HomeReportsThe Match Out: ASX up a touch – not much happening…
A quiet Monday to kick off the new trading week with the index failing to live up to the levels implied by SPI Futures on Saturday morning. A tick over 50% of the main board traded higher, however it was a session void of any real impetus in either direction – Banks up a touch, resources mixed and a bit chop-chop elsewhere!
The trend for the week was broken today with the market down early before rallying ~60 points as it squeezed up into month end with an MSCI Index rebalance thrown into the mix as well – the market is starting to get that ‘Christmas squeeze’ vibe about it, the ASX 200 up 4.52% for the month of November, recouping a large proportion of the declines from the September / October, the net result is a total return of -1.4% for the tumultuous period.
Global bond yields have reversed lower in recent weeks, and at MM, we believe they’ve peaked for this rate hiking cycle. From an investment perspective, we believe portfolios should be positioned for two chapters over the coming 6-12 months, assuming we see no Black Swan events, "risk-on" and 'Risk-off."
Rinse & repeat, the trend for the week thus far as the market opens in an optimistic tone only to see selling pick up throughout the session – not even an improving inflation picture was enough to sustain early optimism, the best of the gains seen before midday.
Retail sales came in softer than expected in October, down -0.2% from September, missing forecasts of a 0.1% rise. We believe households are slowing their spending faster than many recognise, with the exception of the debt-free retirees who are enjoying today's high-interest rate environment. Discretionary spending is declining into Christmas, we can see it “freezing over” in the New Year unless things change dramatically, i.e. the average person is simply paying too much in rent/mortgages before even considering the increased cost of fuel, food, etc.
A similar sort of session to yesterday played out today with the best of it seen early, although we started from a higher level with strong buying on open seeing the index +60 points not long after the bell, before sellers emerged cutting those gains in half.
The sharp correction by lithium and its related stocks has been the undoing of many portfolios through 2023 after the year started with many investors wanting exposure to the EV revolution – we discussed it as a crowded space at the time, but its demise this year has been deeper than we imagined. Last week saw Lithium prices in China fall sharply to their lowest point in over 2 years after a trial delivery of the critical battery metal to the Guangzhou Futures Exchange indicated a larger-than-expected supply.
A poor session to kick off the new trading week with the ASX seeing the best of it early before broad-based selling took hold, pushing the main board ~70pts below the early highs, as ~65% of stocks lost ground.
The S&P500 is up +8.7% in November, one of its best performances in the last century, with December still to come. Assuming central banks, particularly the Fed, keep off their hawkish Tannoy’s into the New Year, we anticipate a pop to fresh 2023 and potentially new all-time highs in the coming weeks – only 1.3% & 5.7% higher, respectively. Investors are starting to believe that strong businesses are adapting well to higher rates, hence the strong getting stronger & vice-versa.
The ASX200 experienced a quiet week with the US Thanksgiving holiday giving investors and traders alike a reason to take a breather after November's strong performance – the index rotated in a tight 0.9% range before finally slipping less than 10-points. Under the hood, we witnessed some reversion to the month's recent moves as the euphoria around falling bond yields abated, Tech & Real Estate were the weakest two sectors, while the influential Energy, Financials and Materials Sectors were the only three sectors which managed to edge higher.
The intra-day trend (chart below) shows the impact of low volumes, and as one trader said today, it’s great to see the ASX also celebrates Thanksgiving! Strength early, weakness late but a positive session to cap off a fairly flat week for stocks.