The week started on a cautious note as stocks in Asia mostly sold off following a rough week in the US, where the Federal Reserve’s (Fed) hawkish pause triggered a fresh wave of worries that the rates would stay higher for longer. The US 2-year yield bounced lower after hitting 5.20%, yet the US 10-year continues its journey higher and hit 4.50% on Friday. The S&P500 slipped below its ascending base since last October, fell below its 100-DMA, and closed the week at the lowest levels since June, having recorded the worst performance over the week since the banking crisis in March. BoFA said that equity investors are dumping stocks at the fastest level since last December, and Morgan Stanley warned that stocks are now ‘fragile’. Indeed! More fragile than the S&P500 are the rate sensitive technology stocks, and the small cap stocks. The growing divergence between the S&P500 and Russell 2000 index is also flashing ‘recession’, on top of the heavily inverted US yield curve.
Elsewhere, the UAW strikes will broaden to all GM and Stellantis parts plants in the US, which means that 5600 more workers will join the movement (Ford will likely be spared, for now, as some good progress is made on negotiations with the UAW) and the US will shut down by the end of the week if politicians fail to pass a dozen of bills. The latest US GDP update will fall in this chaotic environment, but the expectation is a positive revision from 2.1% to 2.3%.
In the currency markets, the US dollar extends gains. The dollar index entered the bullish consolidation zone after the Fed kept the possibility of another rate hike before the year ends on the table when it met last week, and said that the rates will likely stay higher for longer next year.
The EURUSD tested an important Fibonacci support last week, the major 38.2% retracement level which should distinguish between the positive trend building since last year, and a slide into the bearish consolidation zone. There is a stronger case for further euro weakness than the contrary. Released last Friday, the preliminary September PMI figures were mixed; the Eurozone manufacturing further slowed but German numbers hinted at some improvement. This week, we will see how the recent slowdown impacted the inflation dynamics in September. Headline inflation in the euro area is expected to have slowed from 5.2% to 4.5% this month, a slowdown that would defy the rising energy prices and the euro depreciation. Core inflation is seen softening from 5.3% to 4.8%. Any softness in inflation figures should give further support to the euro bears, while higher than expected numbers, which I believe could be the surprise of this week could revive the European Central Bank (ECB) hawks, but will hardly prevent the euro from seeking into a deeper depression, as further ECB action would also mean a bigger hit on economies. That’s a fear that will likely keep euro bulls away from the market for now.
On the corporate calendar, Micron Technology and Nike will be releasing their latest quarterly results, and TotalEnergies Investor Day Event will gather happy industry players as US crude consolidates gains above $91pb with no big sign of a significant downside correction.
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