By Jamie McGeever
(Reuters) – A look at the day ahead in Asian markets from Jamie McGeever.
If the first proper global trading day of 2023 offers any clue on how the following 12 months will unfold, buckle up.
The fairly upbeat mood in Asia and Europe was crushed in U.S. hours as another collapse in Tesla Inc shares dragged tech lower, soured risk appetite, and prompted defensive flows into Treasuries and the dollar.
Equity, bond and currency volatility rose also, and the negative close on Wall Street will likely set the tone for Asia’s open on Wednesday. Tech investors, in particular, should brace themselves.
Tesla plunged as much as 15% on Tuesday after it missed Wall Street estimates for quarterly deliveries, and the company has lost almost 75% of its market cap in barely over a year. iPhone maker Apple Inc dropped to its lowest since June 2021 and its market cap dipped below $2 trillion.
Hong Kong’s Hang Seng tech index kicked off the year with a stellar 2.5% rise on Tuesday and the MSCI Asia tech index has advanced three days in a row, its best run in a month.
But all that seems poised to reverse on Wednesday.
Rising interest rates was the scythe that cut tech off at the knees last year as the U.S. Federal Reserve embarked on the most aggressive tightening cycle in 40 years. The cycle may be drawing to a close, but the Fed may yet surprise on the upside this year.
Job openings on Wednesday and non-farm payrolls on Friday will give the most up-to-date pulse of the U.S. labor market. Solid numbers, including wage growth, could tilt expectations for next month’s policy meeting back up to a 50 basis point hike from 25 bps.
Before that, the Fed on Wednesday releases the minutes of its Dec. 13-14 policy meeting.
Global financial conditions – across developed and emerging markets – have tightened since then, according to Goldman Sachs. Its U.S. financial conditions index has risen some 40 bps, mainly due to higher long rates and lower equities.
If global tech and equity bulls are to get any traction, easing financial conditions and central bank rate hike expectations will have to set in first.
Three key developments that could provide more direction to markets on Wednesday:
– India S&P Global services PMI (December)
– U.S. Fed policy meeting minutes
– U.S. ‘JOLTS’ job openings (November)
(Reporting by Jamie McGeever in Orlando, Fla.; Editing by Marguerita Choy)