Are markets pricing for perfection?

Are markets pricing for perfection?

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

Corporate earning calendar 18 January - 25 January 2024

Thursday:Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing, PPG Industries, Northern Trust Corporation, KeyCorp, J.B. Hunt Transportation Services
Friday:Schlumberger, Travelers Companies,Fifth Third Bancorp., State Street Corp., Huntington Bancshares, Regions Financial Corporation, Ally Financial
Monday:Brown & Brown, United Airlines Holdings, Equity Lifestyle Properties
Tuesday: Netflix,3M Company, General Electric, Johnson & Johnson, Intuitive Surgical, Procter & Gamble, Verizon Communications, Visa
Wednesday: Tesla, AT&T, IBM, ServiceNow Inc., Abbott Laboratories, Lam Research Corp., General Dynamics, CSX Corporation, Freeport McMoRan, Crown Castle, Hess Corporation, Kimberly-Clark, Las Vegas Sands, Teledyne Technologies
Thursday: Blackstone, Intel Corp., Celanese Corp., T-Mobile US, Comcast, Union Pacific, Western Digital, Marsh & McLennan, Sherwin-Williams, Northrop Grumman, Capital One Financial Corporation, Valero Energy, Xcel Energy, Fair Isaac Corporation, McCormick & Co.

US Stock Indices

Nasdaq 100 -0.52% MTD
Dow Jones Industrial Average
 -0.87% MTD
NYSE -1.96% MTD
S&P 500 +0.29% MTD 

Stocks dropped lower on Wednesday, extending Tuesday’s declines after Fed governor Christopher Waller suggested on Tuesday that the Fed can take its time cutting rates in 2024. “With economic activity and [labour] markets in good shape and inflation coming down gradually to 2%, I see no reason to move as quickly or cut as rapidly as in the past,” Waller said, referring to previous economic shocks that led to swift rate cuts. Small-caps were the laggards, extending their early 2024 underperformance. Dollar strength, rising uncertainty over the timing of rate cuts, and the start of earnings season has led to some questions on estimates for S&P 500 earnings growth in 2024 and helped raise volatility levels.

US stocks 

Mega caps: A mixed week for the “magnificent seven” mega caps as investors started to refocus on the possibility of rates staying higher for longer than March. Apple, Alphabet, Amazon, Meta Platforms, and Tesla are all down this week, while Nvidia and Microsoft are up. Also this week, Apple revealed that it has to stop selling its Series 9 and Ultra 2 smartwatches with a blood oxygen feature in the US, suffering another legal setback in its patent dispute with Masimo Corp.

Energy stocks had a volatile week this week as US military bombing against the Iranian-backed Houthis continued, the dollar strengthened and the latest report by the IEA suggested oversupply in 2024. Occidental Petroleum, Apa Corp (US), ConocoPhillips, Shell, Chevron, Halliburton, ExxonMobil, Baker Hughes, Marathon Petroleum, and Phillips 66 are all down this week. Energy Fuels is up this week. According to Enerdata, the company began production at three of its permitted and developed uranium mines in the US States of Arizona and Utah in early January. Production at the Pinyon Plain, La Sal and Pandora uranium mines is expected to reach full capacity by mid- to late-2024.

Materials and Mining stocks had a generally poor week. Copper prices dropped to their lowest in over a month on Wednesday on worries about China's economy after disappointing data and as investors came to terms with the prospect of delayed interest rate cuts by the Fed. A firmer dollar also weighed on the market. Aluminium, zinc, and nickel all eased this week, with aluminium and zinc both touching their lowest levels in over a month on the LME. Yara International, Sibanye Stillwater, Nucor Corporation, Freeport-McMoRan, Newmont Mining, Albemarle Corporation, CF Industries Holdings, and Mosaic are all down on the week. As noted by Reuters on Wednesday, Albemarle Corporation, the world's largest lithium producer, said it will cut jobs and defer spending on a US refinery project as part of a wide-ranging plan to slash costs amid falling prices of the metal used to make electric vehicle batteries.

European Stock Indices

Stoxx 600 -2.35% MTD
DAX 
-1.91% MTD 
CAC 40 
-2.98% MTD
IBEX 35 -2.32% MTD 
FTSE MIB -0.83% MTD
FTSE 100 -3.71% MTD

According to LSEG I/B/E/S data, fourth quarter earnings are expected to decrease 7.1% from Q4 2022. Excluding the Energy sector, earnings are expected to decrease 1.9%. Fourth quarter revenue is expected to decrease 4.8% from Q4 2022. Excluding the Energy sector, revenues are expected to increase 0.1%.

Other Global Stock Indices 

MSCI World Index -1.11% MTD
Hang Seng -10.39% MTD 

Currencies

The US dollar continued to strengthen this week, hitting a one-month high, as markets cut back rate cut expectations on strong US retail sales and rising inflation in the US, along with Fed policymakers appearing to refocus on growth and employment. The GBP is -0.43% MTD against the USD. Sterling rose on Wednesday after inflation surprised to the upside, rising to 4% in December. The EUR is -1.40% MTD against the USD. The eurozone economy is weakening, with Germany just managing to avoid a recession. An increasing caution on rate cuts could continue to add to dollar momentum this month as markets await further policy clarity from the Fed at its next meeting on 30-31 January.

Cryptocurrencies

Bitcoin +1.69% MTD
Ethereum +10.47% MTD

Bitcoin has failed to rally as much as may have been expected following on from the SEC’s decision to allow traders to invest in Bitcoin ETFs. Refinitiv data says Bitcoin is down more than 8% since 11 January after rallying in recent months on anticipation that the ETFs would finally get the nod from the SEC. According to the Financial Times, Bitcoin exchange traded funds have pulled in just under $900mn in the first three days of trading. Excluding the outflows at Grayscale, which converted its existing $28bn Bitcoin fund into an ETF alongside the new launches, the 10 new ETFs have drawn in just over $2bn.

Fixed Income

US 10-year yield to 4.10%.
German 10-year yield to 2.32%.
UK 10-year yield to 3.98%.

December’s bond rally appears to be fading as yields, particularly on the short end, rose this week on a re-assessment by some traders of the timing and extent of central bank rate cuts. 

Note: As of 4 pm EST 17 January 2024

Commodities

Gold futures to $2,009.00, an ounce.
Silver futures to $22.72 per ounce.
West Texas Intermediate crude to $72.72 a barrel.
Brent crude to $78.07 a barrel.

Oil prices remained relatively range bound as severe cold that disrupted some oil production in North Dakota offset disappointing economic growth in China that stoked worries about energy demand. The International Energy Agency (IEA) has, for the third time in three months, raised its latest monthly report, the 2024 global oil demand growth forecast. It now forecasts that global consumption will rise by 1.24 million barrels per day (bpd) in 2024. This is still below OPEC's 2.25 million bpd projection. The IEA expects world oil supply to rise by 1.5 million bpd to a new high of 103.5 million bpd in 2024, fueled by record-setting output from the United States, Brazil, Guyana and Canada. It says that while the recent cuts agreed by OPEC+ members may create a small deficit in supply at the beginning of the year, the strong growth from non-OPEC members could lead to a surplus if additional voluntary cuts in OPEC+ countries were phased out in the second quarter of this year. It suggested that demand growth would be half of 2023 levels due to a slowdown in global growth, particularly in the major economies, and due to the rise in EV sales.

Note: As of 5 pm EST 17 January 2024

Key data to move markets this week

EUROPE

Thursday: ECB Monetary Policy Meeting Accounts and a speech by ECB President Christine Lagarde.
Friday: German PPI and a speech by ECB President Christine Lagarde.
Monday: German Bundesbank Monthly Report.
Tuesday: ECB Bank Lending Survey and Eurozone Consumer Confidence.
Wednesday: German HCOB Composite, Manufacturing and Services PMIs, and Eurozone HCOB Composite, Manufacturing and Services PMIs.
Thursday: German IFO Current Assessment, Business Climate and Expectations and ECB Monetary Policy Statement and Press Conference.

UK

Friday: Retail Sales
Wednesday: S&P Global/CIPS Composite, Manufacturing and Services PMIs.

US

Thursday: Initial Jobless Claims, Housing Starts, Building Permits and a speech by Atlanta Fed President Raphael Bostic.
Friday: UoM 5-year Consumer Inflation Expectation, Existing Home Sales, Existing Home Sales Change, Michigan Consumer Sentiment Index, and a speech by San Francisco Fed President Mary Daly. 
Wednesday: S&P Global Composite, Manufacturing and Services PMIs and EI Crude Oil Stocks Change.
Thursday: Initial Jobless Claims, GDP, Durable Goods Orders, Nondefense Capital Goods Orders, Core Personal Consumption Expenditures, Personal Consumption Expenditures Prices and New Home Sales Change.

CHINA

Monday: PBoC Interest Rate Decision.

Global Macro Updates

China’s weakening prospects. Chinese GDP growth was estimated to come in at 5.2% for 2023, hitting Beijing's target. On a quarterly basis, the economy is forecast to grow 1.0% in the fourth quarter, slowing from a 1.3% pace in July-September. December data showed the fastest fall in home prices for nine years, an 8.5% annual slide in sales by floor area and a collapse in housing starts. It is becoming clearer that the world's second-largest economy has struggled to sustain a post-COVID pandemic bounce due to a protracted property crisis, weak consumer and business confidence, rising local government debts, and weakening global growth resulting in anaemic exports. Expectations are growing that China will struggle to reach 4.6% growth in 2024. Even though the issue of deflation may slowly fade in 2024 due to expectation of rising commodity prices around the globe, domestic demand will likely remain weak. On Monday, the PBOC left the medium-term policy rate unchanged despite expectations of a cut due to continuing pressure on the yuan. The Chinese government is set to reveal this year’s target at an annual parliamentary meeting in early March.

UK inflation’s surprise rise. UK inflation rose for the first time in 10 months in December, rising to 4.0% from November's 3.9%. and denting market expectations for an early Bank of England rate cut.the first time the rate has increased since February 2023. On a monthly basis CPI rose 0.4%. Core inflation, which excludes food and energy, was 5.1% in December, unchanged from the previous month. Services inflation, usually viewed as a stronger measure of domestic price pressures, rose to 6.4% in December from 6.3% in November. The labour market is cooling, with the estimated number of vacancies from October to December 2023 falling by 49,000 on the quarter to 934,000. Wage growth came in at 6.6%. The unemployment rate was largely unchanged for the quarter at 4.2%. Although inflation is continuing to fall overall, the BoE will likely continue to worry that labour shortages will keep wage growth high and make it hard to get inflation back to its 2% target.

ECB not considering cuts until summer. ECB President Christine Lagarde said market expectations for an ECB rate cut this spring were “not helping” the fight against inflation.She and other ECB policymakers have, as noted by Bloomberg news, suggested the chance of a move around mid-year, when they’ll know more about inflation, wages and the stuttering economy, as well as the harm to supply chains by Yemen’s Houthi rebels. The ECB has singled out wages as the single biggest risk to its 1-1/2 year crusade against inflation. It expects salary growth across the euro zone of 4.6% this year, far more than the 3% pace it considers consistent with inflation at its 2% target. 

Can the US consumer continue to save the day? US retail sales at the strongest pace in three months in December. Separate data showed homebuilder sentiment climbed in January by the most in nearly a year as lower mortgage rates boosted customer traffic, sales and the demand outlook. The Fed’s Beige Book on Wednesday indicated that "A majority of the 12 Federal Reserve Districts reported little or no change in economic activity.” Firms in most districts also noted that their expectations for future growth were "positive, had improved, or both" although the approaching presidential election in November was sparking uncertainty for some business leaders, the report showed. "Numerous contacts cited US political uncertainty, with one saying it 'weighs heavily on business leaders' minds right now,'" the Dallas Fed reported. Although the market is continuing to expect rate cuts in March, Fed policymakers are continuing to push back, with Fed Bank of Atlanta President Raphael Bostic saying he wants to see more evidence inflation is on track toward the central bank’s 2% target, repeating that he doesn’t expect policymakers to cut interest rates until the third quarter.

While every effort has been made to verify the accuracy of this information, EXT Ltd. (hereafter known as “EXANTE”) cannot accept any responsibility or liability for reliance by any person on this publication or any of the information, opinions, or conclusions contained in this publication. The findings and views expressed in this publication do not necessarily reflect the views of EXANTE. Any action taken upon the information contained in this publication is strictly at your own risk. EXANTE will not be liable for any loss or damage in connection with this publication.

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