Fed sticks to its guns, Apple and Facebook earnings blowout

The Federal Reserve remains resolutely firm. Jay Powell reiterated that the central bank is not even close to talking about tapering bond purchases, a move that would begin to unwind some of the extraordinary accommodation delivered in the wake of the pandemic. The Fed chair said the US economy is still a long way from achieving the progress required to dial back stimulus – over 8m jobs are still lost and that means we need several blowout jobs reports to get there. Powell also stressed that policymakers are not worried about inflation and think any price pressures will prove temporary.  The Fed is doubling down here and sticking to its guns. Advance GDP numbers due to today should show the US economy roaring back. 


All this should be a green light for stocks, but the markets are wary right now as they tread record highs and all this stimulus is priced in and the macro outlook well understood. The US 10-year bond yield moved to test the 1.65% level. US stock markets closed marginally lower, though the small cap Russell 2000 managed to eke out a small gain. Futures point to solid gains for Wall Street later today when the cash equities open. European stock markets are largely higher in early trade today, with the FTSE 100 popping its head above 7,000 again on a raft of largely positive corporate updates.


Apple reported another stunning quarter, with sales soaring from last year and a fresh round of buybacks. The company raised the dividend by 7% to $0.22 per share and announced $90 billion in share buybacks. Apple revenues grew more than 50% year-on-year, with total sales of $89.58bn vs around $77bn expected. EPS came in at $1.40 vs $1.00 expected. At all levels, we can see Apple outperforming even the most bullish expectations. The core iPhone business saw sales up 65% to $47.94 billion vs. $41.43 billion estimated. This was stunning – the iPhone remains the golden goose and way in which consumers become part of the Apple ecosystem. Services – a higher margin business that includes things like the Cloud, App Store, Apple Music – grew revenues by 26.7%. Revenues in China rose 87% – albeit this was in comparison to a quarter last year in which China was most affected by the pandemic. Shares rose 2% in the after-hours market. A really exceptional quarter – it’s not a surprise that it exceeded quite a low bar, but noteworthy just by how much.


Facebook shares advanced 6% in after-hours trading as the company reported posted forecast-beating revenues and earnings. However, the company warned investors that growth could slow as new Apple privacy policies would make it harder to targe ads on social media. I’m fairly used to Facebook using earnings calls to warn that rates of growth could slow in future, and I think investors are too. Earnings per share came in at $3.30 vs $2.37 expected on revenues of $26.17bn, which were about $3bn more than expected and up 48% on a year before. Net income rose 94% to $9.5bn. Average revenues per user came in at $9.27 vs. $8.40 expected. 


BT confirmed it is looking to sell its TV business.  This has been a long time coming – the vast sums BT paid to secure football rights was always at odds with the core business. In a statement responding to press speculation, the company says “early discussions are being held with a number of select strategic partners, to explore ways to generate investment, strengthen our sports business, and help take it to the next stage in its growth”. Whilst clearly the pandemic has badly hit sport, BT has never set too well in the content space; there are many with deeper pockets who do content. Ballooning costs left BT paying a hefty bill for sports that wasn’t being covered. It’s further evidence of chief executive Philip Jansen ripping up the Gavin Patterson era playbook to focus squarely on the Openreach rollout and modernise BT. 


Shell raised its dividend after beating expectations thanks to higher oil prices and improved margins in its chemicals business. Adjusted net income rose 13% from a year before. Net debt fell $4bn. Meanwhile French firm Total said profits are back to pre-pandemic levels as adjusted net income hit $3bn, higher than the pre-crisis first quarter of 2019. 


Unilever shares rose over 2% as the company announced it will commence a €3bn share buyback scheme next month after a 5.7% jump in sales in the first quarter. Most (4.7%) came from higher volume, with just 1% from stronger pricing. For 2021 Unilever stuck to its target of underlying sales growth to be within 3-5%, with the first half at around the top of this range. Management also pointed to additional supply chain costs, with rising commodity and freight prices a factor as margins are seen declining a touch in the first half before picking up later in the year. Ongoing covid restrictions in some areas of the world continued to support in-home sales, whilst the slackening of restrictions in some geographies boosted out of home sales. Mayonnaise and ice cream were strong sellers. India and China both posted strong double-digit growth against a backdrop of strict lockdown measures which impacted the prior year. 


NatWest reported Q1 2021 operating profit before tax of £946 million and an attributable profit of £620 million. This was boosted by the reversal of provisions for bad loans as government support schemes reduced the amount of loan delinquency banks had anticipated. NatWest booked at net impairment credit of £102m. But shares fell as the total income was a slight miss, coming in at £2.66bn vs £2.7bn expected. Net interest margin fell 2bps to 1.64%. Shares declined more than 3% in early trade. Standard Chartered continued the run of positive news from the large banks as it recorded underlying pre-tax profit rising 18% to $1.4bn as lower impairment charges and strong cyclical recovery in the global economy offsetting lower interest margins. Return on tangible equity rose 220bps to 10.8% and management reaffirmed their view that income will start growing again in the second half of the year and for impairment charges to reduce significantly.


Smith & Nephew shares rose 6% to the top of the FTSE 100 after reporting Q1 revenue up 6.2% on an underlying basis (11.5% reported) to $1.264bn. This included 3.4% from foreign exchange and 1.9% from acquisitions, whilst the quarter also included two more trading days than the equivalent 2020 period. 

Apple earnings preview: not crunch time yet

So far it looks very much like profit margins are holding up, earnings are rising fast at most companies and earnings expectations are doing fine. Wednesday sees the big one: Apple.

Shares in Apple are up just 1.5% YTD but the stock has nevertheless enjoyed a stellar run up in the last 12 months and in the last month has rallied from a trough around $116 to $134 by Tuesday to get back close to the all-time high. The pandemic has been good for Apple but the value rotation has crimped gains this year. But this remains a go-to stock with immense potential and expectations are not too high for once, albeit with the stock trading at about 36x trailing 12-month earnings it’s looking pretty rich. Here are a few things to look out for from Wednesday’s Apple earnings.

Apple is seen reporting EPS of $1 on $77.30bn in revenues. Last quarter it blew past expectations posting all-time record revenue of $111.4 billion, up 21% year over year, and quarterly earnings per diluted share of $1.68, up 35%.

Guidance: Apple has declined to offer guidance since the pandemic struck, so investors will be keen for this to change now that the clouds of the coronavirus are lifting. The capital return programme (see below) update is usually made alongside the March quarter and so now would be a reasonable time to star offering some guidance for the coming quarters.

iPhone: Still the golden goose, but there are concerns about a softening in demand as well as lower demand in China. Demand will be decent, with about a third of the iPhone installed base up for renewal, albeit we likely see some moderation from the last quarter. Overall, the Street may underappreciate the resilience in iPhone demand from the delayed launch last year and picks up market share thanks to stimulus cheques.

Mac and iPad: Can very strong demand for home computing products like Macs and iPads hold up the pandemic abates? Whilst vaccinations are driving a lifting of lockdowns, I still see a strong demand from WFH and home education trends globally.

Ecosystem: Revenues from Services remains a central plank of the investment thesis and with a growing installed base this should continue to deliver. Last quarter Services growth reached +24% with the first quarter of Apple One subscription bundles helping to lift the category.

Returns: I think this quarter will underline just how strong the free cash flow is and investors are going to start to see more cash coming their way after a record year for sales. Apple could aggressively add to share buybacks and increase the dividend to as much as $0.90, implying a 10% increase.

Last quarter’s summary: Apple shares fell in the aftermath of its January earnings report covering the holiday quarter. Revenues hit a record $111.4bn, well ahead of forecasts and representing 21% year-on-year growth thanks to broad-based gains across its product suite. The iPhone 12 launch quarter was exceptionally strong, with sales +17% in iPhone, taking the installed base for iPhones to 1bn from 900m. Mac revenues rose 21% yoy, whilst iPad sales jumped 41%. As noted in our preview, growth in personal computer sales driven by pandemic trends such as work from/stay at home was always likely to boost Mac and iPad sales. Growth in Other Products – devices like the Apple Watch and AirPods, climbed to 29% yoy. Services growth reached +24% with the first quarter of Apple One subscription bundles helping to lift the category. The growing installed iPhone user base should further support Services growth in the coming quarters, we noted at the time. We also noted very strong international sales (now 64% of total sales vs 61% a year ago), whilst revenues from Greater China rose 57%. The confidence in Apple fiscal first quarter earnings was well justified and the slight pause in the shares reflects a little profit taking after a strong run in 2020 whilst the lack of guidance for the second quarter was a thorn. A record-breaking quarter but it should not be seen as a high watermark for Apple.


Apple Q1 2021 earnings forecast.


Apple Q1 2021 analyst sentiment.

5g stocks to watch

5g is the next stage in mobile communications. It’s about to kick off a revolutionary worldwide smartphone upgrade – and that makes 5g stocks some of the hottest picks to watch this year.

Want to invest in 5g? Check out these stocks

Barclays reports that 525 million 5g equipped smartphones will be sold in 2021, and 700m in 2020. China will the main market, other geographies like the US and Europe will be doing their part increase 5g penetration.

PCs and tablets too will soon be outfitted with this latest generation of mobile internet. It’s going to be big business. Very big business. It won’t just be smartphone manufacturers that will benefit. The entire infrastructure, from mobile networks to component and technology suppliers, will be driving the 5g economy from 2021 onwards.

The 5g stocks we’ve picked here represent that wider spectrum of firms that can potentially come away as champions for this next-generation tech. Take a look below.


Whenever there’s a revolution in technology, Apple is never far away. In many ways, it’s jumped the gun by launching the latest iteration of the iPhone, fully primed with 5g. the iPhone 12 is expected trigger an upgrade super-cycle, essentially an avalanche of smartphone shopping as consumers change up to the new model.

That’s what appears to be happening. Apple just reported its best ever single quarter with sales passing $110 billion and saw the highest number of iPhone upgrades ever too, according to CEO Tim Cook.

Wall Street expectations were blown away on the news, with AAPL EPS coming in at $1.68 – well above the projected $1.41. Q1 2021 revenues broke $100bn too. Essentially, Apple is reaping the 5g whirlwind in typical Apple fashion.

With 5g infrastructure rolling out in rapid order across Apple’s two key markets, the US and China, expect solid share performance as the upgrade cycle gains even more traction. AAPL is looking like one of the key 5g stocks to watch.

Marvell Technology Group

Without components, however, 5g is a lame duck. It’s companies like superconductor manufacturer Marvell Technology Group that are equipping smartphone and device manufacturers with the micro components they need to succeed.

Marvell has been busy on the acquisition front, picking up Inphi for a cool $10bn back in October 2020 in a move that will significantly boost its 5g capabilities. It’s also partnering with some big players to move the 5g rock along, such as Analogue Devices on multi-antenna radio units and with Samsung on multi-radio access technology.

In its latest earnings call, Marvell was reporting some good news, with CEO Matt Murphy commenting: “Overall revenue increased 13% year on year, driven by our networking business, which grew revenue 35% year on year. Strong 5G and Cloud product ramps are fuelling our ongoing success in these strategic growth markets.”

Stocks are looking healthy. MRVL has more than doubled in value in the past 12 months. Basing its expansion strategy around the 5g sphere could pay off with the continued global rollout of the mobile tech. It may be one to watch for those who want to invest in 5g.

Analog Devices

Communications forms 20% of Analog Devices revenue, and the superconductor manufacturer sees 5g as a cornerstone of its growth strategy. According to its latest earnings report, Analog Devices predicts it can expand revenues from 5g-related tech and projects 19% year-on-year going forward.

We’ve mentioned above it has partnered with Marvell to develop radio-based technologies to help empower 5g communications. Marvell is using Analog’s transceivers in a massive multiple-input, multiple-output (MIMO) radio units – critical for the functioning of 5G networks.

According to research from Allied Market Research, the global massive MIMO market might enjoy a CAGR of 35% through 2027, hitting nearly $16 billion in revenue.

Analog’s revenues dipped 6% in 2020. However, analysts forecast that, thanks to rapid worldwide 5g adoption, its revenues may be about to skyrocket, with double digit growth forecast for 2021.


QUALCOMM is a chipmaker bridging the gap between iOS and Android. Consumers can be brand snobs, but component suppliers really don’t care if there’s business to be had and a communications revolution If you know your Android tech, then you might know the vast majority of Android-powered smartphones run using QUALCOMM Snapdragon processors. Crucially, it also supplies radios in the uber-popular iPhone 12s.

Long-term, there maybe more competition in the microprocessor space QUALCOMM currently dominates. Samsung, for instance, is developing its own Snapdragon rival, while China’s Mediatek has introduced its own line of 5g mobile processors for use in low-cost smartphones.

Then there is the issue of Apple. It probably wouldn’t be that much of a surprise if the world’s most famous tech company, and pusher of proprietary technology, designed its own 5g modems once its QUALCOMM deal expires in 2025.

For short-term plays though, it may be an idea to look at QUALCOMM. The above aren’t threats to its position right now. In fact, QCOM stock enjoyed a 76% rise across the last year, and it might be able to sustain its upward trajectory across 2021.


Following its merger with Sprint, T-Mobile has been pulled ahead in the US 5g race. Putting its heft deployment capability into practice, T-Mobile claims its 5g network now covers a 1.6m square miles, providing coverage to 280m people. Its Ultra Capacity 5g, i.e. its high-speed 5g service, covers additional 106m people cities in more than 1,000 US towns and cities.

In its last quarter, T-Mobile reported record-high total additions and record post-paid net additions, passing 100m. It appears surging ahead with its desire to invest in 5g is paying off. Customers are probably responding to the fact that T-Mobile offers the fastest 5g download speeds against rival US networks too, verified by Opensignal independent testing.

TMU stock has risen alongside its 5g investment, growing 62%. It could be one of the key 5g stocks to watch in 2021, but if other competitors can step up their 5g capabilities, T-Mobile may see its position as top dog challenged.

European stocks rally, Rolls-Royce shares slide

European equity markets traded higher on Tuesday, recovering the losses of Monday’s soft session after a largely positive, though choppy, day on Wall Street. Tech stocks led by Apple dragged the broader US market higher ahead of an expected strong earnings season, whilst small caps were weaker. Asian shares traded broadly weaker overnight.

Joe Biden’s stimulus plans appear to face being watered down to appease lawmakers on the Republican side, with the president saying he’s open to narrowing eligibility for the $1,400 stimulus cheques for every American that form the centrepiece of the package. This should help the deal get through Congress, but the timing is becoming the issue – more delays on delays in the vaccine rollout are not supportive of risk appetite. Moreover, it’s becoming clear that governments are not going to lift restrictions as quickly as they might due to fears about mutations and vaccine delays.

The EU has levelled criticism at AstraZeneca over vaccine supply shortages and Brussels is tightening exports of vaccines produced in the bloc. The UK Minister for Covid Vaccine Deployment Nadhim Zahawi said on Tuesday that vaccine supplies were «tight». EU health commissioner Stella Kyriakides said the EU would «take any action required to protect its citizens».  Spats over vaccine supply and delivery take the place of fishing quotas and level playing fields, underlining the new rivalry that exists between Britain and Europe.

Despite a report indicating that global trade volumes have recovered to pre-pandemic levels, the rotation-reopening plays are unwinding. Airline shares are down another 2-3% this morning. US 10-year yields retreated to 3-week lows and the dollar is finding bid again. Gold remains steady in the range around the $1,850/oz region. The problem is that investors have loaded up pretty heavily on the re-opening bets in the wake of the vaccine announcements last November, so concerns about the pace of the rollout of vaccines, the easing of restrictions and a return to normality could see a further unwind of this trade in the near-term. As I said last week, whilst monetary policy support, pro-cyclical stimulus and vaccines create tailwinds for global markets, a 5%-10% correction in equity indices is not out of the question in Q1.

Don’t stop me now: GameStop shares went on a gamma and short squeezing rollercoaster yesterday. Shares, which had jumped 51% to $65 on Friday, opened at about $85 and then surged to $160 before closing up 18% for the day at $76. A wild ride, and there will be others like it, if the Reddit /r/wallstreetbets message board is anything to go by. After-hours trading indicates it will open up another +15% higher, but who knows where this stock is heading now.  The rally came despite a double-downgrade from Telsey Advisory Group, which slashed its rating on the stock to underperform from outperform, noting a basic disconnect between fundamentals and valuation. “The sudden, sharp surge in GameStop’s share price and valuation likely has been fuelled by a short squeeze, given the high short interest, and, to a lesser degree, speculation by retail investors on forecasts for the new gaming cycle and the involvement of activist RC Ventures,” the analyst note said.

Rolls-Royce said expected cash outflows this year would be £2bn, more than double consensus forecasts. Full-year 2020 free cash outflow was in line with previous guidance, whilst year-end liquidity stood at around £9 billion, at the upper end of the previously guided range, with £1bn cash cost savings from ‘mitigating actions’. Shares fell over 9% in early trade. Rolls has been battered by the pandemic as civil aviation activity has been smashed, but management expect to turn cash flow positive in the second half of the year as widebody flying hours pick up. The question is whether the pace of vaccine rollout and government easing of restrictions matches their expectations.

JD Sports confirmed it is looking at funding options to exploit opportunities in the retail space created by the pandemic. Following a Sky News report indicating the company is looking at a £400m share sale, the board confirmed this morning that it is exploring ‘additional funding options with a view to increasing its flexibility to invest in future strategic opportunities and that this may involve a non-pre-emptive equity placing’. Recent high street troubles have shown there are opportunities to build out scale – e.g. the recent bidding for the carcasses of Arcadia, Debenhams. Meanwhile, JD Sports has shown an appetite for deals with its recent acquisition of US retailer Shoe Palace.

Travel stocks slip on lockdown ad infinitum + Apple, Tesla earnings previews

European stock markets are a flattish, unexciting mixed bag in early trade on Monday as they continue to tread the range of the last fortnight without too much conviction. Shares in Frankfurt nudged up as London slipped a fraction. US stocks closed down on Friday after a choppy week. Asian shares were broadly higher overnight.

Democrats are hopeful of making swift progress on stimulus, but the impeachment proceedings of Donald Trump could see bipartisan support struggle. The pandemic continues to eat away at confidence – now the British government is said to be considering extending lockdown for another 3 months beyond Easter. This is to get the second dose of vaccines to all over-50s, but just extends the pain for everyone, particularly travel stocks as it’s starting to appear as though as another peak summer season will be affected by Covid restrictions. IAG, Ryanair and EasyJet declined 6-7% in early trade. It’s lockdown ad infinitum: the government continues to act as the executive branch of the NHS. I’m reminded of a Malcolm X quote, which goes something like ‘nobody can give you freedom, you take it’.

Physical stores are not included: Boohoo is acquiring the intellectual property of Debenhams for £55m. A once-mighty high street reduced to a carcass being picked over by some of the worst in fast fashion is an ignominious end. Shares in Boohoo rose over 3% in early trade with the acquisition of the Debenhams name likely to increase the retailer’s online footprint and customer base. Meanwhile, Asos shares also climbed more than 3% as it confirmed it is talks with Arcadia over the acquisition of the Topshop, Topman, Miss Selfridge and HIIT brands. Hardly a new point, but the pandemic is accelerating the collapse in the high street and massive consolidation in the sector.

Elsewhere, the dollar is on the back foot again after staging a meek rally on Friday. GBPUSD advanced beyond 1.37 again but has yet to make a dent at the 3-year highs hit last week. Gold is reasonably steady in the middle of the recent range at $1,850 with the 50-day SMA at $1,860 acting as near-term resistance after the failure to clear the 21-day SMA at $1,875 last week. Key support converges in the $1,800-$1,820 area, with a break here calling for retest of the $1,764 lows and Fib level. Bitcoin trades higher at $33k after testing lows under $29k on Friday after a horror show of a week.

Earnings season shifts into top gear this week with several large cap tech giants reporting alongside a number of Dow components. So far, Bank earnings have been positive with trading revenues and lower provisions for bad loans boosting EPS. Meanwhile, a stunning rally for Netflix shares as net subscriber additions topping estimates for the fourth quarter drove the Nasdaq to a new record. All three major indices have hit record highs off the back of a good string of earnings and hopes for a major stimulus package from Washington.   

Apple preview

Look for Apple to beat fairly low estimates with holiday spending on the new iPhone and other devices likely to support a decent Q1. Chinese demand is holding up and shares had come into earnings season a little off the Dec peaks, though they are now at fresh records on expectations of a strong quarter. Earnings per share expected at $1.40 based on 30 analyst estimates, whilst Apple seems set to deliver its first $100bn quarter in sales. Consensus revenue estimates sit at $102.6bn, which would imply 12% year-over-year growth, the fastest in two and a half years.

Q4 earnings missed expectations but we’ve got two big firsts to look at in Q1: the first full quarter of iPhone 12 sales and Apple One subscription services. The iPhone 12 launch quarter will be probably the best for a new iPhone in several years off the back of consumer interest in 5G. On the whole, I’d expect consumer discretionary income trends to be supportive with consumers in Europe, North America and elsewhere foregoing travel/experiences for tech devices.

Look for more growth in the Services division, which expanded 16% in 2020. In addition to being the first full period reflecting iPhone 12 sales, the fiscal Q1 earnings will be the first to really test the power of the Apple One bundles. Growth in personal computer sales driven by pandemic trends such as work from/stay at home is set to boost Mac and iPad sales. I’d also anticipate strength in the Wearables, Home and Accessories division due to pandemic consumer trends.

Morgan Stanley, in a note raising its price target on the stock to $152 from $144, wrote that it is adding to positions “ahead of a likely record quarter,” as it notes likely “strength across its portfolio of Products & Services”. MS expects a “strong launch quarter” for the new iPhone 12 and continued strength from work from home trends and App store engagement. Having rerated over the last two years the stock now trades more in line with tech peers at around x33 2021 earnings. Material upside for the stock now seems more earnings dependent but EPS can continue to outperform and Services revenues can continue to support the multiple expansion that has taken place.

Tesla preview

Tesla comes into its fourth quarter earnings with a lot to live up to after the stock price exploded in the last two months. Shares have more than doubled in value from ~$400 to ~$850 since November amid a colossal momentum trade that means TSLA carries a market cap of $800bn. Revenue is expected at $10.3bn with EPS estimated at $1.01. Whilst investors are increasingly confident Tesla will continue to generate profits and free cash flow is going to improve, justifying these kind of valuation multiples is tough and will depend on a lot more than vehicle sales – ongoing software subscription revenue streams – some of which are potentially 100% margin – will be key.

Earlier this month, Tesla reported Q4 deliveries hit 180,750 units, which brought 2020 total deliveries to 500k, exceeding some rather conservative estimates by analysts and hitting Elon Musk’s target. Meanwhile, reports indicated that Tesla has commenced deliveries of its locally-made Model Y crossover in China. Investors will be looking at guidance on deliveries for 2021 – current consensus envisages ~50% growth to 780,000 units. Tesla also announced an equity distribution agreement to sell up to $5bn in common stock in future through an ‘at the market’ programme. Tesla did something similar in September this latest announcement suggests the company will continue to use its high share price to raise fresh capital via low-cost equity offerings to fund growth in a kind of virtuous circle.

However, traditional OEMs are catching up. We note the recent rallies for Ford and GM as EV enthusiasm among the old-world carmakers picks up. And market share remains a problem for Tesla – its Model 3 was the fourth-best selling pure EV in Europe in November, with Renault, VW and Hyundai outstripping the company for sales in the continent. November saw a 198% rise in hybrid and pure EV registrations vs a 14% decline overall for new car registrations. But while the market is expanding, local OEMs are holding the line against Tesla despite all the hype.

US earnings Calendar

Mon 25 Jan Tue 26 Jan Wed 27 Jan Thu 28 Jan Fri 29 Jan
  3M Co (MMM) AT&T (T) Mastercard (MA) Caterpillar Inc (CAT)
  American Express (AXP) Automatic Data Processing (ADP) McDonald’s Corp (MCD) Chevron (CVX)
  General Electric (GE) Boeing (BA) Mondelez (MDLZ)  
  Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) Apple Inc (AAPL) Visa Inc (V)  
  Verizon Communications Inc (VZ) Facebook (FB)    
  Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) Tesla Inc (TSLA)    
  Microsoft Corp (MSFT)      
  Starbucks Corp (SBUX)      

Adelanto semanal: reunión de la Fed, PIB estadounidense y resultados de los gigantes tecnológicos

En la semana entrante, la Reserva Federal celebrará su primera reunión de este año, con muchas caras nuevas, pero con un improbable cambio importante en su política. También se publicará el PIB del país relativo al 4T de 2020. Según se deduce de los pronósticos, las perspectivas en torno a este dato no son unánimes, pero sí optimistas. Por último, los gigantes tecnológicos (también conocidos como «big techs») abanderarán a las empresas de gran capitalización en la nueva tanda de publicaciones de la temporada de ganancias.

Reunión y conferencia de prensa del FOMC

La primera reunión de 2021 de la Reserva Federal tendrá lugar la semana que viene marcada por los planes de mayor estímulo del recién investido presidente Joe Biden, así como por el llamamiento de la nueva Secretaria del Tesoro, Janet Yellen, para se «piense a lo grande» en cuanto a la política fiscal. La cifra a la que se calcula que ascenderá el estímulo económico adicional es de 1,9 billones de dólares, mientras EE. UU. intenta apuntalar su economía frente al continuo azote de la Covid-19.

Este mes de enero, se ha producido la rotación de votos con cuatro nuevos presidentes regionales de la Fed con derecho a voto, una rotación que podría apuntar a un sesgo más acomodaticio en 2021. En esta rotación, los presidentes Mester (conservadora), Kashkari (moderado), Kaplan y Harker (neutrales) cederán sus derechos de voto a Evans, Bostic (ambos moderados), Daly y Barkin (neutrales).

Aunque los nuevos miembros despiertan cierto interés, la Fed no virará de rumbo: su presidente, Jay Powell, dejó claro que no es el momento de hablar de reducir las compras de bonos, aunque algunos legisladores apuntan a que sí se podría abordar a finales de 2021.

Según las actas de la reunión de la Fed del pasado diciembre, los legisladores consideran que los tipos se mantendrán en el rango objetivo actual de entre el 0 y el 0,25 % hasta 2022, con una estimación a largo plazo del 2,5 %. No se prevé un aumento de los tipos este año; parece más probable que se mantenga el statu quo. Según el presidente de la Fed de Atlanta, Bostic, mucho tendría que ocurrir para que se dé ese escenario.

Existe la posibilidad de que aumenten los tipos en 2023 o, como muy pronto, en el segundo semestre de 2022. Se contemplarán tres puntos principales: la salud de las pequeñas empresas; el efecto de los programas de préstamos de la Fed —la mayoría de los cuales se cerraron a finales de 2020—; y las pérdidas de puestos de trabajo temporales frente a los fijos. No obstante, por encima de estos aspectos prevalecerá la respuesta continuada ante la pandemia de Covid-19.

A día de hoy, parece que la Fed fundamentalmente seguirá el mismo rumbo y se comprometerá a seguir la política promulgada durante 2020.

Publicación de los últimos datos del PIB estadounidense

Al igual que la práctica totalidad de las economías desarrolladas de todo el mundo, la pandemia de Covid-19 ha vapuleado a EE. UU. El próximo jueves, conoceremos la lectura previa de las estadísticas del PIB del 4T y el panorama es, cuando menos, caótico: hay tantas valoraciones del PIB como modelos de predicción.

Según el modelo de predicción GDPNow de la Fed de Atlanta, en su publicación del 15 de enero, el crecimiento anualizado del PIB es del 7,4 % en el 4T, aunque este dato surgió tras la revisión a la baja de la previsión del 8,7 % del 8 de enero. El modelo Nowcast de la Fed de Nueva York apunta a un crecimiento del 2,5 %.

El crecimiento del PIB dependerá por completo de qué sectores económicos puedan recuperarse antes. El Departamento de Comercio de EE. UU. declaró recientemente que el consumo privado —el principal motor económico del país— se había revisado ligeramente al alza, junto con las inversiones en capital fijo de las empresas. Sin embargo, estos datos se vieron atenuados por la caída de las exportaciones. El sector servicios —que acumula el 61 % del consumo privado— se contrajo un 17 % interanual en el 3T de 2020, ¿se recuperará? Lo sabremos con el tiempo.

Temporada de ganancias: Apple, Microsoft y Facebook abanderan las empresas de gran capitalización

La temporada de ganancias continúa en Wall Street. Esta semana, los protagonistas son los gigantes tecnológicos. Según parece, estas empresas no cesan de crecer, ya que los confinamientos han ayudado al sector. ¿Los resultados confirmarán este escenario?

Este podría ser el primer trimestre de los 100 000 millones de dólares para Apple, con el BPA del consenso aumentando un 12 % interanual hasta los 1,40 $. La temporada de compras navideñas entra de lleno en el periodo del informe de resultados del 1T de Apple y, con una multitud de iPhone 12 en el mercado —suficiente para justificar el aumento del 30 % en la producción este trimestre—, los indicadores que apuntan a unos extraordinarios beneficios de los gigantes tecnológicos de California son bastante sólidos.

Microsoft se ha erigido como ganador: si usted trabaja desde casa, es probable que haya tenido que lidiar con Microsoft Teams, actualmente el software de comunicación de facto preferido por empresas de todo el mundo.

Las soluciones de informática en la nube están ayudando a Microsoft a alcanzar ingresos trimestrales históricos. Gracias a la mayor consolidación de productos como Azure, GitHub, SQL Server o Windows Server, los servicios comerciales en la nube han generado un 31 % más de ingresos interanuales en el último trimestre, alcanzando los 15 200 millones de dólares. Si además tenemos en cuenta el resto de su software orientado a la productividad (a saber, Office, Teams, etc.), probablemente los ingresos de Microsoft asciendan a los 40 200 millones de dólares en el 1T de 2021.

La reputación de Facebook se ha visto ligeramente mermada en los últimos meses. La difusión de fake news y discursos de odio en la plataforma es una de las principales quejas que se han elevado a la empresa.

A pesar de ello, Facebook afirmó que el número de usuarios activos diarios creció un 12 % en el último trimestre hasta los 1820 millones, mientras que los mensuales aumentaron en la misma proporción hasta los 2740 millones, o lo que es lo mismo, poco más de una cuarta parte de la población mundial. Asimismo, los ingresos de publicidad han repuntado un 22 % interanual, aun con el boicot por parte de un millar de importantes anunciantes que sufrió la empresa.

A continuación, encontrará toda la información acerca de los resultados de las empresas de gran capitalización que se publican esta semana.

Major Economic Data 

Date  Time (GMT)  Currency  Event 
Mon Jan 25       
Tue Jan 26  7.00am  GBP  Unemployment Claims 
  3.00pm  USD  CB Consumer Confidence 
Wed Jan 27  12.30am  AUD  CPI q/q 
  3.30pm  USD  US Crude Oil Inventories 
  7.00pm  USD  FOMC Statement 
  7.00pm  USD  Federal Funds Rate 
  7.30pm  USD  FOMC Press Conference 
Thu Jan 28  1.30pm  USD  Advanced GDP q/q 
  1.30pm  USD  Advanced GDP Price Index q/q 
  3.00pm  USD  CB Leading Index m/m 
  3.30pm  USD  US Natural Gas Inventories 
Fri Jan 29  8.00pm  CHF  KOF Economic Barometer 
  1.30pm  CAD  GDP m/m 
  2.45pm  USD  Chicago PMI 
  3.00pm  USD  Pending Home Sales m/m 


Key Earnings Data 

Date  Company 
Mon 25 Jan  NIDEC  
  Graco Inc. 
  Brown & Brown 
  Equity Lifestyle Properties 
Tue 26 Jan  Microsoft 
  Johnson & Johnson 
  NextEra Energy 
  Texas Instruments 
  United Technologies 
  American Express 
  General Electric 
  Lockheed Martin 
  Canadian National Railway Co. 
  Capital One 
  Rockwell Automation 
  D.R. Horton 
  Maxim Integrated Products 
  LG Household & Health Care 
  Boston Properties 
  Nitto Denko Corp. 
  Metro Inc. 
  C.H. Robinson 
  Disco Corp. 
  F5 Networks 
  W.R. Berkley 
Wed 27 Jan  Apple 
  Abbott Laboratories 
  Lam Research 
  Shin-Etsu Chemical Co. 
  Automatic Data Processing Inc. 
  Crown Castle 
  Norfolk Southern Corp. 
  Edward Lifesciences Corp. 
  Lonza AG 
  General Dynamics 
  TE Connectivity Ltd 
  Las Vegas Sands Corp. 
  Amphenol Corp. 
  ITC Ltd. 
  Xilinx Inc. 
  V.F Corp 
  Corning Inc. 
  Axis Bank 
  Ameriprise Financial Inc. 
  Hormel Foods Corp. 
  Nasdaq Inc. 
  Nomura Research Institute 
  Essity AB 
  Cheil Industries 
  MarketAxess Holdings 
  United Rentals 
  Rollins Inc. 
  PTC Inc 
  Duke Realty 
  Teledyne Technologies 
  Raymond James Financial 
  Cree Inc. 
  Packaging Corp. of America 
  MKS Instruments 
  Hess Corp. 
Thu 28 Jan  Samsung 
  Air Products & Chemicals 
  Northrop Grumman 
  Walgreens Boots Alliance 
  T. Rowe 
  Xcel Energy 
  Stanley Black & Decker 
  Southwest Airlines 
  Skyworks Solutions 
  McCormick & Co. 
  Rogers Communications 
  Arthur J. Gallagher & Co. 
  Dover Corp. 
  Western Digital 
  Celanese Corp. 
  NVR Inc. 
  WestRock Co. 
Fri 29 Jan  Eli Lilly 
  Charter Communications 
  SK Hynix 
  Atlas Copco 
  Johnson Controls 
  Phillips 66 
  Simon Property Group 
  Astellas Pharmacy 
  Simens Gamsea 
  LG Electronics 
  Synchrony Financial 
  Church & Dwight Co. 
  Sun Pharmaceutical 
  SG Holdings 
  Svenska Cellulosa AB 
  Booz Allen Hamilton 




Big tech weighs, Natwest rounds off solid quarter for UK banks

European shares once again fell and then tried to come off the flatline in early trade on Friday after another down day in the previous session, but the mood is pessimistic.

The FTSE 100 is trading above 5,500 but with little support under 5,400 we could yet see a retest of the March lows at 5,000-4,800.

Wall Street rallied as the bulls put in a solid defence with the S&P 500 recovering 3,300. Big tech earnings beat expectations yet shares fell after hours and this weighed on the futures, which are pointing to a weak open for the US market. Bear in mind also month-end flows which are helping muddy the waters.

The US dollar surged with US yields moving higher yesterday. DXY advanced to near-term resistance at the top of the October range at 94. WTI (Dec) sank amid the broad risk-off tone yesterday and demand fears were to the fore.

US jobless claims fell and GDP in the world’s largest economy rebounded a little more than expected in the third quarter, but none of this matters much since the market is entirely focused on the spread of new cases and lockdown measures.

The annualized 33.1% bounce in the third quarter masks the fact the economy is 15% smaller than it was before the pandemic hit. The pace of the recovery is slowing in the fourth quarter albeit it remains on a sure enough footing compared to Europe (lockdowns to blame there), whilst the glow from the $600-a-week stimulus cheques (which stopped at the end of July) is dimming quickly. And whilst we believe new stimulus measures are coming over the hill, the longer the delay the tougher it becomes for Main Street.

The European Central Bank (ECB) didn’t do anything but sounded more dovish and signalled it is ready to act in December by pumping up its emergency quantitative easing programme.

In fact, there was overall a surprisingly strong pre-commitment to taking additional easing measures in December. It’s all but a down deal now that France and Germany have locked down and the economy is heading for another recession.

The euro fell, weighed down by the dollar’s advance but also because of the ECB’s stance. Christine Lagarde said staff were working on recalibrating all instruments, which means even interest rates could be cut further in addition to expanding QE envelopes.

EURUSD dropped to take a 1.16 handle but found support at the 100-day SMA at 1.1650. Cable traded weaker, briefly taking a 1.28 handle but caught some bid around the 1.29 level to steady the ship. 100-day SMA at 1.2877 offers the near-term support under here.

More upbeat numbers from the high street banks with Natwest this morning reporting Q3 operating profit more than twice market estimates at £355m vs ~£130m expected.

Impairments were half the market expectations at £254m vs over £550m expected. CET1 very strong at 18.2%, net interest margin down 2bps to 1.65%. A good set of numbers to round off a strong performance by the UK banks but doubts remain about a potential increase in impairments down the road, weak economic growth in the UK, Brexit challenges, and the threat of negative rates eating away at margins.

Big tech reported earnings that showed its resilience to the virus but also betrayed just how richly priced these stocks are in the wake of the pandemic. With the exception of Google parent Alphabet, shares fell across the board after hours, which weighed on US futures overnight.

Alphabet shares rose over 6% in after-hours trading as earnings indicated a bounce back in the search business. EPS of $16.40 beat the $11.29 expected, on revenues of $46.17bn. Advertising revenue rose to $37.10bn, compared to $33.80 bn in the year-ago quarter. YouTube +32% was notably strong. Alphabet will start breaking out its cloud earnings performance from the next quarter.

Amazon posted a blowout third quarter of revenue growth and is poised to capitalise on a record Christmas shopping season. Net income rose to $6.3bn vs $2.1bn in the same quarter a year before despite spending significant amounts on coping with the virus.

In total, Amazon has incurred more than $7.5bn in incremental Covid-related costs in the first three quarters of 2020, and expects to incur approximately $4bn in Q4, CFO Brian Olsavsky said. AWS net sales rose 29% to $11.bn. Shars slipped almost 2% in the after-hours market.

Facebook shares fell 3% after-market as it posted a decline in North American users and signalled more uncertainty ahead. Revenue +22% to $21.47bn was a beat to expectations, whilst net income was +29% to $7.85bn. Whilst the shift offline to online among business and retail is a powerful tailwind for the advertising earnings, shares priced for lots of growth are just as sensitive to user numbers and the drop in core US/Canada users is a concern.

Similarly, Twitter shares got whacked after hours as it too posted a disappointing user growth story. Revenues rose 14% to $936m in the quarter, but the +1m gain on daily active users to 187m was short of the 195m expected.

Finally, Apple shares fell 5% after hours as a 20% decline in iPhone revenues weighed on the stock, whilst the lack of any guidance for 2021 was taken as a negative.

Whilst Mac and iPad sales rose strongly over the company’s fiscal fourth quarter, it was not enough to offset the drop in iPhone sales. However, with the quarter covering the period immediately before the launch of the iPhone 12, we would think that weakness in iPhones will prove fleeting.

Mac revenues +28% to $9bn and iPad sales +46% to $6.8bn partially offset iPhone’s –20.7% to $26.44bn. EPS of $0.73 beat the $0.70 expected, whilst overall group revenues rose 1%. Services continues to do well, with revenues +16.3% to $14.55bn.

Uncertainty around the virus means Apple continues to not offer guidance, however Tim Cook said he was optimistic about the iPhone 12 and is ‘confident’ Apple will grow in Q1 2021. Ecosystem is still the biggest draw and should support the multiple expansion.

Adelanto semanal: los resultados de los gigantes tecnológicos impulsarán la volatilidad antes de las elecciones

Todo apunta a que esta semana reinará la volatilidad en los mercados estadounidenses, ya que estamos en plena temporada de ganancias en Wall Street, esta vez, con las publicaciones de los gigantes tecnológicos. Apple, Amazon, Microsoft, Alphabet y Facebook se encuentran entre las empresas más importantes en anunciar sus datos trimestrales. Por su parte, los bancos centrales estarán muy activos: el Banco de Japón, el Banco de Canadá y el Banco Central Europeo celebrarán reuniones para debatir las políticas. Además, como no podía ser de otra forma, contaremos los días que quedan para las elecciones presidenciales de EE. UU. de noviembre, con todas las miradas puestas en el VIX.

Resultados de los gigantes tecnológicos

Estamos ante la semana grande de los beneficios corporativos y la atención sin duda se centrará en las FAANG, puesto que Apple (AAPL), Amazon (AMZN), Alphabet (GOOGL) y Facebook (FB) presentarán sus datos trimestrales este jueves. Estos resultados se publican con el escrutinio de los gigantes tecnológicos, dado que el Departamento de Justicia de EE. UU. inició un procedimiento por incumplimiento de las normas de defensa de la competencia contra la matriz de Google, Alphabet. Dicho procedimiento se centra en acuerdos que la empresa celebró con fabricantes de teléfonos y operadores para ser el motor de búsqueda predeterminado de nuevos dispositivos. Aunque, de momento, los inversores se muestran indiferentes, los beneficios bien pueden impulsar aún más la volatilidad en las acciones de la empresa.

Entretanto, se teme que este procedimiento judicial pueda obstaculizar la actividad de servicios de Apple. Según el Departamento de Justicia, Apple obtiene entre 8000 y 12 000 millones de euros de Google, lo que equivaldría a entre el 17 % y el 26 % de los ingresos de Apple procedentes de la actividad de servicios el año pasado. Recientemente, Apple lanzó el iPhone 12, pero, cada vez más, los mayores múltiplos de las acciones se deben a los ingresos de servicios y al ecosistema. No obstante, los analistas se mantienen optimistas con respecto a estos gigantes tecnológicos, que también permanecen como los principales ganadores hasta la fecha. El martes Microsoft publicará sus resultados, al igual que docenas de empresas de gran capitalización a lo largo de los próximos días.


Con el euro ganando de nuevo terreno frente al dólar estadounidense, la atención de los mercados de divisas se centrará en la reunión del Banco Central Europeo (BCE) del jueves. Los mercados apuestan cada vez más por que el BCE aplique más medidas expansivas en un intento por impulsar el titubeante crecimiento económico y el estancamiento de los precios. La zona del euro entró en septiembre en su segundo mes de deflación con la imposición de más confinamientos en todo el bloque europeo. Por lo tanto, es evidente que los riesgos con respecto a las perspectivas económicas se han deteriorado desde la última reunión. La amenaza de una doble recesión es real: Christine Lagarde sentenció recientemente que el resurgimiento del virus representa un claro riesgo para la economía. Dadas las aciagas perspectivas y el atroz escenario de inflación, todo apunta a que el BCE ampliará su programa de compra de bonos en otros 500 000 millones de euros en diciembre.

Para tantear el ambiente en el BCE, el gobernador del banco central austriaco, Robert Holzmann, —que, por lo general, mantiene una postura conservadora— afirmó hace unos días: «Unas medidas de confinamiento más estrictas, amplias o duraderas probablemente requieran más medidas acomodaticias fiscales y monetarias a corto plazo».

Por su parte, el Banco de Japón y el Banco de Canadá también celebrarán reuniones esta semana.

Datos económicos

Los datos preliminares del crecimiento del PIB estadounidense en el tercer trimestre serán el punto álgido de la semana, ya que los mercados buscan pistas para averiguar cuál será el ritmo y la sostenibilidad de la recuperación. Se prevé que la economía de la región crezca un 30 % con la reapertura de los negocios tras los confinamientos. Según las proyecciones de la Fed de Atlanta, la economía habrá experimentado un crecimiento trimestral del 35 %; sin embargo, esta previsión oculta el verdadero daño, ya que esta expansión procede de una caída del 31 % en el 2T. Las cifras del PIB llegan en un momento idóneo para Donald Trump, ya que podrá pregonar que la economía está en su mejor momento.

Las elecciones en el punto de mira

La recta final: los datos de las encuestas podrían mantenerse como hasta ahora; el número de votantes indecisos ha sido reducido. Biden mantiene una importante ventaja a nivel nacional. Sin embargo, en los campos de batalla decisivos en los que se determinará el resultado, esta ventaja es menor. El 2 de noviembre celebraremos un evento especial previo a las elecciones en directo para analizar la posible reacción de los mercados.

Principales datos económicos de esta semana

Acceda al calendario económico en la plataforma para consultar la lista completa de eventos.

Date  Event 
Oct 26th  German Ifo business climate 
Oct 26th  UK Nationwide house price index 
Oct 26th  US new home sales  
Oct 26th  SNB Chairman Jordan speaks 
Oct 27th  BoJ core CPI 
Oct 27th  US durable goods, core durable goods 
Oct 27th  US CB consumer confidence 
Oct 28th  Australia CPI inflation 
Oct 28th  Bank of Canada rate decision 
Oct 28th  EIA crude oil inventories 
Oct 28th  FOMC member Kaplan speaks 
Oct 29th  Bank of Japan policy statement & economic outlook 
Oct 29th  German preliminary CPI inflation 
Oct 29th  UK mortgage approvals & lending figures 
Oct 29th  US advanced GDP – Q3 
Oct 29th  US weekly jobless claims 
Oct 29th  ECB policy decision & press conference 
Oct 29th  US pending home sales 
Oct 29th  US natural gas storage 
Oct 30th  Tokyo core CPI 
Oct 30th  Japan industrial production 
Oct 30th  French flash GDP 
Oct 30th  German preliminary GDP 
Oct 30th  Eurozone CPI flash estimates 
Oct 30th  Canada GDP 
Oct 30th  US personal spending & core PCE price index 
Oct 30th  Chicago PMI 
Oct 30th  UoM consumer sentiment 


Principales informes de resultados de esta semana

No se pierda nuestra Serie especial diaria de la temporada de ganancias en XRay para tener toda la información.

Date  Company  Event 
26-Oct  SAP SE  Q3 2020 Earnings 
27-Oct  Microsoft Corp.  Q1 2021 Earnings 
27-Oct  Pfizer Inc.  Q3 2020 Earnings 
27-Oct  Ping An Insurance Co.  Q3 2020 Earnings 
27-Oct  Merck Co.  Q3 2020 Earnings 
27-Oct  Novartis AG  Q3 2020 Earnings 
27-Oct  Eli Lilly and Co.  Q3 2020 Earnings 
27-Oct  3M Co.  Q3 2020 Earnings 
27-Oct  AMD (Advanced Micro Devices) Inc.  Q3 2020 Earnings 
27-Oct  Caterpillar Inc.  Q3 2020 Earnings 
27-Oct  HSBC Holdings plc  Q3 2020 Earnings 
27-Oct  S&P Global Inc  Q3 2020 Earnings 
27-Oct  BP plc   Q3 2020 Earnings 
28-Oct  Visa Inc.  Q4 2020 Earnings 
28-Oct  MasterCard Inc.  Q3 2020 Earnings 
28-Oct  United Parcel Service Inc. (UPS)  Q3 2020 Earnings 
28-Oct  Amgen Inc.  Q3 2020 Earnings 
28-Oct  ServiceNow Inc  Q3 2020 Earnings 
28-Oct  Boeing Co.  Q3 2020 Earnings 
28-Oct  Sony Corp.  Q2 2020 Earnings 
28-Oct  GlaxoSmithKline plc (GSK)  Q3 2020 Earnings 
28-Oct  Gilead Sciences Inc.  Q3 2020 Earnings 
28-Oct  Anthem Inc.  Q3 2020 Earnings 
28-Oct  Equinix Inc  Q3 2020 Earnings 
29-Oct  Apple Inc.  Q4 2020 Earnings 
29-Oct  Amazon  Q3 2020 Earnings 
29-Oct  Alphabet  Q3 2020 Earnings 
29-Oct  Facebook Inc.  Q3 2020 Earnings 
29-Oct  Samsung  Q3 2020 Earnings 
29-Oct  China Life Insurance Co Ltd (A)  Q3 2020 Earnings 
29-Oct  Comcast Corp. (Class A)  Q3 2020 Earnings 
29-Oct  Shopify Inc (A)  Q3 2020 Earnings 
29-Oct  Sanofi S.A.  Q3 2020 Earnings 
29-Oct  AB InBev SA-NV (Anheuser-Busch InBev)  Q3 2020 Earnings 
29-Oct  American Tower Corp.  Q3 2020 Earnings 
29-Oct  Starbucks Corp.  Q4 2020 Earnings 
29-Oct  Shell (Royal Dutch Shell)  Q3 2020 Earnings 
29-Oct  Volkswagen (VW) St.  Q3 2020 Earnings 
29-Oct  Stryker Corp.  Q3 2020 Earnings 
29-Oct  China Petroleum & Chemical (Sinopec) (A)  Q3 2020 Earnings 
29-Oct  China Life Insurance Co. Ltd.  Q3 2020 Earnings 
30-Oct  China Construction Bank Corp.  Q3 2020 Earnings 
30-Oct  AbbVie Inc  Q3 2020 Earnings 
30-Oct  ExxonMobil Corp. (Exxon Mobil)  Q3 2020 Earnings 
30-Oct  Chevron Corp.  Q3 2020 Earnings 
30-Oct  Honeywell  Q3 2020 Earnings 
30-Oct  PetroChina Co Ltd (A)  Q3 2020 Earnings 
30-Oct  Postal Savings Bank of China Registered Shs -A-  Q3 2020 Earnings 
30-Oct  TOTAL S.A.  Q3 2020 Earnings 
30-Oct  AUDI AG  Q3 2020 Earnings 
30-Oct  Altria Inc.  Q3 2020 Earnings 
30-Oct  Colgate-Palmolive Co.  Q3 2020 Earnings 
31-Oct  Berkshire Hathaway Inc.  Q3 2020 Earnings 
31-Oct  Industrial and Commercial Bank of China Ltd (A)  Q3 2020 Earnings 
31-Oct  Industrial & Commercial Bank of China Ltd.  Q3 2020 Earnings 
31-Oct  China Merchants Bank Co Ltd.  Q3 2020 Earnings 
31-Oct  Bank of China Ltd  Q3 2020 Earnings 


Nikola shares tumble (again)

Volume leaders today include Apple as normal, as well as Peloton after a blow-out earnings report – EPS of $0.27 almost treble the street consensus of $0.10 indicating the stay-at-home Covid trend is playing out well for the brand. A new cheaper version of its bike should help, too. Apple shares were flat, with Peloton up just +1%, well below its highs.

Hidenburg Research slams Nikola, shares tumble

Nikola shares fell about 15% on high volumes after the Hindenburg Research article. Whilst shares had fallen yesterday following publication, it seems investors have taken fright at the lack of any detailed refutation by Nikola.

A statement today from the company only said the allegations are not accurate and described the report as a ‘hit job’. If it is a hit job, it’s been a very well timed one with the stock having jumped only a couple of days prior on the tie-up with GM. But the lack of detail from the company so far has left investors unimpressed.

Without being able to comment on the details of the report, short attacks can and do happen, and more often than often there is rarely smoke without fire.

Equities move higher into the weekend

Elsewhere, the S&P 500 ticked higher after testing yesterday’s cash close at 3,339, with the 50-day line offering further support untested at 3,321.90. Yesterday’s tap on the 21-day SMA at 3,425 looks a long way off. Nasdaq also higher as risk is catching some bid into the weekend.

European equity markets are closing the day out with some decent weekly gains in the bag. Overall we have seen a real divergence between the US and Europe this week with equity markets this side of the pond doing better. Partly that is down to the rotation out of tech, but also we need to be aware of election risk that will play an increasing role in driving sentiment over the next month and a half.

Crude oil found some bid as the risk sentiment improved as the US session progressed.

Listening to the usual talking heads it seems there is more appetite for value after the three-day tech rout saw the penny drop for many that valuations had gotten out of hand. Let’s see how that goes with Ocado and Next on stage next week.

Brexit headline risk keeps pressure on GBPUSD

In FX, DXY ran out of gas at 93.38 as it tries to make another stab at the top of the descending wedge. GBPUSD tried three times to break below 1.2770 today but the level has just about held for now – sterling remains exposed to Brexit headline risks and bulls may be thin on the ground.

Post fix it looks pretty meek and liable to further downside into the weekend with UK-EU trade talks next week in focus. The current consolidation range looks pretty bearish and flaggy but we should always caution that sellers can get exhausted into the weekend just much as buyers can and there may be some profits being taken.

FTSE lags as dollar continues to drop

Back to school: the unruly mob are back. But that is enough about MPs going back to work – children start the autumn term this week and the furlough scheme starts to unwind with the government reducing its contribution to employees’ wages to 70% in September.

Furlough forever is simply not an option – zombie staff, zombie businesses. But it means unemployment is surely set to rise – and consumer confidence always follows. The chancellor is floating a tax raid – better to monetize the debt surely?

Stocks soft after strong August

Stocks were a tad weaker on Monday, but August was a great month. The MSCI World index rose 6.6% and the S&P rallied over 7% to record their best August since 1986. The Nasdaq rose 10%. August is usually a poor month for stocks.

Tuesday morning saw a firm bounce for the major European bourses, though the FTSE 100 lagged as it played catchup following the bank holiday. A stronger sterling is also dragging on the big dollar earners. AstraZeneca has started large-scale human trials of its coronavirus candidate vaccine in the US.

The Federal Reserve has put a floor under markets and a ceiling on rates, delivering conditions where stocks can only float higher. We call this TINA – There Is No Alternative. It’s not sustainable of course, but it won’t stop the Fed and other central banks continuing to inflate the bubble. The Fed’s policy shift on inflation has marked a important change for the central bank and it may be followed by the ECB and others.

Vix futures – the so-called ‘fear gauge’ are telling another story. These have started to grind higher despite stocks rallying, which raises a warning about the future path of the market. As previously mentioned, volatility should rise as the election approaches and the races proves far tighter than it currently looks. In summary, the options market is sending a signal that the stock market is not.

Strong China manufacturing PMI lifts sentiment, despite soft readings from France, Spain

Sentiment this morning is helped by data showing Chinese factory activity rose at the fastest pace since 2011. French and Spanish manufacturing PMIs softened, dropping under 50 to signal contraction, while Italy’s was a little better than expected at 53.1.

Some of the moves in US shares are striking. Apple rose over 3% to $129 after splitting, whilst Tesla shares rocketed 13% on its busiest day ever. Stock splits shouldn’t make a difference, except this time they have. Tesla is up 74% for the month.

Zoom races higher after smashing earnings forecasts

Zoom rose almost 23% in after-hours trade after it reported a 355% rise in revenues to $663.5m for the July quarter, smashing forecasts for around $500m. Zoom has proved to be a Covid winner of epic proportions – but shouldn’t we all be going back to the office by now? The UK significantly lags Europe and others in ‘getting back to work’ statistics – this has a huge implication for productivity and for the wider economy.

The dollar continues to soften and trying to guess the bottom is akin to catching a falling knife. The dollar index sank to fresh two-year lows in the wake of the Fed’s inflation shift. Perennial dollar bulls have been caught off guard with the unwind, however the Fed’s recent shift on inflation targeting only underlines that bears called this early.

More inflation and a central bank prepared to let it happen should reduce the purchasing power of the dollar and therefore it ought to weaken. However, with the buck usually a safe harbour, it shouldn’t soften too much more.

The pound was up, with GBPUSD pressing on the post-election euphoria high of last December a little above 1.34. There are Brexit risks ahead – talks recommence next week – but for the moment the major driver of this is the dollar’s weakness. Gold futures rose to $2,000/oz as the weaker dollar lifted commodity markets and US real rates – 10-year TIPS – have sunk again as inflation expectations rise.


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Share Dealing in the Markets Group is only offered by Safecap Investments Limited regulated by CySEC under license number 092/08. We are now re-directing you to Safecap’s website.


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