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The Overnight Report: Wild Ups And Downs

Daily Market Reports | Oct 27 2016

This story features WESFARMERS LIMITED, and other companies. For more info SHARE ANALYSIS: WES

By Greg Peel

The Dow closed up 30 points or 0.2% while the S&P fell 0.2% to 2139 as the Nasdaq fell 0.6%.

Pent Up

For a month the ASX200 has been up and down in a range of 5400-5500, meeting bargain hunters at the bottom and profit-takers at the top. The topside has looked the least likely to be penetrated given uncertainty surrounding upcoming, very influential global events.

Which leaves us with the downside. We saw a bit of a hint of it on Monday, but on Tuesday the bargain hunters reappeared. They also reappeared yesterday when the index dropped immediately to 5400 on the open. They hung on for almost an hour but it was to no avail. There was just too much bad news about.

Yesterday’s bellwether trigger was Wesfarmers ((WES)), or more specifically Coles. Looks like the honeymoon’s finally over. Stoic investors have continued to back the big supermarkets because…well…of tradition mostly. Wesfarmers does not traditionally fall 6% but it did yesterday.

Then there’s the tragedy of Ardent Leisure ((AAD)), down another 15%, an ongoing exit from stocks reliant on the Chinese consumer, following Tuesday’s Bega Cheese ((BGA)) scare, and the other China story – Crown Resorts ((CWN)). And we have Healthscope ((HSO)). Having been sucked down in the vortex, peer Ramsay Health Care ((RHC)) issued the briefest of statements yesterday to allay fears of any similar problems. Ramsay shares managed only a very modest bounce after a solid fall.

When the levy broke at 5400 it was on for young and old – market-wide. Tuesday night saw a big jump in the iron ore price, solid moves up in base metals and a bit of a rebound for gold, yet the materials sector closed down 0.7% yesterday. It was at least an “outperformance”. The banks that had been bought up this week on the dividend play were dumped, down 1.3%, ahead of National Bank’s ((NAB)) earnings report today.

The big loser on the day was consumer staples, down 3.3% thanks to Wesfarmers, but consumer discretionary wasn’t far behind with a 2.5% fall. This sector is very much influenced by monetary policy, but it appears yesterday’s CPI release had little impact on a market already hell bent on heading south.

The media will always focus on the headline inflation rate, and it was up 0.7% in the September quarter for an annual rate of 1.3% when 0.5% and 1.1% were forecast. There goes your RBA rate hike, is the conclusion. But the core rate rose only 0.3% when 0.4% was expected for an annual 1.5% against 1.7% expectation.

The RBA focuses on the core rate, ex food & energy. Thus we can say inflation was actually weaker than expected. But not as weak as it was back in the March quarter, which prompted the last rate cut. So will we see a Cup Day cut next week?

CBA’s economists say yes, but with less conviction. St George says yes, but it’s a “line ball call”. ANZ believes the data increases the odds of a cut – next year. Others say no cut on Tuesday. Place your bets.

The immediate reaction in forex markets was no cut, given the Aussie jumped straight to 77, but then traders read further down the document, past the headline result, and by late evening the Aussie was back where it started. It is this morning unchanged over 24 hours at US$0.7643.

Did we see the shake-out in the stock market yesterday that we needed to see? The index held 5350, which is also an important technical level. Certainly some of the high-flying names for which analysts have been calling valuations overstretched have come back to earth somewhat. Buying opportunity?

Well we’ll probably have to get past Trump, OPEC and the Fed first. Santa is watching closely.

Motion Sickness

The Dow was down a hundred points from the open last night and then up 70 points before midday. The major underlying driver was oil.

US oil forecasting is a JOKE. Yesterday I noted weekly inventory forecasts are never right and in the past I’ve pointed out how numbers from the American Petroleum Institute and numbers from the Energy Information Agency are so often wildly different. Before the open on Wall Street last night, the API had predicted a weekly crude inventory build. The market was expecting a build, but not by as much.

Already looking nervous under US$50, particularly with the whole production freeze issue looking decidedly shaky, WTI plunged to below US$49/bbl from the open on Nymex. Then the EIA report came out indicating a small drawdown, and WTI shot back up over US$50. Hence we saw the Dow down a hundred and then up 70.

The oil price drifted back towards the close to be down US67c over 24 hours at US$49.15/bbl. The Dow closed up 30.

Outside of oil, we saw a weak result from Apple in Tuesday night’s aftermarket, mostly guidance related, send apple shares down over 2%. On the other hand, Boeing posted a very strong result which saw its shares up almost 5%. Both are Dow stocks, but only Apple is a Nasdaq stock. That’s why the Dow closed up 0.2% last night and the Nasdaq closed down 0.6%.

Some 40% of S&P500 companies have reported to date and the run-rate is 2.5% earnings growth. That should be good news, given a 2% fall had been predicted. And revenues are up 2.8%, which is very positive. Yet Wall Street is failing to respond in a positive fashion. One reason is aforementioned uncertainty with regard upcoming events. The other is disappointing December quarter guidance, despite strong September earnings results. But then a lot of that has been put down to uncertainty in the quarter, given upcoming events.

Commodities

Oil has been noted.

After their strong session on Tuesday night, last night saw base metals moves return to being mixed and minimal. Zinc fell 1%.

Iron ore has kicked on, rising another US$1.10 to US$62.70/t.

Tuesday night’s gold rally proved fleeting as gold is down US$7.20 at US$1266.70/oz, despite the US dollar index slipping 0.1% to 98.63.

Today

The SPI Overnight closed up 8 points. Not quite the stuff of rebounds after a day of carnage, but then Wall Street has not provided much impetus.

In a case of unfortunate timing, Ardent Leisure ((AAD)) will host is AGM today. Indeed it’s a very busy day on the AGM calendar.

But the greatest focus will be on NAB’s earnings result. And more specifically, its dividend. NAB did not cut, yet (?).

Rudi will appear on Sky Business, 12.20-2.30pm.
 

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CHARTS

BGA CWN NAB RHC WES

For more info SHARE ANALYSIS: BGA - BEGA CHEESE LIMITED

For more info SHARE ANALYSIS: CWN - CROWN RESORTS LIMITED

For more info SHARE ANALYSIS: NAB - NATIONAL AUSTRALIA BANK LIMITED

For more info SHARE ANALYSIS: RHC - RAMSAY HEALTH CARE LIMITED

For more info SHARE ANALYSIS: WES - WESFARMERS LIMITED