ETF Express: Week Ending 27 October 2023
- Cryptocurrency ETFs (CRYP, EBTC, EETH) continued their rally last week as investors increased their bets on rising optimism surrounding a possible listing of a US spot Bitcoin ETF. Core PCE released in the US last week also showed that inflation has slowed, lowering the odds of a rate hike in November, which should provide some breathing space for risk assets.1
- Geared US equity funds (GGUS, LNAS) were some of the poorest performers last week after investors reacted poorly to the start of this Q3 earnings season. US stocks have had their worst October in five years as the S&P 500 fell nine out of 11 days since earning calls began, and last Friday the Nasdaq notched its worst day since February.2
- There were $296.3 million in reported inflows for the week, and $220.9 million in outflows, marking a week of net inflows for the Australian ETF industry.
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US Q3 Earnings Update: Good Earnings, Bad Reactions
Two weeks into the US earnings season and markets are on track for their worst October in almost five years.3 With such gloomy conditions, one might think companies are reporting dramatically worse than analyst predictions – except the S&P 500 overall has actually reported 0.6% higher than expected on aggregate sales and is beating EPS estimates by an average of 8.6%.4 Below are some of the biggest earnings of last week:
- Amazon (AMZN) beat expectations with US$143.1 billion in revenue compared to the expected US$141.6 billion.5 Its advertising business was the main catalyst for growth, while AWS’ growth slightly underperformed.
- Meta (META), had one of its most profitable quarters in years with revenue up 23% year-over-year and operating income smashing analyst expectations by 21%.6
- Google (GOOG) beat expectations in both revenue and income, but investors focused on the slow growth of its cloud department, which has yet to catch up to Microsoft and Amazon.7
- Microsoft (MSFT) also beat expectations in revenue and income for the quarter. Its cloud division also grew faster than expected.8
But why are markets reacting so poorly?
Analysts are attributing the current market underperformance to uncertainty around the Israel-Hamas conflict, decade-high yields from treasury bonds, as well as general pessimism about the US economy heading into 2024. It also has not helped that corporations are seemingly playing it safe, as not a single company has raised forecasts for Q4 2023 so far.9 However, bullish predictions do still exist – Goldman Sachs, for example, believes that the US economy will remain resilient next year and thus views the current route as a buying opportunity.10
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- China’s stimulus initiatives have boosted industrial demand expectations. Beijing plans to borrow CNY 1 trillion to increase its annual budget. This financing increase would boost manufacturing investments and industrial input purchases.11
- China’s copper production is strong, demonstrating the largest consumer market still needs copper despite price declines. Smelter production reached a record 1.14 million tonnes in September, a second month of record highs.12
- The US purchasing managers’ indexes showed a rise in economic activity after two months of stagnation.13
- Relevant increase in exchange stocks: exchange stocks are up 13% month on month, led by increases in the London Metals Exchange and Shanghai Futures Exchange.14
- BHP Group recently reported a copper physical market surplus for the current quarter.15
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- Russian oil-product exports plunged to the lowest levels in more than three years, with outflows still limited after Moscow’s initial ban on diesel shipments and the slow ramp-up of refining activity.16
- Supply concerns continue amid fears the Israel-Hamas war could escalate and disrupt supplies in the oil-rich region.17
- The US lifted sanctions on OPEC member Venezuela after its officials pledged fair elections next year.18 Venezuelan oil production may rise 25% as the US eases a four-year-old sanction policy that had strangled exports. The country is on the brink of being able to pump 200,000 more barrels of crude a day. For now, the relief is temporary: a six-month license authorising transactions involving the oil and gas sector.
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- The ECB kept interest rates unchanged for the first time in more than a year.19 Policymakers reiterated that holding borrowing costs at the current level will likely be enough to bring inflation down.
- Geopolitical uncertainties in the Middle East boosted safe-haven demand for gold.20
- Research house, Metals Focus, forecasts the artificial intelligence boom could bolster industrial demand for precious metals next year. Demand might rise for platinum alloys such as silver-palladium (Ag-Pd) used in high power components, gold in bonding wires in chip and memory packages, gold plating in printed circuit boards and palladium plating on lead frames.21
- The US dollar reached its highest level in over two weeks, sparked by strong GDP data that further reinforced the resilience of the US economy.22
- At its upcoming policy meeting, the Federal Reserve is expected to keep interest rates stable, but it is also projected to keep them high for an extended period.23
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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 at 31st October 2023.