Trader's View - APAC brief 15 Aug
Turkey: Financial markets regained their cool overnight, returning to some semblance of normal trading conditions. Traders appear a little more comfortable with the Turkey situation, apparently reassured by the idea that developed economies and financial markets are shielded from the direr consequences of a Turkish borne financial crisis. The core issue is unlikely to disappear entirely, given hostilities between the US and Turkey have only escalated in recent days. Moreover, global fundamentals will continue to work against broader emerging markets, who look ever-vulnerable to rising global interest rates and a strengthening US Dollar. However, at least when it comes to developed capital markets, it looks like the attitude has shifted to “play on”.
Wall Street: Wall Street will cap off the global recovery in equities over the last 24 hours, providing a stable lead for Asian trading today. The benchmark S&P500 ended its four-day losing streak – its longest in several months – to add 0.65 per cent for the session. Earning’s season is practically done and dusted now, with investors now allowed to mull over what it all meant – and how it will affect the future. As it stands currently, the overriding belief is that there are indeed good times still to come. Assuming risks in emerging markets and geopolitical tensions remain to one side – a very big assumption, of course – the S&P seems poised to restart its journey to the all-time high at 2875 achieved earlier this year.
ASX: SPI futures are indicating a softer open for the ASX200 this morning, presently pointing a modest 5-point dip at the open. Investors in Australian shares leapt at the opportunity of jumping back in to equities as the Turkey-contagion fears subsided, quickly regaining (in effect) all the territory abandoned during the day prior. It was the financial stocks, following-on from their successful week last week, that led the charge, supported admirably by the index’s relative minnow-sector, information technology. The diminution of macroeconomic themes provided investors with the scope to turn to more fundamental matters in the market, such as the local reporting season.
Local earnings: Reporting season news focused primarily on two noteworthy misses yesterday: first from Cochlear, the second from Domino’s Pizza. For Cochlear, the full-year results were quite respectable, revealing that net income expanded 10 per cent and that the company’s dividend pay-out would increase by 11 per cent. However, the share fell by 3.52 per cent, unwinding a portion of the 16 per cent gain achieved by the stock year-to-date, after profit guidance missed expectations and analyst’s consensus changed the stock to “hold”. The story was far more-stark for Domino’s Pizza, with that company missing even the lowest analyst estimate for full year net income, driving its share price down 6.52 per cent.
China: Macroeconomic watchers had an eye-on Chinese fundamental data midday yesterday, as China’s National Bureau of Statistics released one of its big monthly data dumps. The monthly release of Retail Sales, Unemployment, Industrial Production and Fixed Asset Investment data has taken on graver significance in recent months, with trader’s combing through any piece of information that could glean an insight into the fundamental strength of a slowing Chinese economy. Yesterday’s release was on balance a poor one, adding to concerns that tariffs and cyclical factors are dragging on the Chinese economy. Despite this, traders largely ignored the news, swept up in the relief of ostensibly lower credit risk from the Turkey debacle – although the Yuan did maintain its affection towards the 6.90 mark.
Aussie data: Australian fundamental data will centre on the household sector over the next 24-48 hours. It begins with the release of the Westpac Consumer Sentiment reading at 10.00AM, continues with Wage Price Index data later this morning, and concludes with Employment Data tomorrow. The wage growth figures will be the most pertinent for markets, given the RBA’s imploration that inflation and therefore interest rates will not increase until there are signs that Australian workers are getting a pay rise. Though it was missed by many in the thick of the Turkey panic at the end of last week, cash futures markets more-or-less priced out any more than a 50/50 chance of an interest rate hike from the RBA, following the release of the bank’s quarterly Monetary Policy Statement on Friday. While this market-dynamic remains, watch for an increasingly stifled AUD/USD, particuarly now that we’ve plunged below the 0.7300 handle.
UK and the Pound: Better than expected labour market data was released out of the UK last night, ahead of the release of CPI figures tonight. The UK economy is one of the more curious situations for market participants presently, particularly as it relates to future interest rate settings amid ongoing Brexit drama. The implications appear to be weighing on sentiment and economic fundamentals, effectively forcing the BOE to admit recently that strong fundamentals will take a back-seat while an outcome to Brexit is decided. Activity in the pound has hence become of high interest in markets, especially this week, considering scheduled Brexit negotiations on Thursday: the GBP/USD has lost over 3 cents in less than a fortnight, presenting signs of being oversold, but apparently possessing little impetus to reverse this trend.
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