The S&P500 jumped almost 2% to above its 200-DMA, and Nasdaq 100 gained 1.74% and tested its 50-DMA to the upside as the rally in the US sovereign bonds extended to another day.
Apple will likely slow the rally in major US indices. Apple shares dived up to 4% in the afterhours trading after announcing that the sluggish Chinese demand for iPhones dented revenue. The Mac computers sales also fell short of a billion USD. Apple sales fell for the fourth straight quarter, the longest such decline in 22 years. As a result, Apple stock could sink to $170 a share, the critical 38.2% Fibonacci retracement level, if taken out, would let Apple sink into the medium-term bearish consolidation zone. The only thing that could save Apple from falling into dark waters is… a further rally in US bonds, and a further fall in yields.
Falling yields are no good for Fed
The US bond rally popped this week because the US Treasury said that it would borrow slightly less than previously thought and slightly less 3-, 10- and 30-year papers. The Federal Reserve (Fed) hinted that the rate hikes could be coming to an end because the recent surge in US long term yields helped them tighten the financial conditions without the need for another rate hike.
But if the yields fall at this speed, the Fed expectations will become hawkish very quickly, and depending on how far the market will go, the Fed could be obliged to hike rates again in December, or in January to keep financial conditions tight enough.
US growth is strong, and the jobs market remains healthy. The Fed thinks that solid labour-force participation and immigration explain the resilience of the jobs market. According to the consensus of analyst estimates on Bloomberg, the US economy is expected to have added 180K new nonfarm jobs, the unemployment rate is seen steady at around 3.8% and the wages growth may have slowed from 4.2% to 4% on an annual basis. Any strength in job additions or wages growth data could bring bond trades back to earth and remind them that if the US jobs market – and the economy – remains this strong, the Fed could turn hawkish again. But strong jobs data in a context of higher supply is not necessarily inflationary.
Gloomy UK outlook
The Bank of England (BoE) kept its interest rate unchanged for the second straight month yesterday. Some MPC members still voted for a 25bp hike to make sure that the pause is not premature, but they all said the same thing: it’s too early to talk about rate cuts.
Good news is that inflation may fall below 5% in October and somewhere near 4.5% by the year end. But at 4.5-5%, inflation is still more than twice the BoE’s policy target. Therefore, the BOE can’t promise that it’s done hiking. It could only hope that the cumulative impact of higher rates on the economy would do the rest of the heavy lifting.
In the best-case scenario, the UK’s gloomy economic outlook – which seems to become gloomier as months go by – weighs on demand and brings inflation lower. In the worst-case scenario, inflation remains sticky while the economy sinks into a recession. In both cases, the BoE wouldn’t hike. The expectation of another hike is down to 1 in 3 and markets now fully price in 3 quarter-point cuts by the end of 2024. The softer economic outlook and softening BoE expectations are threatening for sterling bulls both against the US dollar and the euro.