ASX yesterday: The lead garnered last night augurs poorly for the ASX 200, reflected in an expected 66-point drop for the index according to SPI futures. The shame is that some semblance (or as close as can be found in these circumstances) of equilibrium appeared to return the Australian market yesterday. The tone throughout Asia trade, notwithstanding the struggles of Chinese markets, improved throughout the session, supported perhaps by the reported drop in the domestic unemployment rate, pushing the tepid Wall Street lead aside and allowing the index to recover early losses to close trade effectively flat for the day. Volume thinned as the session wore on to be sure, but breadth recovered to just shy of 50%, revealing a willingness in market participants to acquire and spread some exposure across Aussie equities.
ASX today: For all the contentment that yesterday engendered, in means little in the face of another day of likely heavy losses. The call in these instances is to assume the ASX 200's (modestly sized) tech space, along with the health care sector, will lead losses. In saying that, the selling today risks being rather broad based, with a sell-off in oil prices and a wider dip in commodity prices a potential drag on the energy and materials sectors. The risks abound at this stage, but the major flashpoint will probably come mid-day when a massive data dump, containing GDP data, Fixed Asset Investment numbers and more, is released out of China. It provides a potential queue for investors to form a judgement on the Chinese growth story, and may prove to exacerbate or soothe investors’ fears regarding global growth.
China: The bearishness in China is possibly the severest predicament of all – one that can only become worse today given the sweeping of bearishness through global equity markets. Depending on the index, Chinese equities have tumbled now by 30% off this year’s highs, further entrenching a technical bear market. China’s equities overall look very oversold, with average PE ratios on the blue-chip heavy CSI300 circa 10:1, and presenting on the technicals just above an absolutely oversold reading. Simply, China’s equities can’t find a buyer, fundamentally due to potential fall-out of the US-China trade war. Undoubtedly, there are more complex and murky issues going on under the bonnet of the Chinese economic vehicle – the seemingly controlled devaluation of the Yuan by the PBOC apparently one – but a sell-off like this in spite of not that bad fundamentals suggests that investors can’t move passed the unknown whipped up the unfolding US-China trade war.