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  1. 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
  2. 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
  3. 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
  4. 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.
  5. “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
  6. 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
  7. Wall Street trade: Rolling into Wall Street’s close and the S&P500 is battling it out with the 2800-mark. There’s two hours to go in trade as this is being written, and the crucial last half-hour of trade is what analysts will be breaking down today. It’s been for all intents and purposes a flat day for US stocks, but another bout of selling into the close will add credence to the idea that the buyers are thin at these levels. Market internals don’t appear too stretched for the S&P, and it is being said that there still exists plenty of cash on the sidelines. Weaker volumes and underwhelming intraday breadth suggest the bull’s enthusiasm has waned somewhat for the short-term. US traders search for leads: Momentum has certainly slowed across US equity indices, adding to the sense that the market has lost upside conviction. Neither the MACD nor the RSI are flashing conspicuous sell signals, but the former is conveying a gradual downside turn, while the latter is flirting with oversold territory. A lack of high impact news, or any general surprises, has deprived US equity markets’ of fuel to further power its rally. Rosy trade-war headlines no longer appear enough to embolden bulls and invite buyers into this market. And the Fed’s back-down to market-pressure over monetary policy settings implies that fear about tightening financial conditions has more-or-less been parked to one side for the foreseeable future. Fundamental nuances to be analysed: Market fundamentalists are left to mull the combination of slower global growth and a weaker earnings outlook now. Vague insights regarding these subjects were searched for out of last night’s key risk event: US Fed Chairman Jerome Powell’s testimony before the US Senate Banking Committee. Perusing the headlines and there was very little new information to be gleaned from the event. The word “patient” came-up again as the leitmotif of the address, along with the glib and perfunctory assurances that the Fed will stay “data dependant”. Perhaps most important of all, at least from a trader sentiment point-of-view, Chair Powell reiterated the Fed’s stance on its balance sheet: normalization can be adjusted if necessary. The chattering (asset?) classes: It was probably a function of the general anti-risk sentiment yesterday, Powell’s testimony, and a general sense of listlessness in the market: the topic of the next US recession was doing the rounds. The chatter wasn’t inspired by much. A further flattening of the US yield curve following Powell’s speech could be fingered as being somewhat responsible. Nevertheless, the sense of forebody manifested in intermarket behaviour overnight. Stocks, as has been covered, have thus far stalled their run. US Treasuries have climbed, and the fall in yields has Fed through to a fall in the USD against the other G4 currencies. The Yen was a broad-based climber. Commodities were collectively lower. And corporate credit has stopped its recent rally. A burgeoning story to watch: Just to impress context here: the aforementioned moves weren't that consequential. They were simply a part of the overarching narrative determining the day's trade on Wall Street. A lot of what has so far been experienced in the last 24 hours is a function of markets simply doing what markets do. There are a few evolving stories that could be worth watching, as potentially new risk factors driving market behaviour. An argument is being made that the gains in Chinese stocks is attributable to the change in perspective towards leverage in Chinese financial markets. It's contended: Monday's Chinese stock market rally came not consequent to trade war news, but to news China's policymakers were ending their financial "deleveraging" campaign. ASX200 cools off: As far as the Australian equity market goes, SPI futures are indicating a 27-point jump for the ASX200 this morning. In contrast to its US counterparts, the signals of a potential retracement for the ASX look starker. Yesterday was a soft day for the ASX200, which on high volumes, shed 1.00 per cent for the day. Breadth was weak at 30.5 per cent, and every sector finished lower for the session. Financials naturally stripped the index of the most points, however a noteworthy 3.39 per cent fall in the lowly weighted consumer discretionary sector robbed the market of around 13 points. Momentum is threatening to cross to the downside now, while the RSI is flashing a sell signal here. Latest Brexit update: True to this week’s form, a quick Brexit update is pertinent this morning. To borrow the language of the Brexiteers and other anti-establishment types: the “globalists” are wrestling control of the debate regarding Brexit. Markets are taking kindly to the developments. In a speech overnight, UK Prime Minister May left the door open for a Second Brexit referendum far enough ajar for market participants to price in the prospect of Brexit not going ahead at all. It needn’t bare repeating how quickly the narrative can change when it comes to Brexit. But for now, traders are pricing in their optimism: bets of a BOE rate hike have increased, UK Gilts are up across the curve, and the Sterling has rallied. Written by Kyle Rodda -IG Australia
  8. Trump-Tweet #1: US President Trump announced yesterday what had long been assumed: the trade-truce will be delayed, because of the “very productive talks” going on between his administration and Chinese policymakers. Understandably, the formal recognition that tariffs won’t be hiked to 25 per cent (from their current rate of 10 per cent) on $US200bn of Chinese goods stoked risk sentiment. The overall impact wasn’t quite as deep and broad on one might have hoped, however. The reasoning is logical: progress in trade talks, as alluded to, has long been well known. In fact, for several weeks, in a gradually thinning market recovery, it’s been trade-war headlines that have been providing the sugar hit to sentiment to keep this run going at all. AUD, RBA and ACGBs: The AUD/USD, and Australian assets, constitute many of the favoured proxies for trading trade-war headlines, and the news’ impact on price action has illustrated nicely the mixed opinion in markets relating to the developments. Yields on short-term bonds are a little higher, but interest rate markets haven't shifted much, while the yield on 10 Year ACGBs has actually fallen to 2.08 per cent, showing that traders are reluctant to price in markedly improved global growth conditions just on the basis of the latest trade war story. As the speculative tool of choice amongst traders to play-with trade war headlines, there has been a noteworthy rally in the AUD, over the last 24 hours, towards resistance at 0.7200. ASX200: The ASX benefitted somewhat from positivity stemming from the subsequent climb in commodities prices, along with yesterday’s remarkable ~6 per cent rally in Chinese equities. Breadth across the ASX200 was so-so, with only 56 per cent of stocks clocking gains yesterday. But volume was quite high, especially into the close and during the after-market auction, where most of the day’s gains were achieved. It was the materials sector, naturally, that added most to the index overall: it delivered 8 points to the ASX200. At the outset today, Australian stocks look set to experience a soft start, with SPI Futures indicating a drop of 11 points come the opening bell, mostly due to a pull-back in commodity prices last night. Trump-Tweet #2: That’s not to say the commodity complex has broadly suffered in overnight trade: copper is still higher, with many other industrial metals. It’s been a tumble in oil prices that’s weighed on commodity markets, courtesy – as is typical – of a Trump-Tweet. The US President has a thaw in his side about oil, calling for OPEC, in the face of rising prices, to “relax and take it easy”. Oil was probably getting a touch overbought, so a catalyst to push prices lower need not to have been a big one. What this story shows though, is how seriously traders take the President’s influence on OPEC, especially given the reportedly close ties between the White House and the Saudi royal family. Trump-Tweet #3: If US President Trump hates higher oil prices, then he loves a climbing stock-market with the same vigour. Another Tweet last night: “Since my election as President the Dow Jones is up 43% and the NASDAQ Composite almost 50%. Great news for your 401(k)s as they continue to grow.” It’s hard to argue against the notion that this US President sets policy with the stock-market front of mind. Trump’s enthusiasm hasn’t stoked buying activity in the S&P in the same way that the extension of the trade-war détente has, but it does raise the question of whether, along with the recently exercised Powell-put, a “Trump-put” now exists somewhere against the US stock market, as well. From Trump to Powell: Sometimes it feels this is just US President Trump’s financial-world, and all we are doing is living (and trading) in it. It’ll be welcomed by many, surely: the US Fed’s view on the US economy and financial conditions will progressively shift into focus today. Fed-Chair Powell is due to testify before congress tonight (AEDT), kicking off several days of speeches and testimonies. The S&P has been powered along by the Fed’s recent back down on rates, and market pricing suggests that few believe a hawkish Fed will return in this cycle. As for US stocks, while the recovery is still intact, major resistance is looming at 2815, with diminishing volumes suggesting conviction in the market is slowly waning. Currency markets’ holding pattern: As for the almighty Dollar, it’s off its highs, which isn’t a bad thing for US markets and the US economy. Zooming out to the wider picture, and the US-Dollar is sitting comfortable in the middle of its multi-decade range. There’s a holding pattern going on in currency markets at present, underpinned in large part by a range bound EUR/USD. 10 Year Treasury/Bund spreads aren’t showing much life either, curbing volatility, although the overall trend in markets is bullish government bonds. The shifter in currency land overnight was news that UK Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn will back a 2nd referendum on Brexit, powering the Cable above 1.31, as traders back their bets that Brexit will indeed be delayed.
  9. Expected index adjustments Please see the expected dividend adjustment figures for a number of our major indices for the week commencing 25 Feb 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 NKY 9602 JP 26/02/2019 Special Div 1000 AS51 WES AU 26/02/2019 Special Div 142.8571 AS51 TSL AU 27/02/2019 Special Div 4.2857 AS51 FMG AU 28/02/2019 Special Div 15.7143 RTY NPK US 28/02/2019 Special Div 500 RTY ULS US 1/03/2019 Special Div 11 RTY NHTC US 4/03/2019 Special Div 8 How do dividend adjustments work? As you know, constituent stocks of an index will periodically pay dividends to shareholders. When they do, the overall value of the index is affected, causing it to drop by a certain amount. Each week, we receive the forecast for the number of points any index is due to drop by, and we publish this for you. As dividends are scheduled, public events, it is important to remember that leveraged index traders can neither profit nor lose from such price movements. This information has been prepared by IG, a trading name of IG Markets Limited. In addition to the disclaimer below, the material on this page does not contain a record of our trading prices, or an offer of, or solicitation for, a transaction in any financial instrument. IG accepts no responsibility for any use that may be made of these comments and for any consequences that result. No representation or warranty is given as to the accuracy or completeness of this information. Consequently any person acting on it does so entirely at their own risk. Any research provided does not have regard to the specific investment objectives, financial situation and needs of any specific person who may receive it. It has not been prepared in accordance with legal requirements designed to promote the independence of investment research and as such is considered to be a marketing communication. Although we are not specifically constrained from dealing ahead of our recommendations we do not seek to take advantage of them before they are provided to our clients. See full non-independent research disclaimer and quarterly summary.
  10. Stocks finish week on solid footing: Global equities finished last week on a solid footing. Across Asia, Europe and North America, the major share indices closed both Friday and the week in the green – the only notable exception being the FTSE100, which has dipped (typically) because of a stronger Sterling. The solid run into the week’s close came courtesy of more friendly-trade-war headlines, suggesting that significant progress is being made in US-China trade negotiations. A bit of headline jumping, sure. But these headlines were a little brighter than what has been received of late. In short: a final agreement on currency manipulation has been reached, an extension of the trade war truce is likely, and a trade-deal is more likely happening than not. Risk appetite piqued: This is all according to US President Trump, so the gut says it be taken with a pinch of salt. Equity traders heard enough, however, driving the rally in global stocks. Chinese equities led the gains on both the daily and weekly charts: the CSI300 was up 2.25 per cent on Friday and 5.43 per cent for the week. Growth currencies also rallied into the week’s close. The AUD has climbed back to 0.7129, the NZD is fetching 0.6844, and the CAD (supported by higher oil prices) has broken above 0.7600 once more. Most promisingly of all is price action in commodities. The Bloomberg Commodity Index is at a YTD high, led by a break higher in copper prices. Venezuela and oil: In commodity-land, arguably as it always is, oil is hogging the conversation. News in the last fortnight that the Saudis intend to deepen production cuts has formed the fundamental basis of oil’s rally. The short-term factors though pertain to the humanitarian crisis unfolding in Venezuela. The (possible) impending civil war aside, the prospect of social and economic chaos in Venezuela has lifted the price of WTI to levels not registered since November last year. Furthermore, the spread between the active WTI and Brent Crude contracts is expanding – to levels not seen since September 2018. It gives the sense oil is on the cusp of a true break-out – and putting behind it the collapse it experienced in 2018. Oil’s omnipresence: The importance of oil in the context of fundamental economic strength, along with financial market activity ought not to be understated. One of the key drivers of Wall Street’s major correction in Q4 2018, as well as the US Fed’s adoption of a dovish stance to interest rates, was the collapse of oil prices. Some of the junkiest of US junk-bonds are held by highly leveraged shale-oil firms, meaning the collapse in oil prices last year greatly increased credit-risk in US markets – dragging down equity prices with it. Furthermore, the fall in energy prices dragged diminished inflation expectations, inhibiting the US Fed’s ability to reach its mandated inflation target of 2 per cent subsequently. The financial markets’ contradiction: While it has to be said it isn’t the most important variable in financial market activity more-often-than-not, a constant awareness of oil prices is valuable. The two-top themes that are of greatest concern to market participants is the interplay between Fed policy and the growth outlook. If one digs down here, there is a contradiction presently between both narratives, which opens the possibility for volatility somewhere down the line. The Fed has definitely given the greenlight to be bullish, and chase yield in risk-assets. This is what’s propping-up US stocks. The dilemma is, though, earnings growth is deteriorating along with the global growth outlook – a trend that could strip most-incentives to pile into stocks any further. The rates and earnings balancing act: The fact is the S&P500 has never posted a positive year when annualized earnings growth has contracted. The US reporting season is coming close to being done-and-dusted, and on a quarterly basis, earnings contracted on an annualized basis (in aggregate) across Wall Street equities. Forward earnings estimates still have US stocks experiencing respectable growth in the year ahead, however there has been a recent trend of downgrades in this metric. Expectations are that the Fed will stay steady this year, before cutting interest rates in 2020 or so, which will support stocks. The basis of future gains will be striking the right balance between sustaining positive earnings and experiencing interest rate setting that keep financial conditions supported. The ASX to follow Wall Street: Either variable could turn on a coin, but this is being read as a low probability at the moment. The S&P500 looks quite adamant it wants to challenge 2815, at which that index failed on several occasions to break through late last year. Although more sensitive to the global growth narrative, the ASX200 is taking its lead from Wall Street, and eyes its own milestone of breaking September’s closing price at 6230. Rallying commodity prices will underpin the ASX200’s strength, as will the tumble in bond yields, which are still adjusting to the prospect of rate cuts from the RBA. Just in the day ahead, SPI Futures are indicating an 8-point jump for the index at today’s open.
  11. Wall Street pulls back: On balance, and with Wall Street a few hours from ending its session, it's been a soft 24 hours for equities. The often heard calls of a looming "new-peak" in the market in the shorter term can be heard from some. Momentum has certainly slowed down. The S&P500 has its eyes one 2815 again - that crucial area where that index sold off on three occasions from October to December last year. It could be a slow drive to arrive at a challenge of that level now. The dovish Fed will keep the wind behind US stocks; but the earnings outlook, post reporting season, has dimmed on Wall Street, while positive regarding the trade war has already been heavily juiced. Trade war truce already priced in? Markets are positioned for a relatively positive outcome in the trade-war, and that's manifesting in pockets of market activity. A true resolution in the trade war isn't expected, however an extension to be March 1 trade-truce-deadline seems to be. The overnight fall in US Treasuries, coupled with a topside break of copper's recent range, is a testament to this sentiment. The yield on the US 10 Year note has jumped back towards 2.70 percent, while the 3 month copper contract on the LME leapt another 0.83 per cent overnight. In G4 currencies, the US Dollar is stronger against the Euro and Pound, albeit very, very marginally, but weaker against the Yen. The curious case of gold: Gold prices have dipped slightly courtesy of the stronger Dollar and greater confidence in the policy-outlook for the world's major central banks. The price of the yellow metal is sitting just above $1325 presently, as it continues its short term trend higher. One of the more divisive debates amongst traders currently is the outlook for gold. Like any market, time horizons are crucial to illustrating the trend for an asset's price. For gold, the short term trend is certainly higher, but with signs of "toppy-ness". The medium term trend, though perhaps posting some higher-lows in the price, is sideways at best. The long-term, secular trend though for gold prices is irrefutably pointing higher. The gold debate: There is several aspects of this price dynamic, and elegantly indicates the different types of traders that move a price over certain time horizon. The immediate-term outlook for gold is naturally speculative, and pertains to the swings-and-arrows relating to stories about the trade-war, global growth, and short term rates. The medium term activity in gold certainly tracks the changing yield environment and vacillations in the credit and monetary policy cycle - primarily of the Fed. In the longer-term, where time scales of decades are spoken of, gold prices are angling higher, seemingly as global central banks buy the metal to hedge their US Dollar dependence. Global growth outlook dims further: At the risk of flying off into paradigm after paradigm: a health check on economic data from the past 24 hours is in order. A mixed bag of data pertaining to global economic growth shaped the "global growth narrative" last night. It was a big PMI day in Europe and Asia, and while there weren't as many shockers, the numbers showed a greyer outlook for the global economy. Japanese Manufacturing PMI deeply contracted once more, Australian PMI figures dipped, while European numbers were relatively better, however did little to ameliorate the concern that European growth is sliding. It was a notion backed-up by last night's ECB minutes: policy makers can see what's happening to growth, and now future monetary policy is on notice. Australia's wise-old uncle calls RBA cuts: Centring on the Australian experience, and a headline grabber yesterday was the Australian Dollar's wild ride. Labour market figures popped a rocket under the Aussie in early trade, after it was revealed that the local economy added 39k jobs last month - enough to keep the unemployment rate at 5 per cent despite, despite a climb in the participation rate. It all came undone for the currency quite quickly, however, after Australia's wise-old-uncle on RBA policy, Bill Evans, announced his view that a forecast fall in domestic GDP to 2.2 per cent and a subsequent rise in the unemployment rate to 5.5 per cent would prompt to RBA to cut rates to 1.0 per cent this year. ASX to open soft: To add insult to injury, the AUD/USD was slapped down below 0.7100, after China announced a ban on Australian coal imports. This story aside, which dropped after the ASX200's close, the fall in the currency, and the fall in Australian Commonwealth Government bond yields, proved a positive for the ASX200. It closed 0.7 per cent higher for the session at 6139, and now eyes the next resistance level around 6160. The developments regarding the ban on Australian coal going into China, concerns about Australian fundamentals, and a bit of selling into the close on Wall Street should drag on stocks today. SPI futures indicating a 4 point drop for the ASX200 this morning. Written by Kyle Rodda - IG Australia
  12. News flow light thanks to US holiday: SPI Futures are indicating a flat start for the ASX200 this morning, in a 24-hours starved of meaningful news and data. US markets were closed for the Presidents’ Day holiday, meaning a crucial source of information was absent from the news flow. It was perhaps a positive thing for market-bulls: the vacuum left by US markets allowed for Asian and Europe equity indices to seize the improved sentiment flowing from Wall Street on Friday, following further progress in US-Sino trade negotiations. Commodities continued to climb, to multi-month highs according to the Bloomberg Commodity Index, led by a push higher in oil prices, as well as a renewed rally in gold, which edged to around $US1326 courtesy of a weaker US Dollar. Australian markets in focus: The Asian session will similarly quiet today, before markets return to normal transmission this evening. Arguably, it’ll be a day with attention directed to developments in Australian markets: the key data releases pertain to the RBA and its Monetary Policy Minutes, and ASX heavy-weight BHP, which reports its earnings today. Both the Australian Dollar and ASX200 will enjoy special focus this morning. The Aussie Dollar has pulled back below the 0.7150 handle after rallying beyond that mark on the back of trade-war optimism. The ASX200 will be more interesting for observers: having leapt from the gates yesterday morning to break above 6100 resistance, the index once again failed to prove its bullish mettle, closing trade yesterday at 6089. RBA Minutes headlines Asian trade: As alluded to, the highlight on the domestic calendar today, if not for the whole week, will be today’s release of the RBA’s Monetary Policy Minutes for their February meeting. In line with central bankers across the globe, the RBA has entered 2019 with a newly dovish approach to interest rates. Markets have thus far stood to attention: although leading the RBA (in some sense) in factoring the need for looser monetary policy conditions, the change in rhetoric from the RBA this year has further manifested in market pricing. Since the beginning of February, and certainly in the past week, interest rate markets have definitively shifted to pricing a rate cut as the most likely course for the RBA in 2019, over and above that of a “hike” or hold”. Slower growth: here and abroad: The variables conspiring to bring-about this dynamic are naturally complex, but can be distilled into a single, broad explanation: both the domestic and global economies are entering a period of slower economic growth. Australia’s symbiosis with China and its economy is never lost on market participants; and with the trade-war exacerbating what seems to be a deep, existing cyclical slow-down in China, Australia’s economy is one of the first to exhibit signs of pain. However, issues unique to the domestic economy remain: though showing tentative evidence of settling now, Australia’s falling property market is an issue of ongoing concern, as are issues of uncomfortably high private debt levels, low wages growth and its impact on inflation, and the generally sluggish state of the Australian consumer. The doomsayers argument: There will always be doomsayers in the world, so gloomy forecasts ought to be met with critical objectivity. It’s the way the RBA, however right or wrong they happen to be at any point in time, attempt to approach the world. Their “base-case” is very unlikely to be that the Australian economy is heading for some sort of catastrophic, recessionary set of circumstances. There are many in the punditry however, with cogent arguments as to why recession is a reasonable risk to consider. The position that the onerous burden of high household debt, in the face of tighter financial conditions, low wage growth and a “reverse wealth effect”, will accelerate the housing market’s collapse, and spark some housing-led recession is probably the most headline grabbing and generally evocative of these. All this talk of Australia’s ’08 moment: Such a set of circumstances, it’s envisaged, would be Australia’s dose of the GFC it never received in ’08, when a booming China protected the Australian economy from the many ills of that disaster. There is unconscious obsession – probably brought about by the trauma of the event – to contrast any market event with those of ’08. In 2019 Australia, the parallels intuitively exist: just like the US in ‘08, household debt is high, house prices are falling courtesy of the stifling of a hitherto speculative euphoria in the market, and consumers have fewer means to keep consuming or protect themselves from a period of economic malaise. The prospect of less favourable financial and economic conditions could be what it takes to turn a garden-variety economic slow-down into something more serious. Worst-case not the likely case; but still good to know: Once more: this crudely described series of events is what can be called, in financial market parlance, a “tail risk” – a low probability but very high impact event. It’s not what the RBA would be considering as their “base-case” for what lays ahead for the Australian economy in 2019; especially so, the doomsayers opinion won’t slip its way into today’s RBA minutes. Arguably, even it came close to becoming that way, at any stage, the PR-machine that is the RBA are unlikely to ever reveal, completely, a true pessimism about Australia’s economic health. Knowing the worst-case scenario market-participants is handy, though, if it can be done so objectively: it provides an intellectual tool to examine how close we are to coming to falling off the precipice we fear. Written by Kyle Rodda - IG Australia
  13. President’s Day: It’s Trump’s market – and we are all just trading in it. It’s perhaps for some – especially market-purists – the uncomfortable reality that, as far as short-term movements and sentiment goes, US President Trump and his policy making is the greatest determinant of the current macro-economic outlook. It cuts in both directions, and certainly the US President is just as prone to deflating the market as he is to inflate it. But almost by his own admission, Trump’s modus operandi is to implement policy and spout rhetoric that feeds the US equity market. For market bulls, there is the argument that this is a welcomed dynamic: we’ve seen the exercise of the Powell-put, and perhaps now traders are witnessing the execution of something resembling a Trump-put. Where does Trump want the market? The risk is that President Trump’s temperament and agenda can be difficult to gauge. He giveth to the market, and he taketh, depending on his personal, political priorities. For stages of his Presidency, Trump needn’t pay close attention to the US share market: he inherited improving economic conditions, then fuelled it with massive tax cuts, and stood back to observe the records falling in US stock indices. His hawkishness on international trade and bellicosity towards domestic political wrangling brought much of it undone, as the US President turned a cyclical slowdown in China into a possible trigger for recession in Asia and Europe. The global growth outlook is as downbeat as it has been in several years, and this has manifested in market-pricing. Global growth and the trade war: Now of course, President Trump’s policy making isn’t the major – let alone only – dictating market activity and financial market strength. In terms of macroeconomics, the actions of the Fed have proven to be market participant’s primary concern. What makes the US President’s actions relevant to the here-and-now – at the critical juncture that markets are situated within presently – is with the US Federal Reserve succumbing to market pressure and flagging steady interest rates for the foreseeable future, trader attention is fixed on the global growth story. And it would seem that considering this, the primary driver of the global growth outlook is the US-China trade war: the outcome of which will be mostly determined by the stance US President Trump chooses to adopt towards the conflict. Markets still jumping at headlines: The gap between the “knowns” regarding current economic conditions and the trade-war, and the “unknowns” regarding how the US President intends to approach these matters, is creating the vacuum of uncertainty that market participants are yearning to fill. As such, headlines are being jumped-at whenever news suggests there’s been a major development in negotiations between the US and China. Traders are less sensitive than they were to stories of trade-war progress, with every headline apparently yielding a diminished return. Nevertheless, if a significant enough story flashes across trader terminals, it apparently still warrants the release of risk-on sentiment. This phenomenon proved true again on Friday, as news that the US and China has agreed in principle on the main topics of trade negotiations moving forward. Risk appetite piqued as fear falls: The prevailing view is that, at the very least, an extension of the March 1 trade-negotiation deadline will be implemented. Although arguably amounting to little more than a prolonging of tension and uncertainty, market activity is suggesting market participants are welcoming the modest change in circumstances. Despite looking long in the tooth, the US equity market rally continues, dragging stocks in Europe and Asia largely with it. Bond markets have been steady, however “growth” currencies like the AUD, NZD and CAD have received a boost, at the expense of the US Dollar and Yen. Commodities have generally rallied, while the VIX and High-Yield credit spreads have fallen to levels not seen since shortly after US Federal Reserve Chairperson Jerome Powell’s infamous “a long way from neutral” statement in early-October. Where else but America: The general curiosity from here will be how long this broad-based confidence in the market can last. Even in the event that the best outcome can be achieved from US-China trade talks, it is contentious whether it will be enough to turn the tide for the global economy. China is slowing rapidly, and Europe is tiptoeing toward recession, with fewer policy levers to pull in the event economic activity deteriorates. The US economy for now is the beacon of the global economy, and ultimately one must assume that whether it be US stocks, US Treasuries, or the US Dollar, investors will remain attracted to “Made in America”. No economy in a globalized world can resist an international economic slowdown; until then though, market participants may well preference America first. Australian markets to follow US today: Australian stocks are on balance benefitting from the American-led recovery in financial markets. The ASX200, unlike its US counterparts, was unable to register a weekly gain last week. But according to the last traded price on SPI Futures, the AS200 ought to add 53 points this morning. The week for Australian markets should be interesting if nothing else: reporting season is underway, and the likes of BHP, Woolworths and Wesfarmers are reporting. The RBA release their policy minutes on Tuesday from their last meeting – an event that ought to be closely watched as rates traders gradually price in that the likeliest course of action for the RBA this year will be to cut interest rates, rather than to hike them or even keep them on hold. Written by Kyle Rodda - IG Australia
  14. Expected index adjustments Please see the expected dividend adjustment figures for a number of our major indices for the week commencing 18 Feb 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 NKY 9602 JP 26/02/2019 Special Div 1000 AEX AKZA NA 20/02/2019 Special Div 450 MEXBOL WALMEX*MM 25/02/2019 Special Div 14 RTY PJC US 22/02/2019 Special Div 101 How do dividend adjustments work? As you know, constituent stocks of an index will periodically pay dividends to shareholders. When they do, the overall value of the index is affected, causing it to drop by a certain amount. Each week, we receive the forecast for the number of points any index is due to drop by, and we publish this for you. As dividends are scheduled, public events, it is important to remember that leveraged index traders can neither profit nor lose from such price movements. This information has been prepared by IG, a trading name of IG Markets Limited. In addition to the disclaimer below, the material on this page does not contain a record of our trading prices, or an offer of, or solicitation for, a transaction in any financial instrument. IG accepts no responsibility for any use that may be made of these comments and for any consequences that result. No representation or warranty is given as to the accuracy or completeness of this information. Consequently any person acting on it does so entirely at their own risk. Any research provided does not have regard to the specific investment objectives, financial situation and needs of any specific person who may receive it. It has not been prepared in accordance with legal requirements designed to promote the independence of investment research and as such is considered to be a marketing communication. Although we are not specifically constrained from dealing ahead of our recommendations we do not seek to take advantage of them before they are provided to our clients. See full non-independent research disclaimer and quarterly summary.
  15. A little bit of everything: It certainly wasn’t the highest-impact day market participants have experienced so far this year, but there was a spoonful of everything, thematically speaking that is, driving the macro-economic outlook for markets in 2019. To keep it high level, there was a series of significant growth-related data released out of all three of the world’s major economic geographies – China, Europe and China – plus a healthy smattering of geopolitics and corporate news to keep traders interested. Only, if you look at the price action, one might say that it didn’t amount to terribly much. Global equities are taking the middle road, posting a mixed day, as Wall Street creeps towards its close at time of writing; though some shifting in currency, rates, bonds and commodities markets has occurred. Markets immune to trade-war headlines: Fresh trade war headlines are at the top of the list of headline risks, however in contrast to what’s been seen in the past, the reactions have been muted. Arguably, and barring any news that hints at a true resolution in the trade war, stories that the US and China are getting along just fine are becoming (relatively) ineffectual. Yesterday saw the news that the Trump administration is considering pushing the White House imposed March 1 deadline for trade negotiations back another 60 days. The developments saw the standard risk assets shift – Australian Dollar-up, Asian stocks-up, US futures-up, commodities-up – but compared to the massive relief rallies seen in the past, the price action indicated a market that’s wanting more than just piecemeal developments in trade-negotiations. US Retail Sales a shocker: Hence markets moved past that news, as the tradeable appeal of trade-war headlines fades. The meaningful event market participants had marked into their calendar for last night proved of greater import in the end: US Retail Sales numbers for December were released and showed an abysmal set of numbers. In fact, they were so bad that the experts and the punditry have effectively written them off as a passing anomaly – one that can’t quite be explained properly. The figures themselves revealed US Retail Sales contract by a huge -1.8% in December, well below the “flat” figure estimated by economists. Though consensus is saying the data was too-bad-to-be-true, traders have adjusted their positions: bets of a Fed rate hike have been unwound back to effectively a 0% chance in 2019. US Dollar falls; Treasuries suggest slowdown: Naturally, the US Dollar has dipped, registering daily falls against most major currencies. US Treasuries have rallied too, which has probably very marginally benefitted stocks, with the yield on the 10 Year Treasury note falling 4 basis points to 2.65 per cent. As the Chinese and European economies slow, the US economy is acting as the fulcrum of global growth at present. Data points like US Retail Sales begs the question of how long this dynamic may last. A little while yet seems to be the popular answer. A look at what the US yield curve is doing is illustrative in this regard: the yield on 3- and 5-year Treasuries are below that of the 2-year, portending recession-risk in the medium term. No recession, but outlook still dim for Europe: The Euro was bolstered by its own set of economic data overnight. GDP figures were released for the Euro-bloc and the German economy, and while bad, they weren't as bad as forecast. The Eurozone's GDP came-in on forecast at 0.2 per cent, and while the German figures missed estimates and showed a stagnant economy last quarter, traders took comfort from the notion that at least the data hadn’t set Germany up for a possibly technical recession. Despite this, and the fact the Euro is edging back towards 1.13 again, there is a growing sense of inevitability about a European recession at some point this year or next. These things can’t be predicted of course, and perhaps a turnaround will occur, however the balance of probabilities looks to support the notion a recession is looming. Pound falls as Brexit reality hits: Continued Brexit uncertainty won't help Europe's economy, and markets were delivered a fresh dose of that too overnight. UK Prime Minister Theresa May lost another key vote in the House of Commons, placing in peril any chance of a Brexit deal, or at least a bill delaying Brexit, being passed. The Pound has returned to its (disputably) proper place, plunging back again into the 1.27 handle last night, and Gilts have climbed on the basis that a hard-Brexit will do no favours for the Bank of England and its bid to "normalise" it's interest rate settings. As always, the Brexit developments are being considered a problem unique to the European region, with little ramifications for broader markets. If Brexit accelerates Europe's into recession though, then this view ought to change. ASX showing signs of a pullback: SPI Futures are indicating a 2-point dip for the ASX200 at time of writing. The ASX200 is exhibiting signs of exhaustion now, as the market fails to push the index near enough or beyond the 6100 level. The conditions remain in place for future upside beyond that mark, but for now, market participants seem happy to either take profits, fade rallies, or just sit things out. The banks have unwound their gains following the post-Banking Royal Commission rally, and though it is showing signs of fundamental strength, a steadying in the iron ore price has mining stocks climbing, but at a careful tick. Hypothetically: if a pull-back does occur, 6000 will be a level of psychological significance, before true support around 5940 is exposed. Written by Kyle Rodda - IG Australia
  16. ASX missed the party yesterday: The ASX bucked the trend yesterday, at least across the Asian region, closing 0.26 per cent lower at 6063. Ostensibly, Australian shares missed-out on the party: global equities were noticeably higher across the board, with the other major regional indices in China, Japan and Hong Kong adding well in excess of 1 per cent for the day. Though a step-back for the Bulls, it's no cause for alarm: the price action speaks of a few idiosyncratic quirks on the ASX200 yesterday. The index was weighed down by a few heavy-hitters: CBA went ex-dividend and its share price fell 2.89 per cent; and despite reporting some solid results, over-zealous investors dumped CSL following the release of that company's earnings, to push its share price down 3.92 per cent. CBA and CSL weighed on the ASX200: In an index like the ASX200, which is quite top heavy, when 2 of your top 5 weightiest stocks underperform markedly, registering a day in the green is always going to be a challenge. Other measures of how the market performed for the day present more favourably for the Australian share market. Breadth was respectable at about 60 per cent, for one. There was another failure by the ASX200 to break resistance at 6100, which might add to the view the market has gassed-out in the short term and is due for a pullback. Conditions for medium term upside remain in place nevertheless, especially if the prevailing macro-themes in the market, ranging from central bank policy to the trade-war, continue to fall the way of the Bulls. Risk appetite elevated on positive news: SPI futures are indicating a modest lift in the ASX200 this morning, of around about 6 points. Wall Street, at least as this is being written, is registering another day of gains, albeit on some pretty low octane trade. The week in global equities has been defined by more positive trade-war headlines, which has raised the prospect of a continued freeze in trade tensions. It's difficult to imagine that the trade-war will go away any time soon, but markets probably have accounted for that in prices. Global growth will stay the underlying bugbear, so long as central bankers don't rattle the cage with rate-hike talk again. However, a weaker global economy is something traders seem willing to stomach for as long as recession risk remains low in the short term. Upside exists as long as recession risk is low: That's likely where the current equity market-run would stop in its tracks: if a recession finally hits one of the major economic regions. In the absence of this though, history suggests that, although the returns would be meagre compared to what was experienced during the "synchronised global growth" upswing in 2017/18, gains in stocks in an environment of slackened global growth are still possible (if not the recent norm) if loose monetary policy is maintained. It’s looking as though a familiar dynamic is taking hold: a fundamental search for yield, in an environment that supports risk taking, is seeing capital move out of safer assets in fixed income and cash markets, and into higher yield equity markets – boding well for global equity indices in the short-to-medium term. Its Fed before fundamentals but that could change: Market participants have proven their concern is first with the Fed and financial conditions, followed by fundamental concerns like earnings, global growth and concomitant factors like the trade-war and geopolitical ructions. Again, that balance would shift in the event recession risk becomes too heightened. While not an immediate problem now, such a risk ought not to be waived away. Economic data is treading a fine line, especially in Europe, and would indicate the world economy is on some sort of slippery slope. China is in the same boat, but unfortunately the opacity of their financial system and economy make it difficult to garner a credible view on the Middle Kingdom. The US stands out as a beacon in the global economy presently and is willed by the Bulls to maintain its currently solid growth outlook. Inflation risk looking low: One risk that doesn't appear too bothersome for traders -- in fact, it may be a welcomed dynamic -- is that inflation in developed markets is apparently flatlining once again. It was a theme of last night's trade: market’s received inflation data out of the U.K. and US economies, prefacing the release of Chinese CPI data today. On balance, CPI missed expectations in both the US and UK overnight, presumably to the relief of central bankers, who in the face of market volatility and growth concerns, would loathe being pushed into hiking rates because of an inflation-outbreak. In response to the news, traders maintained their position that global rates will stay low this year, as the global economy wrangles with its current funk. European bond curves flattening; greenback stands to benefit: Bond curves have flattened in the European region, consequently. Bizarrely, and this does not bode well for the Euro and Pound potentially, markets are still pricing in some-chance of a rate hike still from the Bank of England or European Central Bank this year. Far be it to argue with the will and wisdom of the market but given Brexit tensions and clear signs of cracks in the continent’s economy, the notion rates can move higher in this dynamic is fanciful. The US Dollar will be a barometer for European (and probably global) growth risks, as well as the rate outlook for the BOE and ECB. Although the greenback is still range-bound here-and-now, a desire for safety and higher yield should attract investors to Treasuries, and subsequently bolster the USD going forward. Written by Kyle Rodda - IG Australia
  17. New headlines to chase: The discourse in markets shifted early this week to where the next upside catalyst would come from. It needn't be substantial; just enough to fuel sentiment and attract buyers back into the market. In the last 24 hours, market participants received what they'd be yearning for: the combination of an in-principle deal in US Congress for border-security funding, along with the announcement that the US-China trade-truce deadline could be extended, has stoked bullish sentiment. These stories are more headlines than substance, however one thing traders ought to have heard ad nauseum recently is that, indeed, this is a headline driven market. So: for the last 12-18 hours in the financial world, markets have shown all the trappings of a renewed risk-on impulse. Short-term bullishness depends on Trump: It can be for some an uncomfortable thought: the key variable for both the US government funding and trade-was issues is the mercurial US President Donald Trump. The US President, it must be said, has outwardly advocated for a resolution to each concern. The worry for markets may be though whether Trump maintains his balanced temperament on the matters, and that there isn't an ulterior motive held by the President on either issue that could subvert the market's positivity. There isn't a clear timeline, other than those which have been imposed upon the President, to arrive at a decision regarding border funding or the trade-truce extension. Traders are taking bullish positions, but while doing so must surely be in a heightened state of vigilance, at least until firm validation for the rally arrives. Global growth concerns deferred: The activity at the margins driving price activity in financial markets overnight speaks of slightly diminished fears relating to the global growth slow down. It has to be said that the weakening growth outlook for the world economy is still hurtling like a freight train towards markets; the news last night simply increased hopes that perhaps there may be some tapping of the brakes when it comes to this phenomenon. Growth sensitive currencies were the major beneficiaries of last night's trade-headlines: the Australian Dollar, for one, is edging back to the 0.7100 handle. The US Dollar took a breather from its recent rally, as global bond yields climbed, and credit spreads narrowed – for the first time in several sessions. The confluence factors naturally gave a boost to stocks. Fear is falling, thanks to a friendlier Fed: Considering the balance of evidence, and the irrational, momentum chasing that pushed Wall Street to all-time highs in September 2018 may not be present right now. Fear is diminishing too: the VIX has fallen into the low 15s as of last night – a level also not seen since September 2018. If one were to infer a crude message from current market behaviour, it might be that maybe the Fed-engineered panic in Q4 2018 has been full remedied now. Of course, it was ultimately the Fed which fed to markets the medicine they were craving – the prospect of higher global rates and tighter financial conditions has evaporated. The strength in fundamentals is indeed waning, but appropriate conditions are in place for traders to take greater risks. US stocks recovery possesses substance: Wall Street is registering its best performance in several days on the back of the risk-on dynamic, though it's worth remarking volume has been below average and doesn't do much to validate the market's strength, just on an intraday basis. Market breadth conversely is portraying a broad willingness to jump into equities, with over 80 per cent of stocks higher for the S&P500 on the session -- at time of writing -- led by cyclical sectors and the high multiple tech stocks. What has been encouraging recently about US equities' recovery in 2019 is the substance behind it: the Russell 2000 (a deeper index made up of relatively smaller-cap stocks) is outperforming, and the SMART Money index suggests a market supported by buying from large institutional investors. ASX to be guided by global growth: As a trickle-down effect, the circumstances are favourable for Australian equities too, especially as our central bank joins the chorus of policymakers backing away from rate-hikes. Given the power of the RBA pales in comparison to that of the Fed, supportive monetary policy is eclipsed by the global growth outlook as the major determinant of the ASX’s direction. It does help in a meaningful way that market participants are receiving soothing words from central bankers, especially as our economy shows signs of slowing, as evidenced by yesterday’ weak home loan figures. The proof of what market participants see as the main risk to the Australian economy is in the price action, however: since the “Trump-trade-war-truce” news overnight, implied probability of an RBA rate cut in 2019 is once again back below 50%. ASX200 demonstrates will to power-on: The overnight lead has SPI futures pricing in a 27-point jump at the open for the ASX200. If realized, the index ought to challenge and likely break in early trade the resistance level at around 6100/05. From here, on a technical basis, the market meets a cluster of resistance, established during the period in September 2018 when the ASX traded range bound for the better part of a month. It’s been repeated frequently by the punditry that the market is overbought at these levels. Technically that appears true. But momentum is still in favour of the bulls, so for those with further upside in their sights, perhaps a break and close above 6100 this week could be the signal for some short-term consolidation, before the ASX200 builds strength for its next move higher. Written by Kyle Rodda - IG Australia
  18. A thus far settled start to the week: It was a day of low activity and mixed results, generally across global markets in the last 24-hours. Equities were patchy in their performance, on much lower than average volumes, while a retracing in bonds revealed stable risk-sentiment. It hasn't been so for some time, but yesterday market participants behaved in a classic "Monday" way. There was a lack of a unifying theme to drive market activity in a macro-sense, leaving traders to trade-off the idiosyncratic stories moving prices region-by-region. Granted, the trade-war negotiations currently going-on in Beijing were of top priority, however the interest in that event extended only as far as speculation by the commentariat. For traders, fresh leads are being awaited, to add some semblance of volatility to the market. Traders awaiting tradeable leads: The data docket is stacked to the end of the week, so perhaps it'll be another couple of days of listless trade before global markets really start to reshuffle the deck. Of course, a surprise could ignite some excitement; but naturally that's inherently unpredictable and difficult to position for. Chinese markets returned to the fray yesterday, adding that lost liquidity from markets. Japan was offline instead, creating some choppy trade in the CHF in very early trade. The reintroduction of Chinese markets may well have soothed the bull's concerns temporarily. After a week away, during which plenty of market moving events occurred, Chinese traders felt it fitting to ignore the noise, and jumped back into stocks, to deliver a 1.82 per cent gain for the CSI300 yesterday. Iron ore prices rocketing higher: Iron ore prices demonstrated best the impact of the return of Chinese demand to markets. Having continued to climb despite the absence of Chinese traders, and in light of further concerns about future production and supply into commodity markets after the tragic Vale dam collapse, iron ore burst out of the gates upon the reopening of the Dalian Commodity exchange. So much so, that on the first tick, the active iron ore contract reached its limit-up level, and effectively froze trade in the market. The price in iron ore is looking aggressively overbought in the short-and-medium term and is likely to attract short-sellers; however, there’s no knowing how long worries about iron supply into markets will linger, meaning countering this trend is not for the faint hearted. ASX200 held together by strength in materials sector: Australian markets are, as one can easily imagine, benefiting from iron ore’s parabolic rise. Despite an overall lacklustre day in domestic equities, during which breadth was quite balanced and volume was below average, a 16-point gain from the materials sector proved enough to staunch much of the ASX200’s losses. On the back of this, today SPI Futures are indicating a 14-point jump at the open for the index, probably once more courtesy of, in a big way, further falls in Australian Commonwealth Bond yields, and the depreciating Australian Dollar. Price action in the short-to-medium term is showing an ASX200 somewhat in no man’s land: at 6060, and with slowing momentum, the market eyes support at 5950, as it pulls gradually away from 6100/05 resistance. Markets keep pricing in weaker Australian growth: The Australian economic growth outlook is still looking clouded. Markets have been leading policy makers on this fact, and after the RBA’s admission last week their growth forecasts aren’t as strong as they once were, traders have taken another leap ahead to price-in weaker growth and inflation, and lower rates for the Australian economy in 2019. The pivotal event to watch will be GDP figures when they are released to gauge the merit of this view; but unfortunately, market participants will need to wait for the start of March to receive that information. The day ahead does contain NAB Business Confidence figures however, which may prove illustrative in a small way how the supply side of the economy views the domestic economy now and into the near future. Greenback rallies on weaker European growth outlook: In reference to currency markets, the US Dollar sustained its rally overnight, as the combination of a desire for safe-haven assets and higher yields push-up the greenback. The conspicuous loser out of this dynamic has been the EUR/USD, which has broken below the 1.13 handle once again overnight. Although they climbed yesterday, the trend lower in European bonds yields looks to be manifesting in the shared currency, as traders price in the prospect of a major European slowdown. The flight to the greenback weighed heavily on commodity currencies, too. The Australian Dollar registered an overnight low of 0.7057, pressured by widening yield differentials, with the spread between the very interest rate sensitive 2 Year ACGBs and USTs widening to 82 basis points. The UK experiences its own growth concerns: Still in currency land, and the Pound was one of the worst performing G10 currencies overnight, following the release of a slew of weak economic data during European trade. Most conspicuous was the fall in headline month-on-month GDP, which printed at -0.4 per, driving a miss in the more-impactful quarterly figure of 0.2 per cent – a skerrick below the 0.3 per cent that economists had estimated. Remarkably, even in light of the data-dump, which clearly illustrated the sluggishness of the UK economy, interest rate markets scarcely moved. A likely reflection of (an arguably Panglossian outlook for) Brexit expectations, interest rate traders are still maintaining an implied probability of 33 per cent that the Bank of England will hike interest rates before year end. Written by Kyle Rodda - IG Australia
  19. Not with a bang, but with a whimper? Without all the fire and fury that we saw in December, markets are pricing in once again a slow down in global economic growth. It could be strongly argued this is evidence of how important US Fed support is to equity market strength – but that’s a drum to beaten (over-and-over-again) for another day. Fundamentally, traders are quietly re-pricing for a world where economic growth will be weaker than once thought. Such behaviour has been long evident in Chinese markets, so there’s nothing new about pessimism in the Asian region. The point of focus now is in Europe, and to a lesser extent North America, which is increasingly demonstrating signs that market participants believe those economies are briskly approaching a period of (even) lower rates, growth and inflation. The many facets of the global growth story: There’s no shortage of causes for this looming slowdown – and in the financial media, each one is getting a good exercising. The trade-war remains the popular one, which is providing a convenient explanation for the confluence of confusing and complex causes for China’s recent economic malaise. This thread gets pulled-on to describe why Europe is feeling the pinch too, being the geography wedged in the middle of the trade-war’s heavyweight combatants. Throw in a sprinkling of Brexit anxiety and internal political unrest in the continent and that’s the story driving Europe’s economic outlook. The US economy is still humming, and the data coming out of the states is still showing a robust economy. Nevertheless, price action says that’s being somewhat ignored, with yields betraying an underling anxiety about economic health. What the bond market is saying: Essentially, it’s all written in yields at present. A few unwanted milestones were achieved in bond markets on the weekend. The most significant was in German Bunds, which saw the yield on its 10-year fall to 0.08 per cent – its lowest point since 2016 – even though rates markets leaving unchanged the implied probabilities for ECB decision making in 2019. 10 Year Japanese Government Bonds are back below 0 per cent, as markets stay resigned to the fact that the Japanese economy will see no signs of inflation for the foreseeable future. And despite there being an absence of data impetus to cause this – other than a general “risk-off” tone for Friday’s trade – US Treasuries climbed as traders priced in the increased chance the Fed will cut rates this year. The RBA adds its 2 cents worth: The market’s central premise that interest rates will need to fall the world-over manifested just as clearly in domestic trade on Friday. The RBA’s Statement of Monetary Policy, released on Friday morning, delivered to markets the material to price in further downside risks for local rates. Following the central bank’s meeting on Tuesday last week, and RBA Governor Philip Lowe’s influential speech on the Wednesday, it’s perhaps a surprise that anymore dovishness from the RBA could be priced into the forward curve. Lo-and-behold, there was, with the immediate reaction from markets towards the RBA’s SOMP to increase rate-cut bets in 2019 to over 60 per cent, bid higher Australian Commonwealth Government Bonds, and to sell-out of the Australian Dollar – pushing the local unit below the 0.7100 handle, subsequently. The RBA’s take on economic growth: It was another softening of the RBA’s economic growth outlook that spurred the flurry of activity. The SOMP was far from a manifesto of doom-and-gloom. However, what markets have for a while been predicting came clearly in the RBA’s opening lines of the document: “GDP growth slowed unexpectedly in the September quarter… The Bank’s growth forecasts have been revised down in light of recent data, particularly for consumption. GDP growth is expected to be around 3 per cent over this year and 2¾ per cent over 2020.” There was plenty of good news contained within the SOMP, it must be stated, especially as it relates to the outlook for the labour market. Sentiment clung to the growth outlook nevertheless, as traders assessed how a global economic slowdown will manifest down-under. The ASX followed global equities lower: The fall in yields on ACGBs and the Australian Dollar proved once again supportive of the ASX200, but the effect was fleeting. It was a bearish day for the ASX on Friday, no matter which way you spin-it. It was simply one of those days for risk assets, as the bulls took themselves to the sidelines for a breather, at the end of a week which was -balance very good for stocks in Australia. Equity market strength throughout last week was perhaps lacking in other parts of the world: Wall Street finished its week higher by a very slim margin, equity markets in continental Europe shed over 1 per cent across the board, the Nikkei dropped over -2.00 per cent, while a weaker Pound kept the FTSE in the green. Price action for the ASX200: The last traded price in SPI Futures is pointing to a 4-point drop at the open for the ASX200 this morning. The market demonstrated some signs of short-term exhaustion on Friday, after its face-ripping rally earlier in the week, as higher than average volumes propelled the index higher. Resistance at ASX200’s September low at around 6100/05 was dutifully respected as the week’s high. The daily-RSI is still in overbought territory, though not flashing a sell-signal nor a major change in momentum yet. The week’s break of the 200-day EMA is seeing that moving average slowly turn higher, which bodes well for the bulls. In the immediate future: the long-awaited pullback could be upon us here, with the November high at 5950 the next logical support level to watch. Written by Kyle Rodda - IG Australia
  20. Expected index adjustments Please see the expected dividend adjustment figures for a number of our major indices for the week commencing 11 Feb 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 RTY APAM US 13/02/2019 Special Div 103 RTY PRK US 14/02/2019 Special Div 20 RTY PFS US 14/02/2019 Special Div 20 RTY PZN US 14/02/2019 Special Div 46 RTY TLYS US 14/02/2019 Special Div 100 RTY MC US 15/02/2019 Special Div 125 How do dividend adjustments work? As you know, constituent stocks of an index will periodically pay dividends to shareholders. When they do, the overall value of the index is affected, causing it to drop by a certain amount. Each week, we receive the forecast for the number of points any index is due to drop by, and we publish this for you. As dividends are scheduled, public events, it is important to remember that leveraged index traders can neither profit nor lose from such price movements. This information has been prepared by IG, a trading name of IG Markets Limited. In addition to the disclaimer below, the material on this page does not contain a record of our trading prices, or an offer of, or solicitation for, a transaction in any financial instrument. IG accepts no responsibility for any use that may be made of these comments and for any consequences that result. No representation or warranty is given as to the accuracy or completeness of this information. Consequently any person acting on it does so entirely at their own risk. Any research provided does not have regard to the specific investment objectives, financial situation and needs of any specific person who may receive it. It has not been prepared in accordance with legal requirements designed to promote the independence of investment research and as such is considered to be a marketing communication. Although we are not specifically constrained from dealing ahead of our recommendations we do not seek to take advantage of them before they are provided to our clients. See full non-independent research disclaimer and quarterly summary.
  21. ASX overbought; but clear-air ahead: The ASX200 ought to add another 22 points this morning, according to SPI futures. There is a lot of enthusiasm about Aussie stocks presently – something surely attractive for the contrarians who like to run counter to prevailing market sentiment. It’s been said so much that it’s become facile: a pull-back must come soon to test the strength of the market’s recovery. Of course, it is a matter of when this eventuates – timing is always the toughest thing to predict in financial markets. The ASX200 has become technically overbought on the daily-RSI; however, by that measure, momentum is still intact and pointing to an uptrend. Clear air exists for the market now too, with the next resistance level sitting slightly above 6100. ASX has the wind to its back: It’s often said that compared to other major indices, the ASX200 is a trifle boring to trade. It’s a simple formula, well known to most: get a view on the banks, and get a view on the miners, and you’re almost the whole way to knowing where the index will go. The bulls were thrown a bone on both fronts this week. The soft-touch (“pragmatic” is the word being used) recommendations contained within the Hayne Report has set a fire under bank stocks; and the parabolic rally in iron ore prices has the big-miners looking like an attractive long-proposition. It must be stated the market’s rally is broad-based, with volume and breadth in the market solid. But that had already been so, so-far in 2019: it meant little without the bank-bulls charging. Banks rally, but fundamentals questionable: The rally in the banks this week is arguably in large part a “catch-up” rally – the financials sector had been the only sector in the red for 2019. Bank stocks weren’t being touched, despite the bullish macro-drivers in global equity markets. But with this week’s rally, financials are up 4.50 per cent, against an overall index return of 6.7 per cent; perhaps the banks have rebalanced now with where the ‘big-picture” suggests they ought to be. The next question is however, what upside exists for the banks based on their fundamentals? This will take time to flesh-out, as each of the Big-4 progressively update the markets on their performance – and especially as the political cycle turns the findings of the Hayne Royal Commission into an election issue. CBA the first to show cards: Markets did receive their first insight into the financial state of the nation’s banks; and fittingly it was the CBA yesterday morning that provided their half-year results. The figures released spoke of a bank de-risking in the face of regulatory pressure, being stifled by higher global funding costs, and struggling with the Australian property market’s downturn. The ratio of Tier-1 capital the bank is holding climbed to 10.8 per cent, and its net-interest-margin shrunk by 4 basis points. Not a disastrous result by any means, however given that credit growth in Australia is still slowing, and the domestic property market seemingly has further to fall, suggesting a turn in the multi-year downtrend in the CBA’s share price will reverse because of diminished of regulatory-risk seems fanciful. The RBA becomes “balanced”: The concerns confronting the banks and the Australian economy (as a whole) were addressed in a speech delivered by RBA Governor Philip Lowe yesterday. His view on the economy was decidedly more “balanced” – as the Governor himself explicitly described – than what it had been at any stage in 2018. It was a refreshing take, however one that got market participants moving. What’s been inferred from the speech, is that given the slowdown in the global economy, weakening domestic demand, and issues in consumer credit and the property market, the chances for a rate hike are now even with that of a rate-cut. Gone is the rhetoric that “the next move in interest rates is likely to be higher”: the RBA, for all its optimism, is on standby with policy support if economic conditions deteriorate. Australian bonds and the AUD: As one can imagine, the Australian Dollar hated the change in the RBA’s outlook. It was the worst performer of all G10 currencies yesterday, diving to an overnight low of 0.7110 against the greenback. The probability of an interest rate cut at some point in 2019 has spiked, to effectively a 60 per cent implied probability. Australian Commonwealth Government Bond yields tanked consequently, with the 2 Year ACGB tumbling 10 basis points, and the 10 Year ACGB shedding 8 points. The fall in yields, though being brought-about by a less-rosy outlook for the economy, is probably supportive of the ASX for now. The drop-in discount rates have made valuations marginally more attractive, while more significantly, the lower Australian Dollar has visibly provided a boost to the market in the short-term. Powell and the BOE the highlights today: With less than an hour to trade, Wall Street looks as though it will finish in the red today, following a weak day in European equities, and a solid day across Asia. Overnight news-flow was bereft of market moving headlines, so traders look to the next 24 hours for inspiration. US Fed Chair Jerome Powell speaks today (11.00AM AEDT), but the big focus may well be on the Bank of England tonight. The GBP has lost its lustre this week, as markets come to the realization that a no-deal Brexit is a higher likelihood than what was being priced-in. The BOE are hamstrung at-the-moment, unable to shift policy stance until a Brexit outcome is known. An optimistic but idle central bank is to be expected until it is. Written by Kyle Rodda - IG Australia
  22. The bulls keep control: SPI futures are indicating that the ASX200 will climb another 20 points at the open, adding to yesterday’s bank-led 1.95 per cent rally. Another solid day on Wall Street can also be pointed-to for the market’s start in the green, with US shares continuing their run-higher. Quietness in Asia courtesy of the Chinese New Year holiday has kept some negative headlines way, aiding the bullishness. Global bond markets are steady, gold is off its highs, and credit spreads keep narrowing. Locally, the RBA’s optimism also gave the Aussie Dollar a kick-higher and lifted domestic yields. It’s a risk on attitude, for a multitude of reasons, here and abroad. There’s so much reason to be wary in markets currently; however, the bulls have seen enough to take a gamble in this environment. Some classic-cases of can-kicking: One lesson from financial markets in the last week: no person wants to be the one responsible for making necessary changes to something in the long-term, if it means inflicting pain in the short-term. It’s a characteristic of human fallibility and is arguably evidence as to why when crises occur, they tend to hurt more than perhaps what is necessary. There is a parallel with what we’ve seen in the US in the last 7 days, and what has transpired in Australia this week. In the US, it was US Federal Reserve Chairperson Jerome Powell wilting under the pressure of Wall Street in his bid to normalize interest rates. In Australia, it was the Hayne Royal Commissions failure to make the necessary systemic changes to improve the nation’s financial system. An invidious dilemma: When presented with the opportunity to make meaningful, structural change, individuals back away from doing so, to clear themselves of culpability for instigating a crisis. Sympathy to these folks who are handed the crushing responsibility of making these invidious decisions. Surely any other rational person would behave and make choices in the same way if put in a similar position. But removing single agents from the equation, and it becomes the case our human-systems remain tremendously difficult to reform without seeing them collapse first. People are motivated by short-term incentives, it ought to be inferred, and will seemingly (more-often-than-not) act according to those incentives, even if it means perpetuating a system that is dysfunctional, or worse, perhaps even immoral. No-one wants to be the fall-guy: One can make a blanket, high-level assertion as to why this is so. Our social, political and economic systems are entrusted to people whose mandate is to either ensure compounding prosperity, and a progressive and inexorable improvement of quality of life. When single individual’s take temporary control of a system that will outlast their tenure, they are incentivised to use it to serve their most immediate interests. For the people in power, it doesn’t matter so much that by failing to take responsibility now, they are adding to the grief to be worn by those in the future. It’s better for them to keep the machine rolling and take a gradualist approach of incremental (and superficial) change, even if it means compromising in the future what is being fought to preserved in the present. No-one benefits (now) from change: But sometimes, like the broken fridge that keeps needing its parts replaced bit-by-bit to keep it alive, it’s better to throw the whole machine out, even it means going without food for a day. The actions we saw out of the Hayne Royal Commission, for one, amounts to the tinkering of the system, without fixing the whole thing. An oligarchy of private banks has proven to be socially disruptive, but to break up what some call the “cartel”, it would mean major financial and economic disruption. Credit growth would go cold, pressuring the property market and the broader-economy that relies upon it; bank shares would depreciate and erode wealth, weighing on people’s future prosperity; and the Government’s coffers would become emptier, meaning it could do less to serve the nation. When it’s good, it’s fine; when it’s bad, it’s too late: As alluded to earlier, the phenomenon witnessed in the fall-out of the final Hayne Report can also be seen in the decision-making of the US Federal Reserve recently. For years, global asset markets have prospered courtesy of the innovative practices central banks have used to support a system that is disposed towards chaos. The pain of making true systemic change is deferred, to keep in place order and stability in the present. When it becomes necessary to unwind some of these practices, when it is justified, if not necessary, just like we have seen in the US recently, the prospect creates convulsions and disarray. Although it’s known that long term objectives will be compromised by short-termism, immediate self-interest once again comes to the fore, and bastardizes the process. Instant Karma is (not) going to get you: So much of what happens in financial markets is driven by short-term benefit, in the (often) naïve hope that when things turn truly bad, you’re not the one left carrying the can. Hence why Wall Street has rallied the way it has since the Fed took its dovish turn last week, and why the banks (and therefore the entire ASX) experienced its extraordinary rally yesterday. Market participants are enjoying their spoils now, in the knowledge that if they don’t, they’ll miss-out on the opportunity to take a slice of the good times while they are still on the table. It’s well known certain things need to be fixed, but no one wants to forego short-term benefit, or be the one responsible for bringing about short-term pain, so the system rolls on. Written by Kyle Rodda - IG Australia
  23. Global markets relatively still: Wedged between the beginning of Chinese New Year and Superbowl Sunday in the US, financial markets, on a global scale, have been a relatively quiet place in the past 24-hours. The excitement, anxiety and anticipation that has catalysed movement and activity in global markets lately was noticeably absent. Last week was a hard act to follow, what with the Fed, US corporate earnings, trade-war negotiations, Brexit, and a litany of fundamental data to keep traders occupied. Not to mention that being a Monday, news flow in the financial press is always a little lighter than what it is the rest of the week. Overall, the major equity markets in Asia closed in the green yesterday, Europe was on-balance lower come the end of the session, and Wall Street should finisher the day higher. The Hayne Report handed-down: Considering the quietness – and as this is being written, the hope is US President Trump keeps his fingers away from Twitter – it provides a good opportunity to pop-on the parochial Australian hat and look at how local markets are evolving. In a reasonably significant way, Australia was where the locus of interest lay, if only in the Asian session, during yesterday’s trade. The final report of Kenneth Hayne, QC’s Banking Royal Commission had Aussie markets on edge throughout the day; and had global investors curious as to what game-changing findings would come out of the report. The pre-positioning in the morning’s trade had the ASX experiencing much larger volumes than the average Monday, though that petered out as the session unfolded and attention turned to simply awaiting the report’s release. The initial reactions: Avoiding the legalese and focusing simply on the initial market sentiment, and it might be fair to say that investors are quite pleased with the findings handed down in the final Hayne Report. It’s only a very early indicator, and the move was modest, but upon re-opening yesterday afternoon, SPI futures registered a quick 12-point jump after digesting the report’s findings and the subsequent Press Conference addressing them from Treasurer Josh Frydenberg. The move was pared as the European and Middle Eastern markets took control of price action. However, what the activity reveals is that the emotional money – the one that reacts straight-out-of the gates to news and noise – judged what was contained and prescribed within the Hayne Report as being on-balance beneficial to bank stocks. Smart money buying bank bargains? Taking a slice of Wall Street’s overnight upside as well, and SPI Futures at time of writing are pointing to a 28-point jump at the open for the ASX200. During intraday trade, the ASX managed to deliver a positive day for market-bulls. Whipsawing for the first hour of trade, the bulls took control of the market as the day unfolded, led by the bank stocks, which added over 17 points to the ASX200 by the day’s end. The price action screams of the classic “dumb-money-versus-smart-money” dynamic: the dour headlines about the Royal Commission spooked the emotional retail investors, who sold at the market’s open and pushed the price lower, only to establish better buying conditions for the “smart” institutional investors, who bid the banks and the index higher throughout the day. The banks avoid the worst-case outcome: Given the activity in futures, the market reaction could simply be a matter of “buy the rumour and sell the fact”, as the cliché goes. Alternatively, it could be a sign that market participants believe the 76 recommendations in the report were a little softer than expected on the financial services industry. Looking at what was recommended, and the kind of structural change that some pundits were calling for did not get mentioned. In short: the banks won’t need to be broken apart, and ASIC and APRA will remain the “two-peaks” of the regulatory framework. Most of the pain falls upon mortgage brokers and financial planners, with the general intent of the recommendations looking at existing laws and institutions to kill dodgy sales practices, abolish perverse remuneration programs, improve financial advisory practices, and hold future wrong doers to account. Credit and trust: The Royal Commission itself, we’ve been told, is to restore trust in the banking system, while ensuring ample credit-conditions and the necessary competition remain in the financial system. It’s always a poetic reminder: the origins of the word credit come from the Latin word “credere”, which means to “believe” or to “trust”. The extension of financial credit – the thing that invents and keeps capital in the world moving around – is essentially an exchange of trust. Fortunately, given what’s been revealed the Banking Royal Commission, consumers need not believe in the goodwill of a monolithic institution to extend their trust to it. We have legal coercion instead. The hope is now, out of all of this, even if power isn’t redistributed by breaking-up the banks, the legal institutions who are there to “keep the bastards honest” start doing their job. RBA day and Retail Sales: Staying focused on the fortunes of the Australian economy, the day ahead will be headlined by local Retail Sales data and the RBA’s first meeting for 2019. It’s a fitting mix, considering the major risk to the domestic economy and RBA policy, given mounting household debt, sluggish wages growth and falling property prices, is the strength of the Australian consumer. Today’s meeting from the RBA is the first we’ve formally heard from the central bank since the start of December. Given the many developments in the world economy since then, there will be plenty for the RBA to catch-up on. They won’t move rates today; that much is known. But the guidance moving forward is key, with rates markets still pricing in a 40 per cent chance of a rate cut this year. Written by Kyle Rodda - IG Australia
  24. Expected index adjustments Please see the expected dividend adjustment figures for a number of our major indices for the week commencing 4 Feb 2019. If you have any queries or questions on this please let us know in the comments section below. For further information regarding dividend adjustments, and how they affect your positions, please take a look at the video. NB: All dividend adjustments are forecasts and therefore speculative. A dividend adjustment is a cash neutral adjustment on your account. Special Divs are highlighted in orange. Special dividends this week Index Bloomberg Code Effective Date Summary Dividend Amount NIFTY INFO IN 24/01/2019 Special Div. 4 TOP40 NTC SJ 23/01/109 Special Div. 40 RTY CZNC US 25/01/2019 Special Div. 0.1 How do dividend adjustments work? As you know, constituent stocks of an index will periodically pay dividends to shareholders. When they do, the overall value of the index is affected, causing it to drop by a certain amount. Each week, we receive the forecast for the number of points any index is due to drop by, and we publish this for you. As dividends are scheduled, public events, it is important to remember that leveraged index traders can neither profit nor lose from such price movements. This information has been prepared by IG, a trading name of IG Markets Limited. In addition to the disclaimer below, the material on this page does not contain a record of our trading prices, or an offer of, or solicitation for, a transaction in any financial instrument. IG accepts no responsibility for any use that may be made of these comments and for any consequences that result. No representation or warranty is given as to the accuracy or completeness of this information. Consequently any person acting on it does so entirely at their own risk. Any research provided does not have regard to the specific investment objectives, financial situation and needs of any specific person who may receive it. It has not been prepared in accordance with legal requirements designed to promote the independence of investment research and as such is considered to be a marketing communication. Although we are not specifically constrained from dealing ahead of our recommendations we do not seek to take advantage of them before they are provided to our clients. See full non-independent research disclaimer and quarterly summary.
  25. US economy still leads the pack: The bounce in global equity markets has been uniform, but the economic data is pointing to a return of the “diverging global growth” narrative. It was what dominated the latter half of 2018: the US is humming, while the rest of the world economy languishes. The difference in economic fortunes isn’t quite so stark now, however it remains conspicuously extant. It becomes a matter of how long such a dynamic can last. Frankly, market participants had resigned themselves to the fact it was already over. But a quick review of even Friday’s economic data alone suggests the narrative still has legs. An all-encompassing global economic slowdown is likely to arrive, eventually. For now, though, the US economy has its head above the water, while rest of the world doesn’t. Financial conditions and economic data supportive: The dovish Fed are, and will continue to be supportive of this, as financial conditions loosened once again in response to last week’s FOMC meeting. It’s no mystery to markets: the correlation between a recovery in financial conditions and the performance in equities is clear. The fears of a US recession, based purely on the macro-data, is still unfounded. The numbers coming out of the US on Friday weren’t spotless, but they were still very strong. ISM Manufacturing PMI beat economist consensus forecast, and US Non-Farm Payrolls showed an increase in jobs in the US economy of 304k. The jobs data was marred by a downgrade in previous months jobs-gain numbers, a dip in annualized wage growth, and a tick-up in the unemployment rate. Overall, however, the data showed a still strong US economy. Asian and Europe tangibly slowing: This contrasts with what came out of Europe, and really the rest of the world, during Friday’s trade. Europe is clearly heading for an economic slowdown, and it’s becoming a matter of true concern. Chinese economic data reminded traders too that the Middle Kingdom finds itself in its own strife. PMI numbers released from both geographies greatly disappointed market-bulls. The Caixin PMI release revealed a far steeper contraction than what had been estimated, while the balance of several European PMI numbers showed general weakness in the Eurozone – especially the embattled Italian economy. To be fair, European CPI numbers did beat forecasts slightly. But at 1.1 per cent annualized, it remains so far below target that the notion the ECB will hike rates before the next recession seems laughable. Financial markets neutral bias on Friday: As soft as the numbers were, they didn’t appear to faze traders a great deal. One assumes that the outlook reflected by the data was largely priced into the market. If anything, markets were pricing in a worse (collective) result to the weekend’s data. Interest rate traders lifted very negligibly their bets of rate hikes from the ECB and the US Fed – though it must be said the balance of opinion is in favour of no moves at all in 2019. Bonds sold off based on this, and emerging market assets, which had benefitted most from the dovish Fed, pulled-back to end the week. The US Dollar is in a short-term downtrend, apparently keeping gold prices elevated. The Australian Dollar kept range bound though, hovering around the mid-0.7200’s. The recovery keeps on rolling: Friday’s trade when assessed on its full merits belonged to the bulls though. Really, the entirety of last week did. It wasn’t a unanimous decision by any means; but it was enough to keep the “V-shaped” rally in equity markets intact. The extremeness of the January stock market recovery has pundits increasingly questioning what the next sell-off will look like. The “shape” of this price action is quite unusual, they are telling us. What was experienced in the last quarter of 2018 was somewhat extraordinary, so perhaps an extraordinary recovery is a necessary consequence of that. Where the market puts in its next low is a point of curiosity: Wall Street has visibly broken its downtrend, so the next low in the market builds the foundations for the next possible uptrend. ASX poised to gain this morning: The US lead will translate into a 20-point gain for the ASX200 this morning, according to the last traded price on the SPI Futures contract. Friday’s trade wasn’t quite as bullish for the ASX as it was for other parts of the global equity market. The index closed effectively flat, on a day of above average volume and relatively poor breadth. Iron ore prices, which have maintained a consistent rally since the tragic Vale dam collapse, have fed a rally in the mining stocks. The materials sector added 4 points to ASX200 on Friday and looks poised for further upside moving forward, as another shifter higher in oil prices, a weaker USD, and general market bullishness support elements of international commodity markets. The banks under scrutiny today: The challenge for the market will be trying to sustain a move higher while there remains so many concerns about the financial sector. The final report from the Hayne Royal Commission is released after-market today, and the uncertainty generated by what will be recommended in the report is keeping upside in bank stocks, and therefore the ASX200, at bay. Only time will truly tell what recommendations will come from the report – with less than 12 hours until its released, markets need not wait long for answers. Whatever is revealed, it will be assessed through the lens of how it may impact future credit conditions in the Australian economy, especially given the major slowdown in Australian property prices, and the recent slowing of consumer credit growth in the overall economy. Written by Kyle Rodda - IG Australia