Overnight: Fightback

The Dow closed up 41 points or 0.2% while the S&P gained 0.3% to 2163 and the Nasdaq added 0.4%.

Bashed

Well the pitchforks are certainly raised and blood is being spat. It was heartening to see respected CLSA bank analyst Brian Johnson on the ABC news last night pointing out that what may be lost on the mortgage swings of less-than-the-RBA rate cuts has been gained on the retiree roundabout of increased term deposit rates. But who’s going to listen?

Retiree enclaves don’t win elections, mortgage belts do. So we’ll overlook the retirees and just go for the politically popular with the great unwashed. Bash, bash, bash. If capitalism isn’t working, perhaps the government could re-nationalise CBA. And on the former RBA governor’s not unreasonable call to investigate bank funds management divisions, he may be proved redundant. Analysts suspect the banks will be looking to offload these divisions in their desperate attempts to meet stricter capital requirements in the low growth environment.

The 2% fall in the financials sector yesterday provided the bulk of the index plunge. We can cite several reasons for bank selling – they were bought up ahead of the rate cut, their mortgage “repricing” measures are insufficient to overcome margin pressure, European banks posted some woeful results the night before, and the pitchforks are out.

Thereafter, the biggest falls were posted by the other sectors that were heavily bought ahead of the rate cut – consumer discretionary and utilities. Lesser falls were posted elsewhere and the resource sectors proved largely resilient.

It was somewhat of a capitulation trade, and as I suggested yesterday, it’s not unhealthy ahead of reporting season proper to rebase below inflated levels that might otherwise have led to small “misses” on earnings leading to panic stock-dumping. The trend, according to the chartists, remains bullish. There may also have been some fear yesterday that Wall Street’s apparent breakdown the night before might be the start of something bigger. Last night’s trade suggests otherwise, and the local futures are looking positive this morning.

Just a Blip

On Tuesday night the S&P broke down from its lengthy 2165-75 trading range which technically seemed onerous but in summer-thin, lackadaisical Wall Street trade in which central banks provide the safety net, not fundamentally significant. Suffice to say, the S&P is back at 2163 this morning and the Dow has reversed a seven-day losing streak.

Oil had a lot to do with it, or more specifically, gasoline. The weekly US inventory numbers came out last night and showed less of a build in gasoline stocks than was feared, hence WTI crude rebounded 3.6% with a bit of help, one assumes, from short-covering.

There was also mildly positive news on the data front, with ADP’s private sector jobs report showing a better than forecast 179,000 additions. Wall Street is pencilling in 185,000 for Friday night’s non-farm payrolls. We do need to bear in mind, however, that (a) the ADP report has a poor correlation record and (b) economists have been way off the mark with their forecasts these past couple of months.

A result of 185,000 would be fair to muddling – enough to restore some hope in the US economy following the weak GDP report but not enough to reignite Fed rate hike fears. On that subject, two Fedheads last night individually suggested at least one rate hike is still possible for 2016, although one is hard pressed to find anyone on Wall Street agreeing.

But if it is another number closer to 300k than 200k, as it was in June, there could be some mild panic. The ADP number was nevertheless enough to send the US dollar index up 0.5% overnight and force some consolidation in gold, which is down five bucks.

Aside from Friday night’s US jobs report, markets are looking to tonight’s Bank of England meeting. Immediately after the surprise Brexit vote result the BoE assured a rate cut would follow if necessary, but at the subsequent scheduled meeting the BoE did nothing. The post-Brexit bounce allowed more time to assess the issue.

The governor did, nonetheless, hint a rate cut was probably still likely, and that’s what the market has priced in for tonight. Volatility may transpire if one is not forthcoming.

Commodities

West Texas crude is up US$1.43 at US$41.15/bbl.

Base metals continue to move back and forth but aren’t making any headway. Only lead posted a move in excess of 1% last night, to the downside, while the others posted gains.

Iron ore is unchanged at US$60.70/t.

Gold is down US$5.10 at US$1357.70/oz, with the US dollar index up 0.5% at 95.53.

The Aussie is down 0.2% at US$0.7588.

Today

The SPI Overnight closed up 27 points or 0.5%.

Rio Tinto (RIO) reported after the bell last night and while in the interim the media has made much of the 50% profit decline, the result met expectations.

Earnings reports are due today from Downer EDI ((DOW)), Suncorp ((SUN)) and Tabcorp ((TAH)), among others.

June retail sales numbers are out locally today and tonight the focus will be on the BoE.

Rudi will make his weekly appearance on Sky Business today, 12.30-2.30pm.

Greg Peel

About Greg Peel

Greg Peel joined Macquarie Bank in 1986 and acquired trading experience in equities, currency, fixed income and commodities derivatives, ultimately being appointed director of equity derivatives trading. He later published In With The Smart Money (a plain English guide to the mysterious world of financial markets and derivatives) and acted as a consultant to boutique investment funds. In 2004 Greg joined FNArena as a contributing writer. He is now a director and principal of the company. Greg compliments the journalistic background of the FNArena team with lengthy experience as a financial markets proprietary trader.

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