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The Monday Report

Daily Market Reports | Jul 11 2016

This story features ALUMINA LIMITED, and other companies. For more info SHARE ANALYSIS: AWC

By Greg Peel


The local stock market took a breather on Friday, following two weeks of Brexit volatility and election uncertainty and ahead of Friday night’s US jobs report. Nothing new is known about potential Brexit fallout, but by Friday it at least looked like the Coalition would be able to form some sort of government.

By this morning it looks quite possible the Coalition will be able to form a majority government. This reduces the risk of a possible credit rating downgrade. On Friday night the Aussie went soaring, up 1.2% by Saturday morning to US$0.7564 despite the US dollar index being little changed.

But during Friday’s local session, it seems everyone went to lunch. The only movement of any note was a further 0.6% drop for the utilities sector, as “overbought” calls continues to hit home.

Yer Kidding

The US added 287,000 jobs in June, trashing estimates of 170,000. Mind you, estimates have been none too flash of late, given 170,000 was about the assumption for May as well, minus the 35,000 striking Verizon workers. May’s number came in at 38,000.

It was assumed the May result would be revised up with the June result, being such an anomaly, but instead it was revised down, to 11,000. We now have two consecutive anomalies, so economists prefer to average out to provide a three-month running indicator, which after the June result is 147,000 per month. Late in 2015, when the Fed decided to hike, that average was running at 200,000 plus.

Not only were more jobs created in June, but more hopeful workers re-entered the market, meaning the unemployment rate rose to 4.9% from 4.7%. Average wages rose 0.1% for a 2.6% annual rate.

Under normal circumstances, Wall Street would take the June jobs numbers as reason to expect a Fed rate hike in July. The response in the stock market would then be torn between good jobs result means economic growth, which is good, and good jobs result means higher borrowing rates, which is bad. But no one expects the Fed to hike in July because despite stock markets rallying across the globe, Brexit still provides for uncertainty.

So the Fed won’t hike this month. Maybe September, if the data continue to look positive in the meantime, but even then, probably not. So what does this mean? It means you can have your cake, being strong jobs growth, and eat it too, because the Fed will keep rates low. There is no reason not to buy stocks.

The Dow closed up 250 points or 1.4%, rising back over the 18,000 mark. The S&P rose 1.5% to 2129. The all-time closing high is 2130. The Nasdaq gained 1.6%.

But was this a “risk on” rally? No. Not only did investors buy stocks on Friday night, they also bought bonds and gold – the safe havens. The US ten-year yield fell 2 basis points to 1.37% and gold rose US$5.60 to US$1365.40/oz. Typically on a positive jobs number, and thus increased Fed rate hike expectations, investors would sell bonds and gold and buy stocks. In this case, stocks were bought because there is no alternative.

It’s hard to find any commentator that doesn’t believe US stocks can continue to rally under such circumstances. It is even more difficult to find anyone who is not nervous, given the lack of any fundamental drivers. The VIX volatility index fell back to 13 on Friday night, suggesting abject complacency.

Fundamentals will come home to roost from this week, however, as we enter the US June quarter reporting season. Alcoa reports tonight, and then there’s a gap to week’s end when the first of the big banks report.

As has become the trend, earnings forecasts are weak going into the season, offering up the opportunity of a “beat”, but a bit of a hollow one. Net S&P500 earnings are forecast to fall 5%.


The US dollar index was steady on Friday night at 96.28, which is again not what one would expect from such a stellar jobs number. Base metal traders were therefore able to see the result as economically positive, hence we saw copper up 0.5%, aluminium and nickel up 1.5%, and zinc 2.5%.

For the oil market it’s a case of being torn between good economic data and the risk of further oversupply as US rigs kick back into gear above US$50/bbl. So oil prices did nothing, with West Texas steady on US$45.16/bbl.

Iron ore was unchanged at US$55.20/t.

The Week Ahead

After a flat close to last week, the SPI Overnight closed up 61 points or 1.2% on Saturday morning.

The Bank of England will hold a scheduled policy meeting on Thursday night. Given post-Brexit indications from Mark Carney, the market will be very surprised if there is no rate cut from 0.5%. Zero is a possibility.

This week will bring China back into focus.

Over the weekend we saw the release of China’s June CPI, which fell to a five-month low 1.9% from 2.0% in May. On Wednesday we’ll see June trade numbers and on Friday, industrial production, retail sales and fixed asset investment numbers.

And we’ll see the June quarter GDP result. The market is forecasting 6.6%, down from 6.7% in May.

In the US, the Fed Beige Book will be released on Wednesday ahead of CPI, retail sales, business inventories and consumer sentiment numbers on Friday.

In Australia we’ll see the NAB business confidence survey tomorrow and Westpac consumer confidence survey on Wednesday, followed by the June jobs numbers on Thursday.

On the local stocks front, this week heralds the beginning of the quarterly reporting season, which includes resource sector production reports and many a trading update from non-resource companies.

This week’s highlights include production reports from Alumina Ltd ((AWC)) tomorrow and Iluka Resources ((ILU)) and Whitehaven Coal ((WHC)) on Thursday. Transurban ((TCL)) will also report on Thursday.

Rudi will not make any appearances on Sky Business this week as he'll be presenting to investors on Gold Coast and in Brisbane.

For further global economic release dates and local company events please refer to the FNArena Calendar.

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