Week Ahead: Earnings, ECB and US GDP to drive markets

Week Ahead

ECB

The European Central Bank (ECB) provides the main headline risk event for traders as we look at whether policymakers are ready to pull the trigger on a fresh round of stimulus.Options are limited for the ECB but markets are increasingly betting it will choose to cut interest rates this year and may restart its bond-buying programme.

US GDP

Estimates for US Q2 growth were revised up after better-than-expected retail sales figures last week. The question is whether there is enough strength in the quarterly growth numbers to make the market rethink just how much the Fed will cut rates. The first reading of the Q2 GDP estimate is due on Friday.

Facebook

Earnings season hits full speed with a slew of corporate updates. Top of the bill is Facebook, which knocked it out the park in Q1. The consensus expected Q2 earnings per share (EPS) is $1.87, up 7.5% year-on-year. Sales are seen rising around 25% to $16.5 billion. But can advertising growth offset worries about regulation and higher costs?

Tesla  

Last month CEO Elon Musk said deliveries in the second quarter hit a record 95,200 cars, well ahead of the 91k expected by Wall Street. Key questions are whether achieving these production targets is leaving the business nursing additional costs, and whether management sticks to its guidance to return to profitability in Q3.  

Boeing  

How much has the 737 MAX grounding affected sales and earnings? We should find out more about how much of a it Boeing expects to take when we get the second quarter numbers on Thursday. Boeing also has exposure to tariffs and has led to analysts downgrading the stock lately.  

Corporate Diary

Earnings season continues this week so here’s your head’s up on the names to watch. The following companies are set to publish their quarterly earnings reports this week:

Pre-Market23rd JulyLockhead Martin Corp – Q2 Earnings
23rd JulySantander SA – Q2 Earnings
After-Market23rd JulyVisa Inc – Q2 Earnings
08.00 BST23rd JulyUBS – Q2 Earnings
After-Market23rd JulySnap Inc -Q2 Earnings
Pre-Market 23rd JulyCoca-Cola C – Q2 Earnings
After-Market (Paris)24th JulyLVMH – Q2 Earnings
24th JulyAMD – Q2 Earning
12.00 BST24th JulyGlaxoSmithKline Plc -Q2 Earnings
After-Market24th JulyFacebook – Q2 Earnings
After-Market24th JulyFord Motor Co – Q2 Earnings
24th JulyDeutsch Bank – Q2 Earnings
Pre-Market24th JulyUnited Parcel Service – Q2 Earnigns
Pre-Market24th JulyCaterpillar Inc Q2 Earnings
After-Market24th JulyTesla – Q2 Earnings
Pre-Market24th JulyAT&T Inc – Q2 Earnings
After-Market25th JulyAlphabet – Q2 Earnings
Pre-Market25th JulyBoeing Co – Q2 Earnings
After-Market25th JulyStarbucks Corp – Q3 Earnings
Pre-Market25th JuyComcast – Q2 Earnings
07.00 BST25th JulyUnilever – Q2 Earnings
25th JulyTelefonica
13.00 BST25th JulyTOTAL SA – Q2 Earnings
06.15 BST26th JulyNestle – Q2 Earnings
Pre-Market26th JulyMcDonalds Corp – Q2 Earnings
Pre-Market26th JulyTwitter – Q2 Earnings
XRay

Don’t miss the expert analysis and opinion, live-streamed direct to your platform. Here are the highlights from XRay this week.

17.00 GMT22nd JulyBlonde Markets
15.30 GMT23rd JulyAsset of the Day: Bullion Billions
19.00 GMT23rd JulyLIVE: Trader Training
11.45 GMT25th JulyECB Decision LIVE
Key Economic Events

Watch out for the biggest events on the economic calendar this week:

From 07.15 GMT24th JulyEurozone flash PMIs
13.45 GMT24th JulyUS flash manufacturing PMI
08.00 GMT25th JulyGerman IFO report
11.45 GMT25th JulyECB Interest Rate Decision
12.30 GMT 25th JulyECB Press Conference
12.30 GMT26th JulyUS Q2 GDP first reading

Tech stocks under pressure

Morning Note

Markets remain on the hook to the trade war rumblings, but a new war has opened up that threatens equity investors – a war on tech. What the Fed threatens to give, the DoJ takes away.

Yesterday we saw a soft start in the US before the ISM print missed and investors raised bets the Fed will cut rates this year. But the Fed put was not enough to fight the tide off tech woes. 

Fangs are under severe pressure amid fears they are in the crosshairs of trust busters. The DoJ and FTC are marking targets and loading up. Whilst it’s far too early to say if any would, or could, be ripe to be broken up, there’s a real threat this will depress multiples and mean we need to reset expectations. Given the Fangs have been at the front of the market expansion in recent years, this will act as a drag on sentiment as well.

A couple of very big moves yesterday in Alphabet and Facebook. 

Alphabet –6% – support now seen around $968, before $895 comes into play. 

Facebook –7.5% – key support seen at $159, below that we look to the $145 level. 

Calls have been growing louder and louder for the authorities to at least look at antitrust issues for the tech giants. Political pressure is building – lawmakers sniff votes in tackling big tech. The shift really happened last year with Facebook’s scandals, which broken the illusion of Silicon Valley being in it for the little guy. They’re just big corporations out to make money like any other – the politicians can smell blood. As I noted a year or two ago, I always thought Trump had the hallmarks of a Teddy Roosevelt trust-buster.  

So now we have the Nasdaq in correction territory – down 1.6% yesterday to take it more than 10% off its all-time highs. The Dow was flat, while the S&P 500 notched a decline of 0.3%. The FTSE 100 ended the day in the green, up 0.3% at 7184 with the key 7150 level holding.

Asian shares followed Wall Street’s lead overnight, and futures show European shares are under the cosh again today.

Rates

US Treasury yields continue their slide with the 10yr slipping to 2.085% and threatening to find the 2.05% level now. EURUSD has broken out of technical resistance due to the slide in yields as markets bet on a Fed rate cut. EURUSD faces resistance at 1.126/7 but having broken out of the long-term descending wedge we could now look for more gains. Has the dollar rally ended? Well it all depends on the Fed. 

Today’s Jay Powell speech is now key to market sentiment after dovish comments from James Bullard yesterday. 

St. Louis Fed boss James Bullard – a voting member of the FOMC – says a rate cut may be warranted soon. He talked about a sharper than expected slowdown. He also discussed a cut as insurance – some sense the Fed is seeking to get ahead of the curve – too late! Over to Powell later today.

Bullard has always been one of the most dovish members of the FOMC – the market may have massively miscalculated the US central bank’s view of the economy, inflation and risks to its forecasts. I rather think the Fed will be a lot less ready to ease than the market thinks, and this suggests a significant decoupling between the Fed and market expectations.

EZ inflation

Ahead of this we have the Eurozone CPI print. The last reading showed inflation rose to a 6-month high in April at 1.7%, whilst core price growth rose to 1.3%. However, this uptick seems to be down to one-offs and the core read is expected to revert to trend around 1% in May, with the headline print at 1.4%. 
 

Woodford shut – worse to come? 

Neil Woodford has suspended trading in the Woodford Equity Income. Woodford has clearly made a series of poor investment decisions. Out of love UK stocks with entirely domestic may have been ultra-cheap, but they’re still unloved and still cheap. Provident has been a disaster. Kier, whose shares tumbled 40% yesterday, also disaster. It’s been a tough few years for Woodford and things look like they will get worse still. 

RBA cut 

No surprise the RBA cut rates, it had been fully priced in. The question now is how many more? The statement didn’t tell us anything new. No indication there will be more this year. Worth noting the RBA’s own forecasts are predicated on 50bps of cuts so we’re only half way there. Watch the data. AUDUSD has gained a few pips post the statement, with little detail on future cuts likely to give the bulls some hope. Resistance at 0.6990, the 38.2% Fib level, tested and rejected.

Retail sales

UK retail sales fell off a cliff in May – down 2.7%. This is the worst ever decline in retail sales and will hit the sector today.

Brexit compromise, dire PMIs, a lift for Facebook and a drop for Lyft

Forex
Morning Note

Facebook up on Deutsche Bank Instagram note, Lyft receives first “Sell” rating

Despite the negative news-flow swirling around Facebook as it battles concerns over privacy and extremist content, stock has continued to climb today, registering a 3.3% gain. A new note from Deutsche Bank states analysts believe that Friday’s addition of a Checkout on Instagram feature for the image-sharing platform could bring in revenue of $10 billion by 2021. Facebook is currently trying to move away from its reliance on ads, which currently generate 98% of revenues.

Finding alternative revenue streams is important for the company as it faces pressure to clamp down on who it is allowing to advertise, especially as the platform comes under scrutiny for the role of paid ads during elections and other political events.

At the other end of the spectrum is Lyft, which yesterday closed below $69.00; under its IPO price. The stock has been hit by its first “sell” rating. Michael Ward of Seaport Global has set a target price of $42 per share, claiming the current price represents a “leap of faith” in the willingness of consumers to forgo car ownership in favour of ride-hailing services.
Executives at rival ride-hailer Uber may not be looking forward to their upcoming float as much now. Lyft’s performance could significantly dent the price investors are willing to pay; it seems that holding a company valued at many times earnings and yet to post a profit isn’t quite the golden opportunity many first believed.

Looking at the wider markets, sentiment remains positive after fresh signs that the US and China are nearing a deal to end the months-long trade war between the world’s two largest economies. Recession fears are easing and global stocks climbed to six-month highs, while a move out of safety pushed the German ten-year yield back above 0%.

Asian shares hit a fresh seven-month-high, with the Hang Seng up 0.9% to break above the 30,000.00 handle before consolidating around 29,950.00, and the Nikkei 225 up 1.3% to flirt with 21,800.00.

European shares are also higher; the DAX has registered a 1% gain. Signs that the UK government may be moving towards a softer Brexit have helped nudge the FTSE up nearly 60 points; resistance remains around 7,400.00.

Cable caught between Brexit compromise and service sector stumble

Having exhausted all other Brexit options, Theresa May last night announced that the UK needed another short Article 50 extension, and extended an offer of talks to Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn. May still doesn’t want the UK to take part in European Elections, but wants to avoid a no-deal Brexit; currently scheduled for April 12th.

It marks a significant change in strategy, and cable responded positively. Sterling was up 0.5% against the dollar this morning, but gains were trimmed following a dire reading from the March services PMI. Analysts expected the reading to drop from 51.3 in February to 50.9, but the sector instead recorded a contractionary 48.9.

Taken together, the PMIs are waving a red flag for the UK economy. Only the manufacturing sector continues growing, and that is because of companies stockpiling ahead of Brexit.

The uncertainty facing businesses is an anchor on the UK economy, but can May and Corbyn craft a deal between them that appeases Parliament? The move certainly signals the Prime Minister is ready to consider a softer Brexit, but will anyone buy it?

During normal times, a consensus between Conservative and Labour leaders would have a strong chance of uniting the house. But we have to remember the circumstances and the leaders in question. Tories aren’t likely to vote for anything with Corbyn’s fingerprints on, while the Labour party isn’t exactly Corbyn’s biggest fan either.

Cable remains higher – a deal that potentially avoids further economic damage is clearly better than no deal that threatens even more (so markets believe). A soft patch for the economy can be overlooked if things get cleared up quickly, and hope this is the case has kept GBP/USD supported around $1.3175.

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