US investors continued to ignore the potential impact of the coronavirus outbreak to send the Nasdaq to yet another record high in overnight trading. This puts them at odds not only with Asia Pacific and European investors, it defies weakness in energy and base metals, and ongoing support for havens such as bonds and gold.
The North American exuberance is particularly notable in light of the reporting season so far. At the two-thirds mark the average profit increase across the US SPX 500 companies is just 0.5%. Consensus estimates of 9%-10% profit growth over 2020 is challenging as the bull market enters its eleventh year. The 2% lift in Apple’s share price last night is especially curious given the disruptions at China’s Foxconn, its largest external supplier.
Australian company reports are in play today. According to Bloomberg 5 out of 6 top companies reported earnings ahead of forecasts this morning, with stand-out results from Suncorp and Aurizon. The positive news gives support to the 44 point rise in Australia 200 index futures during the night session.
Macro data also has an Australian flavour today. The estimated increase in the value of home loans in December is 1.6%. The read comes at a crucial time for the Australian dollar as it tests 10 year lows. A stronger read could deflate expectations of rate cuts this year, and support the currency