Investors sidled away from shares in overnight trading as Apple’s warning on demand destruction echoed around the globe. Weaker German business conditions and slower than forecast UK wages growth weighed on European stocks and pushed the Euro below US $1.08. In contrast, bonds rallied and gold climbed through US $1,600 per ounce.
The weakening sentiment spread across asset classes. Crude oil held its ground but nickel and zinc led industrial metals lower. Cryptocurrencies rose. CMC’s All Crypto Index is once again threatening the 4,000 mark after Monday’s slump.
Asia Pacific futures markets indicate a soggy start to stock trading. Nikkei and Hang Seng futures are in the red, albeit modestly after yesterday’s falls. Australia 200 index futures are up four points, although this may look optimistic by the close after a slew of earnings misses.
Twenty-two top 200 companies report today. In a piece of poor market-timing thirteen of the sixteen reports released at the time of writing missed Bloomberg consensus estimates. Vocus took a 22% hit to profits on a 7% decline in revenues and Webjet headline profit slumped 64% after the company wrote off $44 million owed by the defunct Thomas Cook group.
Even the bright spots lack lustre. Wesfarmers beat forecasts with a 4% lift in profit from continuing operations, but revelation of a further $24 million in underpayment to workers is dominating headlines. At the half-way mark earnings season is running behind sales forecasts, and profit growth of 3% is 2% shy of estimates.