ASX bulls today will be searching for a solid follow through from yesterday’s 0.71 per cent gain. The daily candle on the ASX200 chart showed a market controlled by buyers from start to finish: the market never dipped below its opening price, and it finished by leaping to a new daily (and 2-month high) at the close.
3. Sentiment; jumping at shadows: There’s a lot of noise in the commentariat about what the price action this week means. It is entirely justified. The December sell-off has punters and pundits hyper-vigilant for a catalyst for the next 4 per-cent intraday move.
Collectively, it’s an irrational fear given how rare such occurrences are, but because it is understood that circumstances haven’t changed so drastically from then to now, such a phenomenon feels conceivable. The sentiment in markets has centred largely on speculation about the strength of China’s economy. On Monday, the fall in risk assets was over-attributed to the poor Chinese trade data, while yesterday it was attributed to the announcement that China’s policy makers are preparing stimulus for the world’s second largest economy.
4. Mixed price action: The activity in stocks would lend itself to the belief that it is that story moving markets. The price action doesn’t give such a cut and dry indication to that. Indeed, equities were up across the board, and Chinese and Hong Kong stocks led the way. A better barometer for macro-economic drivers are currencies and bonds, and the activity there was rather mixed. US Treasuries have traded largely unchanged. The Japanese Yen is down, revealing greater appetite for growth and risk, as is gold, for the same reasons.
Commodities are mixed: oil is higher, mostly due to diminishing fears of global over-supply. However, commodity currencies like the A-Dollar are down, on the basis that there has been a bid on the USD at the expense of the EUR.
5. European slow-down: The major laggard in the (major) currency-world was the EUR overnight. It’s come as-a-result of a speech delivered by Mario Draghi, who made uncomfortably clear his view that the Euro-zone economy is slowing down. Much of this view has been baked into markets, as it is.
A series of really-poor PMI figures across the continent in the past month shows economic activity is in decline. It has diminished the prospect of a hike in interest rates from the ECB at any point this year. Markets have lowered their bets from a 50/50 proposition to less than a 40 per cent chance. German Bunds have rallied consequently, with 10 Year Bund yields retracing their recent climb to settle back at 0.20 per cent.
6. Brexit vote: Bringing it back to unfolding events, UK Prime Minister May’s Brexit bill, as expected, has been rejected by Parliament. What was perhaps unexpected was the margin of the loss. It was always going to be ugly for May, but the final vote was an abysmal 432-202 against the Prime Minister’s bill. Thus far, and this is fresh as its being written, the price action appears to reflect the old situation of “buy the rumour sell the fact”.
The GBP/USD has bounced on the news, rallying from its intraday low at 1.27 to currently trade above the 1.28 handle. Wall Street now, with an hour left to trade, has pared some of the day’s gains. The benchmark S&P500 is battling with the key 2600-level.
7. The Brexit-vote fall-out: The commentary will come thick and fast for the rest of the day on Brexit. Members of the house are still speaking on the matter. Another referendum is being called by some, a general election is being called by others, a popular view seems to be one suggesting a delay of Article 50. How this affects the ASX this morning is contentious.
SPI Futures have given up its overnight gains and are currently flat. In all likelihood, given that this morning’s events culminate in another little kick of the can down the road, the lift in volatility will pass for stocks. Markets hate uncertainty, so this relieves that anxiety for now. Using the AUD as a guide, the popular global risk/growth proxy is trading flat as of 7.00AM this morning.
8. Market watch:
ASX futures up 1 point to 5755
AUD +0.2% to 7184 US cents
On Wall St at 1.50pm: Dow +0.5% S&P 500 +1% Nasdaq +1.6%
In New York, BHP +0.3% Rio -0.1% Atlassian +1.2%
In Europe: Stoxx 50 FTSE CAC DAX
Spot gold -0.3% to $US1288.55 an ounce at 1.49pm New York time
Brent crude +2.3% to $US60.33 a barrel
US oil +3% to $US52.00 a barrel
Iron ore flat at $US73.78 a tonne (down 2 US cents)
Dalian iron ore +0.8% to 513 yuan
LME aluminium +1% to $US1845.50 a tonne
LME copper +0.4% to $US5920 a tonne
2-year yield: US 2.53% Australia 1.82%
5-year yield: US 2.53% Australia 1.96%
10-year yield: US 2.71% Australia 2.28% Germany 0.20%
US-Australia 10-year yield gap as of 548am AEDT: 43 basis points
This column was produced in commercial partnership
between Fairfax Media and IG