Volgende week: Cijferseizoen Q3 barst los

Op Wall Street zal het bruisen met winstverslagen wanneer het cijferseizoen voor Q3 deze week in alle ernst van start gaat. Qua macro-economische data verwachten we de nieuwe Amerikaanse CPI en de notulen van de laatste FOMC-vergadering van de Fed.

Amerikaanse CPI duidt ontwikkeling inflatie

We beginnen met woensdag het rapport over de consumentenprijsindex (CPI), dat de inflatie in de VS meet.

Na de bekendmaking in september van de cijfers van augustus, houden Jerome Powell en zijn collega’s vast aan hun script: dat al die hoge inflatie gewoon van tijdelijke aard is. Zullen de cijfers van woensdag dit onderschrijven?

Ter context: afgaande op de CPI die in september werd gepubliceerd, leek het dat de inflatie in augustus was afgekoeld. De onderliggende prijzen stegen in het laagste tempo in zes maanden. De CPI steeg in totaal met 0,3 procentpunt, na in juli al met 0,5 procentpunt te zijn gestegen. In de twaalf maanden voorafgaand aan augustus bedroeg de CPI 5,3 procent, terwijl er in juli sprake was van 5,4 procent op jaarbasis.

Een aantal bestuursleden van de Fed maakt zich echter geen zorgen.

“Ik ben ervan overtuigd dat dit te hoge prijzen zijn en dat ze zullen dalen naarmate de knelpunten in de toeleveringsketens worden aangepakt,” verklaarde Charles Evans, voorzitter van de Fed in Chicago, tegenover CNBC. “Ik denk dat dit zeker langer kan duren dan we verwachtten, absoluut, daar twijfel ik niet aan. Maar ik denk ook dat het verder stijgen van deze prijzen onwaarschijnlijk is.”

De brandstofprijs blijft echter records breken. Olie en aardgas noteerden vorige week nieuwe toppen. Hogere olieprijzen wijzen doorgaans op hogere invoer- en transportkosten in diverse sectoren, die dit vervolgens op de consument kunnen verhalen – met over de hele linie hogere prijzen tot gevolg. Dat gezegd hebbende, is het mogelijk dat de hoge energiekosten en de gevolgen daarvan pas duidelijker worden in de CPI-resultaten van volgende maand, nog niet in die van woensdag.

FOMC-notulen bieden inzicht in gedachtegang Fed

Woensdag worden ook de notulen van de FOMC-vergadering van september gepubliceerd.

Het is inmiddels een bekend verhaal: de rente blijft laag, afbouw van steunprogramma’s komt binnenkort.

Toch weten we ook dat sommige van de meer opportunistische Fed-leden voor eerder dan verwachte renteverhogingen willen kiezen. De verwachting is dat de rentes volgend jaar worden verhoogd.

Voorzitter Powell waarschuwde eveneens voor de gevaren van het niet verhogen van het Amerikaanse schuldplafond. Minister van Financiën Janet Yellen waarschuwde eind vorige maand dat de Amerikaanse overheid zonder geld zal komen te zitten als er geen actie wordt ondernomen.

In gebreke blijven bij het afbetalen van schulden zou “aanzienlijke schade” toebrengen aan de Amerikaanse economie, aldus Powell. President Biden heeft al gezegd dat het goed mogelijk is dat het schuldplafond wordt verhoogd en de crisis wordt afgewend.

Het grote macro-economische thema is echter de afbouw van het obligatie-opkoopprogramma. Men gaat ervan uit dat de Fed stap voor stap het programma zal afbouwen, tot het eind 2022 volledig is stopgezet.

Het is een goed teken dat de VS hoopt op een snelle terugkeer naar economische normaliteit. De dreiging van nieuwe COVID-19-varianten is echter reëel. Laten we hopen dat er geen volgende besmettingsgolven en bijbehorende lockdowns zullen zijn in 2022, anders zal de Fed weer achter de feiten aanlopen.

Het cijferseizoen gaat weer van start

Tijd om weer naar Wall Street te gaan. De bedrijfsresultaten van de mega caps voor het derde kwartaal zullen het spits afbijten.

Zoals altijd beginnen we met de grootste investeringsbanken, die voor Q2 al bizarre groeicijfers rapporteerden. Kan het momentum worden vastgehouden? Onder andere JPMorgan, Wells Fargo, Citigroup en Goldman Sachs komen deze week aan bod; JPMorgan is woensdag de eerste.

Hoewel verwacht wordt dat de groei vergeleken met Q2 zal zijn afgenomen, is de hoop nog steeds dat Q3 een goed kwartaal was. De Amerikaanse financiële-cijferaanbieder FactSet voorspelt dat S&P500-bedrijven in het derde kwartaal een winstgroei van 27,6 procent zullen boeken: de op twee na hoogste winstgroei op jaarbasis die de index sinds 2010 heeft gerapporteerd.

Daarentegen moeten we de impact van wereldwijde toeleveringsproblemen niet vergeten. Hier was al sprake van in de eerste helft van het jaar, maar de verder toegenomen prijs van grondstoffen en energie zou de cijfers kunnen drukken.

Bedrijven zoals Apple hebben eerder al gewaarschuwd dat de groei aan het einde van het jaar zal vertragen. We zijn benieuwd.

Blijf up-to-date met onze Amerikaanse cijferseizoenkalender en weet welke mega caps er met resultaten komen, zodat u op het juiste moment posities kunt innemen. Daarnaast vindt u hieronder een voorproefje van de bedrijven die deze week met cijfers komen.

Belangrijke economische data

Date  Time (GMT+1  Asset  Event 
Tue Oct-12  10:00am  EUR  ZEW Economic Sentiment 
  10:00am  EUR  German ZEW Economic Sentiment 
  3:00pm  USD  JOLTS Job Openings 
       
  6:01pm  USD  10-y Bond Auction 
Wed Oct-13  1:30pm  USD  CPI m/m 
  1:30pm  USD  Core CPI m/m 
  6:01pm  USD  30-y Bond Auction 
  7:00pm  USD  FOMC Meeting Minutes 
       
Thu Oct-14  1:30am  AUD  Employment Change 
  1:30am  AUD  Unemployment Rate 
  1:30pm  USD  PPI m/m 
  1:30pm  USD  Core PPI m/m 
  1:30pm  USD  Unemployment Claims 
  4:00pm  USD  Crude Oil Inventories 
       
Fri Oct-15  1:30pm  USD  Core Retail Sales m/m 
  1:30pm  USD  Retail Sales m/m 
  1:30pm  USD  Empire State Manufacturing Index 
  3:00pm  USD  Prelim UoM Consumer Sentiment 
  Tentative  USD  Treasury Currency Report 

 

Key earnings data 

Wed 13 Oct  Thu 14 Oct  Fri 15 Oct 
JPMorgan Chase & Co (JPM) PMO  Bank of America Corp (BAC) PMO  Goldman Sachs Group Inc (GS) PMO 
     
Wells Fargo & Co (WFC) E  Citigroup Inc (C) PMO  Goldman Sachs Group Inc (GS) PMO 
     
  Morgan Stanley (MS) PMO   

 

Fed waits

The Federal Reserve is playing for time – more certainty from Washington as much as inflation and the path of growth are needed before they really start to move, but the consensus is clearly tilting towards a marginally more hawkish view with rate hikes now pencilled in for 2022. Market reading this as marginally dovish since the taper was not announced but this is balanced by the more hawkish dots. On balance market reaction seems a little off kilter but we await chairman Powell next.

On tapering – if economic progress continues then reducing asset purchases would be warranted. It’s a prewarning but they are not tying themselves to any date just yet. Still set to taper this year but the absence of a clear signal in the statement indicates it’s more likely to be Dec after being announced in Nov.

On lift for rates – median hike brough forward to 2022 from 2023 previously. Markets had already been pricing Dec 2022 as the lift-off for rates so this is well anticipated. Dot plots are firming up the shorter maturities as investors price in the Fed raising rates in the near future but the long end is not playing ball as no one sees long-term growth picking up massively – so more curve flattening, not the big steepener we’d thought earlier this year – but that is just for the time being. 10s are weaker around 1.305%, down heavily from the 1.34% area traded earlier today. Gold is firmer and the dollar weaker, though the kneejerk in the seconds after the release was the reverse. The Dow trades firmer and the S&P 500 rallied to session highs in the wake of the release. So far the market is buying the Fed’s line that tapering ain’t tightening and that it will do all it can to avoid a tantrum in the bond market.

Fed Dots 23.09.2021

On inflation – the core PCE inflation number for this year was hiked to 3.7% from 3.0%, the 2022 figure to 2.3% from 2.1%. They’re pulling out the ‘transitory but not quite as transitory as we thought’ line. I called 3.5% for 2021 and 2.5% for 2022 – so Fed still frontloading inflation expectations here – more in 2021, cooling sharply next year. Still not the ‘substantial further progress’ because it’s transitory – go figure.

On growth – hotter this year, cooler next, reflecting the slowdown in the reopening burst and also the problems in global supply chains, labour shortages leaving the economy running below potential and the impact of inflation.

Fed inflation forecasts 23.09.2021

On employment – like the more circumspect growth outlook the unemployment outlook for this year is not so good – 4.8% vs 4.5% in June. Slower growth, plus a less racy recovery in the labour market net out the inflation concerns – but it’s signalling stagflationary trouble ahead.

UK, Euro stocks rally for 2nd day ahead of Fed meeting

Stocks have opened higher again after Europe rallied handsomely on Tuesday with gains of +1%. Wall Street was more timid – the S&P 500 declined marginally, as did the Dow Jones industrial average. The Nasdaq and Russell 200 both eked out small gains. Shakeout from Monday seems to be lingering longer in the US – there was an attempted bounce yesterday but failure to finish above the previous close is perhaps a signal that there is further weakness in the offing. However, it’s hard to take too much risk on with attention now squarely on today’s FOMC statement and press conference with Jay Powell.

Whilst markets do not expect the Federal Reserve to race towards tapering asset purchases – the soft jobs report did for that – there is a broad consensus in the market that it will begin dialling back the pace of its QE programme at some point this year – likely Nov, but maybe Dec. That means this week’s meeting may be an appropriate moment for the Fed to give the market fair warning. Or not. In a sense it doesn’t matter much what they say or don’t say on tapering – the risk lies in what the Fed does or doesn’t say about rate hikes. And though Monday’s market sell off may have caught the Fed off guard, with stocks just 4% off record highs there is not any reason for panic right now. Stocks have been rolling over since the weak jobs report, and Fed officials should be prepared to look through some softer data and mild pullbacks in equity markets. I don’t think the Fed is actually worried about the S&P 500 dropping 4-5%, despite what some of the fintwit crowd suggest.

The main hawkish risk for the market is with the dot plot – if you still pay attention to it. The market does, at least for a time. A hawkish dot plot bringing lift-off into 2022 could be a sell signal. Also watch inflation forecasts. Inflation is going to be higher for longer and the Fed is starting to realise this. Close attention will be paid the latest round of economic projections for a guide on whether the Fed is changing its mind on the pace of inflation and growth. My own view is that we get a Fed that is more ready to accept – at least in the projections and dots, if not Powell’s words – that inflation is stickier than they thought it would be. Core PCE forecast at 3% in 2021 needs to revised higher but the big one will be the outlook for 2022 and 2023, which at the Jun meeting were forecast at 2.1%. My bet is the Fed raises 2021 to 3.5%, 2022 to about 2.5% and leaves 2023 alone, pulling a ‘it’s transitory but not quite as transitory as we thought’ angle. My own view: the Fed’s policy response to the pandemic and failure to pullback emergency support sooner has allowed long-term inflation expectations to become unanchored, creating damaging effects on confidence and growth longer-term: stagflation.

Noteworthy that the OECD came out yesterday to say inflation will grow faster than before the pandemic for at least two years. G20 inflation will fall from 4.5% at the end of 2021 to 3.5% by the end of 2022, the OECD said.

Shares of Evergrande in Frankfurt are surging this morning after the company struck a debt deal over a repayment due Thursday. The EV1 ticker rallied 20% in early trade to €0.32. China’s central bank was also stepping up liquidity injections, adding to the improved risk sentiment. The PBOC pumped 60 billion Yuan of 7-day reverse repos and the same again in 14-day reverse repos, though they stopped short of cutting the prime 1yr and 5yr loan rates. The mood boosted AUD and NZD and injected some bid for metals, with copper back above $4.20 having tested $4.0 yesterday. The fillip helped basic resources top the FTSE 100 in early trade this morning, with Anglo American, Antofagasta, BHP, Glencore and EVRAZ the top risers. Mega default contagion risk abated for the time being.

Entain shares soared higher as the company announced that it received an offer from DraftKings worth 2,800 pence per share. The offer would consist of 630p in cash and the balance payable in new DraftKings shares. Shares trade up 7% again to 2,432p, suggesting investors are not betting the farm on this deal going ahead. Entain says it will ‘carefully consider the proposal and a further announcement will be made as and when appropriate’. Consolidation in this space has been taking place for years over this side of the pond. Deregulation of the US sports betting market was always going to create further change as the technology and expertise of the British firms came to the fore – the question I have why are these takeovers not going in the other direction? Anyway, Flutter up 5% today because you know – who’s next and all that – but also it settled its case with the US state (Commonwealth) of Kentucky, agreeing to pay another $200m in addition to the $100m already forfeited.

Safety equipment maker Halma reports ‘strong progress’ in the first half of the financial year, with performance ahead of management expectations, with revenue growth and return on sales exceeding both expectations and historic levels. Order intake was better than the 2019 period. Halma cautions that it expects to see more typical rates of revenue growth and return on sales in the second half of the year, with the latter more in line with historic levels as variable overhead costs gradually return. In addition, management warn they will see continued impact on revenue, costs and working capital from increased supply chain, logistics and labour market disruption. Despite this, adjusted profit before tax for the full year is expected to be slightly ahead of previous guidance.

Oil rose, as near-term weakness in prices caught in the broader risk sell-off waned, allowing firmer price action to take over. Goldman Sachs said that combined with the spike global gas prices, a colder winter in Europe and Asia could drive demand for crude and $5 a barrel to the price of oil. API data showed a draw of more than 6m barrels last week, well above the 2.4m expected. EIA figs today expected to show a draw of 3.3m barrels, which would be the 7th straight weekly decline in inventories with the disruption from hurricane season still playing out on the ground. Momentum just cooling a touch on the daily charts but market fundamentals still look very good.

Elsewhere, the dollar is flattish this morning. GBPUSD is testing month lows again around 1.3640 – potential bottoming taking place – key test here whether we break these trend lines on the price and also the RSI and MACD (green). A bounce calls for a rally back to 1.390 perhaps – beware tonight’s Fed meeting for headfakes.

GBPUSD Chart 22.09.2021

A new low for Bitcoin overnight, weakest since early Aug. Price action is wobbly and may see the Jul lows around $30k unless the 200-day is recaptured soon.

Bitcoin Chart 22.09.2021

China risks weigh on stocks, Fed meeting ahead

Rough day for equities: China risks to the fore at the start of the week as the fallout from the collapse of Evergrande weighed on the Hong Kong market. The Hang Seng fell 3.5%, with Evergrande down another 12%. Basic resources are feeling the heat as a slowdown in demand from Chinese property developers would be a negative. Luxury also hit – Chinese investors are seeing portfolios hammered, which means less for fur coats. Hong Kong’s weakness was all the more noticeable with Japan, China and South Korea on holiday. Spiking natural gas prices and a European energy crisis, talk of produce shortages and surging inflation don’t provide an encouraging backdrop. Meanwhile a Federal Reserve meeting this week and Sunday’s German election both offer macro uncertainty.

Contagion risks from the Evergrande meltdown are the prime cause of today’s sell-off. You’ve got all kinds of banks and insurers caught in the net but ultimately, I don’t see this as a Lehman’s moment right now. But combined with the tech crackdown it’s probably another reason why investors will be seeking to avoid China in the near term. What we are seeing today is how risks get priced gradually then suddenly. It is definitely though a major cause for investor concern right now and it is possible we see further losses before the dip finally gets bought. A market so well-conditioned to buying the dip will find it hard to resist. But the Fed meeting this week will be of particular importance – does a Chinese property collapse and energy crisis collide with expectations for a Fed rate hike next year and biting inflationary pressures? That would be a pretty nasty cocktail for risk appetite and I think these are the risks being priced into today’s (and possible further) selling.

European equities took the weak handover and limped to a decline of more than 1% in early trade. The blue-chip index is now testing its 200-day simple moving average at 6,880. Rolls-Royce and AstraZeneca gained 2% each but the rest of the board is nasty looking, led lower by basic resources and financials. Prudential fell 4% after placing 130m shares in Hong Kong following the demerger of its US business Jackson Financial. A very soft start for the DAX’s brave new world – 10 more companies added as of this morning but down more than 2% at the start of the session. Airline stocks are just about the only bright spot on the Stoxx 600 as investors bet that looser restrictions will drive up demand over the winter. Also, Lufthansa’s decision to launch a capital raise to pay back the €2.1bn state bailout it received during the pandemic is also being viewed as a positive – clearly, the company feels the medium-term prospects allow it to think about paying back the state. All sectors on the Stoxx 600 are lower.

Wall Street suffered a third straight down week, with the S&P 500 failing to hold its 50-day SMA support and declining 0.9% on Friday to 4,432.99. Futures indicate the market will open about 1% lower around 4,390. The Dow Jones industrial average was lower by 0.5% on a day of veay volume – the highest since July on quad witching day. Although the S&P 500 has traded through its 50-day SMA before and bounced in the last year, we’re dealing with a set of financial fears (China) rather than ‘concerns’ about a variant weighing on growth.

Conspiracy theory: Handy timing for Fed officials to be forced to sell their stocks a week or two ago because of ‘ethics’, not perhaps because they wanted out at the top? The Fed haters and many more think it’s more than a coincidence that their stock trading was revealed, leading to voluntary liquidation just in time to avoid a fallout. Better that than selling out at the top and people finding out later.

Metals weaker – copper down 2% and testing its 200-day SMA, gold treading water at $1,750 after last week’s steep losses, hitting its lowest since mid-August earlier this morning. Silver – once a darling of the Reddit crowd – dropped to its weakest since Nov 2020.

Natural gas prices in the US have come back after spiking last week above $5.60 – top called? Expected rise in demand going into the winter may be well priced. Remember what is happening in Europe with gas prices and the infrastructure problems are not directly correlated to the Henry Hub contract.

Natural Gas Chart 20.09.2021

The USD is finding all this risk-off sentiment a positive – fresh three-week highs for DXY. GBPUSD declined to a new three-week low at 1.36650, towards the bottom of the YTD range, whilst EURUSD is testing a 4-week low at 1.170.

GBP USD Chart 20.09.2021

Cryptocurrencies also markedly weaker on the general risk-off liquidation we are seeing across global markets. Bitcoin took a leg lower in early European trade and may want to test the Sep 13th lows around $44k.

Bitcoin Chart 20.09.2021

Little in the way of data today so all the China contagion/fallout stories will be the prime driver of sentiment. Looking ahead we have the Federal Reserve meeting on Wednesday – key question is whether it announces plan to taper QE or sits on its hands a little longer. But actually, the key risk lies in what the dots (if you still look at them) tell us about when Fed policymakers (increasingly hawkish?) think the lift-off date for rate hikes will be. Meanwhile, the Bank of England will need to respond to biggest jump in inflation on record when it convenes this week. Does is call time on QE now and prepare the market for a rate hike soon? Surging inflation is not going away and the MPC risks all kinds of trouble by not administering some medicine early.

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