Markets Insight

Negative outlook for equity markets

Across the week, the Dow lost 0.19 per cent; the Nasdaq shed 2.55 per cent, its biggest weekly percentage point drop since late March; while the S&P fell 1.03 per cent, its largest weekly percentage point decline in over 14 months. The US August CPI
Across the week, the Dow lost 0.19 per cent; the Nasdaq shed 2.55 per cent, its biggest weekly percentage point drop since late March; while the S&P fell 1.03 per cent, its largest weekly percentage point decline in over 14 months. The US August CPI will be released on Thursday, with the consensus pointing to an unchanged 0.2 per cent.PHOTO: GETTY IMAGES

Politics weighing on bourses as investors await S'pore's July retail sales figures and US, China data

Equity markets the world over spent much of the past week waiting on the next move from key parties involved in global trade tensions, as politics is likely to take centre stage this week.

IG Asia market strategist Pan Jingyi said: "While notable developments have yet to be seen, the weight of ongoing worries over emerging markets contagion had certainly been apparent and would likely dominate in the coming week, even as we await major central bank decisions and data releases."

Emerging markets entered bear territory on both heightened risk sentiment over Canada's North American Free Trade Agreement participation uncertainty and possible further US tariffs on Chinese imports.

A strong United States dollar did not help either. The MSCI emerging market index has declined by more than 20 per cent from its January peak.

In the region, Indonesia's Jakarta Composite Index tumbled as the rupiah fell to its weakest level since 1998. Its central bank bought 10.7 trillion rupiah (S$997 million) of government bonds from the secondary market during the week in efforts to stabilise the currency.

"Moving ahead, the near-term outlook remains a negative one for emerging markets that could keep further downsides in view. As for how much further the market may fall, it could be the biggest question in the coming week as we wait out political drivers," Ms Pan said.

Wall Street dipped on Friday as Apple indicated that some of its products made in China could be subjected to further tariffs.

Apple shares, which had been trading up for most of the session, ended 0.8 per cent lower.

The US Labour Department's employment report, released on Friday showed accelerating job growth and a surge in wage growth.

However, concerns were raised among investors over inflation and possible increasing interest rates.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 0.19 per cent across the week, the S&P fell 1.03 per cent, and the Nasdaq Composite shed 2.55 per cent.

The Nasdaq clocked its biggest weekly percentage point drop since late March, while the S&P's weekly percentage point decline was its largest in over 14 months.

The US economic data to be released this week includes Thursday's August consumer price index (CPI), with the consensus pointing to an unchanged 0.2 per cent year-on-year reading.

Along with payrolls results, "this will simply be expected to reaffirm the Fed's rate hike trajectory and may be regarded as non-events for the market", said Ms Pan of the CPI.

In Singapore, retail sales figures for July are due on Wednesday. Month-on-month growth is forecast at 1.4 per cent while year-on-year growth is set to rise by 3.1 per cent.

Meanwhile, data on the second-quarter unemployment rate, forecast to be 2.1 per cent, is due on Thursday.

In what has been a shaky time for Asian markets amid poor risk sentiment among investors, a slew of key economic data is due for release this week in China.

These include August inflation, industrial production, retail sales and urban fixed asset investment figures.

On Saturday, China reported its trade surplus for August fell to US$27.91 billion (S$38.5 billion) this year but its trade surplus with the US widened to a record high of US$31.05 billion for the same month.

Revised figures for Japan's Q2 gross domestic product data will be revealed today.

In Australia, unemployment rate figures will be released on Thursday.

No changes are expected from the Bank of England and European Central Bank monetary policy decision meetings this week.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 10, 2018, with the headline 'Negative outlook for equity markets'. Print Edition | Subscribe