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U.S. Opening Bell: Global Shares Fall; U.S. Futures Mixed, USD Corrects

By Investing.com (Pinchas Cohen/Investing.com)Market OverviewMay 03, 2018 12:15
uk.investing.com/analysis/opening-bell-global-shares-fall-us-futures-mixed-usd-corrects-200201305
U.S. Opening Bell: Global Shares Fall; U.S. Futures Mixed, USD Corrects
By Investing.com (Pinchas Cohen/Investing.com)   |  May 03, 2018 12:15
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Global stocks in US, Asia and Europe resume selling

  • Australian shares buck the trend for a second day
  • China's Xiaomi files for IPO in Hong Kong
  • Oil will continue to rise—just ask Saudi Arabia
  • Consolidation of S&P 500 and Dow signals bears are winning, while Russell 2000 outperforms.
  • Apple surges 4 percent but closes below channel top
  • Why is the dollar falling after the Fed confirms higher interest rates are coming up?

Key Events

European equities slipped lower on Thursday morning, with most sectors in the red. Insurance firms in particular have been posting a downbeat performance.

Earlier today, Asian shares also underwhelmed, echoing the decline seen in US indices yesterday after the Federal Reserve left interest rates unchanged on Wednesday but confirmed its tightening schedule as it expects inflation will rise above target.

However, futures on the S&P 500, NASDAQ 100 and the Dow are all pointing to a stronger open later this morning, while the dollar continues to retreat.

Will investors find new optimism by turning their focus back to corporate earnings, or will US-China trade tensions ahead of diplomatic talks beginning tomorrow add to worries of rising rates, and keep pressuring stocks lower?

Earlier today, Australian shares listed on the S&P/ASX 200 bucked the region's downward trend for the second day in a row, as financials stocks continued their rebound from an earlier selloff.

Chinese shares on the Shanghai Composite also gained ground after an earlier decline, while stocks on Hong Kong's Hang Seng underperformed despite the fact that smartphone maker Xiaomi announced it would IPO on the Hong Kong exchange. The Chinese company is seeking to raise $10 billion from investors, in what is set be the world's largest IPO since Alibaba's (NYSE:BABA) first foray into the public markets in September 2014. The actual offering is expected to happen "in the next couple of months," according to CNN.

Japan's bourses remained closed today for the Constitution Day holiday.

Global Financial Affairs

Xiaomi's vaunted IPO notwithstanding, there's and even more sizeable IPO on the way. Saudi Arabia is looking to sell a 5 percent stake in its state-owned energy giant Aramco for a gargantuan $100 billion—which would be four times the current record held by Alibaba and dwarf Xiamco's launch. That offering, on the country's own Tadawul exchange, is expected to happen either later in the year or in early 2019.

WTI Monthly Chart
WTI Monthly Chart

What effect will Aramco's IPO have on oil markets, if we consider that the price of oil and the value of Aramco shares are likely in direct proportion? One would assume the higher the price of oil the higher the value of Aramco shares.

Still, the oil policy adopted by the Saudis in the past few years might confuse investors. Between 2014 and 2016, they flooded the market with supply. During that period they focused more on their market share than on the fact that the price of oil was plunging. However, since 2016, the Saudis have consistently committed to production limits, appearing to be willing to do whatever it takes to support prices.

One could therefore easily gather that the focal point of the Saudi strategy over the last four years has been Aramco's IPO value. At first, the Saudi kingdom sought market share, then a return to profitability.

As such, it is most likely that Saudi Arabia will continue down this line, focusing on supporting prices ahead of the landmark IPO. Should US President Donald Trump reimpose sanctions against Iran, another million barrels of oil a day would be wiped out from global supply, perhaps leading to further price increases. But in the short-term, a surprisingly higher-than-expected stockpile report and the US dollar hovering around a four-month high are weighing on the price.

Yesterday, US investors endured another tumultuous ride on the equity market roller coaster, which has been especially disruptive this year so far. The S&P 500 and Dow Jones Industrial Average opened lower, consolidated during the first three hours, then reversed course and advanced in the hours ahead of the Fed policy meeting. However shares ultimately plunged during the last two hours of trade.

While the central bank said that inflation rates are poised to top its 2.00 percent target, what it didn't say resonated more loudly for traders. In fact, notably, the Fed did not signal a shift to a faster pace of monetary policy tightening. It's unclear why that would surprise traders: high inflation—and particularly, an above-target rate—would logically turn the Fed more hawkish, as policymakers rush in to tackle any excessive spike in inflation.

Probability of an interest rate hike by the Bank of England at next week's monetary policy meeting have been cut further following data showing the UK services sector experienced a subdued recovery in April. The IHS Markit/CIPS Services PMI for April was 52.8, an increase on March’s weatherbeaten 51.7, but missing the forecast 53.5.

Apple Daily Chart
Apple Daily Chart

Yesterday's mid-day rebound in US stocks was led once again by tech shares, including Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL). While the computer and smartphone behemoth's share price jumped more than 5 percent at its highest intraday level, spurred by Tuesday's upbeat earnings report, the stock closed below the top of its falling channel, near 4 percent higher.

The fact that it penetrated the top but closed lower supports a presumed resistance. Should the resistance withstand bullish attacks, the price may fall back toward the bottom of the channel and $160—which would be understandable, should the broader market sell off.

S&P 500 Daily Chart
S&P 500 Daily Chart

In recent posts we've frequently discussed the consolidation US equities are undergoing since they reached their record highs (on January 23 for the Russell 2000, January 26 for the SPX and the Dow and and March 12 for the NASDAQ Composite). We highlighted the debate among technicians about the shape of the consolidation for the S&P 500, whether it is a neutral symmetrical triangle or a bearish descending triangle. Since late March, stocks have been consolidating in an even tighter range, as the SPX approaches the apex of the triangle at which point it will 'pick a side' from which to erupt.

While the price range has held above the 100 DMA up even after the index stumbled on the first major selloff after hitting a record high, it slid below the 100 DMA following the second major selloff (mid-March to early April), but still found support by the 200 DMA. The support-to-resistance switch in the 100 DMA favors sellers over buyers.

Only the Russell 2000 has managed to stay above the 100 DMA. It has been the only major US index to edge higher in the last two days. The stocks listed on the small-cap index—typically domestic businesses that don't rely on foreign markets for growth—have become more attractive for investors during this period as the US-China trade spat escalates.

The Dow is now 11 percent below its record close, the S&P 500 is 9 percent lower, the NASDAQ is 7.3 percent beneath its record level whereas the Russell 2000 is a mere 3.3 percent below that mark. This comparison suggests that ongoing trade jitters are the single biggest headwind weighing on investors. It's the most obvious factor separating the performance of the small cap benchmark on one side and on its larger-cap peers on the other side. So much so that it has now overshadowed Trump's historic tax overhaul, from which domestic companies would gain little to no benefit.

London’s FTSE was buoyed by mining stocks as a result of higher metal prices as the U.S. and China trade talks kicked off. Gains in oil majors BP (LON:BP) and Royal Dutch Shell (LON:RDSa) also helped the index outperform its European peers.

Shares in mining company Glencore (LON:GLEN) were up 2% following a stronger than previously forecast outlook for the year’s earnings. The firm said on Thursday its trading division’s earnings would be at the higher end of the forecast range.

Just Eat (LON:JE) shares were up 0.2% on Thursday after JP Morgan increased its price target for the food delivery firm. Just Eat(LON:JE) released strong first quarter results on Tuesday, pushing the share price up by more than 4% on the day. Liberum analysts said that the delivery group’s annual revenue would likely be higher than forecast.

Shares in Smith & Nephew (LON:SN) dropped by 6.4% following a downward revision of its full year outlook. The revision came after Europe’s largest artificial hip and knee manufacturer released a mixed first quarter earnings report on Thursday. The company revised growth figures to 2-3%, compared with the previous forecast of 3-4%.

DXY Daily Chart
DXY Daily Chart

During the first hour following the Fed statement yesterday, which served as a strong confirmation that the three additional hikes expected for 2018 will in effect take place, the dollar slid 0.4 percent, but then rebounded 0.55 percent within two hours. Since then, the greenback has been falling steadily, and is down 0.36 percent as of the time of writing.

Why? Shouldn't higher rates provide investors a higher payout for holding the dollar, as well as a consistently positive interest rate differential versus other major currencies (with other central banks such as the BoE, the EBC, and the BoJ heading the other way, towards a more dovish stance)? The USD is oversold.

After a 10-day winning streak out of 11 sessions, investors are now taking profits. The dollar's intermittent advance following yesterday's Fed release was probably mostly determined by short-term traders.

Up Ahead

  • Euro-zone producer prices are scheduled for Thursday.
  • The European Commission will present its spring economic forecasts, including growth, inflation, debt and deficit projections.
  • US nonfarm payroll numbers, scheduled for Friday, will probably show an increase for the month of April, while the unemployment rate is forecast to drop to 4 percent.
  • Reserve Bank of Australia releases its quarterly update of growth and inflation forecasts on Friday.
  • Berkshire Hathaway (NYSE:BRKa) holds its annual shareholders meeting in Omaha, Nebraska on Saturday.
  • UK voters will go the polls on Thursday in local government elections across England. Polls show the ruling Conservative party may lose control of some local councils, which could further weaken Prime Minister Theresa May's hand in Brexit negotiations.

Market Moves

Stocks

Currencies

  • The British pound climbed 0.1 percent to $1.3587, the first advance in more than a week.
  • The Dollar Index fell 0.35 percent.
  • The euro gained 0.1 percent to $1.1968.
  • The Japanese yen increased 0.1 percent to 109.73 per dollar.

Bonds

  • Britain’s 10-year yield gained one basis point to 1.457 percent, the highest in a week.

  • The yield on 10-year Treasuries gained one basis point to 2.98 percent, the highest in a week.
  • Germany’s 10-year yield climbed one basis point to 0.59 percent, the highest in a week.
  • Britain’s 10-year yield gained one basis point to 1.457 percent, the highest in a week.

Commodities

  • West Texas Intermediate crude fell 0.2 percent to $67.81 a barrel.
  • Copper climbed 0.1 percent to $3.07 a pound.
  • Gold increased 0.2 percent to $1,306.92 an ounce.
U.S. Opening Bell: Global Shares Fall; U.S. Futures Mixed, USD Corrects
 

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U.S. Opening Bell: Global Shares Fall; U.S. Futures Mixed, USD Corrects

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