6% since July 2016. This points to deepening cracks in the world's second largest economy and increased fears of a significant slowdown in global growth and businesses.  The CSI 300 was down 0.8%, falling from a 3 week high reached on Friday. The Hang Seng slipped 1.4% as both the financial and technology sectors took a hit. US equities ended Friday with marginal losses, however the S&P 500 maintained a weekly gain of 2.5%.  The US Dollar Index was 0.1% lower after reaching a 3 month low last week, whilst the safe-haven Yen was 0.4% stronger at 108.09 to the dollar. The Australian dollar, sometimes viewed as a proxy for China's economic outlook, was down 0.4%. Oil prices also took a hit following disappointing China trade figures - one of the largest global importers of oil. Both Brent Crude and WTI was down 1.1%, at $59.83 and $51.03 a barrel respectively.  Gold edged 0.3% higher to reach $1,290. Asian overnight: A bearish overnight session saw losses across China, Hong Kong and Australia, while the Japanese markets were closed to observe a bank holiday. Today is all about the Chinese trade data, with both imports and exports deteriorating sharply in December. However, with imports falling -7.6%, while exports hit -4.4%, the overall balance actually shifted further into surplus despite the disappointing figures. Interestingly, despite the imposition of tariffs on Chinese goods, the Chinese surplus has grown significantly, hitting the highest level since records began in 2006. UK, US and Europe: Theresa May is set to warn Eurosceptic MPs today that Brexit could be blocked by parliament if they fail to give their backing in tomorrow's historic "meaningful vote" on the withdrawal agreement. The agreement is strongly opposed by certain Conservative MPs due to the plan for a backstop to avoid a hard Irish border that involves the UK being in a customs union with the EU. Looking ahead, keep an eye out for eurozone industrial production in the morning, with precious few notable releases other than that. With tomorrow’s UK parliamentary Brexit vote looming large, there is also likely to be some positioning ahead of that momentous occasion. South Africa: Global markets are trading mostly weaker this morning with US Index futures down 0.81% and the Shanghai Composite down 0.78% today so far. Markets are trading cautiously ahead of US bank earnings releases this week as well as the all important parlimentary Brexit vote on Wednesday. Gold is trading 0.4% higher this morning while brent crude is 1.1% lower today. The rand has managed to maintain some short term strength having stabilised below the R14/$ mark. Tencent Holdings is down 2.9% in Asia, suggestive of a similar star for major holding company Naspers. BHP Billiton is down 0.25% in Australia, suggestive of a flat to softer start for local diversified resource counters. Economic calendar - key events and forecast (times in GMT) Source: Daily FX Economic Calendar 1.30pm – US trade balance (November): deficit to narrow to $54 billion. Market to watch: USD crosses 3pm – US new home sales (November): forecast to rise 2.9% MoM from an 8.9% fall a month earlier. Markets to watch: US indices, USD crosses Corporate News, Upgrades and Downgrades PageGroup expects annual performance to be in line with forecasts, as gross profit for the final three months of the year rose 15.4%, allowing gross profit for the full-year to rise 15.9% to £815 million. Restore said that it forecasts annual results to be in line with expectations, as strong trading in the records management division offsets weakness in the shredding unit.   JD Sports expects profits to be at the upper end of forecasts, as weak growth in the UK is offset by a better performance by its international division. Like-for-like sales rose 5% for the cumulative 48 week period to 5 January.  Michelmersh Brick said that it expects annual underlying revenue and profit to meet market expectations. Year-end debt will also be below forecasts due to strong cash generation.  Brooks Macdonald upgraded to buy at Shore Capital
Safilo upgraded to neutral at Mediobanca SpA
Engie upgraded to buy at Berenberg
Mowi upgraded to buy at Fearnley 3i Infra downgraded to hold at Jefferies
Countryside cut to underweight at JPMorgan
Heineken cut to underweight at Morgan Stanley
Next downgraded to underperform at Credit Suisse IGTV featured video Information has been prepared by IG, a trading name of IG Markets Limited. In addition to the disclaimer below, the material on this page does not contain a record of our trading prices, or an offer of, or solicitation for, a transaction in any financial instrument. IG accepts no responsibility for any use that may be made of these comments and for any consequences that result. No representation or warranty is given as to the accuracy or completeness of this information. Consequently any person acting on it does so entirely at their own risk. Any research provided does not have regard to the specific investment objectives, financial situation and needs of any specific person who may receive it. It has not been prepared in accordance with legal requirements designed to promote the independence of investment research and as such is considered to be a marketing communication. Although we are not specifically constrained from dealing ahead of our recommendations we do not seek to take advantage of them before they are provided to our clients. See full non-independent research disclaimer and quarterly summary.

JoeIG

JoeIG

Trade war hopes; US government shutdown; key Brexit vote - DailyFX Key Themes - EMEA and Americas

Ending a Trade War is a Windfall for Growth?  US and Chinese trade officials met this past week to lay the groundwork for another attempt to push for a breakthrough in the superpowers’ ongoing trade war. These are lower level meetings aimed at finding concessions and terms for which Trump and Xi would eventually sign off on. With over $350 billion in goods from both countries saddled with import taxes, the economic toll the engagement is exacting is starting to show through in data. In the US, trade figures have shown a rise in the deficit and sharp drop in exports to China, costs have risen for a range of goods normally curbed by cheaper foreign production, and confidence metrics have reversed course. The NFIB small business sentiment survey for example has fallen back to the level it stood at during the Presidential election. China’s economic updates have also marked multi-year lows in GDP, industrial production and more. While they are generally all firmly in positive territory, there is likely a ‘premium’ China attributes to its data. A growing number of institutions and economists are warning that the world’s second largest economy may be on the path for a stall and/or the collapse of its excessive low-quality debt market. The Trump Administration seems to have gotten whiff of at least one of those analyses as they have made repeated remarks about the strained position of their counterpart’s health when justifying their steadfastness. Officials jawbone (or talk a market or asset to a higher or lower level) for a number of reasons. Some central banks have attempted to talk down their currencies (BOJ, RBA, RBNZ), the Fed turned it into a tool (forward guidance) and economic leaders are constant cheerleaders for their own economies and markets. Yet, it is highly unorthodox, to say the least, for leadership in one of the largest economies in the world to stoke fear in a global peer. And yet, that is what President Trump, Chief Economic Adviser Kudlow and Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin have done over these previous months. If neither of these countries were to blink, it would inevitably tip a financial or economic crisis for at least one of them. And, if one slips into the abyss, it will pull the other in with it. Perhaps this recognition is starting to sink in, or the ‘game of chicken’ is simply too dangerous now with the US equity markets sliding with the President starting to take some of the blame. It has been reported that Trump has told his team that he wants a deal to be struck to help stabilize the markets. It wouldn’t strain belief at all to imagine this was a serious demand from the President. There were some boilerplate remarks of optimism this past week which were largely overlooked, but the Chinese Vice Premier’s planned visit on January 30-31 may indicate they may be close to resolving their issues. It is worth evaluating a future where a resolution is struck. Yet, putting the scenario to the test, would pulling out of a destructive economic policy in turn translate into a windfall of growth and investment opportunities? No. It would remove a manufactured threat that has already inflicted permanent damage and would allow the focus to shift to a host of other unresolved issues. Preventing further damage is the best the two sides can hope for in this situation.  The Lasting Effects of a Record Breaking US Government Shutdown We have broken a record over the weekend. As of Saturday, the partial shutdown of the United States government surpassed 21 days to count for the longest closure on record (surpassing the 1995-1996 stretch during the Clinton era). This is not a record to be proud of as it will translate into weaker economic growth, a drop in sentiment and the complicated progression of lower sovereign credit quality. The general economic implications are perhaps the easiest to envision. Government supported industries (such as airlines) will see their costs and revenues suffer while the 800,000 federal employees that are furloughed will not be paid. It is estimated that every week, the US economy will lose between 0.05 and 0.1 percentage points of growth owing to the situation. Even three weeks of that is significant given the state of economic conditions when this factor is excluded. Perhaps a (small) silver lining was the strong bi-partisan vote by Congress to provide backpay for those same federal employees – though that doesn’t offset the ultimate pain. Sentiment is another victim of this situation. We have seen consumer, business and investor sentiment sink the past months for a few reasons, but this shutdown is no doubt a contributing factor. If the country can’t come to an agreement on a basic stop-gap funding, what is the probability that they will be able to fulfill the infrastructure investment plan touted ever few months for years? My greatest concern for this situation is the damage it does to the United States credit quality. All of the three majors have issued some sort of warning on pursuing this path, but the most recent official statement came from Fitch this past week. There are those that don’t believe a downgrade is possible for the US sovereign rating, to whom I say it already happened when Standard & Poor’s cut the country one step to AA+ back in 2011. There are far more that believe it wouldn’t matter if another cut was made – and they would use the 2011 example as their evidence. When S&P cut the US rating, there was a distinct and severe move in credit and risk assets. Eventually, the market’s did stabilize and push the concern to the background because exceptions were made for the event. Even though many covenants only allow for top credit rated assets as ‘risk-free’, most agreed to make accommodations so as not to completely upset a financial system that relies heavily on the haven status of T-notes. Add a second, third or more cuts, and it looks less and less like a one-off. It registers as an absolute need to diversify. It may be hard to appreciate how systemically important this is, but the tipping point could fundamentally change the financial system and US standing in the world.   Breakthrough or Not, A Brexit Vote that Can Charge the Pound  We are just over 75 days away from the official date that the United Kingdom is due to separate from the European Union. If all that was necessary was to come to terms with an agreement between the two parties on their relationship post-split, this would perhaps not be so frightening. Instead, there is considerable preparation that needs to be done before that date even comes around. Most would agree, that the time table for an accord and steady transition was some months ago. Now, with each passing week that infighting persists, the consideration and appreciation of painful scenarios increases. We have the opportunity to finally find agreement from the UK’s side this week. On Tuesday, Parliament is set to vote on the Prime Minister’s Brexit proposal. You may recall that a vote was called on a previous plan, but May called it off at the last minute when it became clear that it would be handily defeated. It is nowhere near as clear time around that the MPs will deal the PM another rejection, but that is the leading consensus. If the proposal is accepted and the UK can return to the table with the EU, it would certainly be construed as lifting a significant weight off the Sterling’s shoulders. There are still a host of unknowns including cross boarder investment, financing and banking liquidity; but at least there will be a viable path the markets can follow. If however, she is rejected, the markets will grow increasingly agitated, fearful that an accident will happen. Following recent votes, Parliament passed law that if the proposal was rejected, the government would have to produce a ‘Plan B’ within three sessions (Monday as Friday is closed) rather than the standard 15. They had also previously ruled that if the country were heading for a ‘no-deal’ Brexit, that Parliament would have more say over the ultimate path. As it stands, there seems less risk of a crash out; but the hurdle for an agreement between the government and parliament remains very high. Uncertainty is a bearish pressure on the Sterling. An agreement would remove a considerable amount of that fear and perhaps help stoke a recovery. Looking at the CME’s Pound Volatility Index, fear remains troublingly high relative to other currencies and even other assets. Outcome or no, be prepared for Pound volatility. 

JohnDFX

JohnDFX

Dividend Adjustments 14 Jan - 21 Jan

Expected index adjustments  Please see the expected dividend adjustment figures for a number of our major indices for the week commencing 14 Jan 2019. If you have any queries or questions on this please let us know in the comments section below. For further information regarding dividend adjustments, and how they affect  your positions, please take a look at the video.  NB: All dividend adjustments are forecasts and therefore speculative. A dividend adjustment is a 
cash neutral adjustment on your account. Special Divs are highlighted in orange. Special dividends this week Index Bloomberg Code Effective Date Summary Dividend Amount UKX IHG LN 14/01/2019 Special Div 2.621 RTY AJX US 14/01/2019 Special Div 5   How do dividend adjustments work?  As you know, constituent stocks of an index will periodically pay dividends to shareholders. When they do, the overall value of the index is affected, causing it to drop by a certain amount. Each week, we receive the forecast for the number of points any index is due to drop by, and we publish this for you. As dividends are scheduled, public events, it is important to remember that leveraged index traders can neither profit nor lose from such price movements. This information has been prepared by IG, a trading name of IG Markets Limited. In addition to the disclaimer below, the material on this page does not contain a record of our trading prices, or an offer of, or solicitation for, a transaction in any financial instrument. IG accepts no responsibility for any use that may be made of these comments and for any consequences that result. No representation or warranty is given as to the accuracy or completeness of this information. Consequently any person acting on it does so entirely at their own risk. Any research provided does not have regard to the specific investment objectives, financial situation and needs of any specific person who may receive it. It has not been prepared in accordance with legal requirements designed to promote the independence of investment research and as such is considered to be a marketing communication. Although we are not specifically constrained from dealing ahead of our recommendations we do not seek to take advantage of them before they are provided to our clients. See full non-independent research disclaimer and quarterly summary.  

MaxIG

MaxIG

Global stocks - APAC brief 14 Jan

Global stocks: Global equities will be forced to prove their mettle this week. Price action suggests that for many equity indices, the market is ambling at a cross-road. The macro-economic challenges moving markets in general haven't been resolved. That remained true during last week's trade, which saw global stocks move higher, in general. The difference this week is there are more numerous and higher impact risk-events that could make or break the stock market's recovery. There will be no shortage of potential catalysts to move markets, in the short term, into its next phase. Opportunity for both upside and downside exists. Though given the one-way run experienced on Wall Street, perhaps it should be judged that the risk is skewed slightly to the downside, for now. US market’s cross-roads: The will of the Bulls was under scrutiny in the latter part of last week. The lingering question has yet to be answered: are we experiencing a recovery, or will this be a faded rally? The S&P500 couldn't manage to break the big-psychological resistance level of 2600. The bulls appeared to simply stall on Friday, with the US market according to the S&P500 closing a very narrow 0.01 per cent lower. Friday's trade amounted to the only negative session for the major-US stock index for the week. The upside-momentum is apparently waning for US equities. The VIX is lower it must be stated, so fear is diminishing in the market. But perhaps confidence is still rattled somewhat by December's market-rout. Reporting season looming: A decision to push the market higher or let the recent rally fade must be imminent. Short-activity, according to IG's data, is gradually building in US indices. There will be no room to hide shortly, as traders prepare for the kick-off of reporting season this week. In total, earnings growth is increasingly expected to slow by more than first-assumed. The overriding concern in markets presently is given the weaker macro-economic outlook whether the growth expectations of US corporates will diminish in-turn. The first week of the reporting season is dominated by bank earnings: fittingly enough too, given its the banks that could prove the canary in the coal mine for any fundamental problems in the market and the US economy at large. ASX200: Once again, the ASX will likely trade in the slip-stream of US stocks this week. SPI futures are indicating a 15-point jump at today’s open, according to the last traded price on that instrument. Like US equities, the conviction of the bulls in the ASX on Friday demonstrated signs of diminishing. The 5800 level is for the ASX200 what is 2600 is for the S&P500: a significant psychological barrier that is coming to represent the difference between recovery and a fading rally. The technicals for ASX200 are looking softer, based on Friday’s market-activity. Breadth was a tepid 37 per cent and volumes were 36.60 per cent below the 100-day average, as the index shed 0.36 per cent to close at 5774 to end the week. Australian Retail Sales: Sentiment towards Australian economic fundamentals were bolstered on Friday, despite the ASX’s retracement. Domestic Retail Sales data surprised to the upside, printing 0.4 per cent m/m compared to the forecast 0.3 per cent. Below the surface, the numbers weren’t as strong as the headlines betrayed: the driver of the solid figure was probably the transitory effects of the Black Friday and Cyber Monday promotional periods. Moreover, annualized sales growth fell to 2.8 per cent, from a previously 3-and-a-half per cent. Irrespective of those details, consumer stocks climbed on the news. However, the implied probability of a rate-cut from the RBA increased slightly to around 30 per cent –  though the Australian Dollar did mask this fact, which rallied above 0.7200, in-line with the Chinese Yuan. Brexit’s meaningful vote: As any market participant would be aware, in this market, any number of surprises can jump-out to rattle traders. Assessing the calendar and data-docket for the week ahead though, little comes close to challenging the mid-week “meaningful vote” on Brexit in UK Parliament as the most significant scheduled event. To put into the context of prevailing sentiment, aside from swings in UK and European rates and currencies, the subject of Brexit has been down the list of trader’s biggest concerns. It makes sense: global growth and Fed policy has far greater economic impacts, while the US-China trade-war is the more pressing geopolitical issue. Nevertheless, Brexit and its implications are an ongoing concern, with the result of Wednesday’s parliamentary vote to influence trader’s outlook for the global economy in 2019. A weaker outlook for Europe: It’s expected that UK Prime Minister Theresa May’s Brexit-bill will fail to pass the House of Commons. Assuming it does, from there markets are confronted by a series of unknowns. There’s been talk of Labour tabling a no-confidence motion in May and her government; or perhaps even a general election or a second referendum. The balance of risks remain irrefutably to the downside for markets out of this event. The area which ought to worry economic-boffins is, amid what looks like a protracted Brexit-campaign, is Europe’s economy looks headed for a marked slowdown. Although its GDP figures surprised to the upside on Friday, boosting the Cable and UK gilts, the UK’s manufacturing data revealed a considerable contraction in activity, adding to a slew of very weak manufacturing numbers across the European continent. Written by Kyle Rodda - IG Australia

MaxIG

MaxIG

Will the New Year Blues continue? - EMEA Brief 11 Jan

Yesterday saw further pessimism from corporate giants as the likes of Jaguar Land Rover, Macy's Inc and BlackRock Inc cut profit forecasts. Geely Group halves 9.7% stake in Daimler AG.  Virgin Atlantic and Stobart Group to buy Flybe for £2.2million after Flybe profit warning saw shares prices tumble in October 2018. A fall from which it hasn't recovered.  Trump announced intention to bypass Congress by declaring a national emergency in order to fund wall. This comes as government shutdown reaches day 20.  S&P 500 rose 0.4% yesterday resulting in first 5 day increase streak since September 2018. The Dow followed suit posting a 5 day increase.  Hitachi shares jump 8% after The Nikkei Asian Review reported that the company would be likely to suspend all work on the UK nuclear plant, though Hitachi have stated that no formal decision has yet been made.  Oil heads for biggest weekly gain in over 2 years, Brent Crude up 8.4% following Saudi Arabia pledge that a producer coalition will maintain market balance.  Yesterday saw Bitcoin return to $3600 mark after a week pushing $4000, will next week see another rally? Asian overnight: Asian markets are closing out the week in positive fashion, with Chinese, Japanese, and Hong Kong stock markets in the green as continued optimism surrounding US-China trade talks helps to drive hope of a wider recovery. Trump’s claim that the US is having ‘tremendous success’ in trade talks with the Chinese has raised hopes of a breakthrough within the 90-day timeframe set out by Trump and Xi Jinping. On the data front, Japanese household spending fell further into negative territory (-0.6% from -0.3%), while Australian retail sales ticked marginally higher (0.4% from 0.3%). UK, US and Europe: Looking ahead, the European session looks set to be dominated by the UK economy, with the November GDP reading, manufacturing production, industrial production, and December NIESR GDP figure all released simultaneously. Meanwhile, for the US session we have the US CPI inflation reading to look out for as a source of market volatility. Economic calendar - key events and forecast (times in GMT) 9.30am – UK GDP & trade balance (November): growth to be 0.3% over the three months to the end of November, while trade deficit to narrow to £2.2 billion from £3.3 billion. Market to watch: GBP crosses

1.30pm – US CPI (December): prices expected to rise 2.2% YoY, in line with last month, and 0.2% MoM, up from 0.2%, while core CPI rises 2.2% YoY and 0.2% MoM. Markets to watch: US indices, USD crosses Source: Daily FX Economic Calendar   Corporate News, Upgrades and Downgrades Flybe has agreed to be taken over for £2.2 million by a joint venture of Stobart Group, Virgin Atlantic and several investment funds.  Grafton Group expects earnings to be slightly ahead of expectations, as revenue rose 8.7% for 2018, to £2.95 billion.  Moss Bros expects to report an annual loss, after sales fell 1.1% like-for-like for the 23 weeks to 5 January. An annual loss of £0.6 million is expected for the full year.   Cairn Energy upgraded to outperform at BMO
Hunting upgraded to overweight at JPMorgan
Saipem upgraded to overweight at JPMorgan
Suedzucker upgraded to neutral at Goldman Eurobank downgraded to underperform at KBW
Orion downgraded to underperform at Jefferies
Raiffeisen downgraded to neutral at JPMorgan
Telia downgraded to sell at SocGen IGTV featured video Information has been prepared by IG, a trading name of IG Markets Limited. In addition to the disclaimer below, the material on this page does not contain a record of our trading prices, or an offer of, or solicitation for, a transaction in any financial instrument. IG accepts no responsibility for any use that may be made of these comments and for any consequences that result. No representation or warranty is given as to the accuracy or completeness of this information. Consequently any person acting on it does so entirely at their own risk. Any research provided does not have regard to the specific investment objectives, financial situation and needs of any specific person who may receive it. It has not been prepared in accordance with legal requirements designed to promote the independence of investment research and as such is considered to be a marketing communication. Although we are not specifically constrained from dealing ahead of our recommendations we do not seek to take advantage of them before they are provided to our clients. See full non-independent research disclaimer and quarterly summary.

MichaelaIG

MichaelaIG

Sentiment cooling - APAC brief 11 Jan

Written by Kyle Rodda - IG Australia Sentiment cooling: Sentiment is cooling and the drivers that have sustained global equity's recovery are subsiding. It's no cause for alarm (yet) by any means. The markets are demonstrating a level of short-term exhaustion after its chaotic December. The same risks remain; traders have just shifted their views. The concerns regarding a slow-down in global growth have abated somewhat, though the issue is still simmering. The outlook for how the Fed will approach policy is being judged as more-dovish, however it remains an ambiguous matter. The US and China appear to be pushing for a trade-deal, but it's known that it will be a protracted process to arrive at one. The US government shut down is down the list of worries for markets for now, although it is gradually gaining greater significance. ASX200’s crossroads: SPI futures are currently indicating a modest jump of 5 points for the ASX200 at the open. The conviction for Aussie-market Bulls will be tested today. The ASX200 stands before a reasonably significant wall, that if climbed, goes some way to validate that it's recent rally is more than a counter-trend. The zone between 5780 and 5800 has proven a marshy resistance area in the last two-days. The Bulls have done well to push the market through prevailing downward trend-line resistance, but now a meaningful push through 5800 is required to confirm the move higher. After a lukewarm day, the ASX managed to close at 5797, courtesy of a somewhat inexplicable 0.3 per cent jump in the index's price in the post-market auction. Australian Retail Sales: The macro-news for Australian markets has been relatively dull lately. Local shares, along with other assets, have traded very much in sympathy with developments on Wall Street. For justified reasoning too: sentiment to begin 2019 has been dictated by renewed optimism relating to the trade-war – a conflict that impacts the Australian economic outlook more than most. Overall, that will remain so given critical juncture US stocks are at. However today, Australian traders get their first real-dose of economic data: local retail sales figures for the month of November. The print is expected to reveal that sales expanded by 0.3 per cent month-on-month – a figure that is expected to be underpinned by strong Black Friday activity that month. Australian interest rates: Following the weaker December GDP figures, and against the backdrop of high private debt levels and falling house prices, analysts have generally expressed the concern that households are in a difficult spot. Given consumption contributes just over 50 per cent of total GDP, the perceived economic headwinds for consumers is driving markets to price in some-degree of an economic slow-down in 2019. On current pricing, interest rate markets have an implied probability of about 30 per cent that the RBA will cut rates before December this year. Today's retail sales figures will offer one of the first glimpses into what state the Australian consumer is in, with rates markets, and the AUD, sure to shift in the event of an upside or downside surprise. Global-macro: Of course, given Australia's status as an export driven economy, subject to the whims of the globe's economic (mis)fortunes, the broader macro-backdrop is crucial. Several data releases rattled market's nerves in the last 24 hours. Chinese CPI and PPI figures missed forecasts by some way, indicating softening demand within China's domestic economy; and ECB Monetary policy minutes all but confirmed the continent is heading for a slowdown in economic activity. Stock indices were unmoved on the news; however, a level of risk aversion was observable within markets. US Treasuries caught a small-bid and the US Dollar climbed on a pullback in the Euro. While a rotation into non-cyclical stocks, took place in Europe and to a less extent the US, as growth appetite diminished. Powell speaks again: Once again, the night's biggest release came out of the US and related to the US Federal Reserve. Fed-Chair Jerome Powell delivered a speech, and in all, while received in a better way than some of Powell's other addresses, markets didn't like the tone. There was a lot of emphasis on the unwinding of the Fed's balance sheet, and how that endeavour may progress in the year ahead. He also seemed to go to pains to emphasise how flexible and patient the Fed would be. Although it hasn't derailed US stocks so-far today, traders didn't hear enough of what they wanted to turn overly bullish on the market. With an hour left in play, the S&P500 is hovering between slight gains and slight losses for the day. Trump dumps Davos; CPI data tonight: To be fair on Mr. Powell, his speech did coincide with a Tweet from US President Trump announcing that he would be abandoning the economic summit in Davos to deal with the US Government shut-down. Markets didn't like that either: it was expected President Trump would further trade-talks with Chinese President Xi Jinping at the summit. Nevertheless, if US stocks were to close right now, the activity in the market would add-weight to the notion the recent rally is more bounce than recovery. The jury is still out, but momentum is slowing and at about 2600, the market is being faded. US CPI data is released tonight, so that may provide the impetus for even balanced battle between the bulls-and-bears to tip in one direction or the other.  

MaxIG

MaxIG

UK Retail Sales Average Flat Heading Into Super Thursday – EMEA Brief 10 Jan

Today is considered ‘Super Thursday’ as a number of large UK retailers are set to release their Christmas sales data. This comes after a report from the British Retail Consortium which said that average retail sales saw 0% year on year growth Jeremy Corbyn is expected to launch an election bid if May loses the Brexit vote, scheduled for Tuesday the 15th. Yesterday saw May suffer another defeat in the house of commons which will mean she will have just 3 days to come up with a plan B if her current deal fails Tuesdays vote. ‘Modest progress’ is said to have been made in the US-China trade talks. The three-day talks have now ended with America announcing that China have pledged to buy a substantial amount of goods and services from the US. Could this see an end to investor fears over the trade war?  Euro pairs are in the spotlight today as Italy are set to release economic data including industrial production. Current estimates are for 0.4% growth but recent announcements from Italy have failed to meet expectations Oil continued to make gains yesterday with a strong surge following the US-China announcement, despite an audit revealing that Saudi Arabia’s inventories are 2 billion barrels larger than reported. Cryptocurrencies have had a large sell off this morning as Bitcoin has lost 5% and Litecoin almost 10% with most of the losses happening in a 30 minute time frame.  Jaguar Land Rover have announced they plan to cut up to 5000 jobs as part of a £2.5 billion savings plan Asian overnight: Asian markets have dipped overnight, as both US and China emerged from three-days of trade talks with little more than a desire to continue talking. The Australian ASX 200 was the one outlier, rising marginally despite a strengthening AUD. Yesterday’s FOMC minutes provided yet another hint that the committee is happy to be more patient when it comes to rate hikes, thus allowing them the ability to better judge how higher rates are impacting the economy. Overnight data saw Chinese CPI fall from 2.1% to 1.9%, while PPI tumbled to 0.9% from 2.7%. To an extent this frees up the hand of the PBoC, who will likely reach a more accommodative stance in the wake of recent economic strife. UK, US and Europe: Looking ahead, central banks remain the focus, with the ECB minutes expected to dominate the European session. Meanwhile, appearances from Fed members Bullard, Powell, and Evans should continue to shed light on the future pathway of US rates. Meanwhile, Trump walked out of a meeting with Democrats leaders yesterday as negotiations to end the government shutdown broke down. Trump called the meeting “a total waste of time’ as he remains defiant on his demands for funding for a border wall. The government has now been shut down for 19 days. Trump later tweeted that when he said “bye-bye” as Nancy Pelosi said no to allocating funds in the budget for increased border security. Fitch have since said that the US is at risk of losing its triple A credit rating if the shutdown continues. Economic calendar - key events and forecast (times in GMT)   Source: Daily FX Economic Calendar 12.30pm – ECB meeting minutes: these will provide further insight into the views of the central bank. Market to watch: EUR crosses
3pm – US new home sales (November): forecast to rise 2.9% MoM from a 8.9% drop a month earlier. Having declined steadily throughout 2018, US housing data is a key data point for investors at present. Markets to watch: US indices, USD crosses Corporate News, Upgrades and Downgrades Tesco said that like-for-like sales rose 2.2% over Christmas, but Q3 growth was just 0.7% higher. It said that the environment remained challenging but that it was still confident of meeting expectations for the full year.  Marks & Spencer saw an overall fall of 2.2% in same-store sales for the 13 weeks to 29 December, and while online sales were up 14%, clothing was down 2.4% and food was 2.1% lower.   Jupiter Fund Management suffered a drop in assets under management for Q4, down to £42.7 billion from £47.7 billion at the end of Q3.   Debenhams reported a 3.5% drop in like-for-like sales in the six weeks to 5 January, and were down 5.7% in the 18 weeks to the same date. It said it was still on track to meet expectations for the full year, however.  Halfords fell 29% following a profit warning AB InBev upgraded to buy at Bank Degroof Petercam
BASF upgraded to overweight at JPMorgan
BBA Aviation upgraded to buy at Jefferies
Eutelsat raised to overweight at Morgan Stanley Air Liquide cut to underweight at JPMorgan
Ted Baker downgraded to neutral at Goldman
Burberry downgraded to hold at Berenberg
Polymetal cut to hold at Renaissance Capital IGTV featured video Information has been prepared by IG, a trading name of IG Markets Limited. In addition to the disclaimer below, the material on this page does not contain a record of our trading prices, or an offer of, or solicitation for, a transaction in any financial instrument. IG accepts no responsibility for any use that may be made of these comments and for any consequences that result. No representation or warranty is given as to the accuracy or completeness of this information. Consequently any person acting on it does so entirely at their own risk. Any research provided does not have regard to the specific investment objectives, financial situation and needs of any specific person who may receive it. It has not been prepared in accordance with legal requirements designed to promote the independence of investment research and as such is considered to be a marketing communication. Although we are not specifically constrained from dealing ahead of our recommendations we do not seek to take advantage of them before they are provided to our clients. See full non-independent research disclaimer and quarterly summary. 

IGAaronC

IGAaronC

Bullish week continues - APAC brief 10 Jan

Written By Kyle Rodda - IG Australia The bullish week continues: The pointy end of the week has arrived, and so far, the news flow is lining up well for the bulls. The big release, perhaps for the whole week, was this morning’s FOMC Minutes. Naturally, the information is old, relevant mostly to the December 19 period in which the central bank met. But given the market turmoil experienced since then, along with January’s nascent recovery, this set of Fed minutes has taken on slightly greater significance. The reception, as far as investors and other bulls are concerned, has been positive. The document reveals a much more dovish Fed than the one that Chairperson Jerome Powell presented at that meeting’s press conference. The Powell-put is in, it is being judged: the market has Fed support. Confidence boosted by dovish Fed: That’s the perception, anyway. It could change but considering sentiment has vacillated recently on shifting “narratives”, a rosy outlook is apparently enough to pique risk-appetite. Combing through the fine-print of the Fed Minutes and few details jump out. Confidence about future growth has waned very slightly, and the need for higher interests has come into question. In fact, a few members voiced their belief the Fed should have kept rates on hold at the December meeting. The board also highlighted the disconnect between financial markets and the “real” economy, though it did add that downside risks to the US economy had increased. Without quoting line for line, the document contains the nuanced and market-sympathetic tone the bulls have been waiting for, vindicating this week’s upside turn in global equities. Market response: The response by traders has been to buy stocks and bonds, sell the US Dollar, and seek out other risk-on-assets. The comprehensive S&P500 is dancing with the 2600 pivot point, and the reluctance to go beyond that level shows. Note: it was that psychological-level of support the market bounced off twice before beginning its dive into bear market territory. US Treasury yields have also dipped. The US 10 Year note has fallen by 1 basis point to 2.72 per cent; however, the yield on the more interest rate sensitive US 2 Year note has plunged 4 basis points to 2.54 per cent. Credit spreads, especially on junk bonds, have narrowed further, supporting equity markets, and risk-appetite in general. The Greenback tumbles: The US Dollar has maintained its fall consequent to the FOMC Minutes, which it must be stated, experienced the lion’s share of its overnight tumble after a speech from Fed-member Raphael Bostic, after he’d stated that he believed interest rates were very close to neutral. The greenback looks vulnerable to further falls now, having retreated already by 2.3 per cent from its December highs. Gold is looking increasingly in vogue courtesy of the weaker USD and the absence of other appropriate currency safe-havens, climbing to $US1292. While the AUD/USD, having broken resistance at 0.7150 during Asian trade yesterday, is continuing its march towards 0.7200 support/resistance, even despite traders pricing an increased chance of RBA rate cuts at some point in 2019. In other news: Of course, the FOMC minutes, though certainly the biggest event in the last 24-hours, wasn’t the only news moving markets. Oil prices rallied by over 4 per cent last night on data showing crude inventories contracted in the US, along with greater expectations that OPEC’s recently announced production cuts would lower global supply. The dynamic has supported the lift in equity markets, aided the narrowing of credit spreads, and pushed-up the yield on US 5 Year Breakevens, as traders re-price for higher inflation. Positive noises coming from US-China Trade negotiations also improved the outlook for growth, adding to the week’s positive momentum toward a trade-war resolution. The only major dark-point thus far this week has been the ongoing US Government shut-down, which is showing no signs of ending any time soon. ASX at crossroads: SPI Futures are pointing to a jump at the open for the ASX200 of 13 basis points, at time of writing. Much like the S&P500, the ASX200 sits just shy of a key pivot point for the market, between about 5780/5800. The market yesterday attempted on several occasions to breakthrough that level, only to find any such challenged faded. The ASX is still trading primarily on the lead handed to it by Wall Street, and if that relationship holds true today, a play above the 5780 level ought to be on the cards at the market’s open. From here, a close above 5800 will be hoped for by market-bulls, to validate a change in the short-term trend, and subsequently open upside to ~5950. The state of play today: The data-docket is light in the Asian session ahead. The positioning in markets today will largely be concerned with a speech scheduled to be delivered by US Fed Chair Jerome Powell tonight. The tide does feel to be turning in equity markets. Volatility is lower, and the bulls have had delivered to them what they’ve been crying for: good data and a dovish Fed. Debate will continue to rage between the bulls and bears about where markets go from here. The former suggests the worst of the shake-out is over, a bottom has been put in place, and there is more upside to come; the latter points to historical precedent to suggest we are just experiencing a bull trap, and the bear market has only just begun.

MaxIG

MaxIG

Equities surge on trade talks progress; Oil rises - EMEA Brief 9 Jan

The US government remains in shutdown as Donald Trump addressed the nation yesterday on border security in an attempt to gain support and funding for his wall, claiming that there is a "Humanitarian and National Security crisis" in the US.  A positive session for US equities yesterday amid US-China trade discussions optimism, the S&P increased by 0.97% whilst the Nasdaq rose 1.1%. The Dow climbed 250 points, as it registers its first three day positive streak since November last year. Asian shares also rallied due to the trade talks progress, the Shanghai Composite and Japan's Topix both rose by around 1.1%. Adding to this, Australia's ASX index climbed 1% whilst the biggest percentage increase came from Hong Kong's Hang Seng, which gained 2.4%. Oil prices followed the positive results from equities and increased by over 1%, WTI crude breached $50 per barrel for the first time since December whilst Brent was up 1.3%. Sterling and the Euro both appreciated against the Dollar, with the pound up 0.2% to $1.2741 followed by the Euro which is also up 0.2% to $1.1466 Flights at London's Heathrow airport were temporarily grounded yesterday evening as the military were called in after sightings of a drone, this is the second time in two months a drone has halted flights at major UK airports.  UK, US and Europe: Investors are becoming more positive on the outlook of the global economy after somewhat recovering from the last years bear market, which was the worst year we have seen for equities since the financial crisis. Trade talks between the US-China are progressing which has caused equities to rally, especially US tech companies. FAANG stocks have experienced huge increases between Christmas Eve through to Tuesday's close with Netflix and Amazon being the biggest gainers, surging by 27% and nearly 37% respectively. Ryan Nauman, market strategist of Informa Financial Intelligence, has explained that "investors noticed that the FAANG stocks are solid companies and their valuations came down a lot after the big sell-off" and also alluded to the correlation between trade talks and performance of these stocks. Economic calendar - key events and forecast (times in GMT) Source: Daily FX Economic Calendar Corporate News, Upgrades and Downgrades Reports are emerging that Apple is cutting production of its iPhone by 10% between January and March, this comes after the company reduced its revenue projections for 2019. Ted Baker announce that retail sales increased by 12.2% for the five week Christmas period to January the 5th, with online sales leading the way by increasing 18.7%. Saisnbury's posted disappointing Christmas sales this morning as like-for-like performance slipped by 1.1% over the Christmas period, with the retailing indicating its decision to reduce promotional activity has adversely impacted sales. Another retailer to post concerning results this morning is Mothercare, as like-for-like sales fall by 11% for the 13 week period to the 5th of January.  IGTV featured video Information has been prepared by IG, a trading name of IG Markets Limited. In addition to the disclaimer below, the material on this page does not contain a record of our trading prices, or an offer of, or solicitation for, a transaction in any financial instrument. IG accepts no responsibility for any use that may be made of these comments and for any consequences that result. No representation or warranty is given as to the accuracy or completeness of this information. Consequently any person acting on it does so entirely at their own risk. Any research provided does not have regard to the specific investment objectives, financial situation and needs of any specific person who may receive it. It has not been prepared in accordance with legal requirements designed to promote the independence of investment research and as such is considered to be a marketing communication. Although we are not specifically constrained from dealing ahead of our recommendations we do not seek to take advantage of them before they are provided to our clients. See full non-independent research disclaimer and quarterly summary. 

GeorgeIG

GeorgeIG

Calmer trade, vigilance remains - APAC brief 9 Jan

Calmer trade, vigilance remains: The sense of cautious optimism in markets remains. Extreme swings in sentiment have been absent. Calm prevails, albeit within a mindset of greater vigilance. There hasn’t been a face ripping rally, nor a vertigo inducing fall, in global equities this week. The trading activity does feel distinct from that which was experienced in December. Fear and subsequent volatility is unwinding. The VIX continues to edge lower, though at a slower pace now. Several of the panic-inducing issues that drove the bearish activity in markets in the last quarter of 2018 appear to be progressing positively. But it’s understood that in the case of almost all these matters, ranging from slowing global-growth, to the trade-war, to Brexit and to Fed policy, that there is much more to unfold. US stocks await their test: An inflection point will arrive where market participants will have to decide whether to push this rally in global equities from simple bounce to true recovery. The United States stock market sits at the epicentre of financial market volatility right now and judging by the price action on the S&P500, we may be inching towards that point. Putting aside the nuance of individual geographies, the S&P500 has set the tone for trade in the rest of the world’s markets. As it stands, the index has demonstrated an initial higher low, following its recent bottom at 2350. The Bull’s fight really begins now, as traders eye a cluster of resistance levels between 2580 and 2630, which will determine in a big way whether this rally has legs. The risks and opportunities for US bulls: The impetus to get US stocks through that cluster becomes the question. We’ve arrived at this juncture courtesy of confirmation of a still-strong US labour market and a dovish-Fed. That is: good data, and (relatively) easy monetary policy conditions going forward. From here, to sustain the market’s run, that’s what the bulls want to see. There are several opportunities coming up toward the back-end of the week to test these two parameters. FOMC Minutes get released tomorrow, Fed Chair Powell speaks on Friday, and US CPI data is released early Saturday morning (AEDT). Moderate inflation and a cool, supportive and deliberate Fed is what bulls are after. An overshoot of the former (which isn’t expected) and a more Hawkish tone from the latter could drag the rally-down. Geopolitics: trade-war and Brexit: There are a couple of other not-so-fundamental macro-events that may also dictate sentiment. The trade-war and the ongoing negotiations between the US-China in Beijing is one; the other – and this is very much secondary to the trade-war – is Brexit and the upcoming “meaningful vote” on a Brexit bill in the UK House of Commons. Trade war negotiations are progressing well, from what is being reported: talks have been extended another day, as China’s top economic policy maker, Liu He, joined the fray in the past 24 hours. Brexit is looking far less optimistic. In-fighting and chaos remain in UK Parliament and in the Tory party, in-particular. Article 50 looks as though it could be extended, however a no-deal Brexit still appears the likely outcome at this stage. Risk remains “on”: The confluence of stories has developed into a metanarrative that is supportive of risk-taking. It must be said that the fundamentals haven’t changed that much, however sentiment has shifted and markets are now playing follow the leader. The effect of this in the last 24-hours saw gains in global share-indices (with the notable exception of China), another leg lower in global bonds, a lift in commodity prices, a contraction in credit spreads, and a bid-higher of riskier growth-currencies. The US Dollar climbed slightly overnight, but that was mostly due to a weaker EUR and Pound following Brexit developments and very weak German Industrial Production data. Gold, the proxy for risk throughout the recent market volatility, continued its pullback courtesy of the stronger greenback and generally lower risk-aversion. The ASX200’s climb: SPI Futures are pointing to a lift for the ASX200 this morning, of about 19 points. The Australian share-market is demonstrating activity still below average, though well within the normal range for this time of year. Nevertheless, the bulls did well to maintain control of the market yesterday. Following a sputtering start that saw the ASX200 dip below its opening level, the buyers wrestled control of trade, and after several attempts, managed to push the index clear of resistance at 5700. Breadth was solid at a 70.5 per cent, and every sector finished in the green for the day’s trade. Promisingly too, two of the better performing sectors were health care stocks and information technology stocks, revealing an appetite for growth by investors. The Aussie market’s test: Like its US counterpart, the ASX200 confronts a handful of resistance levels that mark potential inflection points. The resolve of the bulls has proven ample this week in general: downward sloping trend-lines have been broken, and yesterday the index managed to close above its 50-day moving-average. Such with the S&P500, a higher-low has been established in the price, follow the recent bottom at 5410. The hurdles for the market in its bid to prove a recovery in the day ahead is twofold: major trendline resistance, traced back to the ASX200’s decade-long September high, exists at a scratch above 5670, before a play to 5780-5800 exposes itself. A break and hold above these levels will add credence to the notion a bottom has been formed in the market. Written by Kyle Rodda - IG Australia

MaxIG

MaxIG

Is Gold heading down? - EMEA Brief 08 Jan

Trading in Asia was mixed as investors try to balance macro risks with optimism towards trade talks. The top performers were Japan’s Topix and Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 both rose about 0.5%, while the Shanghai Composite Index lost 0.3%. Gold prices edged lower as the greenback’s descendant spiral seem to have stopped and amidst the possibility of a pause in further rate hikes. The February contracts hit $1291.4 around 1:10am GMT before dropping consistently during the following hours, as can be seen on the IG Web Platform. Oil crude rose for the seventh consecutive trading day as markets participants weigh in OPEC production cuts vows with concerns on high crude inventories after a record crude oil production year for US. West Texas Intermediate rose 0.3% to $48.67 a barrel. The US dollar stabilized after five days of losses as the Trump administration deemed a trade deal with China “reasonable”.  Asian overnight: A largely bullish session overnight saw Chinese stock markets provide the only negative move amid gains across the indices in Japan, Hong Kong, and Australia. Trade talks between the US and China remain ongoing, with hopes of a breakthrough and fears of a breakdown ensuring that we see volatility and uncertainty dominate. With those talks playing out as the backdrop, today’s release of US trade data will be watched carefully to see how they are changing in response to Trump imposed tariffs. We have already seen the Australian trade data released overnight, with a fall in import growth (2% from 3%) leading to an improvement in the overall balance of trade. We are likely to see markets continue their focus on talks between the US and China, with any update overshadowing much of the economic calendar.  UK, US and Europe: Theresa May’s cabinet is due to meet today to discuss a plan drafted by pro-EU politicians that could reduce the risk of a no-deal Brexit. There’s speculation that the premier is thinking whether to accept changes in her budget legislation, which stresses how weak her position is on this final rally. Intra-day traders should focus on the cable this morning, as the markets keep pricing in aggravated political risk, and calling-off unnecessary short movements. Economic calendar - key events and forecast (times in GMT) Source: Daily FX Economic Calendar 10am – eurozone business confidence (December): expected to hold at 1.1. Market to watch: EUR crosses 1.30pm – US trade balance (November): deficit to fall to $54 billion from $55.5 billion. Market to watch: USD crosses Corporate News, Upgrades and Downgrades Morrisons said that sales rose 4% overall for the nine weeks to 1 January, while like-for-like sales excluding fuel were up 3.6%. Expectations for the 2019 financial year are unchanged.  National Grid has reached a ‘satisfactory agreement’ with Massachusetts gas unions in contract negotiations over employment terms.   Greene King remains confident in its overall outlook, after like-for-like sales rose 3.2% for the 36 weeks to 6 January.  Bankia upgraded to hold at Jefferies
Outotec upgraded to buy at Goldman
Capital & Counties upgraded to add at Peel Hunt
Electrocomponents upgraded to buy at Jefferies Geberit downgraded to sell at Goldman
Mapfre downgraded to neutral at JPMorgan
Vodafone downgraded to underperform at RBC
Ryanair downgraded to sell at Berenber IGTV featured video Information has been prepared by IG, a trading name of IG Markets Limited. In addition to the disclaimer below, the material on this page does not contain a record of our trading prices, or an offer of, or solicitation for, a transaction in any financial instrument. IG accepts no responsibility for any use that may be made of these comments and for any consequences that result. No representation or warranty is given as to the accuracy or completeness of this information. Consequently any person acting on it does so entirely at their own risk. Any research provided does not have regard to the specific investment objectives, financial situation and needs of any specific person who may receive it. It has not been prepared in accordance with legal requirements designed to promote the independence of investment research and as such is considered to be a marketing communication. Although we are not specifically constrained from dealing ahead of our recommendations we do not seek to take advantage of them before they are provided to our clients. See full non-independent research disclaimer and quarterly summary.  

IG-Andi

IG-Andi

Wall Street’s follow-through - APAC brief 8 Jan

Wall Street’s follow-through: Markets have basked in the afterglow of Wall Street's bull-friendly Friday session. They've gotten what they've been screaming for: some strong data and a more-dovish US Federal Reserve. For the first time in a month, perhaps more, trade has been characterised by a relative sense of calm. The VIX is drifting lower and toward the 20-mark. Stocks are up on Wall Street after a solid day in Asia, and global bonds are down. This could all change in an instant, that much is known. There are too many moving parts in this market to truly believe stability will be an ongoing theme. For now, a recess from the mad volatility that capped the end of 2018 is being welcomed by investors - and perhaps lamented by your risk-loving active-trader. Markets placated… for now: It's the behaviour one might consider akin to that of an obstinate child. Markets, particularly in the equities space, threw as many toys out of the pram as they could find in the past 3 months, in protest of the Fed's tough talk. US Fed Chair Jerome Powell's back down and soothing words finally placated markets, giving the financial equivalent of a candy-bar in exchange for markets' good behaviour. Last night, Fed Speaker Bostic backed his chief up and reaffirmed the dovish-tone: he sees little more than one hike this year, even amid a solid growth outlook. Taking aside whether it’s the right kind of positive reinforcement, the question becomes whether the underlying problem has been fixed or is just a distraction from the facts.  Improved sentiment: Perceptions relating to the growth outlook have changed again, and that much is a positive for the bulls. The general description regarding the data coming out of the US is that it's mixed, amid deteriorating activity in Asian and Europe. That in and of itself is justification for hope: there have been some economic low-lights lately, but they aren’t enough to establish a trend. It's a precarious balance and will likely result in further volatility down-the-line as traders become accustomed to a patchwork economy. A dynamic such as this might be palatable for the Bulls in the short-to-medium, on the proviso that the Fed is standing at the ready to jump in to save markets once true signs of economic stress manifest. However, orthodoxy suggests that, at some point, it must. The big contradiction: The everyday punter would be happy with this result. An absence of the daily doom and gloom about capital markets’ hardships would be good for economic sentiment. The central conceit remains that a harmony can exist between economic fundamentals and the monetary policy makers seeking to manage them. The primary contradiction confronting financial markets is this: growth needs to be strong so to ensure attractive returns, though not strong enough to inspire a hawkish Fed. Where the middle ground lies in this dynamic is nebulous and up for debate. 2019 could well prove the year that markets and policymakers strike a tacit accord to maintain this condition. It’s understand though that this as an assumption would that far too optimistic: the more likely outcome is confusion and uncertainty. An ongoing balancing act: Market participants are often on the look-out for that elusive "Goldilocks-zone" where markets operate calmly in the middle of its inherent extremes. Arguably, the global financial system as it operates now exists to fulfil that objective: to iron out the extremes of unbridled capitalism. And sometimes it succeeds, even if the successful policy amounts to simply kicking-the-can down the road. The challenge (and opportunity) facing markets now is that today's "Goldilocks-zone" is narrower than what it's been in the recent past. The parameters are obscure and moving, meaning achieving market stability takes on the qualities of walking a tight rope. A push from weak economic data will send markets off the rope one way; a push from higher US interest rates will send markets off the rope the other. “Risk-on”: Until the next market spill, risk will be “on”. The S&P500, with half an hour left in trade, is tracking roughly 0.9 per cent higher, on solid breadth of about 84 per cent. Indicative of higher risk appetite, consumer discretionary and IT stocks have led the charge. European stocks were lower for the day, as Brexit speculation returned to newswires. US Treasury yields are up very slightly across the curve, which has flattened its inversion somewhat. Credit spreads have narrowed, especially that of “junk bonds. Oil has climbed very slightly on positive-growth sentiment. The US Dollar is down with the JPY and gold is effectively flat, as currency markets take a punt on riskier currencies like our A-Dollar, which is trading around 0.7140. ASX200: SPI Futures are indicating a flat start for the ASX200 as it stands, following on from a respectable 1.14 per cent rally yesterday. Activity was still light in the Australian share market, and the psychological resistance level of 5700 was faded when it was reached. But overall, the market belonged from start to finish for the bulls. The materials sector reflected the easing concerns regarding global growth to add 22 points to the index; higher bond yields meant the financials sector was the second greatest contributor. The day ahead has Aussie Trade Balance figures on the calendar, which will inform local investors about whether the economy’s trade surplus held together to end 2018. Not much of a response to that data is expected, however. Written by Kyle Rodda - IG Australia

MaxIG

MaxIG

Could it be the end of the trade war?- EMEA Brief 07 Jan

US and China meeting in Beijing 7th - 8th Jan, to hold trade talks at vice ministerial level, looking to end the trade war as both economies are affected Theresa May warns the UK of an ‘uncharted territory’ if the Brexit deal is rejected by Parliament. May announces that she has agreed to some ‘changes’ whilst talking to European leaders including specific measures for Northern Ireland, a greater role for Parliament negotiations on the next stage of the future UK-EU relation and additional assurances over the Irish border backstop. MPs are expected to vote on the 14th or 15th January. Trump continues to demand $5.6billion funding in order to build the wall on the Mexican border, and threats to declare a national emergency. Trump announces the idea to build the wall out of steel instead of concrete, potentially hoping the Democrats could therefore claim it is not a wall Asia stocks trade higher Monday morning with the Nikkei 225 rising over 2.4%, Hang Seng Index by 0.66% and ASX 200 up 1.14% Huawei releases a new ‘next-generation’ chipset, despite facing political headwinds, in hope of ‘attracting customers by making good products’, according to its chief strategy marketing officer and director of the board   Apple create deal with its formal top rival Samsung, to which Samsung TVs will support Apple iTunes for movies and TV purchases and playback Tesla to hold its ground-breaking ceremony in Shanghai, its first non-US factory. It is predicted to start partial production in the second half of 2019 Asian overnight: Asian markets have carried on the bullish theme exhibited throughout Friday, with optimism surrounding the direction of trade talks coupled with relatively dovish comments from Fed chair Powell on Friday. With representatives from the US and China meeting for their first formal round of trade talks for months, we are seeing resurgent hopes of a potential breakthrough in relations. With the potential for a substantial risk-on shift, it comes as no surprise to see the safe haven Yen losing ground, helping boost Japanese stocks to over 2% up on the session. UK, US and Europe: Looking ahead, keep an eye out for German and eurozone retail sales figures, while the US session sees the Canadian Ivy PMI and US ISM non-manufacturing PMI reading dominate proceedings. Obviously with few major events of note, the ongoing wider themes will continue to play into the investor mindset. Economic calendar - key events and forecast (times in GMT) Source: Daily FX Economic Calendar 3pm – Canada Ivey PMI (December): expected to fall to 56.7 from 57.2. Market to watch: CAD crosses
3pm – US ISM non-mfg PMI (December): forecast to fall to 59.7 from 60.7. Markets to watch: US indices, USD crosses
Corporate News, Upgrades and Downgrades Dunelm said that it sees profit for the first half ‘modestly’ ahead of forecasts, but  the full year outlook remains difficult due to high levels of uncertainty. Like-for-like sales were up 9% overall for the 13 weeks to 29 December. Staffline has won contracts worth £104.6 million from UK prison tenders.  Hays Upgraded to Buy at HSBC
Tullow Upgraded to Outperform at RBC
Lundin Petroleum Upgraded to Sector Perform at RBC
Magnit Upgraded to Neutral at JPMorgan AB InBev Downgraded to Neutral at Goldman
HSBC Downgraded to Sell at Citi
Centrica Downgraded to Hold at Jefferies
InterContinental Hotels Cut to Underweight at Morgan Stanley
  IGTV featured video Information has been prepared by IG, a trading name of IG Markets Limited. In addition to the disclaimer below, the material on this page does not contain a record of our trading prices, or an offer of, or solicitation for, a transaction in any financial instrument. IG accepts no responsibility for any use that may be made of these comments and for any consequences that result. No representation or warranty is given as to the accuracy or completeness of this information. Consequently any person acting on it does so entirely at their own risk. Any research provided does not have regard to the specific investment objectives, financial situation and needs of any specific person who may receive it. It has not been prepared in accordance with legal requirements designed to promote the independence of investment research and as such is considered to be a marketing communication. Although we are not specifically constrained from dealing ahead of our recommendations we do not seek to take advantage of them before they are provided to our clients. See full non-independent research disclaimer and quarterly summary. 

KatherineIG

KatherineIG

Shift in preception - APAC brief 7 Jan

A shift in perceptions: The fundamentals shifted on Friday. It wasn't a complete "180", but enough to change market sentiment in favour of the Bulls. The highly anticipated monthly Non-Farm Payrolls figure, along with US Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell's interview, delivered the goldilocks outcome market participants were craving. For those holding hope for financial markets and the global economy, the information gathered from each event soothed nerves that a major global economic slowdown is upon us. It's too early to make a solid call and form a trend from the circumstances, it must be noted – especially following the poor US ISM Manufacturing data and Apple's revenue downgrade. However, the news was enough to spark bullishness in traders, driving a rally into risk assets and out of safe havens to cap-off last week. US Non-Farm Payrolls: The US Non-Farm Payrolls print was blistering, arguably revealing the best set of jobs figures out of the US for 2018. The jobs-added number smashed forecasts, printing at 312k for the month of December, above economist estimates of 179k. Previous month's figures were also revised higher, for a net gain of 58,000 in October and November. The unemployment rate did tick higher to 3.9 per cent from 3.7 per cent, but only on-the-back-of a climb in the participation rate, suggesting spare capacity exists even still in the tight US labour market. And most crucially, wage growth numbers revealed a climb in workers’ pay to 3.2 per cent on an annualised basis -- the best rate of growth roughly since the GFC. A dovish Powell: The set of data could have been accused of being too hot, and a potential impetus for a hawkish Fed. The price action pointed to the contrary, perhaps courtesy of US Fed Chair Jerome Powell's interview on Friday night. Markets have been crying-out for attention from the Fed since October, around the time Chair Powell made his “a long way from neutral” comments. For those sympathetic to the view a central bank should be a back-stop for financial market volatility, Powell finally delivered the dovish stance markets had been calling-for. Perhaps taking a few pointers from his predecessors, and interlocutors for the night, Ben Bernanke and Janet Yellen, Powell assured the Fed is “listening carefully” to markets’ concerns and is “prepared with flexible policy”. Risk-on: Markets had been pricing in a significant increase in the risk of recession last week, sending Wall Street shares tumbling, consequently. The solid US data and Chairperson Powell’s speech did something to settle these fears, albeit not entirely. In another day of above average activity, Wall Street rallied into the back end of the US session, adding around 3.43 per cent according to the S&P500. While still twisted in an ugly way, the US Treasury Curve flattened out somewhat, as the yield on US 10 Year Treasuries rallied 11 basis points, in response to interest rate markets unwinding bets of a Fed rate-cut in 2019. Gold and the Yen pulled back on diminished haven demand, while emerging markets currencies, and their key proxy the Australian Dollar, went on a tear. ASX: SPI Futures are indicating a very solid 69-point jump for the ASX200 this morning, according to that contract’s last traded price. Despite being wedged between the dual global concerns of slower global growth and tighter global financial conditions, the Australian share-market has shown resilience recently. Aside from a temporary tumble on thin liquidity prior to Christmas to new multi-year lows, the ASX200 has more-or-less traded range bound between 5500-5700 for the last month. Our share market hasn’t quite seen the high-octane activity lately that Wall Street has, with volumes below average and swings in price-action only really spurred by sentiment from US markets. There are general signs of consolidation occurring in the index, however a break in either direction, particularly upon the return of normal trading conditions, appears imminent. US-China trade talks: The fortunes of the ASX200 on a macro-scale will be dictated first by US markets, then by the outlook for China. The economic calendar presents as quite thin to begin the week, providing traders of riskier assets room to manoeuvre if the newswires remain clear of outside noise. The primary focus for now will be on the mid-level trade talks due to begin between the US and China today. Major breakthroughs are unlikely in the absence of each nation’s heavy hitter, but the communications coming out of this week’s talks will be crucial. Evidence is mounting that the trade-war is starting to bite, exacerbating existing economic challenges for both sides: market participants will be hungry for indications that an urgency amongst policymakers is building now to resolve it. The markets’ balancing act: Where markets head from here remains uncertain. Volatility will continue to show-up this week and throughout the rest of January. An easing of fears regarding the state of US economic growth is helpful, but it throws up the paradox: strong growth implies likely tighter monetary policy, which is bad for stocks and riskier assets; weak growth implies the possibility of a recession, which is bad for stocks and riskier assets. There is a middle way, as there often is, between both poles, within which the Fed must traverse. They may well do just that and keep this bull market afloat in doing so. There will be missteps along the way though, meaning (as has often been said) fear and subsequent volatility will spike as market conditions evolve.

MaxIG

MaxIG

A bear market; Fed rate cuts; flash crashes - DFX Key Themes

Happy New Year everyone! Coming to Terms with a Bear Market We have experienced a remarkable level of volatility recently, which is particularly incredible from the past few weeks considering markets were distorted by holiday trading conditions. When volatility meets thin liquidity, the results can prove explosive. That said, the intensifying fluctuation in the global financial system is not just a phenomenon that could be attributed to shallow markets as we have seen both the price-based results and the explicit sensitivity to fundamental triggers increase through the months preceding the official holiday season. Through the past three months, we have seen a number of specific instruments that have stood as baseline for general asset classes tip into official ‘bear market’ territory – which is defined by a 20 percent correction from a recent peak. Appreciation for the changing tide really didn’t start to peak the sense of panic however until equities started to hit the critical, technical milestones.  When key US indices started to trip 20 percent – first the Russell 2000 in mid-December and then the S&P 500 Christmas Eve – the few that may have been oblivious were put on alert and diehard bulls started to feel a true sense of dread creep up their spines. Sentiment has notably shifted from unshakable confidence that the markets will bottom and return to their decade-long bull trend to a sense of desperation that buoyancy will hold out long enough to erase some of the losses late-comers had incurred since October or keep the window open long enough to simply exit. The bounce this past week with the S&P 500 moving back above 2,520 does play to the sense of hope. It is possible that we have found a low for the time being having only just technically hit the bear market milestone for a single day, but that seems improbable. Even with the retreat in this market – not to mention the rest of the world’s speculatively-inflated assets – we are still far from previous cycle peaks. Prominent fundamental themes from slowing growth to failing monetary policy effectiveness to deteriorating international relationships are not going to simply reverse course anytime soon.  Further, rising volatility is looking more and more a permanent feature of our landscape. Market’s struggle to calmly inflate already-expensive assets amid tense periods of possible instability. It is possible that we have seen the low, but it would not be wise to assume that is the case. Instead, the better approach for market participants would be acclimatize to a world where we are in a bear market or on the cusp of one. Just as bull markets have periods of correction before they reassert themselves, the bear markets can have interludes of recovery. That does not mean we should commit to the about face just because it is desired. Though some people prefer longer duration, systemic positioning; I still favor taking trades with shorter duration and closer targets until it is clear that momentum has returned to the bears.  Fed Fund Futures are Now Pricing in Rate Cuts  Through 2018, the Fed’s steady tightening (also fairly described as normalization) efforts accelerated. The fact that the US central bank was tightening at a regular clip while the rest of the developed world’s policy authorities were still contemplating when to make their first move, or at best attempting to take bites when conditions were ideal, became almost mundane. If we were to evaluate the benefit to the Dollar from the contrast in the textbook fashion, we would assume that the Greenback should continue to climb against its major counterparts for as long as it enjoys a yield premium – especially as the spread continues to grow. Yet, we know in speculative markets that investors will move to price in the advantage as soon as it seems feasible – and they did. While they couldn’t full price in the benefit to the USD of a Fed hike regime against such a cold backdrop, it could price in a considerable advantage.  After that high water market was set, it would be increasingly difficult to confer greater benefit – perhaps if other central banks were forced to revert to ever more extreme easing techniques while the Fed kept course – but it would be far easier to disappoint. This is what is referred to more generally as discounting the outlook. It also goes a long way to explain 2017 where the Dollar dropped steadily versus the Euro despite the fact that the Fed hiked three times and the ECB had yet to nail down a time for its first move higher. Fast forward to today. We have seen markets slump and economic forecasts drop significantly. As would be expected, the forward guidance from the central bank has cooled materially. The shift is clearly apparent to the broader market as Fed Fund futures and overnight swaps have completely reversed course on the hawkish outlook for 2019 – that at one point was fueling debate on whether they would hike three or four times through the year – with no further tightening expected.  In fact, the next move priced into the markets is a cut with the greatest weight afforded to 2020, though 2019 was clearly being assessed as a possibility given contracts through December. NFPs and the rebound in US indices through this Friday have cooled the dovish build up, but the shift has been dramatic. It will be difficult to lift speculative enthusiasm so high again especially after key Fed officials have suggested the need for forward guidance has waned significantly.
 
What Flash Crashes Say About Market Conditions Rather than the Afflicted Asset  One of the more remarkable episodes from this past week’s extremely unorthodox opening play at a new trading year was the flash crash that struck certain currencies (and even a few capital assets). Much of the focus was on the Japanese Yen, but it was not the only currency to exhibit extreme price fluctuation. The Australian Dollar exhibited even more extreme fluctuation in historical and percentage terms (its intraday reversal was the largest I found on record) while the ripples readily expanded out to the British Pound which didn’t even seem to connect to the purported spark to the move.  Afterhours to Wednesday’s New York session saw headlines light up on news that Apple (one of the principal firms in equity investors’ portfolios) was lowering its revenue guidance owing to the US-China trade war. Paired with the downgrade in Chinese activity readings earlier in the day and the ongoing US government shutdown, and it was no surprise that fear would hit. With the Tokyo markets offline for a holiday, the thin-liquidity-high-volatility conditions were once again triggered with a subsequent tsunami. This time however, the market response would not play out over days and weeks with a pervasive trend but instead struck all at once with extreme intraday volatility. The catalyst did matter as any lit match would, connections to risk trends are important and certainly automated trading influences (stops, limits, algorithms) no doubt contributed. However, boiling what happened down to these elements is a misleading – but common – psychology effort to regain a sense of comfort.  If this unforeseen disaster can be attributed to these elements, then we can feel more comfortable that it is unlikely to happen again and we can keep an eye out for the same environmental triggers. This is not an unusual development in the global markets, even for the most liquid. The Japanese Yen  saw rapid rallies followed by abrupt reversals (Yen cross tumbles followed by rebound) multiple times between 2009 and 2011 brought on by risk aversion, then monetary policy distortion and the intervention efforts of authorities (BOJ and the Ministry of Finance). The point is that conditions facilitated multiple such ‘fat tail’ events through that period, and they could continue to do so for us moving forward. It is the confluence of deteriorating investor sentiment, recognition of excessive exposure, fear that authorities cannot fend off any future financial crises and the abundance of threats to the collective complacency that currently colors our markets. While we may not see another 3.5 percent-plus swing from the Yen specifically in the near future, expect to see more developments that were considered unthinkable over the past 10 years. 

JohnDFX

JohnDFX

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