September 15, 2021
By Huw Jones
LONDON (Reuters) – Wall Street faced a subdued session on Wednesday after unexpectedly weak data from China reinforced investor bets that global growth is slowing due to COVID and supply chain constraints.
The S&P 500 index hit a three-week low on Tuesday as worries about global recovery fed into stock markets that have enjoyed a prolonged run to record highs in recent months.
“You still have the global growth uncertainties that are linked to COVID still not being clearly behind us and the supply constraint issues,” said Derek Halpenny, head of research, globla markets EMEA at MUFG.
“This is really the first week of proper trading post summer and the global growth projections are coming down, so the scope for continued strong performance of equities is somewhat in question,” Halpenny said.
In the futures markets, U.S. S&P 500 E-minis and Dow E-minis were little changed, with Nasdaq 100 E-minis slightly firmer.
A burst of data out of China showed growth in its factory and retail sectors continued to falter in August with output and sales growth hitting one-year lows as fresh coronavirus outbreaks and supply disruptions threatened its economic recovery.
“The weak China retail sales data is a shocker and shows that unless you get the Delta variant under control, any recovery is going to be difficult,” said Michael Hewson, chief markets analyst at CMC Markets.
U.S.-listed Chinese stocks extended recent losses as weak retail sales data pointed to a possible economic slowdown in the mainland.
Investors continued to scrutinise data on inflation, which in the United States showed signs of slowing on Tuesday.
In contrast, UK inflation hit a more than nine-year high last month after the biggest monthly jump in the annual rate in at least 24 years, though largely due to a one-off boost that analysts said was likely to be temporary.
Tuesday’s easing on Wall Street undermined shares in Europe, where the STOXX index of 600 European companies eased 0.35%, slipping further away from its lifetime high of mid-August.
The MSCI All Country World Index was down 0.17%, with U.S. Treasury yields at 1.2752%.
Investors looked to next week’s Federal Open Market Committee’s monetary policy meeting to see if there will be a tapering announcement, seen as less likely after the softer U.S. inflation.
“Inflation is not something we think will go away soon. While the base case is for inflation to moderate over a two-three year horizon, we are not betting on sharp falls in inflation,” said Valentijn van Nieuwenhuijzen, chief investment officer at Dutch asset manager NN IP.
“The Covid impact on supply chains has been enormous so it would not be surprising to see some stickiness in inflation.”
The dollar eased 0.2% to around a one-week low.
After the Chinese data, Chinese blue chips were down 1%.
“This is not a dip, it is a falling trend that will last at least until the end of this year,” said Iris Pang, chief China economist at ING said of the Chinese data.
Pang said she anticipated a 0.5 percentage point cut in Chinese banks’ reserve requirement ratio (RRR) in October, and said more fiscal support was needed for small- and medium-sized companies.
Shares in property developer Evergrande, which is scrambling to raise funds to pay its many lenders and suppliers, fell for the third consecutive day on Wednesday, losing as much as 5.4% to their lowest since January 2014.
Hong Kong’s benchmark Hang Seng index shed 1.8%, as casino stocks plunged after Macau began a public consultation which investors fear will lead to tighter regulations in the world’s largest gambling hub.
An index tracking gaming stocks fell 23%, while Wynn Macau fell as much as 29% to a record low.
Oil prices gained on a larger than expected drawdown in crude oil stocks in the United States, with U.S. crude gaining 1.2% to $71.34 a barrel and Brent crude rising 1.14% to $74.44 per barrel. [O/R]
Spot gold was little changed, trading at $1,802 per ounce, having fallen from a one week peak of $1,808.50 on which it hit on prospects for lower interest rates. [GOL/]
(Additional reporting by Sujata Rao and Alun John, editing by Kim Coghill, Toby Chopra and Chizu Nomiyama)
Source Link Wall Street subdued as China data adds to growth doubts