BEAR TERRITORY AHEAD

Bearish market signals and potential economic shift

Amid a series of concerning market signals, shares faced a downturn influenced by various factors. A hotter-than-expected CPI report and a disappointing 30-year Treasury auction contributed to a negative market sentiment. The CPI data reported a monthly and yearly increase slightly higher than expected. Simultaneously, the weak Treasury auction resulted in surging rates and declining share markets.

Surging bond yields and market impact

Market losses intensified as bond yields surged to a fresh 16-year high of 4.98%. This increase in yields was driven by factors such as rising oil prices and anticipation of Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell’s upcoming speech. The volatile situation in the Middle East played a significant role in driving up oil futures by over 3%, heightening fears of further conflict escalation. Although WTI and Brent crude later retraced some gains, gold maintained its upward trend and reached the $2,000 mark.
Despite recent remarks by Fed officials causing uncertainty about further rate hikes, a robust GDP has raised the likelihood of one final 25-basis point rate hike. Surprisingly, the US dollar exhibited limited strength with the Dollex unable to pass through $107, despite higher Treasury yields. In contrast, the pound hit a two-week low following hotter-than-expected UK CPI data, which had little impact on rate hike expectations for the Bank of England.

Asian markets affected by fed concerns and geopolitical tensions

The negative sentiment spilled over to Asian stock markets, which faced significant declines as bond yields continued to rise. The surge in Treasury yields set an unfavorable precedent for Asian markets, making them less attractive for risk-heavy investments and hindering foreign capital inflow. The Nikkei 225 index faced a challenge as Japanese consumer price index inflation exceeded expectations, potentially impacting loose monetary conditions that had previously driven the index to 30-year highs.

Tech sector pressured by rising bond yields

Asian technology stocks experienced notable pressure as surging global bond yields reduced the appeal of growth stocks. Weak third-quarter profit figures from major chipmaker TSMC further weighed down tech stocks, particularly chip manufacturers.

Chinese stocks at lows amid property concerns

Chinese stocks experienced minor losses but were on track for substantial weekly declines due to persistent concerns about the country’s property sector, despite stronger economic growth data. A potential default by Country Garden Holdings kept traders cautious about Chinese assets, even as China’s central bank maintained its benchmark loan prime rate at record lows.

Market assessment and economic transition

In the broader market context, an economic shift is underway. Excess savings from COVID relief funds have sustained the economy, but this source of fuel is dwindling. As it diminishes, the economy may face challenges, with expectations of inflation running above trend for several years. Easy money policies have given way to an involuntary tax through inflation, affecting consumers. For the moment it appears safe to assume that the stock markets have topped out.

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