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Apple unveiled a range of new products but the excitement swiftly waned as the stock was sold off after having enjoyed some good gains. Some would probably feel the pullback we are seeing this week has been coming for a while, with US equities looking a bit overcooked as the US dollar rallies across the board. The greenback has been rallying in anticipation of a more hawkish Fed and US economic data has been showing some strong signs. Perhaps this is what has made the rally in US equities a bit surprising – generally, the developments should have been negative for equities. As a result, global equities will face some real tests in coming sessions as investors debate whether to keep buying the dips.
Pound and euro still likely to be sold
In the FX space, there were some interesting reversals, particularly for the sterling and the euro. The sterling benefited from comments by BoE Governor Mark Carney, who suggested a rate increase in Q2 of next year is consistent with the bank’s CPI goal. However, he reinforced that any hikes will be gradual and limited. Carney also touched on Scottish independence and suggested a currency union is incompatible with sovereign Scotland. These comments helped cable reclaim the $1.6100 handle, while the single currency also managed to reclaim $1.2900 against the greenback. There is still a lot of uncertainty around the ECB’s stimulus plans and, with Mario Draghi set to speak later today, the market will be hoping some of the details will be fleshed out. Despite the recovery, I still feel strength will only be used as an opportunity for fresh shorts.
AUD and yen struggle against greenback
A couple of currencies that lost further ground to the greenback were the AUD and JPY. AUD/USD dropped to $0.9189 and will be testing support in this region. Yesterday’s disappointing Nab business confidence/conditions reading and the poor home loans data both weighed on the local currency. Additionally, iron ore prices continue to deteriorate, which is not doing the AUD any favours. Today we’ll have Westpac consumer sentiment and jobs numbers tomorrow.
Meanwhile, USD/JPY remains in a very good place and printed a new high just shy of ¥106.50. However, this doesn’t seem like it will help Japanese equities as we’re currently calling the Nikkei down 0.6% at 15,654. The BoJ releases its minutes today and BoJ member Iwata will speak. If we receive further dovish comments, investors could be looking to take advantage of the pullback.
Iron ore and gold drop further
Ahead of the open, we’re calling the ASX 200 down 0.4% at 5584. About 5.5 points’ worth of dividends come out of the market today, with the likes of AGO, ARI, BXB, WOW, MND trading ex-div. Further drops for gold and iron ore will rattle some of the mining names. Recent US dollar strength will not bode well for some commodities and gold has been hit hard by this, dropping to a 3-month low. Weakness in AUD/USD could work out to be a bright spot for some currency-sensitive stocks, but the question will be whether this is enough to balance out the pessimism elsewhere.