Daily Market Reports | Oct 17 2016
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By Greg Peel
It was a choppy session on Friday on the local bourse leading ultimately to a flat close. A fairly tight range belied some notable moves in sectors nevertheless.
Winners on the day included industrials (0.7%), utilities (0.7%), telcos (0.3%) and consumer staples (0.3%) while losers included the banks (-0.3%) and materials (-0.5%). Energy closed on a rare 0%. Here we see further evidence of a reversal of the theme of the past few weeks in which overbought yield stocks have been sold off on Fed rate rise expectations and undervalued cyclicals have come back to the fore.
It has been a substantial sell-off in yield stocks, and thus no surprise some consolidation has eventuated. But interestingly the initial trigger for the reversal of prior rotation was China’s trade data last week which surprised to the downside, reigniting China slowdown fears and perhaps raising doubts of a Fed rate hike being “baked in”. Friday’s Chinese data release paints a different picture.
China’s CPI rose 1.9% year on year in September having risen only 1.3% in August, beating expectations of +1.6%. But the big news is the PPI, which rose 0.1% to mark its first gain in five years. In August the PPI was down 0.8% and September forecasts had a 0.3% drop.
China’s producer price index had been in the negative since 2012 but recent months have shown it quietly beginning to graft its way back. Last month saw a turning point, which goes some way to relieving fears of Japanese-style entrenched deflation becoming the long term story for China – the twenty-first century’s version of the Japanese economic miracle.
The inflation data provide a little bit of confidence heading into this week’s major data event on Wednesday, which sees September industrial production, retail sales and fixed asset investment numbers along with the September quarter GDP result. Forecasts are for GDP growth to hold steady at 6.7%.
Yellen Gets Hot
While tradition has the Alcoa result signalling the beginning of any US quarterly earnings season, most now consider the real kick-off to be on the subsequent Friday, when all of JP Morgan (Dow), Citigroup and Wells Fargo report. A good result from the banks provides some confidence for the rest of the season.
All three reported earnings beats on Friday night, mostly due to elevated trading volumes in the fixed income market. US bank shares have been in a bit of a push me-pull you lately, on strength from Fed rate hike expectations on the one hand and weakness on European bank fears, Deutsche Bank in particular, on the other.
Friday night also saw all-important US retail sales numbers which showed a 0.6% gain in September. This was a tad shy of 0.7% expectations but not enough to alter any assumptions regarding Fed policy. The US PPI also continues to creep higher, rising 0.3% on the core in September to be 1.5% higher year on year.
Fed watchers may have been jolted, nonetheless, by comments made by Janet Yellen in a speech on Friday night, in which she suggested that in order to reverse the effects of the GFC recession it might be best to run “high pressure” economy with a tight labour market. The way to run a hot economy is, of course, to not fight heat with rate hikes.
December off again? No. Yellen’s supposed paradigm shift simply plays into what she and fellow FOMC members have been stressing for some time – subsequent policy tightening will be very gradual. While central bank preference is to get ahead of any potential inflation spikes, the implication is that a bit of inflation is a good thing in the post-GFC world.
This is longer term good news for the US stock market, and as such the Dow was up as many as 160 points early on. But just as Thursday’s 180 point fall was pared back to only a 45 point fall, Friday’s 160 point gain was ultimately pared back to only a 39 point, or 0.2%, gain. The S&P closed flat at 2132 and the Nasdaq closed flat.
The US dollar index, on the other hand, rose another 0.6% to 98.10. The dollar is quietly becoming what the RBA might call a “complication”, but that’s what you get with a rate rise. Friday’s retail sales and PPI data no doubt helped pushed the greenback along.
And having slipped back on last week’s weak Chinese trade numbers, Friday night saw the US ten-year yield pop up 6 basis points to reclaim 1.79%.
The stronger greenback is acting as a drag on commodity prices but demand-supply equations remain the dominant theme.
West Texas crude closed down US16c on Friday night and at once stage dipped below 50, which is one reason Wall Street came off the boil.
Aluminium and copper both fell 1% on the LME but nickel and zinc each rose 0.5%.
Iron ore rose US20c to US$56.80/t.
Gold fell US$5.70 to US$1251.80/oz.
The strong greenback should be good news for the Australian economy by pushing down the Aussie and thus supporting the non-mining economic revival. But it is mining that is enjoying a revival at present – particularly coal – hence the Aussie is up 0.6% at US$0.7610.
The SPI Overnight closed down 9 points on Saturday morning.
The Week Ahead
China’s GDP result, as noted, will take centre stage, but US earnings season will dominate the week as the results start to come thick and fast, including from many Dow components.
There are also a lot of US data releases to mull over this week. Tonight it’s industrial production and the Empire State activity index, Tuesday it’s housing sentiment and the CPI, and Wednesday brings housing starts and the Fed Beige Book. Thursday sees leading economic indicators, existing home sales and the Philadelphia Fed activity index.
The ECB will hold a policy meeting on Thursday night amidst rumours, since quashed but not with any conviction, that QE tapering is being considered.
The minutes of the September RBA meeting are out tomorrow ahead of September jobs data on Thursday.
The local stock market calendar is beginning to fill up once more and this week sees a rush of resource sector production reports alongside various corporate quarterly updates and a building number of AGMs.
Rudi will appear on Sky Business on Thursday, 12.30-2.30pm, and again on Friday, through Skype-link, to discuss broker calls at around 11.05am.
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