Despite the accelerating velocity for the current earnings season, markets remain focused on the rapidly spreading coronavirus which has surpassed 4,500 cases in China and led China to restrict travel to Hong Kong as the death toll tops 100. Some 60 million are under travel restrictions in China, and select countries, including Indonesia and the Philippines, have restricted Chinese tourists. Outside of China, there are more than 60 confirmed cases, including ones in the US, Australia, France, and Germany. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention raised its travel precautions for China to its highest level, and at last count it is monitoring 110 possible coronavirus cases across 26 states.ADVERTISING
The escalation weighed on equity markets yesterday, leading the Dow Jones Industrial Average to fall 1.6%, its biggest one-day drop since October. The S&P 500 fell 1.6% as well extending its 2-day decline to 2.5% and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 1.9%, its worst day since August. As of yesterday’s close the Dow, NYSE Composite and the Russell 2000 were all in negative territory for the year. Year to date, at up 2.5% as of last night’s close, the Nasdaq 100 is the strongest performer of the major domestic equity indices, the Nasdaq Composite was up 1.9% and the S&P 500 up 0.4%. The CBOE S&P 500 Volatility Index rose over 25% yesterday and is now up 32.3% year-to-date.
As reports indicate the coronavirus continues to spread…
Which stocks and sectors could see the most pressure today with Coronavirus spreading? Tematica’s Chris Versace joins Jay Coulter’s The Resilient Advisor Podcast to discuss that and discuss the week ahead’s economic data and earnings reports to watch.
Investors are starting the week off with itchy fingers as they look to assess the growing impact of the coronavirus. As we write today’s Daily Markets note, roughly 2,800 people in China have been infected and 80 killed by the disease, and infections also reported in Europe and the US. In response, Hong Kong has shut its schools until Feb. 17 to help prevent the virus from spreading further and China has locked down 17 cities. Yesterday the US’s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced another case in the US bringing the total to 5 but per the CDC there are more than 60 patients under investigation for possible infection in over 20 US states. One of the main concerns is how the outbreak will impact China’s Lunar New Year holiday season that spans Jan. 25- Feb. 8, but as the virus spreads so too are investor concerns over what the potential impact could be in other parts of the world and on the global economy. Also stoking investor worries, five Katyusha rockets were fired at the Green Zone in Baghdad last night, one directly hitting the U.S. Embassy building.
All of the above has given rise to a risk-off mood in equity markets today. In Asia, most markets are closed for the Lunar New Year, but Japan’s Nikkei…
Despite a rough start yesterday, the major US equity indices managed to close little changed after the World Health Organization (WHO) calmed rising fears around the coronavirus coming out of China. The WHO’s declaration that coronavirus is not a global emergency helped travel stocks such as American Airlines (AAL) and United Airlines (UAL) rebound. In contrast to the WHO, however, yesterday the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) escalated its health warning to a level 3.
Overnight things coronavirus continued to escalate and as we write today’s Daily Markets note, there are 875 confirmed cases with reported deaths now totaling 26, and all but two of China’s 31 provinces and municipalities reporting cases of the virus. In response, China has instituted travel restrictions that will affect at least 20 million people across 10 cities. The big concern here is how the outbreak will impact China’s Lunar New Year holiday season that spans Jan. 25- Feb. 8. The restricted travel is likely to hit consumer-related activity hard during the holiday season, and we are already starting to see companies such as Walt Disney (DIS) take action while others, like Remy Cointreau (REMYY) are warning over the potential impact to their business – we discuss both below. Until the virus is contained, we suspect the ranks of companies taking action and issues warnings will only grow in size as will the impact on China’s economy in the current quarter.
The Shanghai market was closed for the first day of the Lunar New Year festival…
Despite a rather volatile session yesterday, stocks ended basically flat but well off their intraday highs. That said, the Nasdaq 100 is up nearly 40% YoY and up nearly 120% over the past four years. While many are comparing today’s markets to those of the late 1990s, your authors included, the Nasdaq 100 rose over 600% in the 4-years leading up to the dotcom bust – a much wilder rise than this time around.
Turning to today, which sees the expanding coronavirus outbreak and response taking center stage, Asian equities finished the trading day lower, led by China’s Shanghai Index that fell 2.8%. Reports indicate that besides halting travel from Wuhan, the city where the new coronavirus first appeared, Chibi and Huanggang will be quarantined and Beijing announced that all public gatherings planned for next week will be canceled. At last count, the virus was responsible for the death of 17 people and has reportedly infected another 600 people. The travel ban, which looks to limit the expanse, comes before the Lunar New Year, the largest gift-giving holiday, and will in all likelihood crimp related spending. Later today the World Health Organization will decide on Thursday whether to declare the outbreak a global health emergency, which would step up the international response.
The major US equity indices all closed in the red yesterday on the news that the Center for Disease Control identified the first case of coronavirus in the US – a traveler from China was diagnosed in Seattle. Shares of Wynn Resorts (WYNN) and Las Vegas Sands (LVS) lost 6.2% and 5.3% respectively on concerns that the increasingly global outbreak could negatively impact international travel. Following reports China has taken steps to contain the coronavirus, Asian equities finished the trading day higher. At the same time, however, Chinese officials announced that more than 400 cases of the new coronavirus have now been identified with the death toll hitting nine, and the virus is “adapting and mutating.” We suspect we have not heard the last of this and we expect investors will closely monitor coronavirus developments to be had and assess implications for airline, gaming, hotel, and other travel-related companies. The World Health Organization is expected to issue a formal statement on the matter later today.
The US Senate will hear opening arguments in President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial today, followed by several days of presentations. So far the market has been completely disinterested as President Trump makes the rounds at the World Economic Forum in Davos. In interviews this morning, President Trump shared trade talks with the EU have begun and he would be “very surprised” if he had to implement auto tariffs; he expects to announce a “middle-class tax cut” over the next 90 days but acknowledges Republicans will need to win back the House in 2020 to pass that initiative, and his administration is developing a healthcare plan.
Coming off the Martin Luther King holiday for which the US markets were closed yesterday, shares in Hong Kong led losses in Asia after Moody’s cut its rating for the city from Aa2 to Aa3 on Monday; there are also concerns over a new strain of coronavirus in China just as Lunar New Year holiday travel heats up. As we write today’s Daily Markets note, nearly 300 people have been diagnosed globally, with the vast majority in China, and the death toll in China has climbed to six. The World Health Organization will meet tomorrow to discuss whether to declare the outbreak an international public health emergency. Those concerns have rippled across global markets with European equities trading off and US equity futures pointing to a lower open.
Thanks to the MLK holiday, we have a shortened trading week ahead, but that doesn’t mean there’s any less going on over the next four days. Between impeachment, the World Economic Forum (WEF), upcoming Brexit and economic data and earnings season, investors are likely to have their hands full. Speaking at the WEF today, President Trump commented phase two China trade talks with begin shortly and tariffs will remain in place during those negotiations. Also at the WEF, US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said the Trump administration would propose a new middle-class tax cut later this year.
Many of the major US equity indices hit new all-time highs again yesterday, pretty standard at this point in 2020. After just 11 trading days in the new year, the S&P 500has already hit five all-time highs and yesterday moved past the 3,300 level for the first time, which has the index once again flirting with overbought status from a technical perspective. Small caps finally joined the party yesterday. The Russell 2000 has underperformed the other major indices by a significant margin over the past year, the Nasdaq 100 by over 50% and the S&P 500 by over 35%, but yesterday reached a new 52-week high, but still not a new all-time high.
After 2019’s impressive run, most analysts were in a more conservative mood when it came to 2020 forecasts. Edward Yardeni, the most bullish of Barron’s 2020 outlook panel, targeted 3,500 for year-end. That’s just 5% upside over the next 11.5 months after yesterday’s close. We continue to see the current earnings season, which will heat up considerably over the next few weeks, and the aggregated guidance to be had for the current quarter as one of the key determinants of the stock market’s next move. The rash of 2020 economic outlooks and the potential implications for monetary policy in the coming year at the annual World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland shared next week are likely stock market shapers as well.
One day after the US and China inked their phase one trade agreement, Asian equity indices finished on a mixed note, and European equities are also mixed while US equity futures point to a positive open as investors dig into and attempt to digest the eight-part, 96-page agreement. The long and short of it is there are several positives to be had including China committing to $200 billion in additional purchases of U.S. goods, “enhanced” intellectual property protections, and enforcement mechanisms.
However, the agreement has left in place U.S. tariffs on about $370 billion in Chinese goods with possible reductions subject to forthcoming negotiations that will are expected to tackle Chinese subsidies to domestic companies and Beijing’s oversight of Chinese state-owned firms. The next round of trade deal negotiations was expected to begin immediately per comments from President Trump, but China has yet to confirm that timing, which alongside lingering intellectual property concerns, is likely leaving some thinking the agreement is a half-step measure. Over the coming days, we expect more analysis to be had as well as follow up comments, which should offer more clarity to investors on the puts and takes of the agreement.
Today is the day many have been waiting for as China and the US are expected to officially ink their phase one trade deal later this morning. In a potential “buy the rumor, sell the news moment,” Asian equities finished the day lower, and European equity indices are currently mixed, but little changed as are US equity futures. Weighing on the market’s trade deal mood are recent comments that existing tariffs on “billions of dollars” of Chinese goods coming into the US are likely to remain in place until after the US presidential election and the completion of the phase two agreement. Moreover, it’s being reported US and China have “an understanding” that no sooner than 10 months after the signing of the agreement, the US will “review progress and potentially consider additional cuts on tariffs affecting $360 billion of imports from China.”
To some this likely raises some questions over the scale and scope of the phase one agreement, the full text of which is expected to be released…