The New Zealand dollar has fallen against the US Dollar as New Zealand records new community transmitted cases since the last time 102 days ago.
After a rally in risk-on currencies, the New Zealand dollar has fallen over 0.75% over the past two days from its high from 0.6175 as the largest city in the country, Auckland, was put into a mandatory level 3 lockdown for three days. For reference, New Zealand uses a 4 level system, with four being the most severe of lockdowns imposing a mandatory stay at home order for all citizens, with only essential workers such as nurses and doctors allowed to work.
Level 3 is less severe; however, it still imposes mandatory work from home orders if it is possible to do so. Schools and restaurants are closed. However, takeaways are allowed. Furthermore, only gatherings of 10 are permitted, with police roadblocks around the Auckland area to catch people going in/out of the city.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern urges citizens not to panic and panic buy at the supermarkets. However, queues have been seen stretching out the door at many supermarket chains, with police being required to be present to control the crowd of shoppers.
In terms of the New Zealand dollar and New Zealand equities, this sell-off may be purely reactionary. New Zealand is doing far better than essentially every other country, including its bigger brother Australia. This may be a good time for bulls to enter the market. As we’ve seen with many other securities as of late, the market is quick to pounce on a beaten asset for the rebound.
Meanwhile, in the United States, we see the market edge higher, with the NASDAQ and Dow Jones climbing back to their all-time highs on useful US inflation data. However, the outperformer was the SP500 with cyclical assets such as energy stocks help push the index past its all-time highs.
The S&P 500 broke the 3,386 level, finishing the US trading session just under 3390, an all-time high.
This is a familiar picture with investors and traders who have been following the markets for the past couple of months – the market rallies on good news regardless of the relevancy, with the market discounting the bad news citing Fed liquidity propping up assets. Regardless, the rally in equities has been astounding, proving the wrong unbelievers of the “V-shape” recovery.
Barry Jones, manager at the James Investment research, stated that the rally in the equity markets has been “absolutely amazing” and that the market has “done the V-shape recovery that the economy has not” with the “stock market [plowing] right ahead.”
Futures pulled back slightly at the end of the US session, most likely gearing up for the retail sales figure this Friday. A better than expected result will most likely see the NASDAQ push up above its record high of 11,286 and solidifying the S&P 500’s push above its all-time high.
Amid bankrupt stocks like Hertz and Chesapeake rallying, we have signs of rationality coming back into the markets today. The second wave caution that investors and traders have has played excellently in the markets. However, fundamentals have not been forgotten either.
As cases in Beijing and the United States spike, investors are aware of the effects of a second wave on the stock market. And we have seen that play out perfectly today. Safe havens Gold and Bonds are up on Fed buying and investor cautiousness. Stocks are up on investors buying the dip, which they have been taught to do since the Global Financial Crisis. Oil is up on signs that supply-side issues are being resolved. Hertz and Chesapeake - are down. Markets are reacting to new information as they should be – speculation aside. However, the second wave may destroy any optimism the market has in a full recovery – or will it?
There is a common saying – Do not fight the Fed. The general idea is that if the Fed is cutting interest, not only does this signal to the market that 100 or so individuals with Ph.D.'s think the American economy is in need for accommodative financial conditions, they provide the conditions to do so by lowering interest rates. Therefore, it would be wise to invest in equities as companies are likely to perform better during this period of low-interest rates.
However, during this Coronavirus pandemic, the Fed has come with a gun with unlimited ammunition – quantitative easing. While interest rates can take time to show fundamental effects in firms' bottom lines, quantitative easing uses the Fed's ability to virtually print money to buy anything it pleases, mainly government and corporate debt. Long story short, the intended result is to pump cash/liquidity into the markets. However, it has the effect of saving lenders from losing money as the Fed takes on the debt risk. Therefore, the spread of the damage would be limited to the stockholders if a company goes bankrupt. This sentiment, where the Fed will most likely prop up markets, has fueled the rally since the start of May.
But a potential second wave will put the Fed's powers to the test. During the initial downturn in mid-April, little was known about the lengths the Fed was willing to go to stabilize the American economy. But now things are much clearer – they will do everything in their power (and in this case, their power is unlimited asset purchases) to save the American economy.
This has implicitly put investors on two teams: The second wave, or the Fed. Investors are either betting on the second wave to push investors and traders to sell their positions, outpacing the Fed's buying. Or betting that the Fed's asset purchases will keep asset prices high, even if there is a second wave. Who will win?
This has been front and center on many investors' minds, including mine. Unlike the first wave, we are better prepared for the second wave, with the Fed ready to ramp up purchases at a moment's notice. However, a second wave may finally solidify the threat on earnings the Coronavirus has on companies. As Bill Blain from Shard Capital states – "As the recession bites, and unemployment rises… markets could experience a serious reality check."
Regular investors who want to back the Fed may hedge their risk slightly by keeping some cash on the sidelines, averaging down if prices take a tank. Investors who support the second wave may want to stay fully invested in safe havens such as bonds or Gold.
Which side are you backing?
The US Dollar index weakens for the 7th straight day as investors' appetite for risk increases. The AUD/USD has broken the 0.69 mark, with the USD weaker against its G10 currencies, with global indices rising on forward optimism on a quicker recovery from the effects of the Coronavirus. US Indices have seemed to quickly discount the effects of the protests as they continue for the 8th straight day.
It is interesting to note how strong expectations and consensus have been on the market. It seems to have some binary optimism-o-meter, where the market is like "okay if my optimism-o-meter is above 1, markets rise." Markets, in general, tend to be forward-thinking. However, as of late, future optimism has been trumping future imminent damage. It has taken much imminent danger to earnings to change the market consensus drastically but has only required a little to brighten up the markets' spirits. It kind of reminds me of this video – US Indices only plummeted when push finally came to shove, when the Coronavirus was on the mainland. But indices are up, on earnings expectations months, even years down the line.
Fortunately, fundamental signs are supporting the depreciation of the US Dollar. China's manufacturing sector has seen an increase in appetite for Iron from Australia, Oil breaching $40 showing demand picking up, and institutional and retail investors after being taught to buy the dip, have been buying the dip. However, as from my article yesterday, there has been this massive disconnect between Wall Street and main street. It almost seems like every time an event happens, which would typically fuel a risk-off rally, the market seems to reset their time horizon further. However, if we ignore the Coronavirus and protests, economic data is still abysmal.
Mark Mobius, co-founder at Mobius Capital partners, still expects a V-shape recovery, pointing to the market moves as an indicator to future gains. He is bullish on further employment recovery, predicting that the US Government will implement fiscal stimulus in the form of infrastructure spending in order to give many Americans work.
It would be wise to keep some dry powder for a potential second wave when keeping the US market in mind or investing in countries with a better Coronavirus outlook. Investor's temperament must stay in check while seeing markets slowly tick up – the possibility of a second wave was highly likely in the United States before the protests, now they might just be adding fuel to the fire. It may be tempting to buy companies at an all-time high. But before you press that buy button, remember this video and remind yourself how the markets have been in the past couple of months.
Anish Lal has a great video on the weakening of the US Dollar against the Euro. You can watch it here.
US stocks have not seen any major changes this week, staying uncharacteristically calm despite headlines such as the oil price crash. The Dow Jones gained 457 points on its Wednesday session, a jump of 2%. It is now trading at 23,400 points on the hourly chart. Likewise, the S&P 500 and NASDAQ indices saw similar gains, climbing 2.3% and 2,8%, respectively.
However, this is most likely as investors are also still awaiting news such as this week’s jobless claims data. Latest predictions expect around 4.2 million new unemployment claims to be filed, bringing the total up to 26 million claims in just 5 weeks.
Likewise, the US Senate just passed another bill to aid in the fight against the coronavirus in the State. After weeks of negotiations, the Senate passed a $500 billion bill in order to help small businesses, and it is expected to go to the House of Representatives later this week. This news did give some relief to the stock markets, as they now look to extend their gains for the second session in a row.
But there are reasons to continue being bearish about the stock market. Investors are vying for stocks to gain momentum again, with news such President Trump pushing state governors to ease their lockdowns and begin reopening their state borders again.
However, reopening so early, before the virus is under control, poses the risk of a wave of new infections flooding in. This poses the risk of causing more damage to the economy in the long term. Despite Trump’s eagerness to reopen the economy and start recovering the damage that virus has caused the stock market, the opposite could end up happening if he pulls the trigger too soon.
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US stocks extended losses at the close of yesterday’s trading session as news came that US retail sales had dropped 8.7% from February to March, according to a report from the Commerce Department.
The Dow Jones, S&P 500, and NASDAQ fell 1.9%, 2.2% and 1.4%, respectively. The Dow is now currently trading at 23,400 points.
This news comes as no surprise, as the global lockdown has quickly stopped people from being able to go anywhere or spend any of their money. While grocery store sales were the only sector to see an increase, as expected, other sectors such as electronics, food service, and especially clothing and accessories stores all dropped.
This report release is one of the first indications of the economic impact that the coronavirus pandemic has caused in the US. The NFP release at the start of this month only covered the 8-14th of March, and although the figures released were in the negatives, did not fully reflect the scope of the virus’ impact. The first state to enter lockdown, California, only did so on the 20th March.
Stocks had been making a rebound in recent weeks, as investors were spurred on by optimistic comments made by US President Donald Trump, who said that he would announce guidelines to reopen the US economy on Thursday, claiming that the US had passes the peak of its coronavirus infections. Trump also suggested that some US states could end lockdown and open again by May 1st. However, these comments come just a day after Anthony Fauci, the leading scientist of the coronavirus task force, said that early May was too optimistic a date to reopen state borders.
All three of the major stock indices had managed to recover the catastrophic losses made since the virus properly first hit the States and threw the markets into chaos, causing unprecedented volatility and the Dow Jones to drop below 20,000 points and erasing all gains made since Trump’s inauguration.
However after peaking at 24,000 points in the previous trading session, the Dow has once again moved to the downside, following a barrage of new data yesterday that has shown just how bad the economy is at the moment.
Apart from the retail sales figures, the US Federal Reserve also reported that industrial production has fallen the most since the days of the Second World War. Also fuelling concern was the news of two banking giants in the US, Citigroup and Bank of America, dropping in share prices as well. Citigroup shares dropped 5.6%, while BoA’s fell by 6.5%. Following on from this, we can only continue to see such figures continue as data reports are released.
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This week’s US jobless claims data has hit unprecedented numbers, jumping to 3.28 million. Initial expectations of 1-1.5 million, which was still a very high estimate, were blown out of the water.
In response to this news, the Dow Jones Industrial Average, which had been on a resurgence in the past 3 days, is now reversing once again. Over the past few days, the Dow had been able to pull itself out from its bottom of 18,000 points back up to 22,000 due to the passing of the massive $2 trillion coronavirus economic stimulus package in the Senate. But now it is reacting quickly with a flatline and looks to soon plunge again. The NASDAQ and S&P 500 are on similar trajectories.
These unemployment figures are the highest ever recorded since the statistic was started back in 1967. For reference, the previous highest figure was 700,000, a number that is 5 times smaller. Some of the more negative predictions are also suggesting that this figure could well enter 12-15 million before the end of the crisis.
The jobless claims data is a figure taken by the Department of Labor in the US. These claims refer to the number of people that have filed for unemployment benefits. It is one way to measure the economic state of the country- much like the Non-farm payroll report (NFP). Currently it is estimated that 1 in 3 Americans are unable to work, due to being quarantined. This peak comes as more and more states in the country enter lockdown. Both California and New York, the states with the largest number of cases, have declared a state of emergency, and most other states have issued warnings to stay home as much as possible, with the closure of public areas such as restaurants and cinemas.
The US now has 81,000 cases, out of the 500,000 in the world. This makes it now the country with the most number of cases, surpassing China and Italy.
The Trump administration has been heavily criticised for its response to the pandemic, with a slow initial response and reluctance to take the virus seriously by introducing stricter measures earlier. Two weeks ago President Trump announced a travel ban from Europe as a means of stopping the virus from entering the States, but the number of cases continued to increase. Many states have become overwhelmed by the number of increasing cases, as they have run out of testing kits, ventilators, and other crucial equipment. Medical staff have also struggled to manage the number of new patients due to the lack of sick beds. In fact, some hospitals have now begun trialing sharing one ventilator between two patients.
It was not until the Dow Jones had lost all its gains since Trump’s inauguration that he was forced to conclude as to the severity of the outbreak. But even now, he is pushing for the shutdown to be over by Easter- a deadline which shows he is more concerned about an economic recovery than an nationwide one.
Seemingly in response to Trump's statements, the Chairman of the Federal Reserve Jerome Powell gave a rare TV interview yesterday in which he expressed that it was important to listen to medical experts in terms of setting a timeline for when the States could reopen its borders and resume business as usual. While he stated that the Federal Reserve would spend as much as it takes to support the economy through this crisis, he also stated that it was paramount to contain the spread of the virus before resuming economic activity.
This jobs data makes it very clear: we are now in a global recession. Some analysts are already predicting it to be worse than the 2008 financial crisis.
The effects of a recession are long lasting. As people lose their jobs, they are unable to spend, forcing businesses to drop their employees, in a cycle that does not stop without government intervention. However, in the case of this crisis, no matter how much money the government pumps into the economy, people are still unable to spend. And that is what is so deadly about this particular recession. Even after the worst is over and businesses will be able to resume operating normally, the economic impacts will still be felt for years to come.
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Yesterday, the US Federal Reserve announced extensive new measures in order to help the US economy. This included a new asset purchase program, which included the purchasing of corporate bonds for the first time since the 2008 financial crisis.
These announcements were able to stop most of the day’s losses, but the US stock indices still managed to finish the day in the red, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average closing at a 3% loss, and the NASDAQ and S&P 500 also in the negatives.
Essentially, the US Federal Reserve has expressed that they are ready to spend an unlimited amount of money on bond purchases in order to try keep the economy afloat. This includes printing new money as needed.
In their press release, the Fed highlighted that their biggest priorities were to stop the loss of jobs in both the private as well as public sector, as well as to ensure a swift recovery to the economy once the virus pandemic settles.
This level and scale of intervention is something that has not been seen from the Federal Reserve since the 2008 recession. However, despite this massive amount of support, the US economy seems to be showing no signs of recovery for the time being.
The deciding factor now is next month’s NFP, or non-farm payroll data. This will measure how many jobs have been lost due to the impact of the coronavirus, and just how much trouble the US economy is really in.
While stock indices have fallen into the pattern of having a day of recovery after a big loss, they still inevitably continue to push lower and lower, with the Dow currently still trading below 20,000 points.
Large parts of the US are now under lockdown, with the citizens of California, New York, and other states all under similarly heavy lockdowns and being urged to stay at home.
Despite these drastic measures, there have also been concerns that the US government is not doing enough to prop up the economy.
For the second day in a row, Senate Democrats have once again moved to stop the coronavirus bill from being passed, citing concerns over how exactly big businesses would use this bailout money. This almost $2 trillion economic stimulus package, which was proposed by the Senate Republicans, is also an attempt to help businesses from losing money and employees from losing their jobs. Part of this plan is a proposed $1,200 check going to all US citizens, with those earning above $99,000 not being eligible to receive it. Democrats also opposed this part of the plan with concerns that it was not enough.
For more information on the movement of the markets during the previous week, as well as how we are moving forward as we start working from home, watch our latest Monday Meetings video here, and follow us on Instagram and Twitter.
Yesterday, the US Federal Reserve cut rates by a full 100 basis points, bringing the interest rate down to almost 0%. The interest rate for the US Dollar is now officially 0.25%, but is effectively zero.
In addition to this, the Fed also announced a $700 billion quantitative easing program. This is comprised of at least $500 billion in US Treasury securities, as well as another $200 billion in government mortgage-backed securities.
Both of these measures were unprecedented moves, drastic measures taken in an attempt to ease the current economic panic and stop the massive selloffs being made.
However, they did almost nothing to ease investors’ fears, as trading was temporarily halted for the second time in recent weeks on the market open, after stock indices immediately crashed. The circuit breakers that trigger after indices fall below a certain percentage were automatically activated again as the markets dropped over 7% upon opening.
The Dow Jones suffered its worst single trading day in history in terms of points drop, losing 3000 points. In terms of percentage loss it is now the second worst, at 13%. It is now rapidly approaching the 20,000 point mark, an almost 10,000 point drop for the month.
By reducing the interest rate to 0%, the Fed is incentivising spending as holding onto cash no longer generates interest. But despite this tremendous effort to bolster the economy investors recognised that it will still not have much of an impact. No matter how much incentive the Fed gives people to spend money, there is still ultimately little they can do if people are unable to actually go out and spend money, if they’re being asked to stay at home.
In fact, this move may have made investors panic more, as it is the largest set of single day moves the Fed has ever taken, and was taken ahead of the market open, instead of during its regular meeting on Tuesday and Wednesday. Investors are even pulling out of gold, the traditional safe haven asset.
As stricter measures continue to be introduced to stop the spread of the virus, this situation will only become worse as well, as people begin to prepare for a new life under quarantine.
Apart from self-isolation, social distancing is now being championed as the best way to stop the spread of the coronavirus. This is defined by staying outside of spitting distance of other people, and avoiding all non-essential contact. Also included in that are such measures as working from home, avoiding large gatherings, and not traveling unless absolutely necessary.
Many countries have closed now their borders, such as Canada, which is now stopping all foreign travellers from entering the country.
New Zealand has also introduced some of the strictest measures, requiring all travellers into the country to self-isolate for 14 days upon arrival. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has also called for all gatherings of 500 or more people to be cancelled, either indoors or outdoors.
For more information, check out our chart analysis on the Dow Jones by Anish Lal here at BlackBull Markets, and follow us on Instagram and Twitter at blackbull_markets and @blackbullforex, respectively.
President Donald Trump took to the Oval Office in his second ever address to the nation, in order to announce a 30-day travel ban from European countries to the States, apart from the UK. However this long awaited television address, as well as the fact that the World Health Organisation had now classified the coronavirus as a pandemic did little to assure investors, as the Dow Jones continued to drop, closing the day down 1465 points, or 5.86%.
The historic 11-year bull run of the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) has now officially ended, as it is now down 23.75% from the previous month. For a market to officially be classified to switch from a bull market to bear market, it must have more than a 20% drop over the course of a month, or vice versa.
The other two major stock indices, the NASDAQ Composite Index and S&P 500, both narrowly avoided entering bear markets of their own on the market close. However, the writing is on the wall, and it is expected for them to follow the Dow sooner or later.
Likewise, other stock indices across the globe followed suit, with the Japanese Nikkei dropping 4.4% for the trading day and entering a bear market as well, and the Australian ASX 200, which had already entered a bear market on Wednesday, falling a shocking 7.4%. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index and South Korea’s Kospi Index are both also nearing bear territory.
In his 10-minute address, Trump did not make any mention of how the administration would have any sort of economic stimulus plan to address the unavoidable impact the coronavirus would have on the nation, although he did take the time to impress that the US had the greatest economy in the world and that this was not a financial crisis. While Trump said that he was ready to take emergency action to provide financial relief for infected workers that could not work, he stopped short of actually providing any concrete plans for details regarding economic stimulus to combat the effects of the coronavirus.
In fact, after meeting with executives from Goldman Sachs and other Wall Street CEOs, Trump said that an economic stimulus would not be needed if “everything quickly solves itself”.
The World Health Organisation has now officially declared the coronavirus as a pandemic, as the number of cases across the world cross one hundred thousand.
In the US, there are now more than 1,100 confirmed cases, with 38 deaths. 24 of that number have been in the state of Washington alone. The NBA have suspended all games for the rest of the season, after one player tested positive for the virus.
As the US market opened, everyone knew that the only direction to go was down. The only question was how far.
However, no one could have predicted that the Dow Jones Industrial Average would drop 2,014 points over the course of the trading day, a one day drop of almost 8%. It was a drop so bad that it called markets to be halted for 15 minutes, stopping trading completely in order to prevent it from dropping any further. The other two major US stock indices, the NASDAQ and S&P 500, followed suit with similarly shocking drops of 7.3% and 7.6%, respectively.
The question is, what has caused this extreme drop in virtually every market?
As expected, the market had already been bearish on all fronts since the beginning of last month due to the coronavirus, causing some of the biggest market movements in history in just the last few weeks. The Dow had just dropped over 1000 points just two weeks earlier.
The coronavirus had already presented itself as a significant threat, and has since only continued to become more deadly.
For one, the proper arrival of the virus in the States, and the Trump administration’s subsequent efforts to combat it, have not produced any faith whatsoever. The first thing President Trump did was go in front of the press and say that there were only about 10 cases in the country when there were 52 reported cases at the time, and claim that a vaccine was on the way, which a White House representative had to later correct and say he meant a vaccine for the Ebola virus.
Then, when the threat of the virus could be ignored no longer, the next thing he did was to assign Vice President Mike Pence as head of the coronavirus task force, supplanting the Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar. Pence has had to be brought up to speed on everything regarding a virus which is fast spreading and could very easily grow out of control.
Next, cities and states across the country reported that they still did not have enough test kits to be able to track the spread of the virus.
Trump’s chief of staff, as well as many other senior officials, have entered self-isolation after coming in contact with infected individuals. Most recently, Trump and Pence attended an event where an individual with the coronavirus was present. White House representatives have said that Trump has not been tested for coronavirus.
Investors to take these actions as evidence that the Trump administration is incapable of combating this crisis effectively, and the result of their low faith can be seen in the stock market.
However, this week’s opening crash was due to a variety of factors, not just the coronavirus scare. Of course, the other biggest factor that caused the markets to crash was the drop in oil. As covered in yesterday's article, both WTI crude and Brent oil experienced one of their biggest drops in 30 years, to prices not seen since the Gulf War. Interestingly enough, crude oil has now made a slight rebound. After hitting a low of $28 per barrel, WTI has now come back up above the $30 mark and seems to be holding steady for the time being. It was miniscule to say the least, but the price seems to at least have stabilised again after what was feared to be a free fall drop with no floor the previous day. As America is the largest producer of oil in the world, Saudi Arabia’s forced price war could cause many oil businesses in the US to lose their jobs, if these prices are to continue.
Outside of the US, Italy has now spread its quarantine to the entire country, affecting 60 million people. This nationwide lockdown is an unprecedented effort to stop the spread of the virus, something no other country has even attempted yet, if this move doesn’t show how serious the epidemic has become. Of course, Italy now has the most deaths from the coronavirus outside of any country apart from China, with 463.
You really can’t expect a major European country to enter complete lockdown and not expect the markets to react negatively. In combination with all the other factors, and its no surprise investors seem to be expecting a global recession. Not too long ago, I wrote an article looking at whether or not the coronavirus would cause an economic recession. And it certainly looks to be going that way now more than ever.
Perhaps these market movements were just the result of a panic selloff. At the time of writing, stocks have now made a slight rebound after the initial crash, with the Dow back up 800 points. However, there is no denying that with the current market sentiment, the outlook is unbearably negative. It’s looking like things are going to have to be worse before they get better. One thing’s for sure, this level of market volatility isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.