ETF Express: Week Ending 2 February 2024
- Uranium ETFs (ATOM, URNM) were the top performers last week after Kazatomprom, the world’s largest uranium producer, confirmed its 2024 output would be lower than expected due to low inventory of sulphuric acid.1 Sulphuric acid is a key ingredient in Kazatomprom’s uranium extraction process, however 60% of the world’s supply is allocated to the production of fertilisers. Growing agricultural demand and supply chain disruptions have led to shortages in recent years.
- China-focused ETFs (CETF, CNEW, IZZ) were a theme across the poorest performers last week after China Evergrande Group, the world’s most indebted property developer, was ordered to liquidate by a Hong Kong court.2 Chinese stocks fell sharply on the news, and stocks trading on the Shanghai Stock Exchange fell to their lowest level since 2018.3
- There were $797.9 million in reported inflows for the shortened week and $257.9 million in outflows, marking a strong week of net inflows for the Australian ETF industry.
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Meta Leads the FANG Earnings Charge
Big Tech & Innovation
As we approach the half-way point of the Q4 2023 US earnings season, all signs indicate the FANGs will dominate the markets once again in 2024. Year-to-date, more than 85% of the S&P 500’s gains have been driven by members of the NYSE FANG+ Index, up from 60% in 2023.4
Meta Platforms (formally known as Facebook) was the biggest winner of the week. Year-over-year, the company’s quarterly profit tripled to US$14 billion, smashing analyst forecasts of US$13 billion, and revenue jumped almost 25% from US$32 billion to US$40 billion.5 Investors seemed thrilled by the report – Meta rallied 20% on the day, adding US$197 billion to its market cap, and notching the biggest single session rise ever in any company’s valuation.6,7 Ironically, exactly two years ago, Meta had recorded the biggest single session loss ever (US$251 billion) – making Meta’s recovery one of the greatest comeback stories in Wall Street history.8
Meta wasn’t the only winner on the street last week, other tech giants such as Amazon, Google, and Microsoft all had reports that beat analyst expectations:
- Amazon’s revenue grew 14% YoY to US$170 billion beating analyst forecasts of US$166.2 billion. AWS, Amazon’s most profitable unit, generated US$24.2 billion, in-line with expectations.9
- Google recorded US$86.3 billion in revenue, beating expectations of US$85.3 billion. Google cloud outperformed with a 25% growth in revenue to US$9.2 billion against US$8.9 billion expected.10
- Microsoft reported US$62 billion in revenue against US$61.1 billion expected. Intelligent cloud, which includes Azure and Microsoft’s new AI suite, grew 19% YoY and brought in US$25.8 billion in revenue, beating analyst estimates.11
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- KoBold Metals, a mining start-up backed by Bill Gates and Jeff Bezos, claims it has discovered the largest copper deposit in Zambia in over a century.12 The company estimates the new ‘Mingomba’ site is set to become one of the world’s top three high-grade copper mines.
- Base metals, including copper, could see weak demand in 2024 as high interest rates, a manufacturing recession in Western economies, and faltering Chinese growth outweigh bullish supply narratives.
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- The OPEC+ signalled it will continue with oil supply cutbacks throughout Q1 2024 to avoid a possible surplus.13 US oil production increased steadily in 2023, frustrating the OPEC’s goal of constraining supply for price stability.14
- Crude oil prices swung sharply last week after news platform Al Jazeera reported Israel had agreed to a ceasefire.15 Bloomberg later reported negotiations were in their early stages and no breakthrough had been made. Nonetheless, the prospect of easing geopolitical tension in the Middle East has reduced risk pricing.
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- China has overtaken India as the world’s largest consumer of gold jewellery.16 Gold has become an increasingly sought after safe-haven asset for younger Chinese investors against the backdrop of a collapsing real estate market and poor stock market performance.
- According to the World Gold Council, gold jewellery purchases reached 630 tonnes in China last year, overtaking India’s 562.3 tonnes of demand.17 Investment in gold bars and coins also surged by 28% in 2023.
- Gold prices dropped last week after a strong US nonfarm payrolls report bolstered US dollar strength and lowered the odds of a March rate-cut. The US economy added 353,000 jobs in the first month of 2024, almost double the expected 187,000.18
- In an appearance on CBS’s ’60 Minutes’ interview last Sunday, Fed chair Jerome Powell emphasised the risks of reducing interest rates too early.19 Powell explained it is unlikely the FOMC would have sufficient incentive to cut rates in its March meeting, but a mid-year rate-cut was likely.
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Forecasts are not guaranteed, and undue reliance should not be placed on them. This information is based on views held by Global X or referenced sources as of 6th February 2024.