Thu 16 Nov 2017


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  • Today at the stock market Opinion
  • The portfolio today Opinion
  • News
  • flag_japan Japan Update
  • flag_china China Update
  • Today at the stock market

    bull/bearWall Street’s main indexes rose sharply on Thursday boosted by earnings-related gains in Wal-Mart and Cisco, while a tax bill expected to boost corporate earnings passed its first, if smallest, hurdle. The S&P and the Dow posted their largest daily percentage gains in more than two months:

    • The S&P 500 index gained 21.02 points, or 0.82%, to 2,585.64
    • The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 187.08 points, or 0.8%, to 23,458.36
    • The Nasdaq Composite index added 87.08 points, or 1.3%, to 6,793.29.
    • Advancing issues outnumbered declining ones on the NYSE by a 3.01-to-1 ratio; on Nasdaq, a 3.26-to-1 ratio favored advancers.
    • The S&P 500 posted 42 new 52-week highs and four new lows; the Nasdaq Composite recorded 115 new highs and 36 new lows.
    • About 6.31 billion shares changed hands in U.S. exchanges, compared with the 6.81 billion daily average over the last 20 sessions. It was among the weakest volume sessions in the past three weeks.
    • The CBOE Volatility index (VIX), the cost of protection against a sudden drop on the S&P 500, posted its first decline in six days. It dropped 1.4 points to end at 11.76.

    Wal-Mart surged as much as 11% to a record high of $99.68 after reporting its strongest U.S. revenue growth since 2009 and soaring online sales. It ended up 10.9% at $99.62.

    Cisco touched $36.67, its highest since Feb 2001, a day after quarterly profit beat expectations driven by gains from its newer businesses such as security, which more than offset declines in its traditional switches and routers. Its profit forecast also came in above estimates. Cisco shares closed up 5.2% at $35.88.

    Barnes & Noble shares jumped 7.6% to $7.10 even after the book seller said a deal proposed by an activist investor to take it private was not “bona fide” and doubted the required funds could be raised.

    Folgers coffee maker J M Smucker rose 9.5%to $116.65 as its sales and profit topped analysts’ forecasts.

    Viacom shares fell 3.7% to end at $23.69 after the MTV owner said it expected high single-digit declines in revenue from U.S. cable TV operators and online distributors in the first half of 2018.

    “There was good news on old line companies Cisco and Walmart adapting to the new economy,” said Brian Battle, director of trading at Performance Trust Capital Partners in Chicago, citing reasons for the market’s advance.

    The U.S. House of Representatives voted largely along party lines to pass a tax overhaul expected to be a boost to stock prices if it becomes law, but the legislative battle now shifts to the Senate, where the Republican majority is much slimmer.

    Republicans can lose no more than two Senate votes and at least two GOP senators have already spoken against the Senate version of the bill.

    “The tax plan isn’t a foregone conclusion but it passed the lowest hurdle in the House,” Battle said, adding that the Senate vote will be a higher bar and “the reconciliation will be the real measure, if it happens.”Reuters

    Market indices

    Market indices
    ^ Market indices today (mouseover for 12 month view) Chart: Google Finance

    Index Ticker Today Change 31 Dec 16 YTD
    S&P 500 SPX (INX) 2,585.64 +0.81% 2,238.83 +15.49%
    DJIA INDU 23,458.36 +0.80% 19,762.60 +18.70%
    NASDAQ IXIC 6,793.29 +1.29% 5,383.12 +26.19%

    Portfolio Indices

    USD and AUD denominated indices over the past 52 weeks (Chart: Bunting)
    ^ USD and AUD denominated indices over the past 52 weeks Chart: Bunting

    Index values

    Index Currency Today Change 31 Dec 16 YTD
    USD-denominated Index USD 3.076 +1.16% 2.105 +46.15%
    Valuation Rate USD/AUD 0.76392 +0.00% 0.72663 +5.13%
    AUD-denominated Index AUD 4.028 +1.16% 2.895 +39.13%

    Portfolio stock prices

    :-) Amazon closed on a record high of $1,137.29, beating its 14 Nov 2017 record of $1,136.84
    :-) PayPal closed on a record high of $77.70, beating its 8 Nov 2017 record of $74.77
    :-) PayPal rose almost 6% today after selling its $5.8 billion-worth of U.S. credit portfolio to Synchrony Financial and raising its current-quarter revenue and profit forecasts
    :-) VMware closed on a record high of $122.71, beating its 14 Nov 2017 record of $122.47.

    Stock Ticker Today Change 31 Dec 16 YTD
    Alphabet A GOOGL $1048.47 +1.16% $792.45 +32.30%
    Alphabet C GOOG $1032.50 +1.13% $771.82 +33.77%
    Apple AAPL $171.10 +1.19% $115.82 +47.72%
    Amazon AMZN $1137.29 +0.94% $749.87 +51.66%
    Ebay EBAY $35.62 +0.90% $29.69 +19.97%
    Facebook FB $179.59 +0.92% $115.05 +56.09%
    PayPal PYPL $77.70 +5.81% $39.47 +96.85%
    Twitter TWTR $20.36 +2.26% $16.30 +24.90%
    Visa V $111.02 +0.69% $78.02 +42.29%
    VMware VMW $122.71 +1.25% $78.73 +55.86%

    FX: USD/AUD

    USD

    DXY movements
    ^ Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index (DXY) movements today (mouseover for 12 month view) Chart: Bloomberg

    The Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index (DXY) was little changed.
    The EUR fell 0.2% to USD 1.1769, the biggest decrease in more than a week.
    Japan’s JPY fell 0.1% to 112.96 per USD.
    Britain’s GBP rose 0.1% to USD 1.3182, the strongest in more than 2 weeks.
    Bloomberg

    AUD

    AUD movements
    ^ AUD movements against the USD today (mouseover for 12 month view) Chart: xe.com

    Oil and Gas Futures

    Oil prices ended lower again on Thursday on increased concerns about growth in U.S. production and inventories, despite expectations that major world producers will extend a supply-cut deal later this month.

    • U.S. light crude fell for a fourth consecutive session, ending down 19 cents, or 0.3%, at $55.14/barrel.
    • Brent crude futures settled 51 cents, or 0.8%, lower at $61.36/barrel, running its streak of losses to 5 straight days.

    Oil prices have slipped from the 2-year highs hit last week by both crude benchmarks on signs that U.S. supply is rising and could potentially undermine OPEC’s efforts to tighten the market.

    The market has been bolstered of late by funds extending long positions on a bullish outlook for the commodity due to tightening supply worldwide.

    Expectations that the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) will agree to extend their supply-cut pact with other major world producers in Vienna on 30 Nov 2017 has offset some of the recent pressure on prices. Now, some analysts believe there won’t be clarity on the market’s direction until after OPEC meets on 30 Nov 2017.

    “Certainly U.S. oil production is not slowing down. If crude imports remain elevated and exports don’t rebound, then the bullish underlying tone begins to fade,” said Kyle Cooper, analyst at IAF Advisors in Houston.

    The U.S. Energy Information Administration on Wednesday showed domestic crude inventories rising for a second week, building by 1.9 million barrels in the week to 10 Nov 2017. Stockpiles of gasoline also surprisingly rose.

    The United States is expected to account for more than 80% of the growth in world crude supply in the next decade, the International Energy Agency (IEA) said on Thursday, and weekly data shows ongoing boosts in production.

    U.S. crude oil production hit a record of 9.65 million barrels/day, meaning output has risen by almost 15% since its mid-2016 low.

    By contrast, RBC commodity strategist Michael Tran noted on Thursday that most of the rest of the world’s inventories are in line with historic averages. “It is no coincidence that the recent price rally has occurred concurrently with several weeks of record setting surges in exports,” he wrote.

    OPEC and non-OPEC exporters including Russia agreed a year ago to cut crude output by 1.8 million bpd between Jan 2017 and Mar 2018 to bolster prices. Oil ministers have signaled that they are likely to extend the agreement, possibly until the end of 2018.Reuters

    Futures prices

    Prices are as at 15:48 ET

    • NYMEX West Texas Intermediate (WTI): $55.17/barrel -0.29% Chart
    • ICE (London) Brent North Sea Crude: $61.39/barrel -0.78% Chart
    • NYMEX Natural gas futures: $3.07/MMBTU -0.32% Chart

    flag_usa AU: Labor Force. Oct 2017

    Press Release Extract [ser_au_jobs]

    The monthly trend unemployment rate remained at 5.5 per cent in October 2017, according to figures released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) today. This reflects the continued strength in employment growth in the Australian labour market.

    Monthly trend full-time employment increased for the 13th straight month in October 2017. Full-time employment grew by a further 16,000 persons in October, while part-time employment increased by 4,000 persons.

    “Full-time employment has now increased by around 289,000 persons since October 2016, and makes up the majority of the 347,000 person net increase in employment over the period,” Chief Economist for the ABS, Bruce Hockman, said. “Over the past year, trend employment increased by 2.9 per cent, which is above the average year-on-year growth over the past 20 years (1.9 per cent).”

    The labour force participation rate remained at 65.2 per cent for a second month, the highest it has been since April 2012.

    The trend monthly hours worked increased by 3.5 million hours (0.2 per cent), with the annual figure also showing strong growth (3.1 per cent). This is consistent with the continued growth in full-time employment.

    Mr Hockman added: “Over the past year, the states and territories with the strongest annual growth in employment were Queensland (4.6 per cent), ACT (3.1 per cent), Tasmania (3.0 per cent) and Victoria (2.8 per cent).”

    Trend series smooth the more volatile seasonally adjusted estimates and provide the best measure of the underlying behaviour of the labour market.

    The seasonally adjusted number of persons employed increased by 4,000 in October 2017. The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate decreased by 0.1 percentage points to 5.4 per cent and the labour force participation rate decreased to 65.1 per cent.

    TREND ESTIMATES

    Australia’s trend estimate of employment increased by 20,000 persons in October 2017, with:

    • the number of unemployed persons decreasing by 3,000 persons;
    • the unemployment rate remaining steady at 5.5 per cent;
    • the participation rate remaining steady at 65.2 per cent; and
    • the employment to population ratio increasing by less than 0.1 percentage points to 61.7 per cent.

    Over the past year, trend employment increased by 346,700 persons (or 2.9 per cent), which is above the average year-on-year growth over the past 20 years of 1.9 per cent. Over the same 12 month period the trend employment to population ratio, which is a measure of how employed the population (aged 15 years and over) is, increased by 0.8 percentage points to 61.7 per cent, the highest it has been since August 2012. The male employment to population ratio was 66.9 per cent in October 2017 while the female employment to population ratio reached a record high of 56.6 per cent.

    In monthly terms, trend employment increased by 20,000 persons between September 2017 and October 2017, which represents an increase of 0.16 per cent. Underpinning this change, trend full-time employment increased by 16,000 persons in October, while part-time employment also increased by 4,000 persons. Compared to a year ago, there are 289,200 more persons employed full-time and 57,400 more persons employed part time. The part-time share of employment decreased 0.3 percentage points over the last 6 months, from 31.8 per cent to 31.5 per cent.

    The trend estimate of monthly hours worked in all jobs increased by 3.5 million hours (or 0.2 per cent) in October 2017, to 1,720.3 million hours. Monthly hours worked have increased by 3.1 per cent over the past year, above the estimate of employed persons. As a result, the average hours worked per employed person has increased slightly to around 139.8 hours per month, or around 32.3 hours per week.

    The trend unemployment rate remained steady at 5.5 per cent in October 2017. The number of unemployed persons decreased by 3,000, the eighth consecutive decrease. The trend participation rate remained steady at 65.2 per cent in October 2017.

    The labour force includes the total number of employed and unemployed persons. Over the past year, the labour force increased by 335,100 persons (2.6 per cent). This rate of increase was above the rate of increase for the total Civilian Population aged 15 years and over (323,400 persons, or 1.6 per cent).

    The trend participation rate for 15-64 year olds, which controls (in part) for the effects of an ageing population, increased by 0.1 percentage points to 77.7 per cent in October 2017 from a revised estimate of 77.6 per cent in September 2017. This is the highest rate recorded and indicates the 15-64 year old population is participating in the labour market at a record high level. In particular, for 15-64 year olds, the females participation rate has increased from 50.2 per cent when the series began in February 1978, to a high of 72.7 per cent in October 2017.

    The trend participation rate for 15-24 year olds increased by 0.1 percentage points to 67.5 per cent in October 2017. The unemployment rate for this group decreased by 0.1 percentage points to 12.4 per cent in October 2017 and decreased by 0.6 percentage points over the year.

    The trend series smooths the more volatile seasonally adjusted estimates and provide the best measure of the underlying behaviour of the labour market.

    SEASONALLY ADJUSTED ESTIMATES

    Seasonally adjusted employment increased by 3,700 persons from September to October 2017. The underlying composition of the net change was an increase of 24,300 persons in full-time employment and a 20,700 decrease in part-time employment. Since October 2016, full-time employment has increased by 297,900 persons, while part-time employment has increased by 57,800 persons.

    Seasonally adjusted monthly hours worked in all jobs increased by 4.6 million hours in October 2017 to 1,723.7 million hours.

    The seasonally adjusted employment to population ratio decreased by 0.1 percentage points to 61.6 per cent in October 2017, but increased 0.8 percentage points from the same time last year.

    The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate decreased by 0.1 percentage points to 5.4 per cent in October 2017. The labour force participation rate decreased by 0.1 percentage points to 65.1 per cent.

    Australian Bureau of Statistics, “6202.0 Labour Force, Australia, October 2017.“, 16 Nov 2017 More

    flag_europe EU: Inflation (HICP/CPI)

    Press Release Extract [ser_eu_hicp]

    Euro area annual inflation was 1.4% in October 2017, down from 1.5% in September. In October 2016, the rate was 0.5%. European Union annual inflation was 1.7% in October 2017, down from 1.8% in September. A year earlier the rate was 0.5%. These figures come from Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union.

    eu_hicp_20171116

    The lowest annual rates were registered in Cyprus (0.4%), Ireland, Greece and Finland (all 0.5%). The highest annual rates were recorded in Lithuania (4.2%), Estonia (4.0%) and the United Kingdom (3.0%). Compared with September 2017, annual inflation fell in fourteen Member States, remained stable in five and rose in nine.

    eu_hicp_members_20171116

    The largest upward impacts to the euro area annual inflation came from fuels for transport (+0.10 percentage points), accommodation services (+0.08 pp) and milk, cheese & eggs (+0.06 pp), while telecommunication (-0.11 pp), garments (-0.07 pp) and social protection (-0.04 pp) had the biggest downward impacts.

    Eurostat, “October 2017: Annual inflation down to 1.4% in the euro area, Down to 1.7% in the EU “, 16 Nov 2017 More

    flag_usa US: Unemployment Insurance Weekly Claims

    Press Release Extract [ser_4]

    insurance

    In the week ending November 11, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 249,000, an increase of 10,000 from the previous week’s unrevised level of 239,000. The 4-week moving average was 237,750, an increase of 6,500 from the previous week’s unrevised average of 231,250.

    Claims taking procedures continue to be severely disrupted in the Virgin Islands. The ability to take claims has improved in Puerto Rico and they are now processing backlogged claims.

    unemployment

    The advance seasonally adjusted insured unemployment rate was 1.3 percent for the week ending November 4, a decrease of 0.1 percentage point from the previous week’s unrevised rate. The advance number for seasonally adjusted insured unemployment during the week ending November 4 was 1,860,000, a decrease of 44,000 from the previous week’s revised level. This is the lowest level for insured unemployment since December 29, 1973 when it was 1,805,000.

    The previous week’s level was revised up 3,000 from 1,901,000 to 1,904,000. The 4-week moving average was 1,887,000, a decrease of 9,000 from the previous week’s revised average. This is the lowest level for this average since January 12, 1974 when it was 1,881,000. The previous week’s average was revised up by 750 from 1,895,250 to 1,896,000.

    Employment and Training Administration, “Unemployment Insurance Weekly Claims Report“, 16 Nov 2017 (08:30) More

    flag_usa US: Import and Export Price Indexes. Oct 2017

    Press Release Extract [ser_us_ximpim]

    U.S. import prices advanced 0.2 percent in October, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today, after increasing 0.8 percent in September. U.S. export prices recorded no change in October, after increasing 0.7 percent in September.

    All Imports: Import prices increased 0.2 percent in October, after rising 0.8 percent in September. The price index for all imports rose 1.6 percent over the past 3 months. Higher prices for fuel and nonfuel imports contributed to the overall rise in import prices for October. U.S. import prices increased 2.5 percent for the year ended in October.

    us_ipi_oct_20171116

    Fuel Imports: The price index for fuel imports advanced 1.4 percent in October following a 5.5-percent rise in September. Fuel import prices increased 11.1 percent over the past 3 months. The October increase was driven by higher petroleum prices which advanced 1.7 percent, more than offsetting a 6.7-percent drop in natural gas prices. Fuel import prices rose 13.2 percent over the past 12 months; petroleum prices were the primary contributor, advancing 14.9 percent. Import prices for natural gas fell 18.2 percent over the past year.

    All Imports Excluding Fuel: Prices for nonfuel imports rose 0.2 percent in October following a 0.3-percent advance in September. The increase in October was driven by nonfuel industrial supplies and materials prices which advanced 0.9 percent; higher prices for capital goods also contributed to the overall increase. Import prices for automotive vehicles; consumer goods; and foods, feeds, and beverages all declined in October limiting the monthly advance. The price index for nonfuel imports rose 1.4 percent over the past 12 months, the largest over-the-year increase since a 2.0-percent advance for the year ended March 2012.

    All Exports: U.S. export prices recorded no change in October following 0.7-percent increases in September and August. The index has not recorded a decline since a 0.1-percent drop in June. Higher prices for agricultural exports were offset by lower prices for nonagricultural exports. The price index for exports advanced 2.7 percent over the past year.

    us_ipi_oct_20171116

    Agricultural Exports: The price index for agricultural exports increased 1.9 percent in October, the largest monthly rise since a 2.5-percent advance in June 2016. Higher vegetable prices drove the October increase, more than offsetting lower prices for soybeans and meats. Agricultural export prices increased 3.5 percent over the past year. Increasing vegetable and meat prices were the primary contributors to the 12-month advance.

    All Exports Excluding Agriculture: Nonagricultural export prices declined 0.3 percent in October following a 0.9-percent rise in September. In October, the index recorded the first monthly decline since a 0.4-percent decrease in May. Lower prices for nonagricultural industrial supplies and materials drove the decrease, and automotive prices also contributed to the overall decline. In contrast, capital goods and consumer goods prices increased in October. Despite the monthly decline in October, the price index for nonagricultural exports increased 2.5 percent over the past year. Higher nonagricultural industrial supplies and materials prices were the primary contributor to higher prices over the 12-month period.

    SELECTED OCTOBER HIGHLIGHTS

    Import Prices

    Imports by Locality of Origin: Import prices from China recorded no change in October following a 0.3- percent decline in September. Over the past year prices from China fell 0.8 percent. The price index for imports from Japan fell 0.3 percent in October, after a 0.1-percent rise in September. Import prices from Japan decreased 0.8 percent over the past year, the largest 12-month decline since a 1.1-percent drop for the year ended in May 2016. Import prices from Canada rose 1.4 percent for the second consecutive month in October; those were the largest advances since a 2.0-percent rise in January. Import prices from the European Union rose 0.1 percent in October and prices for imports from Mexico fell 0.2 percent.

    Nonfuel Industrial Supplies and Materials: Import prices for nonfuel industrial supplies and materials rose 0.9 percent in October following a 1.5-percent advance in September. The index increased 7.9 percent over the past 12 months, the largest over-the-year rise since an 8.1-percent advance in November 2011. Higher import prices for chemicals and selected building materials drove the October advance.

    Finished Goods: Import prices for the major finished goods categories were mixed in October. The price index for capital goods rose 0.2 percent in October and recorded a 0.6-percent increase over the past year. Prices for automotive vehicles decreased 0.2 percent in October and consumer goods prices fell 0.1 percent.

    Foods, Feeds, and Beverages: The import price index for foods, feeds, and beverages fell 0.2 percent in October. A 4.3-percent drop in prices for feedstuff and food grains and a 2.3-percent drop in vegetable prices were the main contributors to the decline.

    Transportation Services: The index for import air passenger fares rose 8.8 percent in October following an 8.5-percent increase in September. The October advance was the largest monthly increase since the index rose 8.9 percent in June 2015. European air passenger fares rose 9.9 percent driving the overall advance. Despite the recent increases, import air passenger fares decreased 1.4 percent over the past year. The price index for import air freight fell 4.0 percent in October and recorded a 5.4-percent increase over the past 12 months.

    Export Prices

    Nonagricultural Industrial Supplies and Materials: Nonagricultural industrial supplies and materials export prices fell 1.1 percent in October, after increasing 2.8 percent in September. The October drop was the first decline since a 1.4-percent decrease in May. Lower prices for fuel and gold led the October decline.

    Finished Goods: Export prices for capital goods rose 0.3 percent in October following a 0.1-percent advance the previous month. The October increase was driven by a 1.3-percent advance in the price index for computers, peripherals, and semiconductors. Export prices for automotive vehicles fell 0.2 percent in October and consumer goods prices ticked up 0.1 percent.

    Transportation Services: Export air passenger fares increased 3.9 percent in October, driven by a 3.1- percent increase in European fares. The price index for export air passenger fares rose 2.3 percent over the past year. Export air freight prices advanced 3.0 percent in October and 5.4 percent over the past 12 months.

    Bureau of Labor Statistics, “Import and Export Price Indexes. Oct 2017“, 16 Nov 2017 More

    flag_usa US: House of Representatives Passes Tax Reform Bill

    Press Report: Reuters [ser_us_tax_reform]

    The U.S. House of Representatives approved a package of tax cuts affecting businesses, individuals and families on Thursday, moving Republicans and President Donald Trump an important step closer to the biggest tax code overhaul in a generation.

    The largely party-line 227-205 vote shifted the tax debate to the U.S. Senate, where that chamber’s separate plan has already encountered resistance from some Republicans. No decisive Senate action was expected until after next week’s Thanksgiving holiday.

    Trump, who is looking for his first major legislative win since he took office in January, went to the U.S. Capitol just before the vote to urge Republicans to pass the tax measure, which Democrats call a give-away to the wealthy and businesses.

    “Passing this bill is the single biggest thing we can do to grow the economy, to restore opportunity, to help these middle-class families that are struggling,” House Speaker Paul Ryan told lawmakers before the vote.

    Congress has not thoroughly overhauled the sprawling U.S. tax code since Republican Ronald Reagan was president. The House measure is not as comprehensive as Reagan’s 1986 sweeping package, but it is more ambitious than anything since then.

    The House bill, which would be estimated to increase the federal deficit by nearly $1.5 trillion over 10 years, would consolidate individual and family tax brackets to 4 from 7 and reduce the corporate tax rate from 35% to 20%. It also would scale back or end some popular tax deductions, including one for state and local income taxes, while preserving a capped deduction for property tax payments.

    Democrats have pointed to analyses showing millions of Americans could end up with a tax hike because of the elimination of popular deductions. Repealing or cutting some deductions is a way to offset the revenue lost from tax cuts. “It’s a shameful piece of legislation, and the Republicans should know better,” House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi told lawmakers before the vote.“, 16 Nov 2017 Reuters

    flag_japan Japan update

    Currency: USD/JPY

    JPY movements
    ^ JPY movements against the USD over the past month (mouseover for inverse) Chart: xe.com

    Stockmarket: Nikkei 225

    N225 movements
    ^ Nikkei N225 movements over the past week Chart: Google Finance

    The Nikkei 225 jumped 323 points or 1.5% to close at 22351 on Thursday, ending a 6-day losing streak and shrugging off Wednesday’s decline in Wall Street. Japan Steel Works (7.9%), Sumitomo Osaka Cement (6.6%) and Tokai Carbon (6%) were the biggest gainers.

    Historically, the Japan NIKKEI 225 Stock Market Index reached an all time high of 38915.87 in Dec 1989 and a record low of 85.25 in Jul 1950.TradingEconomics

    flag_china China update

    Currency: USD/CNY

    CNY movements
    ^ CNY movements against the USD over the past month (mouseover for inverse) Chart: xe.com

    Stockmarket: CSI300

    CSI300 movements
    ^ Shanghai CSI300 movements over the past week Chart: Google Finance