BHP and Rio ready to rally?
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Jeffrey Hutton is a Morningstar contributor.
But how long it will last will hinge upon the mettle of policy makers in Beijing, Brussels and Washington.
It has been an awful quarter for equity markets around the world. Investors are easily spooked by headlines, selling once-prized shares for safer bets such as US Treasuries.
The S&P/ASX 200 has shed 5 per cent of its value since the beginning of May, when the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) lowered its cash rate 50 basis points.
BHP shares have slumped 9 per cent during the same period.
"It has been a dreary time for risk assets for the past quarter," says Stan Shamu, market strategist for IG markets in Melbourne.
Greek voters head back to the polls to elect a parliament on 17 June. That could set the stage for what Shamu calls a "binary" outcome in Europe.
The Greeks elect a clear winner to govern them in Athens and the European Central Bank (ECB) strikes a deal to underwrite more bad debt, preferably with the help of peers in Washington, the UK, and Canada.
Either way, resources companies stand to win. Should Europe sort out its mess after three years of near-death experiences and China retain one of its biggest markets, then BHP may reverse that recent decision to scale back capital spending and crank up production.
Should Brussels and Athens fumble, Chinese policy makers will pull the trigger on a stimulus package.
In fact, Beijing has already been making moves behind the scenes, easing capital adequacy rules so banks can build up their loan books.
"It's not a matter of if but when China announces a stimulus package," says Peter Esho, chief market analyst at City Index.
But Esho says the market is in for another round of volatility.
Greece votes at the end of the month. The US votes in November. China may tap into its US$3.3 trillion in foreign exchange reserves to pump prime its economy. The Australian economy is doing much better than expected.
"The market is very sentiment driven," Shamu says. "It doesn't take much to lose all those gains."
Indicators out of China show a sharp slowdown in the world's second-largest economy. Retail sales, electricity demand, industrial production and factory output have all slumped.
But Premier Wen Jiabao has said the government is committed to "the path of growth" and that's what analysts like UBS head of investment strategy George Boubouras are counting on.