The renaissance of geopolitical risk?

The renaissance of geopolitical risk?

Corporate Earnings News
Global market indices
Currencies
Cryptocurrencies
Fixed Income
Commodity sector news
Key data to move markets this week
Global macro updates

Corporate Earnings News

According to Refinitiv I/B/E/S data, the earnings for Q3 of the top 7 mega caps are forecasted at $72.3 billion (+35.9% y/y, +5.2% q/q) while revenue is forecasted at $364.5 billion (+11.3% y/y, +4.4% q/q). This compares to S&P 500 aggregate earnings (combining actuals and estimates) of $468.8 billion (+2.2% y/y, +3.7% q/q) and revenue of $3,767.0 billion (+1.0% y/y, +1.6% q/q).

Corporate earning calendar 18 October - 26 October 2023

Thursday: AT&T, Philip Morris International, Blackstone, Snap-On Inc., Fifth Third Bancorp, Intuitive Surgical, Freeport-McMoRan, Union Pacific Corp., Marsh & McLennan, Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing
Friday: American Express, Schlumberger, Regions Financial Corp.
Monday: Brown & Brown, W.R. Berkley Corporation, Packaging Corporation of America
Tuesday: 3M Company, Alphabet, Microsoft, Verizon, Visa Inc., Coca-Cola Company, General Electric, General Motors, Spotify Technology, Novartis, Nucor, Waste Management Inc.
Wednesday:ADP, Meta Platforms, IBM, Boeing, CME Group, Kraft Heinz, Thermo Fisher Scientific, ServiceNow, QuantumScape, Kimberly-Clark, Teladoc Health 
Thursday: Amazon, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Caterpillar, Ford Motor Company, Gilead Sciences, Intel Corporation, Keurig Dr Pepper, Mastercard Inc., Willis Towers Watson, UPS, Altria Group, Boston Scientific, Northrop Grumman, Valero Energy, Digital Realty Trust, Capital One Financial

US Stock Indices

Nasdaq 100 +1.32% MTD and +36.29% YTD
Dow Jones Industrial Average +1.46% MTD and +2.57% YTD
NYSE -0.48% MTD and +0.93% YTD
S&P 500 +1.99% MTD and +13.90% YTD

Stocks tumbled this week as escalating turmoil and fears of a wider conflict in the Middle East, with the implications it would have on oil prices, global growth and corporate earnings, prompted investors to be “risk-off.”

Mega caps: A bad week for the mega caps as the impact of high rates and events in the Middle East put investors in a risk-off mood. Apple, Alphabet, Amazon, Meta Platforms, Tesla, Microsoft, and Nvidia are all down this week.

Nvidia was hit by new US restrictions on semiconductor chips. It said that the new export restrictions will block sales of two high-end artificial intelligence chips it created for the Chinese market and that one of its top-of-the-line gaming chips will also be blocked.

Energy stocks had a positive week this week as concerns around oil and gas supplies amid the threat of escalation in the Middle East with US crude oil and fuel inventories all falling more than expected. Apa Corp (US), Baker Hughes, Marathon Petroleum, ConocoPhillips, Phillips 66, Occidental Petroleum, Shell, Halliburton, Chevron, and ExxonMobil are all up this week. Energy Fuels was down this week as investors await its Q3 earnings on 2 November.

Materials and Mining stocks were mixed this week reflecting concerns over China’s slow growth and the impact on metals and materials demand as well as a strengthening USD. Yara International, Freeport-McMoRan, Albemarle Corporation, Nucor Corporation, and CF Industries Holdings are all down, while Mosaic, Sibanye Stillwater and Newmont Mining are all upthis week.

European Stock Indices

Stoxx 600 -1.15% MTD and +4.74% YTD
DAX -1.90% MTD and +8.41% YTD
CAC 40 -2.37% MTD and +7.60% YTD
IBEX 35 -1.37% MTD and +13.00% YTD
FTSE MIB -0.38% MTD and +18.68% YTD
FTSE 100 -0.26% MTD and +1.83% YTD

According to LSEG I/B/E/S data, third quarter earnings are expected to decrease 10.4% from Q3 2022. Excluding the Energy sector, earnings are expected to increase 0.7%. Third quarter revenue is expected to decrease 5.6% from Q3 2022. Excluding the Energy sector, revenues are expected to decrease 1.5%. Six companies in the STOXX 600 have reported earnings to date for Q2 2023. Of these, 33.3% reported results exceeding analyst estimates. In a typical quarter 54% beat analyst EPS estimates.

Other Global Stock Indices 

MSCI World Index +1.09% MTD and +9.68% YTD
Hang Seng -0.43% MTD and -10.36% YTD

Currencies

The USD rose again this week as investors sought to reduce risk and US yields continued to rise to multi-year highs. The GBP is -0.47% MTD and +0.36% YTD against the USD. Sterling ticked up on Wednesday after inflation data showed that it remained steady at 6.7% in September. However, the BoE is largely expected to keep rates on hold at its meeting in November, which, in the current risk-off environment, may put furtherdownward pressure on Sterling. The EUR is -0.36% MTD and -1.58% YTD against the USD as investors flee to the USD as a safe haven asset and due to rising yield differentials between US Treasuries and European bonds. According to worldgovernmentbonds.com, the yield spread between the US and the Eurozone’s largest economy, Germany, is +205.7 bps, a rise of 44.5 bps in a month. There is also a growing spread between European bonds, with the spread between Italy and Germany rising to 206.5 bps, up 26.2 bps in a month. This may cause further deterioration to the Euro against the USD.

Cryptocurrencies

Bitcoin +5.03% MTD and +70.49% YTD
Ethereum 
-6.39% MTD and +30.29% YTD

Bitcoin seems to be benefitting from the perception that a spot ETF will soon be approved by the SEC. It was falsely reported earlier this week that BlackRock's closely-watched spot Bitcoin ETF application had been approved. According to a report from data analytics firm CryptoQuant, if spot Bitcoin ETFs do secure approval, it could elevate Bitcoin to a $900 billion asset, with the total crypto market growing by $1 trillion. According to Coindesk.com, CryptoQuant said that if the issuers that have applied to list Bitcoin ETFs put 1% of their Assets Under Management (AUM) to these ETFs, approximately $155 billion could enter the Bitcoin market. This represents almost a third of Bitcoin's current market capitalization. However, despite the rise in the price of Bitcoin brought about by the potential approval, the overall cryptocurrency market has declined this month, dipping from $1.15 trillion to $1.12 trillion, according to CoinGecko. Investors are in a risk-off mode due to concerns around global growth slowing and rising geopolitical risks, with conflicts raging in Ukraine and the Middle East and the threat of a US-China trade war heating up, risking stability in South East Asia.

Fixed Income

US 10-year yield to 4.91%.
German 10-year yield to 2.92%.
UK 10-year yield to 4.66%.

US benchmark 10-year yields hit a 16-year high on Wednesday. However, as noted by Bloomberg news, Bank of America analysts think the negative correlation between rates and stocks has moderated to 24%, up from 85% in early August. Yet it is clear that the risks remain to theupside on rising concerns about government debt issuance, size and sustainability, as well as stronger economic data signifying increased likelihood of a rate rise by January with higher interest rates for longer. However, there are increasing reports of buyers moving into longer duration bonds as the still resilient US economy suggests that a soft landing is still possible.

UK government debt also sold off sharply after UK inflation held steady in September at 6.7%, which suggested that the Bank of England (BoE) may still have to consider further tightening measures.

Eurozone bond yields edged back towards multi-year highs on Wednesday, with investors juggling delicate risk appetite with expectations for interest rates staying higher for longer after resilient US data.

Commodities

Gold futures to $1,968.50 an ounce.
Silver futures to $23.10 per ounce.
West Texas Intermediate crude to $88.32 a barrel.
Brent crude to $91.43 a barrel.

Oil prices climbed this week as fears about supply hit markets. Crude rose about 2% to a two-week high on Wednesday on a bigger-than-expected US storage draw and concerns about global supplies after Iran called for an oil embargo on Israel over the conflict in Gaza. However, there may be additional supplies on global markets as it appears that the US may be closer to easing sanctions on Venezuela's oil and gas sector. The Biden administration will go ahead with broad sanctions relief in response to a 2024 election deal reached between the Venezuelan government and the country's opposition. On Wednesday the US Treasury Department issued 4 general Licences suspending select sanctions. It also authorised dealings with Minerven, the Venezuelan state-owned gold mining company. However, the US allegedly threatened to reverse these steps unless President Nicolas Maduro's government goes even further and agrees to lift a ban on opposition presidential candidates and release political prisoners.

Gold prices were also up this week as investors continued to flee to this perceived “safe-haven” asset. If there is an escalation and widening of the conflict in the Middle East and Iran or its other proxies become involved, or if other current geopolitical “hotspots'' such as the South China Sea sees a rise in tensions between China, the US and its allies including Canada, Japan, the UK, Australia, and the EU, then gold will likely continue to rise. However, with the US economy appearing to remain resilient there may be pressure on the Fed to not only keep rates higher for longer, but to raise rates at least one more time. This risk, along with rising yields, could be a headwind for gold. Many gold investors will be looking to Fed Chair Jerome’s Powell speech later today for greater clarity.

Note: As of 5 pm EDT 18 October 2023

Key data to move markets this week

EUROPE

Friday: German PPI.
Monday: German Bundesbank Monthly Report and Eurozone Consumer Confidence.
Tuesday: German Gfk Consumer Confidence, French HCOB Composite, Manufacturing and Services PMIs, German HCOB Composite, Manufacturing and Services PMIs, and Eurozone HCOB Composite, Manufacturing, and Services PMIs.
Wednesday: German IFO Business Climate and Current Assessment and Expectations.
Thursday: EU Leaders Summit, ECB Monetary Policy Statement and ECB Press Conference.

UK

Thursday: Gfk Consumer Confidence.
Friday: Retail Sales.
Tuesday: Claimant Count Change, Claimant Count Rate, Employment Change, ILO Unemployment Rate, and S&P Global/CIPS Composite, Manufacturing, and Services PMIs.
Thursday: A speech by BoE Deputy Governor for Financial Stability Sir Jon Cunliffe.

US

Thursday: Initial Jobless Claims, Philadelphia Fed Manufacturing Index, Existing Home Sales Change, and speeches by Fed Chair Jerome Powell, Chicago Fed President Austan Goolsbee, Atlanta Fed President Raphael Bostic, Philadelphia Fed President Patrick Harker, and Fed Board of Governors member Philip Jefferson.
Friday: A speech by Philadelphia Fed President Patrick Harker.
Monday: Chicago Fed National Activity Index.
Tuesday: S&P Global Composite, Manufacturing, and Services PMIs and S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Indices.
Wednesday: New Homes Sales Change.
Thursday: Core Personal Consumption Expenditures, Durable Goods Orders, GDP, Initial Jobless Claims, Nondefense Capital Goods Orders, Personal Consumption Expenditures Prices, and Pending Home Prices.

CHINA

Friday: PBoC Interest Rate decision.

Global Macro Updates

Will higher for longer be enough? With US consumer inflation surpassing expectations by remaining at 3.7%, slightly above the market consensus of 3.6%, and the monthly rate posing a smaller-than-expected decline to 0.4%, the Fed is facing a conundrum of what to do next at its 31 October -1 November meeting. Fed officials such as Philadelphia Fed President Patrick Harker have been somewhat dovish over the past couple of weeks, signalling a continued pause in rate hikes as they try to interpret the mixed data in terms of persistently strong economic data despite the rise in borrowing costs. As noted by Reuters, on Wednesday Fed Governor Chirstopher Waller said in a speech at the European Economics and Financial Center in London, "I believe we can wait, watch and see how the economy evolves before making definitive moves on the path of the policy rate. The ‘conundrum’ is that American households are not pulling back on spending despite a slowdown in wage growth.” He then said that the "puzzle" is illustrated by the heat in economic activity alongside cooling inflation. The latest Beige Book shows that the outlook for the US economy is stable or may show softer expansion.

No end in sight for UK inflation. Inflation seems to be refusing to decline in the UK as headline CPI held at 6.7% in September, an 18-month low, showing no acceleration. It was, however, above expectations for a retreat to 6.6%. According to data from the Office of National Statistics, the rise in fuel prices in Britain between August and September put upward pressure on the annual inflation rate amid a sharp rise in global oil prices over the past couple of months. Britain has the highest inflation of any nation in the G7 and, according to the IMF, next year it is expected to have the slowest growth. There has been a moderation in wages with average earnings excluding bonuses rising 7.8% in the three months to August versus a year earlier,down fromupwardly-revised 7.9% growth the month before and payrolls falling. However, real wages are rising, which seems to show that past interest-rate increases are working their way into the real economy. Yet inflation is looking increasingly unlikely to continue to decelerate, with the risk of contagion in the Middle East causing a rise in oil prices that may again hit the BoE’s ability to hit inflation targets. Nevertheless, despite the jump in UK Gilt yields this week, market pricing for interest rates was unchanged with markets still expecting the BoE to keep rates on hold at its meeting on 2 November.

A more timid dragon? China's economy GDP grew 4.9% in July-September from the year earlier, data released by the National Bureau of Statistics showed, slower than the 6.3% expansion in the second quarter. On a quarter-by-quarter basis, GDP grew 1.3% in the third quarter, accelerating from a revised 0.5% in the second quarter and above the forecast for growth of 1.0%. This suggests that the policy measures including more public works spending and efforts to shore up the private sector, is helping to bolster a tentative recovery. China also reported 4.5% growth in industrial production and a 5.5% spike in retail sales in September from a year earlier. However, lingering concerns over China’s fragile economic recovery emerged as the country’s September CPI index was flat, indicating that the recovery of domestic demand is not strong, without a significant boost from continuing fiscal support. The still weak property sector, which accounts for nearly a quarter of economic output, poses a big challenge as property investment fell 9.1% in the January-to-September period from a year earlier. According to the Financial Times, the Chinese property developer Country Garden has missed its final deadline for the coupon payment on a dollar bond, marking the latest escalation of a liquidity crisis in China’s property sector. The sector is grappling with further pressures on debt repayments, home sales, and investment. China is the largest oil importer from Saudi Arabia and from Iran, so the economy could be hit further if the war in the Middle East widens. The IMF reviseddown China's growth forecast to 5% for 2023 and 4.2% for 2024. The Yuan is also showing weakness as the bond yield gap with the US widens to the most since 2002.

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