Global Markets Overview – 5/1/14

By @ibtimesau on

US makes record highs as iron ore plummets

Currently, when materials are up, financials reverse and vice versa; for Australia today, it appears that the  banks will be up, and materials down.

The reason for the positive moves in the financials and other service-based companies is the optimism coming from the Fed and the BoJ. As expected, the Fed kept itself on auto-pilot with the unwinding of the asset purchase plan taking a further US$10 billion out of the program, leaving the purchase rate at $45 billion a month. The FOMC statement highlighted the fact that 'growth has recently picked up'; this was despite the fact that first-quarter GDP grew at just 0.1%, which is the lowest quarterly GDP print since December 2012. The winter freeze is certainly to blame here and the leading indicators post-March clearly match the Fed's thinking; however the silver lining here is that the Fed funds rates will remain untouched.

This had a very positive effect on US trade - the DOW made another record high on the comments around the Fed funds rate. The accommodative stance is certainly going to maintain the current upswings in consumer sentiment and  spending, which remained robust as seen in the GDP release with the spending component moving at a 3% growth pace. The accommodative monetary stance is also positively impacting payrolls and is creating a buzz heading into tomorrow night's non-farm payrolls print, which looks to be heading for a plus 200,000 result - this would be a catalyst for further movements in US equities and the USD.

What is tempering the optimising in Australia today is the sharp breakdown in the iron ore price. The run on that was seen at the start of the week is now accelerating and the raw material has fallen further, losing 2.7% to US$105.40 as rebar and hot coils remain poor. The loss-making steel mills are feeling the pinch and the crackdown on collateral finance is creating a vice to the iron ore price. What is also likely to impact materials today is the release of China's manufacturing PMI.

Expectations are for a slight expansion of 50.5 after a read of 50.3 last month.  However, industrial production has been slowing and there has been an increase in the bad and doubtful debts at the four largest banks. Are these coming from the manufacturing heart of the Chinese economy? If so, this print could see a 4 handle come 11:00am AEST.  

Ahead of the Australian Open


We are currently calling the market higher by nine points to 5498 on the 10:00am bell (AEST). The movements today are going to be governed by the movements in the materials plays, particularly pure iron ore producers. BHP's ADR is pointing higher, however it did reverse in London, and the momentum from yesterday is likely to filter out today on the China PMI.

ANZ's Results


On the other side of the equation are the banks. This morning saw ANZ - the first of the three reporting banks release first-half numbers.

Expectations for ANZ centre around four key parts to the report. The market will be listening out for:

1.       Strong lending growth coupled with high capital concentration

2.       Margin downside limited due to largest room to move on net interest margins

3.       Market revenue strength from FX market trading

4.       The Asian expansion story

Consensus forecast on the cash earnings line was A$3.437 billion, which is an 8% increase over the period. ANZ has managed to produce an 11% increase over the corresponding period with an A$3.515 billion read. The interim dividend the yield hunters had been looking for has materialised, with a 3 cent beat on consensus at 83 cents.

But it's the detail in the results that is pleasing; net interest margin was in-line, with estimates at 2.15% versus 2.14% expected. The loss in margin has more than been offset by the loan growth, which improved by 12% over the half, with customer deposits rising by 13%.

Gross impaired assets fell 23% and bad and doubtful debt provisions are at their lowest levels since September 2008. But what is likely to have a smile on CEO Mike Smith's face is the FX tailwinds, the improved return from the international and institutional bank and the EBIT make-up of the Asian division, which is now at 27%. The results from Asia look very positive and are likely to be championed at the press conference.

The question is, is this enough to push it higher? Initially yes; the results are very positive and the recent pull-back is likely to be corrected. However, as brilliant as it is there are holes that can be seen from the analysts' side, and it's likely that the investment world will see this as stock standard and not enough in the short term to leg it higher. My counter to this is the response to CBA - back at record highs with plus $80 in its site.     

Asian markets opening call

Price at 8:00am AEDT

Change from the Offical market close

Percentage Change

Australia 200 cash (ASX 200)




Japan 225 (Nikkei)




Hong Kong HS 50 cash (Hang Seng)




China H-shares cash




Singapore Blue Chip cash (MSCI Singapore)




US and Europe Market Calls

Price at 8:00am AEDT

Change Since Australian Market Close

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WALL STREET (cash) (Dow)




US 500 (cash) (S&P)




UK FTSE (cash)




German DAX (cash)




Futures Markets

Price at 8:00am AEDT

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Dow Jones Futures (June)




S&P Futures (June)




ASX SPI Futures (June)




NKY 225 Futures  (June)




Key inputs for the upcoming Australian trading session (Change are from 16:00 AEDT)

Price at 8:00am AEDT

Change Since Australian Market Close

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Rio Tinto Plc (London)




BHP Billiton Plc (London)




BHP Billiton Ltd. ADR (US) (AUD)




Gold (spot)




Aluminium (London)




Copper (London)




Nickel (London)




Zinc (London)




Iron Ore (62%Fe)




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