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Global Market Report - 8 February

Lewis Jackson  |  08 Feb 2022Text size  Decrease  Increase  |  
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Australia

Australian shares are set to open lower in line with weakness on Wall Street where big technology stocks resumed their declines.

ASX futures were down 11 points or 0.1% at 7001 near 8.00 am AEST, suggesting a negative start to trading.

The S&P 500 edged lower after waffling between small gains and losses Monday, continuing a volatile stretch for the stock market.

The broad stock-market gauge slipped 0.4%. The Nasdaq Composite declined 0.6%. The Dow Jones Industrial Average hugged the flatline.

Shares of Meta and Netflix dropped Monday, losing 5.1% and 2%, respectively. Amazon continued to rise, adding 0.2%. The moves continue a recent divergence in so-called FAANG stocks that have led investors to shift how they trade the hot tech group.

Locally, the S&P/ASX 200 closed 0.1% lower at 7110.8 after clawing back early losses amid strength from commodity stocks. The benchmark had dropped as much as 1.0% but gradually worked its way back to parity before edging lower at the last.

Energy stocks jumped as Brent crude briefly hit its highest intraday level in more than seven years. Santos, Woodside and Beach gained between 1.6% and 2.0%. The materials sector added 0.8%, helped by gains from iron-ore miners.

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GrainCorp was the best-performing ASX 200 component, surging 12% after the grain producer's annual guidance surpassed analyst expectations.

Health, telecommunications and property trust stocks weighed, while the heavyweight financial sector edged 0.35% lower.

Overseas, the pan-continental Stoxx Europe 600 added 0.7%. In Asia, major benchmarks were mixed. The Shanghai Composite Index climbed 2%, reopening after China's New Year holiday week, despite a private gauge of China's services sector slipping to a five-month low. The gain was its best one-day rise since May. Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index closed roughly flat and Japan's Nikkei 225 declined 0.7%.

Turning to commodities, gold futures gained 0.8% to $US1822.20 an ounce; Brent crude lost 0.6% to $US92.72 a barrel; Iron ore rose 2.5% to US$128.42.

Strong US jobs numbers and hawkish comments from the European Central Bank and Bank of England continued to weigh on bond markets. The yield on the Australian 10-year bond rose to 1.99%, while the benchmark US 10-year Treasury yield advanced to 1.92%. Yields fall when prices rise.

The Australian dollar was buying 71.21 US cents near 8.00am AEST, up from the previous close of 70.76. The WSJ Dollar Index, which measures the US dollar against 16 other currencies, edged down to 89.54.

Asia

Chinese stocks finished higher on the first day of trading after the week-long Lunar New Year holiday, with gains led by construction-related and energy sectors. Ahead of the annual National People's Congress conference in March, the government may introduce more policies aimed at stabilizing growth with a focus on infrastructure and the manufacturing industry, Guotai Junan Securities says. Anhui Conch Cement jumped 7.5% and China Railway Group gained 6.3%. Oil majors were buoyed by recent increases in crude prices. PetroChina surged 9.2% and Sinopec rose 4.1%. BYD Co. added 7.8% after releasing upbeat January sales data. The Shanghai Composite Index climbed 2.0%, the Shenzhen Composite Index rose 1.0% and the ChiNext Price Index gained 0.3%.

Hong Kong stocks ended the session largely unchanged, as the market weakened from a strong rally last Friday when it returned from a multiday holiday. The benchmark Hang Seng index edged up 6.26 points to settle at 24579.55. Chinese oil majors led gains, as crude prices continued to rise amid intensified tensions between Ukraine and Russia. Cnooc rose 4.2% and PetroChina was up 3.3%. But losses in the tech sector offset that momentum, as Alibaba dived 4.5% after it registered an additional 1 billion American depositary shares, which analysts said might signal potential selling intention by a shareholder.

The Nikkei Stock Average closed 0.7% lower at 27248.87, weighed by electronics and shipping stocks amid concerns over higher borrowing costs. Electronics stocks were among the worst performers after several electronics companies posted disappointing earnings. Olympus Corp. plunged 12% after its third-quarter profits missed expectations. Ibiden Co. was 5.3% lower and Fuji Electric lost 2.5%.

Europe

European stocks rose in closing trade as investors continued to digest Friday's better-than-expected US nonfarm payrolls report. The pan-European Stoxx 600 added 0.7%.

"After an indecisive morning that appeared to be swinging the bears' way, markets have perked up as the afternoon has gone on," IG analyst Chris Beauchamp says.

However, investors remain "nervy" as they are unsure whether the January US nonfarm payrolls report signals fresh economic growth that will keep stocks attractive or if the prospect of interest rate hikes and high inflation will hurt growth and weaken equities, he says.

European government bond yields extended last week's gains as markets continued to price in hawkish signals from the European Central Bank's press conference on Thursday. Benchmark 10-year Italian and Greek bond yields rose to the highest levels since spring 2020.

In London, the FTSE 100 rose 0.4%, as miners and financial stocks rise after upbeat trading in China, though trading elsewhere in Asia was mixed. BHP, Anglo American and Rio Tinto are the mining sector's biggest risers while Scottish Mortgage Investment Trust, Barclays and Prudential also gain.

North America

The S&P 500 edged lower after waffling between small gains and losses Monday, continuing a volatile stretch for the stock market.

The broad stock-market gauge slipped 0.4%. The Nasdaq Composite declined 0.6%. The Dow Jones Industrial Average hugged the flatline.

Stocks have had a turbulent start to the year, amplified in recent days by extreme moves in big tech stocks. Last week saw a record-breaking decline in Meta Platforms shares and the biggest rise since 2015 for Amazon.com shares, after the companies posted earnings. Friday's better-than-expected jobs report also turned traders' attention back to central-bank policy, which is set to tighten as the economy continues to recover.

On Monday, The S&P 500 and Nasdaq wavered through the day before turning negative after 3 pm New York time. Some analysts said the latest earnings season has helped draw investors back into stocks in recent sessions. Last week, the S&P 500 capped off its best week since December after several twists and turns.

"We think the earnings season has been pretty constructive," said Greg Boutle, head of US equity and derivative strategy at BNP Paribas.

Companies scheduled to post results this week include Pfizer and KKR on Tuesday and Uber Technologies and Walt Disney on Wednesday. Coca-Cola, PepsiCo and Twitter are slated for Thursday.

Despite the recent rebound, it's been hard to impress investors this earnings season. Companies that are beating estimates are performing worse than they had historically, while those that are missing estimates are being punished, JPMorgan Chase & Co. strategists wrote in a note to clients Monday. This is one of several signs that investors have grown overly bearish in recent weeks, according to JPMorgan's Marko Kolanovic.

"As overly bearish sentiment clears, we expect the market to lift," Mr. Kolanovic said.

Shares of Meta and Netflix dropped Monday, losing 5.1% and 2%, respectively. Amazon continued to rise, adding 0.2%. The moves continue a recent divergence in so-called FAANG stocks that have led investors to shift how they trade the hot tech group.

"We've been taking advantage of some volatility," said Mike Bailey, director of research at FBB Capital Partners. "We've been adding to some of the tech names during the past few weeks."

In corporate news, Peloton shares soared 21% after The Wall Street Journal reported that the stationary-bike company was drawing interest from Amazon and other potential suitors. Spirit Airlines added 17% after it said it was merging with Frontier Group.

Tyson Foods climbed 12% after it said it expected its sales for the year to be at the upper end of its guidance. Hasbro slipped around 1% after reporting revenue and profit that beat Wall Street's estimates.

The yield on the 10-year Treasury note hovered at 1.915%, from 1.930% Friday.

"Markets have been repricing, as seen in the move up in yields, but I think we're arriving at a point where it's difficult to price in a much more hawkish outlook than we have today. We could now see a bit of stabilization," said Esty Dwek, chief investment officer at FlowBank.

Cryptocurrencies gained Monday, with bitcoin rising 5% from its level at 5 pm New York time on Friday. It traded around $42,800. The digital currency rose above $40,000 Friday after spending two weeks below that level and has maintained its gains.

is a reporter and data journalist with Morningstar. Tweet him @lewjackk or get in touch via email

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