East to West: Trade tariffs spark rally

Commodities rallied and Asian stocks found support after a three-month sell-off.

DJ-UBS Commodity Index

From Reuters (September 19):

Copper jumped to its highest in three weeks on Wednesday, boosted by a weaker dollar after a new round of U.S.-China trade tariffs were not as high as previously expected.

China will levy tariffs on about $60 billion worth of U.S. goods in retaliation for U.S. tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods. Washington’s new duties, however, were set at 10 percent for now, rising to 25 percent by the end of the year, rather than starting immediately at 25 percent…….

“In some ways the bad news had been priced into the markets and, if anything, the news on trade had been slightly less severe than we had thought it would be,” said Capital Economic analyst Caroline Bain.

“It’s still too early to talk about this as sustainable … it just seems to be a bit of a relief rally after all of the bad news.”

The Shanghai Composite Index rallied off primary support at 2650, a slight bullish divergence on the Trend Index signaling short-term buying pressure. Penetration of the descending trendline would suggest that a bottom is forming.

Shanghai Composite Index

Japan’s Nikkei 225 is testing its January high at 24,000.

Nikkei 225 Index

India’s Nifty is testing support at 11,000. Long tails indicate buying pressure. Respect of support would signal another advance.

Nifty Index

Europe

Dow Jones Euro Stoxx 50 rallied off primary support at 3300 but is yet to break the down-trend.

DJ Euro Stoxx 600 Index

The Footsie also rallied, finding support at 7250, but a declining Trend Index warns of continued selling pressure.

FTSE 100 Index

North America

The S&P 500 rallied off the new support level at 2875 and is likely to test its long-term target of 3000.

S&P 500

The Nasdaq 100, however, continues to test support at 7700. Breach would warn of a correction to test 7000.

Nasdaq 100

Canada’s TSX 60 found support at 950 but declining peaks on the Trend Index continue to warn of selling pressure.

TSX 60 Index

Markets are dominated by one concern, a US-China trade war, and volatility is likely to remain high until a resolution is found.

East to West: Bonds & tariffs hurt developing markets and crude prices

10-Year Treasury yields are consolidating in a triangle below long-term resistance at 3.00 percent. Breakout above 3.00 would signal a primary advance, ending the decades-long bull market in bonds. This would have a heavy impact on developing economies, including China, with a stronger Dollar forcing higher interest rates.

10-year Treasury Yields

A Trend Index trough above zero would signal buying pressure and a likely upward breakout.

Crude oil prices, as a consequence of higher interest rates and the threat of trade tariffs, are starting to form a top. Bearish divergence on the Trend Index warns of selling pressure. Breach of support at $65/barrel would signal reversal to a primary down-trend.

Nymex Light Crude

Commodity prices are leading, breach of support at 85.50 already having signaled a primary down-trend.

DJ-UBS Commodity Index

China’s Shanghai Composite Index is in a primary down-trend. Trend Index peaks below zero warn of selling pressure. Breach of support at 2700 is likely. The long-term target is the 2014 low at 2000.

Shanghai Composite Index

Germany’s DAX is headed for a test of primary support at 11,800. Descending peaks on the Trend Index warn of secondary selling pressure. Breach of primary support is uncertain but would offer a target of 10,500.

DAX

The Footsie also shows secondary selling pressure on the Trend Index, warning of a test of primary support at 6900/7000.

FTSE 100

In stark contrast, North American tech stocks have made huge gains in the last four months, but are now retracing to test support. Breach of the rising trendline and support at 7400 would warn of a correction; a test of the long-term rising trendline at 7000 the likely target.

Nasdaq 100

The S&P 500 has also made new highs. Penetration of the rising trendline would warn of a correction to the LT trendline at 2800.

S&P 500

North America leads the global recovery, developing markets including China are falling, while Europe is sandwiched in the middle, with potential loss of trade from East and West if a trade war erupts.

From the AFR today:

President Donald Trump said he’s ready to impose tariffs on an additional $US267 billion in Chinese goods on short notice, on top of a proposed $US200 billion that his administration is putting the final touches on.

“….I will say this: the world trading system is broken.” Trump is “dead serious” in his determination to push China to reform its trade policies, [White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow] added.

Can’t say he didn’t warn us.

China threatened by loss of US trade

The threat of a US-China trade war has rattled investors, with the Shanghai Composite Index breaking primary support at 2700 to signal another decline. Trend Index peaks below zero warn of strong selling pressure. Long-term target is the 2012 to 2014 lows at 2000.

Shanghai Composite Index

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index is also under the pump, breaking support at 28,000 to warn of another decline.

Hang Seng Index

Copper prices, a good barometer of the Chinese economy, are also falling. Breach of $6,000 offers a target of $5,500/tonne.

Copper S1

The Yuan has fallen almost 10 percent, testing support at 14.5 US cents. Failure of the PBOC to support the Yuan (by selling some of their $3 trillion of foreign reserves) may cushion the economic impact in the short-term but only invites further escalation from the Trump administration.

Chinese Yuan/USD

There is no easy way out. Trump clearly has the upper hand in trade negotiations.

Bears in the East, Bulls in the West

Market fears of a trade war appear to be easing but investors in China and South Korea remain cautious.

The Shanghai Composite Index is retracing to test resistance at the former primary support level at 3000.

Shanghai Composite Index

Dow Jones – UBS Commodity Index shows a similar retracement in commodity prices.

DJ-UBS Commodity Index

While crude oil prices have found support at the LT rising trendline.

Nymex Light Crude

South Korea’s Seoul Composite Index is in a primary down-trend but retracement to test the former primary support level at 2350 is likely.

Seoul Composite Index

Japan is more isolated and the Nikkei 225 is testing resistance at 23,000. A rising Trend Index suggests that breakout is likely, which would test the January high at 24,000.

Nikkei 225 Index

India is stronger, with the Nifty breaking resistance at its January high of 11,100 to signal a primary advance with a target of 12,000. But first, expect retracement to test the new support level.

Nifty Index

Europe

Dow Jones Euro Stoxx 600 was boosted by news that the EU-US trade dispute is settled. A Trend Index trough above zero signals strong buying pressure. and another test of 400 is likely.

DJ Euro Stoxx 600 Index

A bullish saucer pattern on the Footsie suggest further gains. The Trend Index trough above zero indicates buying pressure. Breakout of the index above 7800 would signal another advance, with a target of 8200.

FTSE 100 Index

North America

The Nasdaq 100 retreated when Facebook (FB) and Twitter (TWTR) reported disappointing growth for the quarter. Bearish divergence on the Trend Index warns of selling pressure but this appears secondary and support at 7000 is likely to hold. Respect would confirm another advance.

Nasdaq 100

Friday’s retreat is also evident on the S&P 500 daily chart. Expect retracement to test new support at 2800. A strong GDP result should strengthen support.

S&P 500

Canada’s TSX 60 retraced to test the new support level at 970. Respect would signal a test of 1000 but breach is as likely, testing support at 940.

TSX 60 Index

Iron ore bounce lifts the ASX

Iron ore spot prices bounced off support at $63/tonne. Follow-through above $68 would suggest another rally to test resistance at $80 but that seems unlikely given the current threat of a trade war.

Iron Ore Spot Price

The ASX 300 Metals & Mining index found support at 3750. Breakout above 4000 would signal another advance but reversal below 3750 and a correction to test primary support at 3400 are more likely if iron ore retreats.

ASX 300 Metals & Mining

The ASX 300 Banks index continues to consolidate in a bullish narrow band above its new support level at 8000. Follow-through above 8100 would suggest another advance, with a target of 8700. The index is still in a primary down-trend but it is evident that a bottom is forming. A higher low on the next correction, followed by a new high, would signal the start of a primary up-trend.

ASX 300 Banks Index

The banking sector faces the prospect of higher funding costs, falling credit growth and rising default risk and I remain wary.

The ASX 200 is again testing resistance at 6300. Breakout would signal a primary advance with a target of the October 2007 high at 6750.

ASX 200

Technical signals suggest a primary advance while economic indicators warn of rising headwinds and a potential bear market. I remain cautious, with more than 30% cash in the Australian Growth portfolio.

Trade tariff impact on China & Australia

The yuan is falling as threat of a tariff war rises.

Yuan

The Shanghai Composite Index is testing its 2016 low at 2700. Breach would warn of a decline to the 2014 low at 2000.

Shanghai Composite Index

Commodity prices are plunging in anticipation of falling demand from China.

DJ-UBS Commodity Index

Chinese monthly iron ore imports are down at 83.24 mt, compared to earlier peaks of 100 mt earlier in 2017. Iron ore spot price is testing primary support $63/tonne. A Trend Index peak below zero warns of selling pressure. Breach of support is likely and would warn of a decline to $58/tonne.

Iron Ore

A falling Aussie Dollar may cushion local resources stocks from some of the impact.

Australian Dollar

But ASX 300 Metals & Mining index continues to test medium-term support at 3800. Breach of support is likely and would warn of a correction to test the rising trendline.

ASX 300 Metals & Mining

Resources stocks remain in a primary up-trend but I am bearish on the medium-term outlook.

Banks lift ASX 200

The ASX 300 Banks index continues to test resistance at 8000. Respect remains likely and would indicate another test of primary support at 7300.

ASX 300 Banks Index

Rising banks lifted the ASX 200. Follow-through above 6250 signals another primary advance, with a target of the October 2007 high at 6750.

ASX 200

This leaves me in a difficult position. Technical signals suggest a primary advance, while economic indicators warn of rising headwinds and a potential bear market.

Banks

The banking sector is being squeezed by higher funding costs, falling credit growth and rising default risk.

Gerard Minack from Minack Advisers warns that the current credit contraction could cause a significant fall in housing prices:

Most houses are bought on credit, so the demand for housing is a function of the supply of credit. Consequently, housing loan approvals have historically led house prices. New loan approvals have fallen by around 20% year-over-year several times over the past 25 years. If the current credit contraction is more severe – say, a decline of up to 30% – then nationwide house prices could fall high single digits over the coming year.

….All this suggests that a high single-digit decline in house prices would put a material dent in domestic demand. If prices were to fall by, say, 15%, and if consumer income growth was as tepid as it now is, there would be a good chance of recession.

Resources

A falling Chinese Yuan highlights the threat of trade tariffs to the Chinese economy.

CNY/USD

Commodity prices have responded, falling to test primary support levels.

DJ-UBS Commodity Index

Including iron ore.

Iron Ore

The ASX 300 Metals & Mining index is testing medium-term support at 3800. Breach is likely and would warn of a correction to test the rising trendline.

ASX 300 Metals & Mining

My approach is to sit with one foot either side of the fence. Focus on growth sectors. Stay away from Banks. Stay away from Resources but stay in Gold. And keep a healthy percentage of the Australian portfolio in Cash and reasonably secure interest-bearing investments. Definitely not hybrids.

Is ASX 200 resurgence sustainable?

The ASX 200 found support at 5950/6000, a bullish sign. Large bearish divergence on Twiggs Money Flow (13-week) continues to warn of selling pressure but breakout above 6150 would signal a fresh primary advance. Breach of 5950 is unlikely at present, but would warn of a test of primary support at 5650/5750.

ASX 200

The ASX 300 Banks decline continues, heading for a test of its 2016 low at 7200.

ASX 300 Banks

The ASX 300 Metals & Mining index breakout above 4000 is likely, offering a target of 4200.

ASX 300 Banks

The broad index looks bullish but I have two concerns. First is the weak banking index, representing the largest sector in the ASX 200. Second, iron ore prices are weakening. Spot prices are testing support at $62/tonne. A Trend Index peak below zero looks likely, and would warn of strong selling pressure. Breach of support at $58 would signal a primary down-trend.

Iron Ore

GDP growth recovered to 3.1% for the year ending 31 March 2018, on the back of strong exports, but the overall report card for the economy remains weak.

How QE reversal will impact on financial markets

The Federal Reserve last year announced plans to shrink its balance sheet which had grown to $4.5 trillion under the quantitative easing (QE) program.

According to its June 2017 Normalization Plan, the Fed will scale back reinvestment at the rate of $10 billion per month and step this up every 3 months by a further $10 billion per month until it reaches a total of $50 billion per month in 2019. That means that $100 billion will be withheld in the first year and $200 billion each year thereafter.

How will this impact on financial markets? Here are a few clues.

First, from the Nikkei Asian Review on January 11:

The yield on the benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury note shot to a 10-month high of 2.59% in London, before retreating later in the day and ending roughly unchanged in New York. Yields rise when bonds are sold.

The selling was sparked by reports that China may halt or slow down its purchases of U.S. Treasury holdings. China has the world’s largest foreign exchange reserves — holding $3.1 trillion, about 40% of which is in U.S. government notes, according to Brad Setser, senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations.

Chinese officials, as expected, denied the reports. But they would have to be pondering what to do with more than a trillion dollars of US Treasuries during a bond bear market.

Treasury yields are rising, with the 10-year yield breaking through resistance at 2.60%, signaling a primary up-trend.

On the quarterly chart, 10-year yields have broken clear of the long-term trend channel drawn at 2 standard deviations, warning of reversal of the three-decade-long secular trend. But final confirmation will only come from a breakout above 3.0%, completing a large double-bottom.

Withdrawal or a slow-down of US Treasury purchases by foreign buyers (let’s not call them investors – they have other motives) would cause the Dollar to weaken. The Dollar Index recently broke support at 91, signaling another primary decline.

The falling Dollar has created a bull market for gold which is likely to continue while interest rates are low.

US equities are likely to benefit from the falling Dollar. Domestic manufacturers can compete more effectively in both local and export markets, while the weaker Dollar will boost offshore earnings of multinationals.

The S&P 500 is headed for a test of its long-term target at 3000*.

Target: 1500 x 2 = 3000

Emerging market borrowers may also benefit from lower domestic servicing costs on Dollar-denominated loans.

Bridgewater CEO Ray Dalio at Davos:

We are in this Goldilocks period right now. Inflation isn’t a problem. Growth is good, everything is pretty good with a big jolt of stimulation coming from changes in tax laws…

If there is a downside, it is likely to be higher US inflation as employment surges and commodity prices rise. Which would force the Fed to raise interest rates faster than the market expects.