June 2022 / WEEKLY GLOBAL MARKETS UPDATE
Global Markets Weekly Update
Our analysts recap activities across global markets in our weekly report.
Positive earnings reports help lift stock indexes
The major stock benchmarks produced gains during the holiday-shortened week, with the S&P 500 Index finishing above the 4,000 level for the first time in two months. Favorable earnings reports in the retail and technology sectors as well as indications that the Federal Reserve is open to slowing its pace of rate hikes helped fuel the rally. Markets overcame worries early in the week about the potential impact of a new round of coronavirus-related lockdowns in China on global economies (see China section below). As expected, trading was light heading into the Thanksgiving holiday.
Fed leans toward slower pace of rate hikes
Communications from Fed officials during the week covered little new ground but reassured investors that the central bank could soon be stepping down from the historically large 75-basis-point (0.75 percentage point) rate hikes it has implemented in recent meetings. The minutes from the Fed’s early-November policy meeting, which were released Wednesday, said that a “substantial majority of participants” thought that slowing the pace of hikes would be appropriate, although the fed funds rate may end up higher than previously expected.
Economic news was mixed, but signs of economic weakening generally seemed to support market hopes that the Fed would soon be able to ease its tightening pace. S&P Global’s flash composite new order index fell to its lowest level in more than two years, and initial claims for unemployment benefits increased to the highest point in three months but remained relatively low by historical standards. Durable goods orders, meanwhile, rose 1% in October, a much stronger result than expected, and new home sales rebounded unexpectedly.
Longer-term Treasury yields move lower
In the bond market, yields of longer-maturity Treasury debt decreased more than shorter maturities, leading to a further inversion of the yield curve. (Bond prices and yields move in opposite directions.) Municipal bonds traded higher over the week through Wednesday, aided by a continued pullback in interest rates and limited issuance during the short trading week. However, the sector lagged U.S. Treasuries at the broad market level, driven by underperformance for long-maturity municipals.
Credit spreads of investment-grade corporate bonds tightened ahead of the holiday; meanwhile, T. Rowe Price traders reported that high yield bonds traded higher on light volumes as strong equity performance was supportive for the asset class.
European shares rose for a sixth consecutive week on hopes that central banks might slow the pace of interest rate increases. In local currency terms, the pan-European STOXX Europe 600 Index ended the week 1.66% higher, while Germany’s DAX Index advanced 0.62%, France’s CAC 40 added 0.88%, and Italy’s FTSE MIB was flat. The UK’s FTSE 100 Index climbed 1.16%.
European government bond yields weakened on signs that the pace of monetary policy tightening might ease. A purchasing managers’ survey indicated that the eurozone economy was in contractionary territory with inflationary pressures easing, keeping 10-year German government bond yields subdued below 2%. In the UK, 10-year bond yields steadied around 3% as expectations of smaller rate hikes were broadly offset by concerns about record issuance.
|Index||Friday's Close||Week’s Change||% Change YTD|
|S&P MidCap 400||2,334.40||113.96||-17.86%|
This chart is for illustrative purposes only and does not represent the performance of any specific security. Past performance cannot guarantee future results.
Source of data: Reuters, obtained through Yahoo! Finance and Bloomberg. Closing data as of 4 p.m. ET. The Dow Jones Industrial Average, the Standard & Poor’s 500 Stock Index of blue chip stocks, the Standard & Poor’s MidCap 400 Index, and the Russell 2000 Index are unmanaged indexes representing various segments of the U.S. equity markets by market capitalization. The Nasdaq Composite is an unmanaged index representing the companies traded on the Nasdaq stock exchange and the National Market System. Frank Russell Company (Russell) is the source and owner of the Russell index data contained or reflected in these materials and all trademarks and copyrights related thereto. Russell® is a registered trademark of Russell. Russell is not responsible for the formatting or configuration of these materials or for any inaccuracy in T. Rowe Price Associates’ presentation thereof.
ECB policymakers fret about wage-price spiral, minutes show
Most European Central Bank (ECB) policymakers voted in favor of a three-quarter-point hike in interest rates in October amid growing concerns that inflation might become entrenched and that a wage-price spiral might emerge, minutes of the meeting showed. Some policymakers were also quoted as saying that "monetary tightening would probably need to continue after the monetary policy stance had been normalised and moved into broadly neutral territory."
Eurozone PMI signaling recession
Business activity in the eurozone shrank for a fifth month in November, adding to signs that the economy may be in recession. S&P Global’s early estimate of the composite Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI)—which measures private sector activity in services and manufacturing—rose to 47.8 from 47.3 in October, defying economists’ predictions for a fall. A reading below 50 marks a contraction. Although price pressures eased from extremely high levels, S&P Global said wage increases were putting upward pressure on costs in the services sector.
Germany’s Ifo economic institute said its business climate index rose to 86.3 from an upwardly revised 84.5 in October, following better-than-expected economic growth in the third quarter and waning fears of energy shortages over the winter.
UK business activity shrinks for fourth month in a row
Business activity in the UK declined for a fourth month running in November, reinforcing evidence that the economy is contracting, a PMI survey showed. The composite PMI edged up to 48.3 in November from 48.2 in October, near the lows seen during the coronavirus lockdown in early 2021.
Despite the economic slowdown, Bank of England Deputy Governor Dave Ramsden and Chief Economist Huw Pill both indicated that interest rates might have to rise further to quell persistently high inflation.
Swedish central bank delivers another big rate increase
The Riksbank raised its benchmark rate 0.75 percentage point to 2.5%—the highest level since 2008—to combat stronger-than-expected inflation. Outgoing Governor Stefan Ingves was quoted by Reuters as saying that “it's our judgment now that there are one or more rate hikes still in the pipeline."
Japanese equity markets made gains over a holiday-shortened week, with the Nikkei 225 Index rising 1.37% and the broader TOPIX Index up 2.59%. Sentiment was boosted by expectations that the U.S. Federal Reserve would adopt a more dovish monetary policy stance. Inflationary pressures showed signs of broadening in November, amid a surge in Tokyo core consumer prices, widely regarded as a leading indicator of nationwide trends. PMI data showed the first contraction in Japan’s manufacturing sector since January 2021, while a recovery in the tourism industry continued to support the services sector, which nevertheless stagnated.
The yield on the 10-year Japanese government bond rose to 0.25%, from 0.24% at the end of the previous week, consolidating at the Bank of Japan’s (BoJ’s) implicit policy cap. The yen strengthened, to around JPY 138.7 against the U.S. dollar, from the prior week’s JPY 140.3. This was due primarily to the anticipation of a more dovish Fed and the BoJ’s commitment to its ultra-loose monetary policy.
Inflationary pressures continue to build
Inflationary pressures continued to build further in November, with Tokyo core consumer prices rising 3.6% year on year, ahead of consensus estimates. The contribution from energy was marginally higher due to rising gas prices, with non-fresh food and household durables also driving prices higher. The implication is that nationwide inflation is likely to remain on an upward trend—with price growth having reached a 40-year high in October. BoJ Governor Haruhiko Kuroda has repeatedly asserted that the central bank will not diverge from its dovish stance and continues to emphasize the importance of seeing wage growth come through.
Manufacturing sector contracts, services stagnant
Activity at Japan’s private sector firms declined in November, attributable to manufacturing sector weakness and some signs of stagnation across services sector firms, PMI data showed. The manufacturing sector saw a marginal downturn, due to falling output and new orders, as inflationary pressures contributed to weak demand conditions. Services business activity was unchanged from October, although the recovery of the tourism industry supported expansion in order books.
The government indicated during the week that a national tourism support program will continue beyond late December, when it was due to expire, in response to calls by industry groups and prefectural governors for more support. In October, Japan reopened to overseas visitors as the country’s border controls to curb the spread of the coronavirus, which had been among the strictest in the world, were lifted.
Shares in China were modestly positive for the week as investors balanced new coronavirus restrictions against signs that authorities will provide more supportive measures to stimulate the economy. News of additional funding for property developers also provided a boost to sentiment. The Shanghai Composite Index gained 0.76%, and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index rose 0.59%.
COVID restrictions tightened across China as cases soar
Several cities in China imposed broad restrictions on movement and introduced mass testing as daily coronavirus cases approached all-time highs. Although no citywide lockdowns have been announced, the widespread restrictions have increasingly disturbed economic activities across the country, raising further concerns about the economic outlook in China even as authorities attempt to make their responses more targeted and less disruptive.
Eight districts in Zhengzhou, home to Apple’s largest iPhone manufacturing site, will be locked down for five days starting on November 25 as officials have said that the spread of coronavirus has reached a “critical phase” in the region, according to Bloomberg. The article quoted that the district around Apple iPhone production facilities will not be subject to lockdown. However, tensions elevated after workers at Foxconn's plant clashed with security personnel over unpaid wages and poor hygiene conditions. Foxconn reportedly began offering workers CNY 10,000 to leave the company.
Chinese authorities step in to support economic growth
Chinese authorities increased hopes of further monetary stimulus as they attempt to amplify support for the Chinese economy, which is under strain from surging coronavirus cases and newly imposed lockdowns. On Friday, the People’s Bank of China announced a 25-basis-point cut to the reserve requirement ratio (RRR) for banks after it pledged that monetary tools will be used “in a timely and appropriate manner” to maintain reasonably ample liquidity, according to Bloomberg.
Meanwhile, many of China's large state banks agreed to boost lending to real estate developers following the government's announcement of a property sector support package. The Financial Times reported that the Bank of Communications was the first bank that agreed to provide financial aid, after it announced a CNY 100 billion credit line for Chinese developer Vanke and CNY 20 billion for Midea Real Estate. The Bank of China and the Agricultural Bank of China were also among those who agreed to offer support.
Stocks in Brazil, as measured by the Bovespa Index, returned 2.03% for the week.
Brazilian equities rallied amid news that President-elect Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva has set out an expansive vision for Brazil’s foreign policy over the next four years. The news came alongside Lula’s pledge at the COP27 climate summit in Egypt last week to end illegal deforestation and combat global warming. The Financial Times reported that Lula emphasized “multilateralism, renewed efforts towards Latin American regional integration, deepening ties with developing nations and his desire to reform the United Nations” during his speech to the delegates.
In other news, earlier in the week, Jair Bolsonaro's Liberal Party challenged the outcome of the runoff election he narrowly lost last month, as he called for the cancellation of ballots from electronic voting machines that have alleged malfunctions. While the development is the first clear sign that Bolsonaro intends to formally contest the electoral results, markets appeared largely unmoved by the occurrence.
Stocks in Malaysia ended the week fairly muted, returning 0.03% as measured by the Bursa Malaysia KLCI Index.
Earlier in the week, Malaysian stocks were buoyed by news that Anwar Ibrahim had been sworn in by King Sultan Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah as Malaysia’s next prime minister. The monarch intervened on Thursday evening after five days of uncertainty that followed the general election on Saturday. Anwar’s appointment follows a period of more than two decades in opposition.
The prime minister announced that his main priority will be to address the cost of living as he takes office with a slowing economy and a country deeply split following the election, according to Reuters. Anwar is yet to announce any members of his coalition government; however, reports suggest that he will have a smaller cabinet than those of previous administrations.
Investor sentiment fell ahead of the consumer price index (CPI) data out on Friday, which showed Malaysia’s CPI had increased by 4% in year-on-year figures. The results were slightly above economist expectations of 3.9%, but below the 4.5% rise seen in September.
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