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My view on what's going on in the financial markets and the global economy, and a few other things that might interest me from time to time.

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  • Writer's picturetim@emorningcoffee.com

Week ended Jan 26, 2024: US data, China, Tesla, central bank decisions

Updated: Jan 28

 

The S&P 500 hit another record high on Friday, up 1.1% WoW, and the DJIA also reached its highest ever closing level on Friday.  With that teaser out of the way, let me focus on four things that seemed to shape sentiment last week.


  • US economic data showed up in droves, with perhaps the most influential being 4Q23 GDP (+1.5% Q-o-Q/3.3% annualised, here), change in Personal Consumption Expenditures (PCE) for Dec (core 0.2% MoM/2.9% YoY, here), better-than-expected preliminary PMI data for January (here), and strong pending home sales for December (here).

  • China announced stimulus measures to soothe investors that had been fleeing its stock market en masse, sending Chinese stocks down sharply YtD (following dismal returns in the prior two years).

  • Tesla announced earnings (here), which disappointed.  And if that wasn’t enough, Elon Musk seemed to sow further confusion in the post-earnings conference call.

  • ECB and Band of Japan rate decisions kicked off central bank decisions for 2024, with both banks holding firm.  ECB President Lagarde continued to emphasis “higher for longer” in order to pour water on the expectation of monetary easing in the near term (ECB press release here).  BoJ Governor Kazuo Ueda suggested that the bank was on target to begin normalising its monetary policy in March or April, in line with expectations (BoJ press release here).

 

The markets responded as follows in each case:


  • US economic data à Risk-on continued in US equities, with growing conviction that the US might indeed be in for a “no landing” scenario as the economy remains resilient and inflation continues to slow.  UST yields were only slightly changed, with yields at the short end of the curve declining and yields at the long end slightly increasing.

  • China à Chinese stocks rallied, or tried to, but investors are clearly asking “is this enough?”  The Shanghai Index was up 2.8% WoW, cutting the YtD loss to 2.2%. The more-followed Hang Seng rose 4.2%.

  • Tesla (TSLA) haters are able to finally say “I told you so” as a confluence of factors weighted on Tesla’s earnings and clouded the outlook, pushing the shares down 13.6% WoW.  The shares are now down 26.3% YtD.  Some might seem opportunity – I’m not one of them!  (As far as S&P 500 earnings for 4Q23, check out the LSEG I/B/E/S report for the week ended January 26, 2024.)

  • ECB and BoJ rate decisions à The STOXX 600 (European index) rallied 3.1% W-o-W, and Japanese stocks fell 0.6%.  The EUR weakened a touch, and by the end of the week, Yen was little changed vis-à-vis the US Dollar.

 

MY TRADES THIS WEEK

I added a small amount to my position in VISA (V) after the shares fell post-earnings.  The stock is no longer cheap, but it is a name I like.

 

WHAT’S AHEAD

I will aim to cover this more tomorrow morning, but the coming week have the first central bank meetings of the year in the US (FOMC Jan 30/31) and the UK (BoE Feb 1), and a slew of corporate earnings.  86 of the S&P 500 companies will report earnings this coming week, including AMD, MSFT, GOOG, SBUX, QCOM, AMZN, AAPL and META, amongst many others.  Following INTC’s disappointing earnings, there could be pressure on chip companies depending on what AMD reports and – most importantly – their outlook for the quarter ahead.  Little else needs to be said about the importance of the big tech companies that are reporting earnings this week, as valuations remain stretched.  

 

THE TABLES

The tables below provide detail across various global and US equity indices, the US Treasury market, corporate bonds and various other asset classes. 

 

Global equities


US equities


US Treasuries


Corporate bonds (credit)



Safe haven and other assets


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