vBy Deepta Bolaky
Investors digested another week packed with geopolitical headlines, COVID-19 cases, vaccines related-updates, economic data and the Presidential Nomination Conventions. As the week comes to an end, market participants took note of the upcoming trade talks and the positive vaccine news by Pfizer and BioNTech SE.
Global stocks started the week on a mixed note as investors struggled to understand the delay in the US-China trade meeting. The outperformance of the tech sector and fresh stimulus from China provided support to the stock market amid virus woes, the uncertainty around the pace of recovery, dovish FOMC minutes and elevated tensions between US and China after the Trump administration ended the pact with Hong Kong on extradition and reciprocal tax treatment.
Despite the current angst in the equity market and the standoff in Congress over the coronavirus relief package, we saw a few highs on Wall Street. Major US equity indices flirted near record highs lifted by US big mega-cap tech stocks.
Apple made history this week to become the first US company to be valued at US$2 trillion. Its market value has doubled in two years and its shares are currently priced at $470.10.
European stocks remained stuck within a range as investors are concerned about the rally in the stock market against the global economic backdrop and the stimulus-fuelled economy.
Investors geared up to the busiest week of the Australian earnings season. We have updates from big retailers, iron-ore miners, major banks, and tech stocks. As of writing, Information Technology, Consumer Discretionary and Health index were leading the gains on the Australian share market. Energy and Consumer staples were among the laggards the worst-performing sectors.
For a detailed report of key companies reporting results this week – please read
In the forex market, major currencies were mostly stronger against the greenback. The US dollar staged a comeback on Wednesday against its peers after the release of the FOMC minutes which provide both caution and less dovish tones. However, the momentum was short-lived.
Source: Bloomberg Terminal
The British Pound edged higher against the G10 currencies on the back of the overall weakness of the US dollar and better-than-expected inflation data:
Similarly, the Canadian dollar was among the best performers lifted by higher commodity prices and CPI figures:
Furthermore, on the economic front, economic data was mixed:
Japan: Japan’s economy contracted the worst on record. GDP contracted an annualised 27.8% in the 3 months through June from the previous quarter.
United States: Building Permits came above expectations at 1.495M while Housing Starts surged by 22.6% in July. On the manufacturing sector, the diffusion index for current activity fell 7 points to 17.2 in August, it’s third consecutive positive reading after reaching long-term lows in April and May.
Labour market data disappointed as well with jobless claims rising up again. In the week ending August 15, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 1,106,000, an increase of 135,000 from the previous week’s revised level.
Crude oil prices traded in familiar ranges. The weekly oil reports have been mixed:
As of writing, WTI Crude oil (Nymex) and Brent Crude (ICE) were trading around $42.82 and $44.97 respectively.
Another volatile week for Gold. After reaching fresh record highs, the precious metal plunged and slipped the most in seven years last week. Gold reclaimed the $2,000 level as risk sentiment faltered on Tuesday earlier this week. Virus woes, ongoing fiscal support, geopolitical tensions, the uncertainty of the global economic outlook still provide support to the haven asset. As of writing, the XAUUSD pair is trading around the $1,940 level.
By Deepta Bolaky
|Monday, 24 August 2020
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