Local and global equity markets were mixed this week as investors digested US company quarterly results and a range of economic data.
US 2nd quarter company reporting season continued this week with 15% of the largest companies having reported – 74% have beaten analyst earnings expectations. Wall Street analysts still expect earnings to have shrunk by more than 6% in the last quarter compared with a year ago.
Super funds are not being properly scrutinised as they build up huge portfolios of illiquid unlisted assets, the authority that oversees the financial regulators has warned. They declared that APRA had fallen short on its oversight of how funds value assets such as unlisted property & infrastructure and private equity funds.
In local stock news, alcohol retailer Endeavour Group shares fell sharply after the Victorian government announced reforms regarding poker machines. The company said there’s a lot of detail to work through so too early yet to speculate on the impact.
Lithium miner IGO shares fell after the company flagged a non-cash and pre-tax impairment of $880-980 million for assets they bought from Western Areas.
Whitehaven Coal delivered a solid June quarterly result with production and sales at the upper end of their downgraded guidance and costs in the middle of their range. The average price achieved was well down in the quarter from March.
Lendlease shares fell on reports the property giant would be trimming 10% of its global workforce, or 740 roles.
Ansell shares plunged to a one-year low after the company said its full-year profit would be at the bottom end of guidance and it expects its 2023/24 earnings to be even lower as it works through an inventory glut.
Aurizon shares fell after the company said it expected group underlying earnings for financial year 2023 in line with expectations, but their financial year 2024 guidance disappointed.
Woodside shares gained after the oil and gas giant reaffirmed full-year production guidance despite a 5% drop in June quarter production.
Ampol shares moved higher after the refiner and petrol station owner reported Australian fuel sales grew 13% in the first half.
Rio Tinto guided to iron ore production at the top end of the financial year guidance, although second quarter production in other commodities was weaker. BHP fourth quarter production was largely in line with expectations.
Mineral Resources shares rose after the company pulled out of a billion-dollar deal to acquire a stake in a downstream lithium hydroxide plant in China from US lithium giant Albemarle.
The RBA’s minutes from their July meeting showed they debated raising rates before deciding to leave them on hold until next month when they would have more data on inflation, the global economy, the labour market, and household spending.
Australian employment rose by 32,600 in June with the unemployment rate remaining steady at 3.5%. The participation rate fell.
Data showed US producer price pressures decelerating, with wholesale prices increasing just 0.1% in the month of June. Industrial production fell by 0.5% in June versus flat expectations whilst business inventories lifted in May.
US consumer sentiment soared to an almost 2-year high, whilst long run inflation expectations data printed at 3.1%, a cyclical high, pushing government bond yields higher. Monthly retail sales rose in June but came in below expectations.
A key US manufacturing report fell sharply in July but remained in positive territory and came in above expectations.
A key housing market index rose slightly in July whilst housing starts fell by 8% in June and building permits dipped by 3.7% in June. Existing home sales fell by 3.3% in June.
UK inflation fell to 7.9% in June from 8.7% in May providing some hope that aggressive moves by the Bank of England to get the cash rate higher are starting to work.
China’s economy grew slower than expected in the second quarter with worrying signs of a slowdown in consumer spending and ongoing pain in the property market. Monthly indicators for June showed a mixed picture with a slide in retail sales growth and a weakening in the property market, whilst industrial production improved.
China stepped up its support for their managed currency with a stronger than expected reference rate and changed its capital rules, opening the door for more foreign capital inflows.
Russia has ended the Ukraine grain export deal almost a year into the agreement, creating uncertainty over global food supplies. The deal had been extended in May, with Russia repeatedly threatening to leave the deal.
A poll showed half of Britons would vote to re-join the European Union for the first time since the country opted to leave seven years ago. The proportion in favour has increased 11% since January 2021, when Brexit formally took place. Departure isn’t the problem; execution of the departure is.
Victoria pulled out of hosting the 2026 Commonwealth Games as costs ballooned by billions of dollars according to the Victorian government.
Weekly market updates are written by Chris Lioutas. Chris is on the board of Peer Wealth X Futuro Investment Committee. View LinkedIn
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