AI-Driven Euphoria vs. Recession Risk. How will the Fed guide Wall Street’s further movement?
However, the only sectors that finished higher for the month were the three AI-related components, including technology (XLK), communication services (XLC), and consumer discretionary (XLY), up 10%, 5%, and 4%, respectively.
All other 8 sectors ended in the red, with energy stocks, for example, tumbling 8.5% monthly. The extremely divergent moves among sectors imply that the AI-driven euphoria may be in a hype cycle.
According to Factset, the blended earnings for the S&P 500 declined for the second straight quarter in Q1 2023, and the forward 12-month P/E ratio was below the 5-year average by 1 June.
While a pause in rate hikes by the Fed might be a done deal in June, the inflation data for May will be critical to determine risk sentiment as economic data points to a further slowdown in GDP growth. Investors may need to be mindful of a possible correction on Wall Street in June.
Australian markets faced China’s headwind, with commodity price a key gauge for the ASX trajectory
The commodity-heavy index did not follow through with the tech rally on Wall Street as its biggest export partner, China’s, economic rebound is sluggish. Recession, fear-led selloff in consumer and financial stocks in the US markets also dragged on the sentiment.
At the sector level, information technology was the best performer, up 16% in the month, while both financials and consumer discretionary fell more than 5%.
In Australia, the inflationary pressure showed signs of easing, but the consumer price index was still well above the RBA’s target level of 2%.
There will be three elements that potentially impact ASX’s trajectory in June - commodity prices, China’s economic playout, and the RBA’s rate decision. A positive scenario is that Fed’s potential rate hike pause could send the USD lower and lift commodity prices. Potentially, the RBA will follow suit to suspend a rate hike cycle this month. China’s rebound may be set to pick up if the government imposes further stimulus measures.
Chinese stock markets may have been oversold, with influential economic data to be eyed in June
The Chinese stocks touched a bear market, with Hang Seng Index down 4.6% and Hang Seng China Enterprises Index down 6.2% year-to-date amid faltering economic recovery as the weak domestic demands and a surge in the youth unemployment rate reined in consumer prices, with the country’s CPI deflated for the third month in April.
On a positive note, is that China’s exports saw a sharp rebound from a year ago, while economic activities in the services sector expanded for the 5th consecutive month, which could be translating into a slow recovery in consumer demand.
Any positive signs in the economic recovery could cause a dip-buy in the possible oversold markets. The recent AI development in Chinese tech companies, such as Alibaba and Baidu could also lead to bottomer reversal moves in these shares. In June, influential economic data such as CPI, PPI, and Chinese manufacturing PMI will be key gauges of the country’s rebounding trajectory.
The New Zealand dollar suffered from RBNZ’s dovish rate hike, with the first quarter GDP in focus
The RBNZ raised the OCR by another 25 basis points but signalled a rate hike pause in the next meeting, which crashed the New Zealand dollar.
The NZD/USD fell about 6% from the high of 0.6369 to the month-low of just above 0.60 in May. Whilst the NZD/AUD slumped 2.3% from the peak in the month.
The decline in the dollar may not end just yet as China’s sluggish economic rebound may keep pressing on the commodity currencies, with an absence of the RBNZ’s policy meeting in June. The country’s first-quarter GDP will be in the spotlight, and a negative read of the data will mark a technical economic recession following a -0.6% growth in the final quarter of 2022.
Will the OPEC + save oil’s price from a further slump?
Crude oil prices fell under US$70 per barrel in May but swiftly rebounded in the beginning of June as traders bet the OPEC+ to cut outputs further to stabilize the oil markets.
The organization announced a production cut of 2 million barrels per day in November and a further 1.15 million barrels per day in April.
Fundamentally, China’s oil demand will still be key to driving the energy market prices. US$60 dollar is likely to be a pivotal support, and US$80 could be a potential price target if OPEC+ determines to support the oil prices.
Gold faces resistance of an all-time high level
Gold pulled back from an all-time high as the AI stock euphoria boosted risk-on sentiment, and the USD strengthened following a rebound in the US bond yields in May. But the precious metal started climbing again in the last few trading days as the king dollar softened on the Fed’s hiking pause bets.
A dovish Fed will most likely send the USD lower and give a further lift to gold prices. However, from a technical perspective, a double top in the daily chart and a triple top in the monthly charts are still in play.
Inflation takes a toll on Singaporean economy as retail sales and factory output slow
As inflation proves stickier than expected with month-on-month inflation rising by 0.2%, the Singaporean economy takes a hit as retail trade and sales slowed compared to their strong numbers in March. The Singaporean stock market followed suit as the Straits Times Index took a hit and slid 3.4%. However, June looks to be off to a good start for the SGX as the Straits Times Index is up 0.93% so far on the positive news that America is not defaulting on its debt.
Sector-wise, the Finance giants like DBS, OCBC and UOB will be looking to bounce back after the US regional bank panic-induced selloff. The biggest catalyst on the horizon for Singaporean banks will be the upcoming US Fed Funds Rate hike announcement. A possible pivot would likely cause near-term volatility for the banks as interest rates and cost of borrowing will be impacted.
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