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MaxIG

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  1. The start of something new: A new day, week, month and quarter today; and what a difference a little time can make. 3 months ago, at least for some, global financial markets stood at the brink of ruin. It was December 24 last year that the S&P500 hit its low, but it wasn’t until the start of January that something resembling a turnaround in US stocks transpired. Fast forward to now, and Wall Street is over 12 per cent higher, and though at stages has looked extremely vulnerable to turnarounds, or at least pull-backs, to date, no such thing has occurred. And now, after Friday’s trade, the whispering speculation is whether the S&P is headed for new all-time highs. Wall Street eyes all-time highs: Given the balance of risks, there’s more than a negligible chance that will occur. This isn’t to say that’s it’s the likeliest of outcomes in US stocks presently, but the conditions are certainly in place to foster it. As has been covered off innumerable times, the market’s initial turnaround and subsequent follow through has in large part been central bank engineered. Led by the Fed, and dutifully followed by the ECB, BOJ, BOC, RBA and RBNZ, interest rate expectations completely reversed course in the past quarter. A world once preoccupied with calling the next round of rate hikes has been replaced with one speculating on when global central banks will cut next. A central-bank made rally: The subsequent loosening of financial conditions has ignited this multi-month rally. From its highs in October last year, the 10 Year US Treasury note has fallen over 80 basis points. The Fed has gone from “a long way from neutral”, to being “on autopilot”, to straight-up “patient” with their monetary policy. Say what you will about the Fed, there actions are a lesson in human fallibility and the inherent ambiguity in predicting the future. Not that the markets fundamentally care: Homeric lessons and questions of morality don’t concern it much. The foundations for risk-taking were reinstated, implying that whether right or wrong, as a matter of principle or policy, a gobbling up of risk-assets is justified. Fighting the cyclical slow-down: Of course, this dynamic has all played-out at a stage of the business cycle that might be described as “late stage”. Geopolitics has done its part to undermine market sentiment, and hobble economic activity in particular geographies. But as time goes by, more and more it appears that these issues are peripheral, and are causing a marginal impact to a global economy that is already in the process of slowing down. China is attempting re-engineer and reboot its growth engine. Europe, with all its problems, is feebly fighting-off recession. And the US, as the final bastion of economic strength in what we call the global economy, is showing signs its hit its peak for this cycle. The world outside the US: There remains a sense of inevitability about an economic slow-down. Naturally, it will prove a challenge to arrest. While market participants remain obsessed with Wall Street, and in our neck of the woods, the fortunes of the ASX200, some of the other major share indices have experienced less of a straightforward run higher. European stocks have sputtered at stages, the Nikkei is as prone as ever to risk-on/risk-off volatility, and China’s equities have been fitful. In these markets, the appeal of lower rates, against an expected global economic slowdown, has been less manifest. When looked at collectively, and stripping away US equities, global stocks as an asset class remain well away from their highs. Hope springs at the start of the new quarter: So, markets haven taken to risk knowing the stakes: policy makers have opened the doors to risk taking, and market have little choice but to walk through it, at the risk of being left behind. Future earnings growth is being carefully studied, within the broader macroeconomic environment. If expected earnings begin to turn negative, then it’s expected a rush to the exits will ensue. The hope becomes, therefore, that what policymakers are doing the world over will time turn the global-economic ship around. A big and slow-moving ship indeed, however as always in markets, hope springs internal: positivity has been piqued to begin the quarter by Chinese manufacturing PMI data released over the weekend showing green shoots in China’s economy. ASX to stay global-growth sensitive: For the ASX200, its fate rests in large part this becoming a new-trend. It will take some of the internal pressures stifling Australia’s economy, and keeping domestic conditions muted while policymakers attempt to fight-off our own slowdown. Signs of a pick-up in risk appetite are becoming more apparent on the ASX, though. The play into tech and bio-tech are always good signs. A fluke rally in iron can persist in the short-term and keep the materials space performing well. The fall in the Australian Dollar and RBA rate expectations has done its bit to bolster the market as well, attracting capital to our markets, and inspiring a chase for yield in defensive sectors. Written by Kyle Rodda - IG Australia
  2. Expected index adjustments Please see the expected dividend adjustment figures for a number of our major indices for the week commencing 1 April 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 Index Bloomberg Code Effective Date Summary Dividend Amount AS51 SUN AU 1/04/2019 Special Div 11.4286 AS51 ABC AU 2/04/2019 Special Div 5.7143 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. How do dividend adjustments work? 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.
  3. MaxIG

    APAC brief - 21 Mar

    Relief-on? It’s a trifle difficult to describe last night’s trade simply. On the surface, risk assets are being reasonably well supported, and there are a few signals suggesting market participants are in a slightly more bullish state of mind. Rather than “risk-on” however, one might describe the last 12 hours in markets as “relief-on”. This is mostly due to the fact that, at least for now, the global bond market rally has stalled. Markets had worked themselves into a frenzy this week, fretting over the meaning and implications of the precipitous run-higher in safe-haven government debt. It sparked all sorts of repositioning and knee-**** activity in markets, pulling price action around its massive gravity, and inspiring a general anti-risk sentiment. It’s been the speed, not the direction: The shocking part of the bond market rally – and let’s recall, for the many folk out there who aren’t bond-market buffs, that when bond prices rally, bond yields ¬fall – is not that it is necessarily happening at all. Instead, it is a matter of how quickly it is all happening, and what this rapid shift in momentum means all-in-all. The more benign reasoning is that it’s a basic repositioning, accelerated by technical factors, in response to the dovish turn central bankers have adopted lately across the globe. The direr interpretation, however, was that the swift shift in bond pricing signalled a market pricing in a major economic slow-down, maybe even a recession, in the global economy. Markets getting ahead of themselves: Both narratives are interrelated and true to some extent. Interest rates expectations have been sliced-down very quickly recently, courtesy of course, to a marked deterioration in global economic growth conditions. But these things take time: hence, the move in bonds seem disproportionate. This isn’t an invitation to rejoice, by any means. Risks in the long term to the global economic outlook are ample, especially as it relates to Chinese and European growth. But to throw in the towel now on global macro-economic outlook would be premature, and potentially wasteful: the actions of central banks are skewing risk-reward in favour of the risk takers, meaning taking a long bias on certain equity indices ought not to be discounted. The risk-reward balance: A skerrick of this view manifested in market activity last night. Wall Street is up and trending higher, just on an intraday basis, into the close. Most certainly, the fall in bond yields, driven by the prospect of looser monetary policy across the globe, is attracting flows into stocks. It's a continuation of the perennial battle in financial markets: the desire to take risk when financial conditions dictate its attractive to do so, versus the desire to preserve capital when the economic growth environment is degrading. Policy makers are fighting hard to engender a confidence that the former can be trusted and will lead to an improvement in the latter. Premier Li’s words fire-up traders: Yesterday, and the turnaround in sentiment began here, it was China's policy makers turn to try and settle market participants' nerves. In a speech at the Boao forum, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang outlined his optimistic vision for his nation and stated his belief that the fundamentals of China's economy were inherently sound. He did express that stimulatory measures would be undertaken to address any temporary underperformance in the economy, though avoided pledging major monetary support. However, Premier Li made clear, seemingly in an appeal to his peoples' patriotic fervour and market participants animal spirits, that China's economy is not because of internal problems, but problems that pertain to weakness in the outside world. It’s not us, it’s them: It's a popular strategy at-the-moment amongst financial leaders, actually: when having to explain what's causing domestic problems, just blame someone else! It was manifest in Premier Li's speech yesterday. But it was also a feature of ECB President Mario Draghi's recent discussions to the market, as well as that of Fed Chair Jerome Powell. The global economy as we know it is very interconnected, so in some sense there is a kernel of truth in stating that weak economic fundamentals is a function of some external factor. But when the centre of the argument is essentially to just point at the other guy, it comes across less as policy discourse, but more as a Three Stooges ****. The end of the month: The positivity inspired by Premier Li’s rallying call looks to have been discounted in the ASX200 yesterday. SPI Futures are pointing only to a very small gain at the open today. High impact news is hard to come by today – a lot of the event risk is loaded into next week now. Brexit drama will maintain relevance, but its impact will be contained to (a presently depreciating) Pound. The stronger greenback is a minor theme to follow: despite weaker US GDP figures, the almighty Dollar has smashed the currency complex and gold prices. To tie everything back into rates and fixed income: we wait to see whether AGBs sell-off too, and whether bets of RBA cuts are tempered, too. Written by Kyle Rodda - IG Australia
  4. MaxIG

    APAC brief 28 Mar

    The see-sawing market: The one-day-up, one-day-down pattern of trade on Wall Street continues. It’s playing-out so elegantly, it’s almost absurd. Yesterday was a “down” day, as market participants evacuated equity markets to seek shelter in safe-haven government bonds. In contrast to the day prior, breadth has been universally low, with practically every sector in the S&P500 trading lower. The same simple binary that’s driven market activity for weeks is behind this dynamic: a competition between fears regarding the slowing global growth outlook, and the appeal of risk taking in a financial market environment plagues by tumbling yields. The pattern is showing few signs of abating and speaks of a market that is consolidating before a clearer-cut direction is formed. Asia set for mixed trade again: Wall Street’s lead is manifesting as a mixed-picture for Asian markets today, according to futures. Provided this materializes, it will be an extension of the region’s equities own theme. Yesterday’s trade was tepid for Asia too, resulting in an ultimately flat day for the ASX200, a solid day for Chinese and Hong Kong markets, and soft day for the Nikkei. As it presently trades, SPI Futures are suggesting that the ASX200 will open slightly lower this morning, if not flat; as will the Hang Seng and Nikkei; but the CSI300 ought to open a touch higher – though this is based on a future’s price that reflects price action from yesterday evening’s trade. Clutching for clarity: Given the overall soft-day for Wall Street stocks, combined with what’s expected to be a more-or-less flat start for the ASX200, the themes to follow for the day are currently a little obscure. After a stabilization in bond yields in the day prior’s trade, the financials sector kept the ASX200 in the green yesterday. For one, it’s an upside-drive that may go missing today, as global financials stocks pullback courtesy of another tumble in yields. Iron ore prices are down, but industrial metals are collectively higher, implying the macro-picture won’t be the key determinant behind the material’s sector trade today. Oil prices are also lower after a bigger than expected build in US crude inventories, boding poorly for energy stocks. Markets’ missing momentum: The defensive sectors may have another day in the sun instead. After the aforementioned bounce in bond yields, utilities were the laggard in yesterday’s trade, trading 1.34 per cent lower on 0 per cent breadth. Nevertheless, even some intraday rotation within the ASX200 will give little catalyst to spark a run higher in the index. Like many stock indices the world-over presently, the market has become mired by slowing momentum. Market internals haven’t been over-stretched by a great measure of late, but right now, they are showing a market missing real enthusiastic sentiment. It could mean a pause, before another run, or a brief pullback is coming. Positioning according to the pull/call ratio is neutral, however trending lower. Weaker AUD supporting stocks: One saving grace for the ASX200 is the weaker Australian Dollar, which took another dive yesterday. Having crept higher in recent weeks, the AUD was floored yesterday, after the RBNZ, during their monetary policy meeting, took a much more dovish stance than expected. They stated their expectation that their next move would be to cut rates. The Kiwi-Dollar got flogged and the Aussie-Dollar chased it lower, as markets not only increased bets of an imminent interest rate cut from the RBNZ, but also the RBA. The dive in the currency was ultimately the key driver of the modest gain registered by the ASX200 yesterday: and once again may be required today to see further short-term upside for the index. What it sounds like when doves cry: The RBNZ joining the growing party of central bank speakers talking-down economic prospects was the likely cause of yesterday’s run into government bonds. That, as well as a speech from ECB President Mario Draghi, in which he expressed his pessimism about hitting that central bank’s inflation target. German Bund yields swan-dived last night consequently, with the 10 Year Bund yield falling to -0.08 per cent – below that of its JGB equivalent for the first time in several years. US 10 Year Treasuries fell again below the Federal Funds rate at 2.4 per cent, as markets price in nearly 1-and-a-half interest rate cuts from the US Federal Reserve before January 2020. May maybe about to call it a day: The Sterling proved resistant to this tide in the G10 currency complex overnight, trading on further Brexit developments instead. The Cable climbed on news that UK PM Theresa May would tender her resignation once Brexit was decided. This in and of itself didn't inspire the rally in the Pound. Rather it was the more conservative wing of the Tory party's response to it that bolstered sentiment. Reportedly, they've shifted their support towards favouring the PM's deal, on the basis she'll abdicate here position upon its passing. Traders are pricing in now an increased chance of a breakthrough in Brexit negotiations, that will ensure that an orderly enough Brexit will transpire before the April 12 deadline. Written by Kyle Rodda - IG Australia
  5. MaxIG

    APAC brief - 27 Mar

    Broad-based based bounce in stocks: It was a buy the dip day yesterday, judging by price action in global risk-assets. As has been the theme this week, there wasn’t any meaningful macro-news to change market participants behavior. So: an explanation for the (almost) universally solid day for global equities ought to be chalked-up to internal market mechanics. What this may imply for the longer run is a touch obscure. This market is trading much in the way a plane rights-itself after some brief, but heavy turbulence. Some rough times must surely lie ahead once again, if not for the simple matter that fundamentals haven’t changed. Market participants will therefore remain glued to any developments that may reveal new truths about global growth. Very little “new” news: There weren’t any such stories out last night. Outside the echoes of last week’s dovish Fed-tilt, European growth concerns, and talk of inverted yield curves, voices portending doom in financial markets were apparently much quieter. Ever the experts in hindsight, the collective wisdom of market participants seemed more interested in rationalizing away their previously held fears. This could be justified, and at that, telling in and of itself: traders are searching for reason to keep taking risks, and maintaining a bullish temperament. It certainly showed; not just in equities, but other asset classes. Bond yields climbed, at least momentarily ending their rout, and growth-proxy currencies lifted as currency traders sold-out of the popular safe havens. US sector map totally green: A criticism levelled at this market is that it’s so preoccupied with macro that it lacks any level of true discernment. Capital is being allocated into equities as a total asset class, ignoring the differing prospects of the varied sectors within equity markets. Case in point, just last night, was the S&P500, which has rallied across the board, on 81 per cent breadth. Of course, different sectors have benefitted more than others, with energy and financials leading the charge, and consumer discretionary and communications trailing the pack. But the general dynamic is clear: no matter where you look, when risk taking is being encouraged by a ubiquitous fall in global bond yields, flows go into equities of all stripes. A desire for growth and yield? This behaviour might be best conveyed by the juxtaposing of US tech's recent performance with the US utility sector. It gives a good read on the growth-versus-value dichotomy in equity allocation. On the whole, they've each performed remarkably well in recently -- a phenomenon which, generally, ought not to occur, as market participants either prioritise capital growth or yield. Once again, the catalyst behind this behaviour is probably attributable to fall in global interest rate expectations, as the world's biggest central bank's step away from tightening financial conditions. In short: lower yields in safe assets is fostering a simultaneous search for income from the conservative types, and an excuse to take bigger risks for the more daring types. Something has to give: The problem is: the finitude of capital, plus changes in momentum in the market, all but necessitates market behaviour fall one way or the other. And this is where global growth prospects, and it's knock-on implications for earnings, become crucial. A fundamental case to bet big on growth stocks disintegrates when the global economic outlook shows signs of deteriorating. As such, market participants, though not acting on their impulse today, are sticking their fingers in the air to forecast which way the frosty-winds of the global economy are going. For the medium term, the conclusions aren't so good, and that's laying the bedrock for potentially choppy trade as traders attempt to fill the blanks of several prevailing uncertainties. Markets hoping for a growth turnaround: But faith is being maintained that central banks may pull a rabbit from the hat and reverse course enough to put equity markets back into a steady, upward trajectory. Amidst no change in fundamentals, judging by yesterday's bounce in global equites, there are enough buyers in the market to take that punt. Apart of the matter, too, is that market participants are being given little choice but to chase risk. The fall in discount rates is luring them into taking on greater risk to achieve their required returns. Hence, even while the slimmest of opportunities exist in the market, until a categorical move towards capital preservation emerges, flow will be sustained and supportive of global equities. ASX demonstrating less optimism: As it relates to the ASX200, some late buying on Wall Street has translated into SPI Futures pricing in a flat start for the index today. Early indications are that Australian stocks will go without the broad-based buying that drove Wall Street activity overnight. The slightly stronger Australian Dollar and lift in bond yields will also enervate the market, given much of its recent gains has come courtesy of a fall in both. Energy stocks could be the clear winner today, as oil prices leap to 3-month highs. The overall success of the market probably rests on the financials though. The question is whether a rebound in global yields will override the domestic challenges confronting the financial sector. Written by Kyle Rodda - IG Australia
  6. MaxIG

    APAC brief 26 Mar

    Markets trade-off Friday overhang: Markets traded in something of a vacuum Monday. The themes driving price action were more-or-less those that had determined activity to end last week. The effects of this were pronounced in the Asian session, but much less so in Europe and North America. It stands to reason: Asian markets were still to digest Friday night’s abysmal European PMI figures. That data’s impact is still rippling through the market. Anxieties about global growth and the likelihood for a global recession is the topic of the day. But the material losses stemming from these concerns, though broad-based, have been limited overnight. Wall Street is down but bouncing; European stocks were down; while futures contracts for Asian markets are mixed. Risk-off generally prevails: Fear is demonstrably higher. On balance, safety was generally sought on Monday. In something of a bittersweet development, the VIX has pulled of its lows, to trade above 16, as traders reprice volatility and risk. In the broader G10 currency complex, the Yen has been led the pack, though its rally has steadied, and it is currently shuffling around the 110-handle. Investment grade credit spreads have widened notably, as speculation about slower growth has fanned-fear regarding the massive US corporate debt burden. And finally, the overnight-drop in the US Dollar, combined with the ubiquitous disappearance of safe-yielding assets the world-over, has pushed gold prices to $US1322 per ounce. Sentiment balances out slightly: A sliver of relief made its way into market participants psyche overnight. Some positive German data helped traders decompress – the bears were made to take a backwards step. Perhaps fortunately for the bulls in hindsight, the lack of major data releases removed the risk of fuel being added to the fire of bearish sentiment yesterday. The business-media cycle primarily concerned itself with interpreting the meaning of an inversion in the yield curve between the 3-year and 10-year US Treasury note. The conclusion sensibly arrived at, after making it through the hysterical headlines, is that no one piece of information tells the whole story; and even if it did, this ****-bit suggests (historically) a recession is still over a year away. Global growth to remain central question for now: This isn’t to suggest that the global growth outlook ought not to be taken as a big-risk presently. It is, and it’s being digested by market participants meticulously. Naturally, equities aren’t showing it that much, but the unfolding dynamic in bond markets, which has recently seen global yields tumble to multi-year lows, is still in motion. The momentum behind this move diminished slightly last night, leading some to call for a bit of a snap-back in the very short term. However, the trend is firmly in place: yields are falling the world over as traders position themselves for the combined effects of a deterioration in economic activity, and subsequent interest rate cuts from the world’s biggest central banks. Australian bonds rally: Such an appetite for relatively safe bonds manifested in our own markets, too. There was a sale of 5 Year AGBs, and the demand for the asset conveyed market participants desire for capital preservation. The bid-to-cover ratio out of the auction was a significant 5.61. Aussie bonds have, in a world where government debt is outperforming short term, seen some of the greatest in-flows of late. Catching-up with risk-off sentiment that had plagued markets, yields on AGBs tumbled during yesterday’s trade. Most noteworthy was the activity in the 10 Year security: it’s yield fell nearly 8 seven basis points to a record low 1.77 per cent. Australian Dollar: resilience and a little luck: Despite the fall in yields on Australian Dollar denominated bonds, at least in the last 24 hours, the Australian Dollar has made its way modestly higher. The “little battler” as its affectionately known has lived up to its reputation recently, managing to hold itself above the 0.7000 handle, even in light of the mounting risk to global economic activity. The primary reasoning behind this has been twofold. First, the yield spread between US Treasuries and AGBs has actually narrowed, as traders price in a US economy increasingly inhibited by the slowdown in global economic growth. Second, the (perhaps) fortuitous lift in iron ore prices, courtesy of persistent fears about production and supply of that commodity. Defensive sectors loom as potential leaders: It’s unlikely that plain luck will keep the ASX200 sustained. A settling of fundamentals is required for that to be achieved. That’s problematic, too: given the dearth of information the world over, the ASX will be reaching for global leads to add to its recent gains. Just for today: SPI Futures are indicating that the ASX200 will open about 8 points higher, as Wall Street stages a quick dash higher into its close. The bulls will be hoping for a bounce today, but judging by US markets’ lead, it’s a bit tough to see where that may come from. A defensive rotation was at play in the S&P500, so chances are a play into yield stocks will be the theme today. Written by Kyle Rodda - IG Australia
  7. Expected index adjustments Please see the expected dividend adjustment figures for a number of our major indices for the week commencing 25 Mar 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 Index Bloomberg Code Effective Date Summary Dividend Amount UKX RBS LN 21/03/2019 Special Div 7.5 AS51 FLT AU 21/03/2019 Special Div 212.8571 HSI 27 HK 25/03/2019 Special Div 45 RTY JILL US 18/03/2019 Special Div 115 RTY WSBF US 20/03/2019 Special Div 50 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. How do dividend adjustments work? 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.
  8. MaxIG

    APAC brief 25 Mar

    Global growth the primary issue right now: The monumental tug-of war between improving financial conditions and deteriorating economic conditions continues. On Friday, it was the latter that took home the points, if only this time around. Both variables truly sit diametrically opposed, and as far as market participants are concerned, which force will prevail remains speculative. It’s written into the mixed-messages markets have been signalling in the last several weeks. It must be said, with the end of last week’s trade, such discrepancies are becoming less pronounced. The dominating concern pertains to the outlook for global economic growth. The world economy’s health is looking worse than previously imagined, and the re-introduction of dovish rhetoric from global central bankers is proving an inadequate remedy. European growth (seemingly) imploding: A crumbling of European economic growth prospects is at the epicentre of concerns. European PMI numbers were released on Friday night, and they were shocking. As has been the trend of late, the services element of the data releases were respectable enough. But manufacturing PMI in Europe is falling off a cliff and has dropped well into “contractionary” territory. Most troubling, is that the core of this is apparently being driven by weakness in Europe’s power-house economy, Germany. Remembering 50 is a neutral print when it comes to PMI data: German Manufacturing PMI printed a woeful 44.7. It’s a reminder that with all the risks plaguing the global economy from East-to-West, its Europe that’s stuck in the middle of it all. A return to a negative-yield world: The consequences of the bad PMI numbers were immediate and explicit. The yield on 10 Year German Bunds raced to its ignominious and long-awaited milestone, cracking into negative yield for the first time since mid-2016. If there is any evidence necessary that the global economy is at the end of a cycle, it’s that ****-bit of information. The rush into government bonds on Friday was ubiquitous, however, and has created some worrying price action. Conspicuously, the rush into US Treasuries has put the yield US 10 Year Treasuries to just above the current US OCR at 2.40 per cent. Furthermore, Japanese Bond Yields have travelled further into negative territory itself, with the 10 Year JGB yielding -0.08 per cent. Currency traders seek-out JPY and USD: Reactions in currency markets have been somewhat predictable. The Euro has been slapped down below the 1.13 handle, as traders seek their safety primarily in the Japanese Yen, but also the US Dollar. The Greenback spiked to end last week, edging once more well into the 96 handle, according to the DXY. The CAD, NZD and Australian Dollar are also down, however perhaps not by as much as circumstances ought to dictate. The Scandi currencies are also mixed because of Europe's woes, as is the Swiss Franc, despite its status as safe-haven. And even in the face of US Dollar strength, the growing list of safe-securities delivering negative yield has supported the appeal of Gold, which is fetching $1315 per ounce. Rate cuts being priced-in across the globe: The falling yield environment is, of course, being driven by a pricing-in interest rate cuts in developed economies the world-over. Though directly caught in the fray on this occasion, as far as the disappointing data goes, the materialising prospecting of weak global demand has seen traders boost their bets on a US rate cut in the next 12 months. The implied probability of a cut from the US Federal Reserve by January next year leapt to almost 80 per cent. The price action has led to a disturbing event in rates markets: the spread between 3 Year and 10 Year Treasuries has fallen to 0 basis points, inverting the yield curve between those two maturities. Recession risk considered to be higher: Although not an infallible indicator, such a signal is often cited as portending a recession in the not-too-distant future. It might be for this reason that despite the pricing in on Friday of more activist central bank's globally, equities were generally thumped. The S&P500 was down 1.90 per cent, dragged lower by stocks in the US tech-sector. Of maybe greater concern was the more domestic growth sensitive, small-cap Russell 2000 index: it fell by quite a remarkable 3.62 per cent on Friday. This lead sets up the Asian region for a tough start to the week. SPI Futures are indicating the ASX200 will clock a 50-point loss at the opening this morning. Trump and May to seize focus today: Unfortunately, too, the economic calendar today and (relatively speaking) the rest of the week, is looking quite empty. Inferring from what was dominating the financial press over the weekend, it will be politics on both sides of the Atlantic that will capture attention. Brexit rolls on, and volatility in the Pound is expected to rise as noises about UK PM Theresa May's leadership rises to a cacophony. And out this morning: early days, but Robert Mueller's report on collusion between the campaign team of US President Trump and the Russian Government during the 2016 US Presidential has found no conclusive evidence to support that allegation. Written by Kyle Rodda - IG Australia
  9. MaxIG

    APAC brief - 21 Mar

    Market action proves it again: this market hinges on the Fed: The US Fed has proven itself as the most important game in town for traders. The FOMC met this morning, and lo-and-behold: the dovish Fed has proven more dovish than previously thought; the patient Fed has proven more patient that previously thought. Interest rates have remained on hold, but everyone knew that was to be the case today. It was about the dot-plots, the neutral-rate, the economic projections, and the balance sheet run-off. On all accounts, the Fed has downgraded their views on the outlook. And boy, have markets responded. The S&P500 has proven its major-sensitivity to FOMC policy and whipsawed alongside a fall in US Treasury yields, as traders price-in rate cuts from the Fed in the future. The US Dollar sends some asset classes into a tizz: The US Dollar has tumbled across the board consequently, pushing gold prices higher. The Australian Dollar, even for all its current unattractiveness, has burst higher, to be trading back toward the 0.7150 mark. Commodity prices, especially those of thriving industrial metals, have also rallied courtesy of the weaker greenback. Emerging market currencies are collectively stronger, too. This is all coming because traders are more-or-less betting that the Fed is at the end of its hiking cycle, and financial conditions will not be constricted by policy-maker intervention. Relatively cheap money will continue to flow, as yields remain depressed, and allow for the (sometimes wonton) risk-taking conditions that markets have grown used to in the past decade. Some risk being taken again, though somewhat nervously: The play into risk-assets makes everything sound quite rosy. There are caveats to this, however. And that relates to what’s been inferred about global growth from the Fed’s meeting this morning. Implicitly, at the very least, the Fed has acknowledged that growth in the US and world economy is all but certain to slow-down. It wasn’t said outright – a central banker would never want to be anything less than cautiously optimistic – but the tone of Fed Chair Powell at his presser suggests a Fed that is sufficiently concerned about the global economy that they will definitively reverse its policy “normalization” course. Positivity was maintained by the Fed about US economic conditions, outrightly. However, the market has read between the lines, and it doesn’t like what it sees. Interest rates are now expected to be on hold for this cycle: So: although swung around post release, the more important bond market is telling a clearer story. The yield on the US 10 Year Treasuries have tumbled nearly 8 points to 2.53 percent, and the yield on US 2 Year Treasuries has fallen 7 points to 2.39 per cent. More remarkably, the yield on Treasuries with 3, 5- and 7-year maturities have dropped over nine points, creating a yield curve with a very flat belly. Of most concern here is that all of these securities are trading just at, or well below, the Fed’s current effective overnight-cash-rate of 2.40 per cent. Traders are now pricing in a greater than 50 per cent chance the Fed will cut rates by early next year, on the basis of deteriorating economic conditions. It’s getting harder for the Fed to get the right balance: The tight rope is getting narrower. For market participants, as always: on one side of it sits the need for accommodative financial conditions, on the other the need for robust growth conditions. It’s the rudimentary in principle, though complicated in practice, interplay between the credit cycle and the business cycle. Out of this Fed meeting, the proverbial tight rope walker is nervously shifting her gaze down towards the economic growth outlook. Powell and his team have apparently not struck the necessary equilibrium in its approach to its policy and communications to the market. Yes (again), risk assets have rallied, but right now, not in such a way that suggests the bulls are significantly more confident in the investment environment being planted before them. Other stories also important, though not as much as the Fed: Some of this could be attributed to the overhang coming from some of the other significant economic stories yesterday. Sentiment has been dented by news that key EU figure Donald Tusk may demand that no Brexit extension is granted for the UK; it has also been liver-punched by a story suggesting US President Trump does not necessarily see a lifting of tariffs on China occurring in any US-Sino trade deal. Once more: it does appear that markets have seen the greatest gravitas in the Fed meeting, though. And traders’ nervousness is being betrayed by this: despite a dovish tact, corporate credit spreads have rallied, the VIX is off its multi-year lows, and US Break-evens are revealing greater inflation risk in the US economy. Australian markets to be defined by Fed and employment numbers: Fittingly, SPI Futures are suggesting the ASX200 will open somewhere between 5-and-10 points lower this morning. Speaking of markets and the growth outlook, not only will Australian trade be impacted by the fall-out from the Fed’s nervously dovish tilt, we also get some highly anticipated employment figures out this morning. The currency and rates markets will be what to watch for: the themes driving the ASX200 this week is the renewed push in iron ore prices, along with the rotation into yield-driven defensive sectors as Australian ACGB yields tumble. The RBA have hitched their hopes for the Australian economy on a tightening labour market and subsequent lift in wages growth and inflation. Watch therefore today for any major downside miss in employment numbers. Written by Kyle Rodda - IG Australia
  10. MaxIG

    APAC brief 20 Mar

    Another trade-war headline downs sentiment: There’s some news floating through the wires that sentiment has taken a hit overnight courtesy of some unfavourable trade-war headlines. It’s been reported that Chinese officials aren’t co-operating with their US counterparts, as it applies to certain sensitive elements of trade-negotiations. The S&P500, which had been developing some intraday momentum prior to the release, has retraced throughout trade, consequent to the news. It’s closed flat for the day, but despite this fall, moves in rates and bond markets suggest the fundamentals currently remain the same. The all-important balance between financial conditions and growth expectations is still there, ultimately supporting the bullishly inclined, as markets now prepare for tomorrow morning’s meeting of the US Federal Reserve. The unresolvable issues: It’s perhaps an assumption alone, but the (very vague) report leaked to the market about trade negotiations surely pertains to one of the well-understood, seemingly intractable issues embroiling the US and China. Those, at its core, unrelated to economics, but to strategic, and somewhat philosophical differences. These are intellectual property theft, currency manipulation, and Chinese military posturing in the Asian region – especially the South China Sea. These differences are relevant because they boil down to brutal power-politics, and an essential clash of ideologies. This isn’t to suggest a trade-deal, and future bilateral cooperation can’t exist between both parties; but that whatever deal is struck, it’s unlikely to put an end to geopolitical tensions. A trade-deal is still expected: Overall, the short-term economic stress placed on the US and (especially) China will probably force both countries to arrive at some sort of deal, eventually. Markets will benefit from that – and in a sense, they have already priced that outcome in. Industrial metals are the possibly the best harbinger of this: Dr. Copper, amongst others, still looks poised for upside. Assuming this to be so, the question likely to be asked is something like: “what’s next after a trade deal?”. This is where a degree of doubt creeps into analysts minds. It appears unlikely a satisfactory, elegant agreement will be struck between the US and China on this front. There’s too many zero-sum games; with rudimentary differences in world-view making co-operation complicated. Power-politics won’t stop with a deal: The desire of one state to take a greater share of a finite amount of power is quite comprehensible to most. The behaviour is primal – an instinct everyone and everything seemingly possesses in some way. It manifests between individuals, just as much as it does between groups and nation states. Market participants generally understand this, and factor this in to their views. What seems to be missed sometimes is how inherently different perceptions of the world, when analysing the outward expression of power-politics, exacerbates conflict between nation-states. As market participants, though justifiably not the greatest priority, an appreciation of this dynamic is required, if nothing else to build an accurate view on how market activity may evolve. A fundamental difference in philosophy: In the instance of the US-China conflict, some liberal, America ideals disagree with some collectivist, Chinese ideals. In the West, we tend to project our cultural motives onto China, and infer meaning from their behaviour from there. This leads to false conclusions and confusion. The best example of this is the way intellectual property is viewed. Although Communist only in name – State-Capitalist, quasi-Stalinism is probably more accurate – the Chinese assessment of intellectual property, and how intellectual property should be treated, betrays the difference in belief between the US and China. Accusations of intellectual property theft, and the subsequent denials thereof, are met with moral objections, resulting in a situation where necessary presuppositions to start productive negotiations struggle to be established. China’s bid for supremacy in the information age: How can one privatize an idea? Isn’t a communicable idea itself a common good? Probably too crudely put, this (perceived) issue with American capitalism can be articulated. As an aside, these questions go well beyond the US-China trade negotiations and can be found in the way businesses have struggled to monetize ideas in the age of free, sharable information. As it relates to the trade-war though, notice the conspicuous absence of talk about the China 2025 plan from China’s political-elite. It was founded on the objective of becoming the world’s leading tech-powerhouse in a decade’s time. While still clearly the goal of policymakers, the sensitivity of IP issues has meant that document, in a public sense, has been quietly shelved. ASX probably needs a trade-resolution: Australia is in an invidious position, as is well known, when it comes to the trade-war. We are stuck balancing the interests of our military and ideological bedfellow on one hand; and the manufacturer of our warm economic safety blanket on the other. Australian market participants keenly wait for a trade-deal and hope for a de-escalation in the strategic tensions. This morning, last night’s trade war noise has reduced the gains implied by the SPI Futures contract to 7 points. We await some substantial develops in trade negotiations and the Chinese economic story before the bulls reclaim control of the market. The ASX has tracked sideways recently after all, only supported by a lucky run higher in iron ore prices, and a fall in interest rate expectations. Written by Kyle Rodda - IG Australia
  11. MaxIG

    APAC brief 19 Mar

    Markets trade thin ahead of central bank risks: It’s said that money makes the world go around. And given central bankers control the money of the world, it is they who decide when the turning starts and stops. Described this way, central bankers role in the economy sounds Bond-villain-esque. That’s entirely unfair of course – only fringe-dwellers would suggest they are so malevolent. But recent history, based on experiential evidence, suggests that when it comes to financial markets, the actions of central bankers take primacy over all other considerations. This phenomenon must be a transient thing – a part of some other historical process. All high priests eventually lose their power. For now, though, it feels the age of the central-banker has reached its epoch, with markets dutifully obeying their rule. Markets pace the margins: The reason for the foregoing expatiation is that financial markets, owing to a dearth of economic and corporate data, have traded quietly in anticipation of several key central bank meetings this week. Naturally, the biggest of them all is Thursday morning’s US Federal Reserve meeting. In preparation for the event, traders are pacing the markets’ fringes. Risk appetite on Wall Street is still rather well supported. Volumes are below average but having broken key-resistance at 2815 on Friday, the clearing of that technical level has invited in some buyers. Rates markets are largely unchanged, although US bond yields have ticked slightly higher across the board, while the US Dollar is relatively steady, albeit well off its recent highs. RBA-Minutes released today: An expounding of the internal dynamics of US financial markets ahead of this week’s US Fed meeting is for another day. For the moment, it’s simply handy to know that it’s market participants’ major mental block. Localizing the focus, Australian traders and market-watchers are preparing for their own dose of central bank news. This afternoon welcomes the release of the RBA’s Monetary Policy Minutes for its March meeting. Few surprises are expected out of today’s release, it must be stated (what’s new when it comes to the RBA?) The market impact, consequently, may prove negligible, aside from a move of a few pips here and there on the Aussie-Dollar crosses, and maybe a shift in the yield of ACGBs. Themes to watch from the RBA: Nevertheless, for econo-watchers, some familiar themes will be searched-for as today’s minutes are perused. Probably given we are coming up to an election, several economic pressure points have become of greater relevance. House prices are the perennial favourite, especially as it relates to their fall and the so-called “wealth effect” on consumer behaviour. The other to watch-out for pertains to the latest political hot-topic: wages growth. Namely: when (and perhaps, more appropriately, if) adequate growth in wages will materialize. The final key theme to which analysts will be centring their attention on is the labour market outlook, considering a further tightening in it has become the RBA’s proposed panacea to the two other issues, and all their insidious knock-on effects. Negligible reaction to RBA Minutes is expected: Whatever the RBA's chosen tact in their minutes, it's probable that few answers will be handed from up high today. In an act of what might be considered economic blasphemy, markets participants have grown increasingly cynical of the RBA's outright, "neutral” stance on the Australian economy. Markets are still pricing in approximately 34 basis points of cuts from the RBA this year – with the first cut fully implied by August. Despite this, and although yields on Australian Dollar denominated assets are trending firmly lower, the local currency, courtesy of a lift in the price of key commodity exports, is trading resiliently, clinging onto the 0.7100 handle at present. Can commodity rallying prices save the day again? Ever the lucky country, policy makers and politicians alike will be praying this dynamic in the commodity complex lasts. Indirectly, the lift in Australia's terms of trade may be what drives the economy through its current "crosswinds” and keeps the RBA from having to cut interest rates in an already unstable and debt-laden environment. The simple logic is this: the greater tax revenues drawn from a lift in commodity prices will help build a war-chest for the Pollies to play-with, in a bid to win over the electorate with greater tax cuts and spending programs. Undoubtedly, this state of affairs comes with the risk of profligacy. Nonetheless, sensible, stimulatory policy could yet save the economy from the next recession. ASX searching for a lead to move higher: In the narrow context of today's trade, the ASX200 ought not be affected by this broader hope of future fiscal stimulus for the Australian economy. Wall Street has rallied into its close: the S&P500 has climbed 0.37 per cent for the session. SPI Futures have lifted by virtue of this, indicating a 20-point jump for the ASX200 this morning. That’s proven an unreliable indicator of late, however. For the last week has a rally in SPI futures contract translated into meaningful gains in the cash market. As alluded to Australian-macro currently is all about commodity prices. Materials stocks led the charge yesterday, and the same may go today, with iron ore prices in particular making a fresh run higher. Written by Kyle Rodda - IG Australia
  12. Expected index adjustments Please see the expected dividend adjustment figures for a number of our major indices for the week commencing 18 Mar 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 Index Bloomberg Code Effective Date Summary Dividend Amount UKX RBS LN 21/03/2019 Special Div 7.5 AS51 FLT AU 21/03/2019 Special Div 212.8571 HSI 27 HK 25/03/2019 Special Div 45 RTY JILL US 18/03/2019 Special Div 115 RTY WSBF US 20/03/2019 Special Div 50 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. How do dividend adjustments work? 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.
  13. A flowless rally: It’s being dubbed the “flowless rally”. Equities are ticking higher, but without the fundamental buying-support one might assume. This is especially so when considering the milestone achieved on Wall Street on Friday. Finally, the 2815 resistance level has tumbled, and the bulls have cautiously, quietly rejoiced. There are yellow flags popping up here and there, however, and that is making participants wary. It goes back to this “flowless rally” business: the latest leg of global stocks big recovery isn’t being supported by investor flows. In fact, investor flows look to have diminished somewhat. The reasoning behind this move is somewhat speculative. The impact of share buybacks is one popular argument. Whatever the cause, confidence isn’t accompanying this rally. Economic conditions deteriorating: Maybe market participants are still scorned from the market correction in 2018. A bitterness and cynicism stemming from that is understandable. Much of the frustration comes, it would seem, from a widespread recognition that this rally has come in the absence of solid fundamentals. On the contrary, if looking at the macro-outlook, there are more reasons to be bearish than bullish right now. Global growth is (almost) irrefutably slowing, and some of the geopolitical sore-points dictating sentiment, like Brexit and the US-China trade war, are showing little new signs of progress. A major factor keeping this rally alive in riskier assets, perhaps concerningly, is a little case of “fear of missing out”. Markets betting on policy support: Policy makers are igniting this behaviour: market participants are hoping-big that they can turn the economic ship around. Such policy intervention if for good cause, and with good intentions, of course: economic growth the world over is wheezing, and those whose job it is to address this affliction are experimenting with ways to cure it. The concern now relates to the unintended consequences, of course. Just on Friday, two more stories relating to stimulatory economic policy galvanized markets. The first came from the board of the Bank of Japan, who as expected downgraded their economic outlook and hinted at sustained monetary stimulus. The second came from Chinese Premier Li Keqiang, who announced more fiscal measures to tackle China’s economic slowdown. Premier Li stokes optimism: The latter of the two stories carried most weight. It betrays what financial markets’ biggest concern is now: the health of the Chinese (and therefore global) economy. The move into stocks and growth-tied markets on Friday was catalysed by Premier Li’s boldness, especially. In a bid to quell concern about a deterioration in China’s labour market, he stated the Communist Party leadership would look to lower the Reserve Ratio Requirement, cut taxes, and lower interest rates if necessary. Risk and growth assets across the region rallied on the news. The CSI300 added 1.26 per cent for the day and the Australian Dollar climbed back towards the 0.7100 handle – the latter despite little move in yield spreads. The more accurate indicators: Although there were signs of optimism in speculative assets because of the prospect of further stimulatory fiscal and financial conditions, better barometers of the growth outlook were unmoved. Bond yields generally fell, as traders continued to price in a world of lower growth and falling interest rates. The US 10 Year Treasury Note closed at 2.58 per cent over the weekend; and bets were increased that the US Fed, ECB and our own RBA would have to cut rates at some stage before the end of 2019. Granted, this dynamic has supported equites, and risk assets like corporate credit. However, if economic growth is to slow like expected, the question is: how long is it before slower growth manifests in the earnings outlook? Measures of fear stay subdued: Only the shiniest and clearest crystal ball can predict that one. Market participants may prove emboldened in the short term irrespective, as a hunt for yield, some technical drivers, and a touch of momentum spur the herd to push the market higher. Naturally, this comes with risk, although the areas one might expected to see hedging against this aren’t finding love either. Gold is up but remains closely wedded to the $US1300 pivot point. The US Dollar isn’t attracting safe haven flows in the short term, either. Perhaps most tellingly, the VIX has continued to creep lower, closing last week at 12.88; and poetically, finds itself at lows not registered since Jerome Powell’s notorious “a long way from neutral” speech. ASX200 to leap out of the gates: It hasn’t been the most reliable indicator of the intraday fortunes of the ASX200 of late, but the last traded price on the SPI futures contract is indicating a 35-point jump at the open today. A part of this ought to occur by virtue of a small bounce back following Friday’s index rebalancing, which saw heightened activity in heavily weighted stocks at Friday’s close. Last week for the ASX200, when contrasted with the world’s other major equity indices, was underwhelming. It was one of the few to close lower for the week. Wall Street traders are mumbling about the potential for US indices to clock new all-time highs currently. For us, the ASX200 is now 2.76 per from its decade-long high. Written by Kyle Rodda - IG Australia
  14. Delaying the pain of uncertainty: The pain of uncertainty, when it comes to two of the world’s big macroeconomic issues, looks likely to persist for a little while yet. Two stories, to be elaborated on in a moment, defined market-headlines overnight: a meeting between US President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping won’t happen until at least April; while the UK House of Commons has voted overwhelmingly to extend the Brexit-deadline, though with no clear path forward from here. The frustration is palpable, and its apparently resulted in a level of exhaustion for financial markets. After a bit of chop, Wall Street is trading in a cold-fashion, only slightly down for the day, handing the Asian region little inspiration for the day ahead. No march meeting between Trump and Xi: On the trade-war, market participants were a touch confused. No imminent meeting, as had been hoped, between the top-brass of the US and Chinese governments, has sapped confidence. But the conclusion reached, apparently, as the news has been digested through the North American session has been “well, what did we really expect?”. It’s been the problem with chasing sentiment lately when it comes to the trade-war. Tensions have clearly de-escalated, and markets have reflected that in pricing. However, no path has been put forward, no real solutions offered, and never, at any stage, have the deep structural concerns underpinning the US-China stand-off – which may well persist for years – been adequately addressed. Anything to relieve the pressure: It’s been one of those “lipstick on a dead-pig” situations: the conflict is quite fundamentally intractable. But that’s been well understood, and it would be wrong to say markets don’t realize that. All market participants are looking for is a superficial solution that will release the pressure valve a little and ensure that things don’t get worse – a loosening of the shackles, if you will. It pertains mostly to Chinese economic growth, this desire, and it was reaffirmed yesterday. The Middle Kingdom, already mired in its own structural and cyclical issues, is still showing signs of an economic slowdown. The economic data dump yesterday, though not a categorical disaster, revealed an economy suffering from diminishing activity. The latest Brexit can-kicking exercise: So not to become too preoccupied the trade-war: the other big case of can-kicking transpired in the Brexit debacle last night. In round three-of-three of this week’s Brexit-battle in the UK House of Commons, UK MPs voted overwhelmingly to extend the March 29 Brexit-deadline. Coming into this week, this was the expected, and perhaps hoped-for, outcome from market participants. Judging by market activity, the formal approval of a Brexit-delay hasn’t diminished totally the risks Brexit presents to financial markets. A no-deal hasn’t been taken off the table entirely, and a path forward for Brexit hasn’t been outlined, let alone agreed to. It’s a prolonging of uncertainty and chaos: the Pound’s pullback today from its weekly highs tells us so. An unremarkable, and unreliable lead: Out of last night's trade, the ASX200, just like markets at large, will be grasping for a lead. This goes equally for the bears as it does the bulls -- right now, there's just as little reason to sell as there is to buy. Wall Street's stall below 2815 again demonstrates this overriding attitude: with what we know, maybe stocks are just where they ought to be. SPI Futures suggest that the ASX200 will jump 10 points or so at the open, though given the split in behaviour between Asian and North American traders this week, maybe this isn't a strong indicator of the morning's sentiment. As such, absent a lead, the interest could be in some major risks coming-up, instead. Are we turning Japanese? There's plenty on the calendar in the next 7 days. The Asian session will concern itself primarily with the Bank of Japan meeting today. No surprises: little policy change is expected from the meeting. A theme in markets across the globe recently has been a pivot by central bankers to dovish biases, if not downgrades to their economic outlook. By some, it's being said that developed markets are "turning Japanese". That is: a looming global growth slow down means Western monetary policy will resemble that of the ultra-interventionist, negative rate inducing BOJ. Through this lens, the BOJ meeting will be viewed today: what can they tell us about how the world's other major central banks will adjust policy in the future? Next week’s pressure-points: We may not have to wait too long to gather hints. Next week is big, and centres around several central bank related events. At home, the RBA's Minutes are released. The Bank of England, still in the shadows of Brexit, will also meet. But, as it always is, the major event will be the US Federal Reserve’s meeting, at which the Fed will keep rates on hold. Overlaying this, several European PMI figures, a swathe of UK data, and local employment figures are released. It will be a week that offers to break markets’ current holding pattern and address its long-existing fundamental dyad: the interplay between international financial conditions, and the global economic outlook.
  15. MaxIG

    APAC brief 14 Mar

    Traders see “goldilocks” conditions in US: Both European and US shares rallied overnight. For the latter, the term “goldilocks” has been bandied around. That is: growth in the US, though not as strong as it has been in the recent past, is still solid, while inflation risk is presently low, meaning the US Fed will likely remain in a neutral position. A reminder of this dynamic came in the second of two major inflation releases out of the US this week. PPI data showed a weaker than expected print, following the night prior’s soft CPI numbers. The effect has been static bond yields, a slight lift in the prospects of a US rate cut this year, and a US Dollar that has pulled-back from its highs. US stocks fail to jump significant hurdle again: Perhaps most significantly for those with a bullish disposition, US equities have responded to the “goldilocks” dynamic in the most enthusiastic way. Once again, the S&P500 has challenged crucial resistance at 2815 – that notorious level at which the market has broken down on nearly four-or-five occasions in the past. Promisingly, as it applies to last night’s trade, the sector responsible for driving the S&P500’s gains is information technology – primarily Microsoft and Apple Inc. Recall, it was the en masse dumping of the tech-giants that led US stocks lower in Q4 last year. It’s hope that their continued recovery may be a bellwether, for the bulls, of further upside to come. Green-shoots in commodities? It wasn’t only equites engendering a sense of hope for the global growth outlook in the last 24 hours. Arguably a more reliable indicator, global commodity prices registered noteworthy gains. The weaker US Dollar undoubtedly supported this, but it alone does not explain the broad-based strength across the commodities complex. Perhaps it’s just another part of the small snap back we’ve seen in markets since the de-escalation in trade-war tensions. An edging higher in the price of oil, after a contraction in US inventories last night, has been supportive too. Nevertheless, although a major break-out in commodity prices are yet to occur, the reversal in its downward trend has some suggesting these are green-shoots for the global economy. Asian markets had a soggy day: To localize the focus, the ASX200, in line with the other major regional equity indices, closed well into the red during yesterday’s Asian session. It seemed it was one of those days where the market’s behaviour was a trifle inexplicable. The lead handed to Asian markets was solid enough, nor were there were any major tier-1 economic announces to undermine sentiment. Some indicated that it might have been comments from the night prior by US trade representative Robert Lighthizer that US tariffs on China remain a possibility. This answer isn’t satisfactory, however: the comments were made in the US session and caused little reaction then. Maybe yesterday’s weakness could be chalked-up to the market simply having a soggy day. ASX200 to open higher this morning: Regardless, the tide looks likely to turn again this morning. SPI futures are indicating a 20-point jump at the open for the ASX200. What appetite there is for risk will be curious today. As mentioned, despite ample fodder a little upside yesterday, especially in growth and cyclical stocks, trade was defined by a languid rotation into defensive sectors. The phenomenon may well be attributed to the morning’s Westpac Consumer Sentiment reading. It showed a major fall in sentiment, resulting in a major tumble in Australian Commonwealth Government Bond yields. Though certainly a positive for yield-stocks, the fall in 10 Year ACGBs portends a meaningful slow down in domestic economic, and the likely necessity for RBA cuts as soon as August. The monthly Chinese data-dump: Traders will get another opportunity to refine their views on global growth today: it's that time of the month when markets receive the big Chinese economic data dump. The bar was set last week during China's National People's Congress, as Chinese policymakers downgraded their growth targets, and announced a slew of fiscal and monetary measures aimed at supporting their economy. As it relates to Australian markets, two of today's prints stand-out as being most relevant: the industrial production, and retails sales numbers. They may prove significant for the AUD: as yields fall in AUD denominated assets, the yield disadvantage the AUD has against the USD grows, making the currency more vulnerable to data surprises and downside risk. Brexit: Round to 2 of 3: The headline story today has been round 2 of 3 in this week’s Brexit-battle in the UK House of Commons. This morning’s vote was to decide whether to move ahead with a “no-deal” Brexit. By a narrow margin, the House voted against “no-deal”, setting up another vote tomorrow on whether to extend Article 50 and delay the March 29 deadline. There has been a lot of drama this morning, and the **** is certainly in the detail, especially as it pertains to Theresa May’s authority. But as far as financial markets go, the simple fact is this: the Pound has rallied, equally against the EUR as the USD, as traders bet on a delay, if not a reversal, of Brexit. Written by Kyle Rodda - IG Australia
  16. Financials drag on the ASX: The ASX200 was legged in the final stages of trade yesterday. It was led by a sell-off in major financial stocks, after a media address made by Australian Treasurer, Josh Frydenberg, during which he announced the Liberal government would not pursue the eradication of trailing commissions for financial advisors and mortgage brokers, as prescribed by Kenneth Hayne QC in the final Banking Royal Commission report. It turned what was an otherwise solid day for the ASX200 on its head. Naturally, given their substantial weighting in the index, a bad day for the banks more-often than not leads to a pull-back in the market. That notion certainly proved to yesterday and looks to prove true again this morning. A good lead, but a weak start: Thus, at time of writing, SPI Futures are pointing a 7-point drop at the open. With half-an-hour left in Wall Street trade, it won’t be for a lack of a positive lead that this will be so. It’s been a reasonable day for US stocks, rallying just over 0.3 per cent, according to the S&P500. Market participants, it would seem, have had hurled back at them, when it comes to the banks, the political risk to the industry, they’d thought, had disappeared following the final report handed down by the Royal Commission. This being the case, the simplest answer for the ASX’s likely sluggish start today is this returning shadow of regulatory uncertainty over the financial sector. Banks back into the spotlight: Numerous specific explanations could be offered regarding the exact rationale for trader’s sell-off in financial-stocks. Many of them are politically-charged and filled with bias. For some inclined to one way of thinking, it might be because the Government’s new-position invites the Labor opposition to go harder on their “bank-bashing” (as it has become colloquially known) and raised the prospect of harsher regulations on the banks. The overarching explanation, no matter the specific reasoning, however, can be summed up in a cliché about markets: the only thing worse than bad news in markets, is uncertainty. Yesterday’s proclamations from the Government reintroduce uncertainty to the banking industry and create reason to avoid long positions in the banking stocks. Some of the bullish stories: Hence, despite some reasons to climb further today, the ASX200 may struggle to stay out of the red. It will come in the face of other macro-factors that ought to support stocks in Australia – and across the region. For one, industrial metals elegantly bounced from trendline support to sustain its recent run higher, which augurs well for the materials sector today. Oil is edging higher once more, so another day of gains for the energy sector could be in store. And a further play into health care and information technology stocks on Wall Street last night suggests an appetite for growth and risk in the market, pointing to positive conditions for highly weighted biotechnology firms on the ASX200. US CPI and global yields: Even more fundamentally, risk appetite was galvanized by a general fall in bond yields overnight. While still well within their broad range, US 10 Year Treasury yields fell 4 basis points to 2.60 per cent, after US CPI numbers missed expectations. The headline core CPI figure printed a lukewarm 2.1 per cent – effectively affirming, for now, that the US Fed is under very little pressure to hike interest rates. The knock-on effect was tangible throughout fixed-income and currency markets: 10 Year German Bunds clocked another multiyear low around at around 0.05 per cent; and the USD gave up ground, as it lost some of the yield advantage that has fuelled its recent rally. A higher chance of a Fed cut: Inflation expectations for the US economy have been tempered after last night’s CPI miss. The US 2 Year Breakeven rate slipped below 1.90 per cent – revealing a market that believes that inflation in the US will continue to languish below the Fed’s 2 per cent “symmetrical” target. The dynamic has manifested in the implied probabilities US interest rate markets. A rate cut from the Fed is now considered a roughly 36 per cent chance before the end of 2019. It’s taken market positioning to levels not witnessed since the start of January – that being a time, of course, when the market was still being shaped by the massive market correction experienced in the last quarter of 2018. Brexit update: For everything else going on in markets, Brexit and the unfolding drama in that issue was the headline issue for traders overnight. There were many swings in the story yesterday, but ultimately, the simple fact this morning is this: UK Prime Minister Theresa May’s Brexit deal has been voted down again. It was by a smaller a margin this time – a 149 vote deficit. But nevertheless, the defeat was resounding, and ensures that the toxic effect of Brexit on markets lingers. The Sterling has whipped around in a 2.4 per cent range in the last 48 hours. Similar volatility is expected as the House votes tomorrow morning on whether to exit the EU with “no deal” at all. Written by Kyle Rodda - IG Australia
  17. Up, down, turnaround: It’s been a bipolar market of late. Global stocks are moving in unison, and have swung from broad-based losses on Friday, to broad-based gains overnight. US equities are naturally the exemplar and are a responsible for driving overall risk appetite. With an hour left in trade (and as a quick aside, Wall Street closes at 7am AEDT for the next few weeks) the S&P500 is up well over 1 per cent. It’s been a day of relatively low activity. However, breadth is expansive: over 90 per cent of stocks are higher for the session. After last week’s losses, the S&P500 is some way from the key resistance at 2815. The fundamental strength of the market will be assessed by its ability to rechallenge that level. ASX to hit the ground running: It was topsy-turvy yesterday, as far as the ASX’s behaviour went within the context of the global rally in equities. Unlike during stages of last week, the ASX200 was a thin-cut of red in an otherwise sea of green, when looking at the global equity index map. Australian stocks will join the party this morning, and according to the SPI Futures contract, will bust out of the gate at today’s open with a 34-point rally. Inducing from European and North American trade what we might see today: materials stocks may follow their international counterparts, energy stocks may track a lift in oil, and Australia’s growth stocks in the biotechnology industry should follow US tech’s run higher. US economic fundamentals: US economic data is dense this week, and what it suggest about the US economy will be a theme to watch in the week ahead. After all: growth in the US economy is what many are hanging their hat on to keep global economic activity supported. Retail Sales data last night was the first high-impact event for the week, and it surprised to the upside. Although January’s woeful figure was revised down again, sales growth in February beat expectations. The result didn’t change fundamentals, though they did shift slightly. US Treasury yields lifted modestly, on reduced bets that the US Fed will have to cut interest rates at some stage in 2019 to support the US economy. US inflation risk: The far more important US CPI figure is released tonight – and will probably amount to highlight for the week in US data. Inflation concerns have become less-of-a-priority for traders recently, owing to the volatility in financial markets, relatively low oil prices, the dimming prospects for global growth, and the US Fed’s assurances that it does not mind overshooting its 2 per cent inflation target. Nevertheless, inflation risk always reigns – and, if realized, would be quick to quash equity market bullishness. In saying this, the implied probability of this materializing ought still to be considered low. US 5 Year break evens are implying a US inflation outlook of only about 1.85 per cent. 3-days of Brexit drama: Though US data is an overarching theme this week, the eyes of the world will probably be on the UK for the next 3 days. It’s more-or-less crunch time for UK Prime Minister Theresa May and her wildly unpopular Brexit bill. A series of votes before the House of Commons to decide on what the UK will do come the March 29 Brexit deadline will transpire over the coming days. Crudely put, they’ll determine whether to leave the Eurozone according to Prime Minister May’s deal (unlikely); crash-out of the Eurozone without a deal (a possibility); or extend the Brexit deadline and kick-the-can further down the road (likeliest). The Sterling will be the barometer: short-term moves between the 1.28 and 1.34 handle is conceivable. Mixed growth signals: For financial markets, Brexit’s macro-economic impact will probably be contained to UK and European assets. Rightly or wrongly, the view is that the matter concerns regional markets, primarily. Fears about slowing global growth will remain a theme overlayed in the market, nevertheless. And judging from last night’s trade, despite the bullishness in equities, fixed income and currencies, pockets of pessimism still prevail. Growth sensitive commodities, primarily industrial metals, were down overnight, even in the face of a weaker US Dollar. From a technical standpoint, industrial metals prices are reaching technical trend-line support. If broken below, it may indicate that the market’s flirtation with improved global growth conditions was a mere folly. China’s got the gold-bug: The always contentious outlook for gold prices was of interest overnight, amid the sell-off in commodities and the confused global growth outlook. Gold pulled away from the $1300 pivot point once more, courtesy of the rise in global yields. An arguably more interesting and significant variable in gold's broader price action was a highlight yesterday: data that revealed China once again increased its reserves of the metal last month. The most parsimonious explanation here for this phenomenon is that, like the Russians, China is looking to reduce its dependence on the United States by diversifying away from USD denominated assets. It's a direct challenge to the post-Bretton Woods global monetary system, and one that may support gold prices into the future. Written by Kyle Rodda - IG Australia
  18. Expected index adjustments Please see the expected dividend adjustment figures for a number of our major indices for the week commencing 11 Mar 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. Index Bloomberg Code Effective Date Summary Dividend Amount RTY BTU US 11/03/2019 Special Div 185 RTY FFG US 14/03/2019 Special Div 150 RTY CWH US 14/03/2019 Special Div 7.32 RTY GSHD US 15/03/2019 Special Div 41 RTY JILL US 18/03/2019 Special Div 115 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. How do dividend adjustments work? 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.
  19. US NFPs: The final bastion of global economic growth is showing cracks in it walls. Arguably last week’s key-release, US Non-Farm Payrolls disappointed market participants over the weekend, printing well below expectations. It wasn’t a clear-cut, poor print. The unemployment rate dropped to 3.8 per cent and wage-growth climbed to 3.4 per cent. The shocker was the headline number: forecast to reveal a jobs-gain of 180,000, the US economy only added 20,000 last month. It’s given rise to concerns that, given how low the unemployment rate is in the US, and that wages are finally picking-up, the long-thriving US labour market has finally reached full capacity for this economic cycle. US stocks fall, but losses were limited: That would be bad news for the US and global economy. Despite this gloomy picture painted by NFPs, and an initial knee-**** reaction, traders sought to see through the data. It was a bad day, ending a bad week, for risk assets on Friday – that’s no question. But given that the weak US jobs figures punctuated a series of weak global economic data, which solidified the fear the global economy is sharply slowing, the reaction in markets was fairly contained. Global stocks certainly put in their worst weekly performance for the year. However, Wall Street’s daily losses were contained to a relatively modest 0.21 per cent, if judged by the S&P500’s performance on Friday. Central banks to the rescue? Could traders be betting that central bankers, in the event of a marked slow-down, will come valiantly to save markets from any economic malaise? Quite possibly. Interwoven between underwhelming economic data out of Asia, Europe and North America have been speeches and meetings from the world’s most powerful central bankers urging calm. Even more importantly, at least as it applies to market participants, central bankers have worked hard to deliver assurances that they’ll deliver policy support, if necessary, to curb any economic slow-down. Market pricing has reacted accordingly: global bond markets continue to rally, as traders price in that the next move from likes of the ECB, Fed and PBOC will be to ease policy. Interest rate markets: The most noteworthy move in the implied probability of rate cuts has been in US interest rate markets. Following Friday’s disappointing US Non-Farm Payrolls release, bets of a cut from the Fed before the end of 2019 leapt from practically zero, to about 20 per cent. US Treasury yields tumbled consequently, taking the US 10 Year note to 2.62 per cent and US 2 Year note to 2.46 per cent, -- taking yields on European and Asian bonds with it. Gold rallied back to just shy of $US1300 on this basis, and growth-sensitive commodities like oil, copper and iron ore tumbled. Credit spreads also expanded, with junk bond spreads touching levels not registered since the start of February. Higher geopolitical risk: This "risk-off" off dynamic, as one might label it, is finding itself compounded by the return of geopolitical risks. Over the weekend -- and this will likely carry into the week ahead -- critical impasses have apparently been reached in both Brexit and US-Sino trade-war negotiations. Regarding the former, the Pound tumbled ahead of this week's historic Brexit vote, after UK Prime Minister Theresa May threatened that Brexit may not eventuate if MPs don't back her deal with the European Union. As far as the latter goes, assertions from top-Chinese trade officials that any trade-war deal would need to be "two-way, fair and equal" slightly dented hopes that a resolution to the trade-war was imminent. ASX comes under pressure: The overall bearishness that coloured market-sentiment on Friday, and over the weekend at that, will translate, according to the last traded price of the SPI Futures contract, in a 14-point fall for the ASX200 at this morning’s open. This follows a day on Friday of broad-based losses on the ASX, as Aussie shares succumbed to the pressures that had already enervated their global counterparts, to fall nearly 1 per cent for the session. Granted, it was a day of low activity in the market, as volumes traded slightly below average. But the breadth of losses were noteworthy, with 83.5 per cent of stocks lower for the day, and every sector in the market finishing in the red. Banks and miners lead losses: Non-cyclical stocks put up a fight in early trade, which benefitted from a degree of sectoral rotation, combined with a continued fall in discount rates. The bearish tide eventually washed buyers out of those sectors, too, however. Financials were by-far the worst performing, subtracting 31 points from the index on Friday, as a parliamentary standing committee grilled the heads of CBA and Westpac, and reminded markets that political risk hasn’t yet disappeared for the banking sector. Finally, the big pull back in industrial metal prices and oil, which had recently rallied courtesy of a de-escalation in trade-tensions, dragged mining and energy stocks lower, sucking a combined 17 points from the ASX200. Written by Kyle Rodda - IG Australia
  20. Australian data draws global interest: Australia’s remarkably weak growth figures captured attention, both locally and abroad. The numbers conveyed in yesterday’s GDP were truly disappointing. Growth in the final quarter of 2018 was a paltry 0.2 per cent, and after another set of revisions to previous data, the annualized growth rate fell to 2.3 per cent. Each figure was quite an undershoot of expectations: for one, economists were expecting the quarterly number to come-in-at 0.3 per cent in seasonally adjusted terms. Now, on the face of it, this may not seem too bad. However, this estimate had been revised down several times in the week preceding yesterday’s GDP release, from around 0.6 per cent, in response to other underwhelming Australian economic data. RBA’s dissolving logic: As it stands, the picture the GDP print painted of the Australian economy blows the RBA’s base case out of the water. Recently, the RBA had become candid in its assessment of the (let’s say) “crosswinds” in the domestic economy. So cognizant of the risks, they’d adopted a “neutral” stance to monetary policy moving forward into 2019. But still, their optimism remained: growth would remain strong enough to lead to an even tighter labour market, which would eventually feed into a pick-up in wages growth, and subsequently the inflation and consumption growth long-missing in the Australian economy. It was this view that fundamentally created the bedrock for the RBA’s policy bias and supported their hope for improved local economic conditions. A further slowdown expected: It’s seems impossible that the RBA could maintain this base case anymore. Simply put: a growth rate where it is now cannot sustain the necessary tightening of the labour market to put the aforementioned process into motion. Historically, GDP has had to grow at a rate at least above 2.5 per cent to see adequate growth in employment. A growth-rate below this market has traditionally led to an increase in the unemployment rate – a phenomenon that, given we are (arguably) at nominally full-employment now, may well manifest quickly in future labour market data. With that credible assumption made, the elusive growth in wages is terribly unlikely to materialize, meaning the Australian economy is unlikely to meet the RBA’s expectations. 2 RBA rate cuts possible in 2019: The logic hasn’t been missed by market participants. Immediately following yesterday’s news, traders swiftly priced in the new, less-optimistic outlook for the Australian economy. Bets on a rate cut from the RBA before year’s end spiked. Implied probabilities are now suggesting at least 1 cut from the central bank in 2019. The chances of another cut after this also showed for the first time in pricing – at implied odds of about 25 per cent. Naturally, the bears swarmed the AUD/USD as a consequence. Support at 0.7050 broke, after being tested a handful of times during the day, as the spread between 2 Year ACGBs and 2 Year US Treasuries widened to as far as 88 basis points. Lower yields, lower currency, higher ASX: Not that the ASX was overly perturbed by what was happening in the currency and bond markets in response to the GDP figures. If anything, it was a welcomed development, just in the short-term, for stocks. The depreciation of the AUD, coupled with the tumble in bond yields, bolstered equities, leading the ASX200 above 6230 resistance, to close 0.75 per cent higher for the day. It was a broad a based rally too: every major sector was in the green, led by the cyclical materials, energy and industrials stocks, which have also been given a boost by the run up in oil and industrial metals prices. The next conspicuous level to watch from here likely becomes 6310. Wall Street struggles: For the day ahead, SPI Futures are currently indicating an 8-point jump at the open for the ASX200. If realized, it’ll be no thanks to the lead Wall Street is likely to hand us. With less than hour to go in trade, the S&P500 has pulled further away from its formidable resistance level at 2815, to be trading 0.5 per cent lower on the session. Momentum is building to the downside for US equities still: the MACD and RSI are both pointing to a market that’s lost its drive. Also, of slight concern is breadth and conviction of Wall Street’s overnight falls. Volumes are above average, while only 20 per cent of stocks are higher for the session. The currency complex: The anti-risk, anti-growth bent to trade overnight has brought out some of the typical doomsayers. The result has been a modest lift to the US Dollar, and at that, the Japanese Yen, while gold keeps grinding lower. Across the currency complex, commodity currencies have been the worst performing. The AUD, for the reasons earlier described; but also, the Kiwi and CAD, too – the latter in part due to a dovish Bank of Canada last night, and a dip in oil prices. The Euro is steady as it treads water ahead of tonight’s ECB meeting, at which that central bank is expected to cut its growth outlook. The Pound is ambling as further Brexit developments are awaited. Written by Kyle Rodda - IG Australia
  21. American stocks fall: Wall Street looks poised to register its worst daily performance since the start of the year. The technical action was sweet: another early challenge of 2815 – the price ran slightly above that – before the bears swooned, and traders “pulled the trigger”. It’s been a day of selling since, with the S&P500 down 0.6 - 0.8 per cent, at time of writing. It’s nothing to be too concerned about, of course. This is nothing like the behaviour witness at the end of last year. It’s just that the price action has the commentariat ready to call the long-awaited reversal in US, and global equities. The closing price will be crucial today, but a bearish engulfing candle already signals looming weakness. Bulls fail to break technical resistance: It’s the considerable lack of upside momentum, coupled with the breadth of the sell-off, that is noteworthy. After all, again, the S&P500 is only down 0.6 per cent on the day. The RSI is pointing its head downwards, though, clearly breaking with its recent upward trend. Intraday breadth is very poor: only around 20 per cent of stocks are higher for the session, and every sector is presently in the red. Right now, the triple top at 2815 – the formidable level that saw the bulls bail-out on as many occasions in Q4 2018 – has proven its might. The discourse might once again shift from here to where the next low could be registered. Asian and Europe market activity was solid: The activity in US markets comes at the end of 24 hours that was rather friendly to Asian and European equities. Volume was low in European trade – a touch of Mondayitis perhaps. But Chinese and Hong Kong traders were voracious: volumes were 216 per cent higher than the 100-day average in China’s equity markets. Traders in Japan and here in Australia were more settled. However, the appetite for risk was still present: the Nikkei was up over 1 per cent on the day; and though the ASX200 failed to hold its break above 6230 resistance, a 0.40 percent gain for Australian stocks amounted to a respectable session for the bulls. Possible trade-war resolution stoked sentiment: As would be well known to anyone in markets, the logic for yesterday’s upside in Asia and Europe was that a true resolution in the US-China trade-war is upon us. The news broke before Australian market-open, and the positivity carried through the day. As alluded to, the ASX200 fed on the sentiment, clocked most its gains in early trade, before admittedly grinding lower throughout the day. Some of the cyclical sectors, along with growth stocks led the intraday leaders in nominal terms. Consumer discretionary, materials and industrials stocks were all up, while the information technology sector, as well as the biotechnology stocks in the healthcare sector, also put-in significant rallies. ASX to follow Wall Street’s lead: Alas, with Wall Street’s bearish day, the ASX200 looks poised to adopt the negative sentiment. According to SPI Futures, the index ought to fall approximately 40 points at this morning’s open. The ASX200 is flashing its own signals that momentum is slowing, brandishing a break in its RSI. But up until yesterday, the bulls were dogged in their conviction to keep the market above the trendline established from the Christmas Eve low. A technical “golden cross”, whereby the index’s 50-day EMA crosses above its 200-day EMA, transpired out of yesterday’s trade – generally considered a good indication of the prevailing bullishness, and therefore further upside, in the market into the medium term. Australian economic to grab attention: Nevertheless, many of the buy signals may well break down this morning, as traders mull the prospect of a general, short-term retracement in global equities. The next level to watch for the AX200 might be previous resistance at 6105. Although this will be a curious narrative to watch unfold, from a local perspective, and maybe just for the next day or two, the news flow might be more preoccupied with matters relating to core-macroeconomic concerns in Australia. Backing on from yesterday’s mixed Building Approvals and historically weak Corporate Profits data, today will see the release of local Current Account figures, before attention turns to the RBA’s monthly meeting this afternoon. The RBA and the range-trading AUD: It’s well known that the RBA will not move interest rates today. Instead, as storm clouds build on the Australian economic horizon, traders will be surveying the bank’s commentary, especially as it relates to their recent adoption of a “neutral” bias. The market presently thinks that the probability of a rate cut from the RBA before the end of the year is around 80 per cent. The concerns centre on the dimming global economic outlook, coupled with the growing pressure falling property prices will have on already strained domestic demand. The Australian Dollar has proven resilient recently and will come in focus today around the RBA release: analyst’s will continue to watch the 0.7050 – 0.7200 range moving forward. Written by Kyle Rodda - IG Australia
  22. Are things not so bad after all? It appears there’s emerged a self-reinforcing belief that economic fundamentals aren’t as bad as once thought. There’s not a simple binary that can be reduce out of this – a clear “risk-off” or “risk-on” signal. It’s clear there remains a general sense that the global economy is entering a soft-patch. But in that, is the key: slower growth is taken as granted, however the extent of such a slowdown is ostensibly being revised. There isn’t quite (just for the moment) the same level of catastrophism filling the news wires in financial markets right now. It raises the question whether the fundamentals have changed at all, or whether its actually market participants’ perception of the fundamentals that’s changed. Improved perceptions towards fundamentals: An answer to that one is very difficult to grasp just looking at the price-action. To rattle-off one of the stalest of undergraduate clichés: perception is reality. In the case of traders, the rosier perception of economic fundamentals has inspired the emergence of a virtuous cycle in financial market bullishness. Very often, a break from fundamentals, and a movement towards some imagined state of affairs, gives birth to a sufficient enough divergence between sentiment and hard-data that a relatively small catalyst can spark a jolting correction in market-pricing. That may well be the situation market participants are operating. A blithe optimism or not, some key markets are approaching now key inflection points. The will to end the trade-war: The big stories that are making this dynamic possible can still be rooted in a dovish US Federal Reserve (and dovish central banks across the world, at that) and a compounding hope that global trade skirmishes are reaching a resolution. Sharing that hope, or maybe trying to fan it, US President Trump is demanding freer trade. Tweeting on the weekend, Trump claimed to have “asked China to immediately remove all Tariffs on our agricultural products… based on the fact that we are moving along nicely with Trade discussions”. Such a statement is to be expected and will be of negligible consequence in the short term. The demand is indicative of where markets see the trade dispute: political will shall drive a breakthrough. The (President) Donald Trump Show: Speaking of the US President, and he captured the attention of markets again over the weekend. In a 2-hour monologue at the CPAC conference, he addressed many of the concerns, controversies and crises enveloping his Presidency. Speaking “off the cuff”, as he phrased it, the spectacle could be considered comical, evening entertaining, if it weren’t for the stark reality that the man is the world’s most powerful person. Of financial market import, President Trump fired-up his belligerence towards the US Fed and Jerome Powell: “we have a gentleman that likes raising interest rates in the Fed, we have a gentleman that loves quantitative tightening in the Fed, we have a gentlemen that likes a very strong dollar in the Fed”. Higher Treasury yields; stronger USD: It will be interesting to see today how markets react to the President's tirade. Unfortunately for him, his crass words will prove of marginal significance in the bigger picture. The US Dollar is finding plenty of advocates, driven by a renewed belief in the strength of the US economy. Chances of a rate cut from the Fed this year have been unwound. Treasury yields climbed markedly on Friday, despite weaker than expected ISM Manufacturing figures, and a PCE inflation reading that revealed price growth continues to amble below target at 1.9 per cent. The higher yield environment and stronger greenback has wiped the shine off gold (and really, most commodities) falling below $1300 per ounce. US markets show risk appetite: The risk is that markets will end up in the position that assets, like equities, will lose their appeal again amidst the higher yield environment. A pertinent and high-impact concern, but seemingly one some way from materialising. Though at a multi-month highs at 2.75 per cent, the 10 Year US Treasury is some way from the 3.26 per cent yield that stifled global markets last year and precipitated the Q4 sell-off. Riskier growth stocks in US tech are seemingly attracting buyers, indicating an underlying bullish moment in the US equity market. Having closed at 2803 on Friday, the S&P500 eyes the 2815 resistance level now as the crucial test for US stock market strength. ASX to follow the US lead: For the first time in several sessions, the ASX200 appears poised to follow the US lead this morning. The last traded price on the SPI Futures contract is indicating an 18 point jump this morning, on top of Friday’s closing price of 6192. The market experienced robust trade on Friday, despite soft (but above forecast) Caixin PMI numbers, and CoreLogic data that showed another monthly fall in domestic property prices. In fact: the latter, and its implications for monetary policy, was apparently seen as supportive of Real Estate stocks, which rallied 2.22 per cent on 95 per cent breadth. As far as milestones go, the ASX200 will eye 6230 resistance, ahead of what is a jam-packed week for Australian markets. Written by Kyle Rodda - IG Australia
  23. Expected index adjustments Please see the expected dividend adjustment figures for a number of our major indices for the week commencing 4 Mar 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 UKX RIO LN 7/03/2019 Special Div 183.55 AS51 QUB AU 6/03/2019 Special Div 1.4286 AS51 RIO AU 7/03/2019 Special Div 483.8571 AS51 S32 AU 7/03/2019 Special Div 2.4286 RTY NHTC US 4/03/2019 Special Div 8 RTY BTU US 11/03/2019 Special Div 185 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. How do dividend adjustments work? 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.
  24. “A tale of two cities”: As far as Australian markets go, they’ll be defined, broadly-speaking, by the unfolding “tale of two cities” story in global markets. That is: the renewed optimism about the US growth outlook, versus the deterioration in global economic prospects, led by the slowdown in China’s economy. The Australian economy is heavily geared to the latter, so the hunch is our fortunes will be more greatly impacted by that variable. But it won’t be clear cut, and that’s where the uncertainty and opportunity may emerge. The last 24 hours of trade presented a series of curious themes for market participants, with the subsequent price action patchy. What transpired did shift the narrative somewhat, setting the foundations for an interesting week next week. Chinese (and global) growth: First, the darker side of (the all too crude) binary: a view on what’s happening in China and the world ex-American economy. The Asian session yesterday was preoccupied first by political theatrics, then macroeconomic information. The Cohen testimony gripped attention, however proved more a distraction as far as traders’ were concerned. The falling apart of the Trump-Kim talks in Hanoi disturbed markets, mostly in North-East Asian markets, such as the KOSPI, before the conclusion was drawn that a grand-peace pact between the US and North Korea was an absurd fantasy to begin with. The true focus was on China’s PMI numbers during our Asian trade – and how, once more, very disappointing they were. Chinese markets’ bullishness: China’s equities betray a market that sees hope in the Chinese economy. Even despite a slight pullback this week, the CSI300 is still up nearly 21 per cent year-to-date. The data market-participants are getting doesn’t yet support this behaviour, though. Yesterday’s official PMI numbers revealed a manufacturing sector still in contraction by that measure, and a services sector that is softening progressively. It’s probably a combination of the PBOC’s extreme stimulus measures, designed to pump liquidity into the Chinese financial system and boost the supply of credit, plus favourable trade-war developments, that is supporting Chinese equity indices. Both are sentiment boosters, sure. But the market, in the long term, will need more than that to sustain this run higher. Are commodities leading the way? To play a bit of ****’s advocate: some (arguably contrarian) punters are suggesting that current market consensus is all wrong. The growth outlook, while not as bright as the end of 2017 and start of 2018, is still reasonably solid. Just look at commodities: copper is leading the way, having broken its recent range to the upside, and now looks poised for a further run. And the gold-silver ratio – a rough but handy barometer of risk-aversion against the growth outlook – is registering an 84 reading. By historical standards, this is high, and may indicate that after all this talk of bear markets, and a synchronized global growth slowdown, the global economy still has some juice left in it yet. US growth: The other, slightly less ambiguous side, of the “tale of two cities” binary is the US growth story. It was on shaky ground in January and Early February, however last night’s US GDP reading went some way to re-ignite hopes the US economy remains on sound footing, for now. The headline figure exceeded expectations considerably, printing at 2.6 per cent versus a forecast 2.2 per cent, on a quarterly basis. Though it hasn’t manifest in equity markets – all too often good macroeconomic news is seen as bad for risk assets because of its implications for interest rates – US Treasury yields lifted markedly, as interest rate traders rapidly unwound their bets on a Fed rate cut this year. The US Dollar: Of course, the higher yield dynamic for US denominated assets has generally lifted the US Dollar. As it pertains to the Australian Dollar, the yield spread between 2-Year US Treasuries and 2-Year ACGBs has expanded to 83 basis points, guiding the AUD/USD below 0.7100 once again. Also, a function of the US Dollar, gold prices have broken a short-term trend, suggesting its overdue pullback has arrived. In the medium to long term, a strong argument can be made that the trend lower in global yields and the voracious buying of gold by some of the world’s biggest central banks will underwrite gold strength. Here and now though, and gold looks poised for a brief and necessary wave lower. ASX200 waiting for a push: Forever one of the many layers of meat in the global economic sandwich, the ASX200 will take the themes twisting markets, and translate them, according to SPI Futures, into a 7-point gain at today’s open. If Wall Street’s lead were to be followed, an indecisive and uninspiring day might be on the cards for the ASX. Following yesterday’s solid CAPEX numbers, domestic growth is less a concern; and market internals suggest that that although this rally is long in the tooth, there’s the technical capacity to run higher. But with reporting season ending now, a macro-catalyst may be required to spark the next run higher for the ASX200: earning’s growth will likely come-in flat YOY, dampening the market’s crucial fundamentals. Written by Kyle Rodda - IG Australia
  25. Around the globe, geopolitics dominates: Political spot fires have captured the attention of market participants. From Washington, to Hanoi, to Kashmir, to Caracas, to London: the ugly machinations of power have dominated the headlines. Only, despite fleeting action, the impact to market activity has seemingly been muted. A facile logic might suggest that it is because of the geopolitical uncertainty in the world that markets have traded so dull overnight. It would be too long a bow to draw, though: tremors can be seen in prices, but a global earthquake can’t be found. Not to diminish the events turning the world in the last 24-hours: they go well beyond the importance of markets. It’s simply just developed markets haven’t responded terribly much to them. In Washington: The most salacious news that had traders’ interest excited last night took place in the halls of US Congress. No, not the testimony of US Fed Chair Jerome Powell – though his words are of far greater import to markets. It was instead the unfolding Michael Cohen testimony, at which the disgraced lawyer has cast a series of accusations and aspersions toward US President Donald Trump, on issues ranging from Russian ties, electoral fraud and hush payments. On the face of what’s been said, the revelations are potentially monumental. However, although demonstrating signs of nervousness in the lead up to the testimony, as it unfolded, financial markets have seemingly shrugged off the possible implications of that event. In Hanoi: Is it a collective dismissal of Cohen’s testimony? It’s too hard call. One assumes that if there was a material chance that US President Trump could fact impeachment, traders would stand to attention. So far: they haven’t, so the roughest conclusion is that such an outcome is still considered unlikely. As the never-ending circus plays-out in Washington, US President Trump is of course half-the-world away in Vietnam, trying to employ his self-styled statesmanship to charm North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un. The end game is denuclearisation in the Korean Peninsula and the end of what is technically a multi-decade war. Again, despite all the pomp and ceremony, markets are behaving as though no breakthrough will happen in that matter this week, either. In Kashmir and in Caracas: Political posturing, and financial markets’ eye rolling, aside, there is a firm gaze on what is happening in both Venezuela, and the Indian-Pakistan border. At risk of conflating two all too complex geopolitical issues, markets are apparently taking note of the escalating tensions in those geographies. The necessary moral caveat: the potential for human suffering in each conflict is the biggest issue by any measure. But for traders, the power-struggle in Caracas is being judged on its impact on oil markets, and the potential it could inflame tensions between the US, Russia and China; while the conflict in Kashmir is being monitored for the potential for an all-out war between two nuclear-armed nations. Back in Washington; and in London: It’s a tinderbox out there, but until it catches alight, markets en masse don’t appear too fussed. The geopolitical concerns pertain primarily to the trade-war and Brexit – the perpetual bugbears. The trade-war narrative overnight centred on a statement by Robert Lighthizer that America is pursuing “significant structural changes” to China’s economy. It’s contestable what impact that statement had on markets. The Brexit narrative did manifest in markets, however: falling into lock step with the UK on the issue, the European Union stated its amenable to extending Brexit if necessary. The Cable leapt to 8-month highs, Gilt Yields rallied across the curve, and a much better than 50/50 chance is being priced in the BOE will hike rates this year. Bonds fall; oil rallies: The market-friendly Brexit news looks as though it shared its benefits across national economies. German Bund yields climbed considerably, as did US Treasury yields. The yield on the US 10 Year note touched 2.70 per cent – something of a relief rally. Global equities were more reticent, with the major European and North American indices trading generally in the red. Important to note: the selling in bond markets could perhaps also reflect fundamentally altered inflation expectations, over and above growth optimism. Oil prices leapt overnight after US inventory data showed a much larger than expected drawdown in reserves, leading to US 5 Year Breakevens hitting 1.87 per cent – a level not registered since the middle of November last year. Australia: While inevitably influenced by Wall Street’s limp-lead, and the political ructions evolving across the planet, SPI Futures are indicating an Australian share market that is marching to its own beat once more. On that contract: the ASX200 ought to open roughly 9 points higher this morning, perhaps due to the jump in oil and a leg-up in iron ore prices. The day’s trade might find itself focused on the macro-outlook for the Australian economy, and the reactions in ACGBs, the AUD and pricing for RBA rate cuts: local Capex figures will be delivered at 11:30AM this morning – and are taking on greater significance after yesterday’s Construction numbers greatly missed economist consensus forecasts. Written by Kyle Rodda - IG Australia
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