8@eight: ASX set to slide lower at open

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The Australian sharemarket is set to open a trade-shortened week in the red, despite Wall Street’s strong performance on Friday. At 7.45AM AEDT, futures are pointing to a drop of 26 points or 0.4 per cent, at the open.

1. Stocks continue to add to record run: Stock indices surged in Europe and the US on Friday. The S&P500 touched fresh record highs, to extend what’s been a remarkably strong 2019 for US stocks – an outcome to the year that may have seemed unimaginable this time last year. Despite this strong lead though, the ASX200 ought to open lower today according to SPI Futures.

Wall Street hit fresh records on Friday.
Wall Street hit fresh records on Friday. Credit:AP

Traders were also emboldened on Friday by some “just-right” US economic data, that fed-into the notion the market is in a “goldilocks state”. In slightly more bearish news, the Pound slid again to end last week, as fresh Brexit uncertainty shrouds the UK economy.

2. Traders look to burnish their books going into year-end: Equity markets witnessed a flurry of activity on Friday. Partly internal dynamics – there was a high level of rebalancing within indexes, as well as options and futures expiries – the high volumes within European and North American stock markets has been underpinned a very strong sense of optimism regarding the global financial and growth outlook in 2020.


Traders are still judging that a reduction in trade-tensions, along with what appears to be accommodative monetary policy settings, ought to herald a solid turnaround in the global economy. That’s creating an urgency to chase momentum in stocks, with traders keen burnish their books into year end.

3. A much happy holiday period than last year’s: How traders are entering the holiday season in 2019 stands in stark contrast to how they were approaching in 2018. It was practically this day in history that following month’s of losses and increased volatility in markets – mostly due to the US Fed’s dogged-push to raise US interest rates – that US Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin called together the Working Group in Financial Markets to discuss the risks posed by plunging stock prices.

The market bottomed shortly after Christmas eve last year, mostly courtesy of a change in Fed policy setting, setting up the basis of what’s been the strongest annual return for US stocks this decade.

4. The year’s big takeaway: don’t fight the Fed: It may be the key lesson to take away from the year: don’t fight the Fed. Indeed, policy support from other central bankers helped too. However, 2019’s record-setting year for the S&P500, and even that of our own ASX200, has been underwritten by increasingly accommodative monetary policy for US Federal Reserve.

From interest rate cuts, to a re-expansion of its balance sheet, the Fed has gone tremendous lengths to support the stock market. Remember, after all, from a fundamental point of view, especially in US stock markets, it’s been a soft-year. Earning’s growth has been negative across the S&P500 in three consecutive quarters.

5. Friday’s US data affirms “goldilocks” view: Returning the focus to more short-term concerns, US economic data also delivered a shot in the arm to markets on Friday night. The US Dollar edged higher, modestly, with US Treasury yields, as US GDP figures printed on expectation, and a spate of inflation and consumption figures supported the notion that price pressures remain contained in the US economy, while consumer sentiment is still solid.

It’s contributing to the view that this is a “goldilocks” market right now: US economic growth is moderate, and good enough to sustain future earnings growth, while limited inflation risk will likely keep the US Fed on hold.

6. Almost fittingly, ASX won’t follow Wall Street’s strong lead: Despite US stock’s record highs on Friday night, the ASX200 is expected to open 26 points lower this morning, according to SPI Futures. The local stock market was victim to the “good news is bad news” dynamic last week, after the combination of better than expected local jobs data, and the growing optimism about the global economic outlook, saw bets of RBA interest rate cuts diminish, and risk taking curbed.

Though the ASX has put in a solid performance in 2019, on a relative basis, it’s been a slight underperformer, with the S&P500’s 28 per cent YTD gain shadowing its ~21 per cent climb.

7. Brexit risks re-emerge, driving the Pound down: In a touch of negative news on Friday, Brexit risks have returned somewhat to the forefront of traders minds. The Pound fell into the 1.29 handle at stages on Friday, marking a roughly 4 per cent fall for the currency last week, as UK Parliamentarians voted to approve an amended version of UK PM Boris Johnson’s withdrawal agreement that ensures the Brexit “transition-period” cannot be extend beyond its 2020 deadline.

It would seem, for the market, Brexit risks have wholly returned, and has cast a pall over the UK Conservative Party’s election victory of just less than a fortnight ago.

8. Market watch: 

  • AUD +0.2% to 69.00 US cents
  • On Wall St: Dow +0.3% S&P 500 +0.5% Nasdaq +0.4%
  • S&P 500 now up 28.5% year to date in 2019
  • In New York: BHP -0.5% Rio +0.5% Atlassian +0.9%
  • In Europe: Stoxx 50 +1% FTSE +0.1% CAC +0.8% DAX +0.8%
  • Spot gold +0.2% to $US1481.64 /oz New York
  • Brent crude -0.6% to $US66.14 a barrel
  • US oil -1.2% to $US60.44 a barrel
  • Iron ore -2.3% to $US91.63 a tonne
  • Dalian iron ore +1.2% to 646.5 yuan
  • LME aluminium +0.2% to $US1800 a tonne
  • LME copper -0.6% to $US6175 a tonne
  • 2-year yield: US 1.63% Australia 0.87%
  • 5-year yield: US 1.73% Australia 0.92%
  • 10-year yield: US 1.92% Australia 1.28% Germany -0.26%
  • 10-year US/Australia yield gap: 64 basis points

This column was produced in commercial partnership between The Sydney Morning Herald, The Age and IG

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Information is of a general nature only.

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Source: Thanks smh.com