Market commentary: Weak earnings, freak weather bring markets down

Markets traded lower yesterday as investors were brought back down to earth following weak earnings figures from prominent US companies like Caterpillar and Microsoft. 

The poor session was exacerbated by a blizzard in the US which reportedly made it difficult for traders and the general public to get to work, impacting daily activity on the markets. A factor is also a correction following the hype of the QE bonanza in the beginning of the year, which has led to a very positive start for equity and bond markets alike in 2015.

Singapore unexpectedly eased monetary policy, sending the currency to the weakest since 2010 against the U.S. dollar as the country joined global central banks in shoring up growth amid dwindling inflation.

A day after being cut to junk, Russia announced its first auction of floating-rate notes in more than a decade, relying on demand at home to counter deteriorating foreign sentiment.

The drop in Russian bonds this week was partly the result of escalating bloodshed in eastern Ukraine between pro-Russian rebels and government troops stoking concern that sanctions against Russia may be widened.

The ruble has slumped 48 percent against the dollar in the past 12 months because of plunging oil prices and sanctions imposed by Western countries in retaliation for Russia fueling the Ukraine conflict.

Greece’s new government questioned moves to impose more sanctions on Russia, adding a foreign-policy angle to its challenge to the status quo in Europe. Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras’s Syriza-led coalition said it opposed a European Union statement issued in Brussels Tuesday, paving the way to additional curbs on the Kremlin over the conflict in Ukraine, and complained it hadn’t been consulted.

This morning markets are trading mixed, with some positive follow through emanating from Apple’s earnings release after the close of the bell yesterday where their array of new products boosted Apple’s sales growth last quarter to the highest level in three years, with momentum set to continue as the company rolls out its first smartwatch. Apple posted a 30 percent jump in fiscal first- quarter revenue to $74.6 billion, as net income rose 38 percent to a record $18 billion.

The yield on German bunds due in a decade rose two basis point to 0.40 percent, while the rate on 10-year gilts climbed four basis points to 1.53 percent. Similar maturity notes in Portugal paid 2.46 percent, four basis points more than yesterday.

Electrolux AB jumped 7.7 percent as Europe’s biggest appliances maker reported higher fourth-quarter earnings than analysts estimated and forecast market growth of as much as 2 percent in the region this year.

Nordea Bank climbed 5.2 percent after the Nordic region’s largest bank raised its dividend by 44 percent and reported a bigger increase in profit than estimated.

Petroleo Brasileiro, the state-run oil company at the center of Brazil’s biggest ever kickback scandal, failed to reach an agreement on writedowns related to the crisis before posting third-quarter results. There has been a more than two-month delay in reporting audited results, as it awaits the results of internal investigations into the graft allegations which has all but shut out Petrobras from international debt markets.

This article was issued by Simon Psaila, Trader/Analyst at Calamatta Cuschieri. For more information visit, www.cc.com.mt . The information, view and opinions provided in this article is being provided solely for educational and informational purposes and should not be construed as investment advice, advice concerning particular investments or investment decisions, or tax or legal advice. Calamatta Cuschieri & Co. Ltd has not verified and consequently neither warrants the accuracy nor the veracity of any information, views or opinions appearing on this website.

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