Gift that keeps on giving

BY David Bassanese | 3 December 2017
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Week in Review

Not even another North Korean missile could hurt markets last week, with Wall Street instead buoyed by the prospect of the US tax the tax cut. The Senate’s final vote came after the market’s close – so will likely be (yet another)  positive tax story for markets on Monday.

Indeed, the slow moving tax cut saga is the “gift that keeps on giving” since there are many small hurdles that need to be overcome before the tax cut becomes a reality – with clearance of each hurdle seemingly a cause for celebration in its own right.

In other news last week, OPEC’s long-anticipated deal to extend production cuts was finally agreed – only to see oil prices drop on this rumour now becoming fact.  US economic data was resoundingly good – as was also generally the case in other markets such as China, Japan and Europe.

Also positive were comments from incoming Fed chair Jerome Powell in support of financial deregulation – which along with the tax cut hopes put a rocket under US financial stocks.  There was even talk of rotation out of tech shares into financials – on the view that the latter would benefit more from the tax cut proposal.  Maybe: but plans to cut taxes on offshore earnings will hardly hurt the globally dominant tech firms!  All these developments remain positive for the Nasdaq-100 and Global Banks ETFs.

Good news in Australia also, with an upgrade to business investment plans in the latest capital spending survey and more signs that home building approvals, though down from their peak, are nonetheless still holding up reasonably well.  Sydney’s slow moving house price correction also remains evident, with continued low auction clearance rates last weekend and data from Core-Logic suggesting house prices edged lower again in November – to be down 1.3% from a peak three months ago.

Note also that iron ore prices are booming again, which reflects stronger Chinese steel prices due to (oddly in my view) China’s ongoing quest to close down inefficient (and highly polluting) regional steel producers. If you’re bullish on resource stocks (something I’m still struggling with) easy diversified access is possible through the QRE ETF.

The Week Ahead

The US tax cut gift should keep giving this week as both the Senate and House of Rep’s work to reconcile their own versions of the bill. They then each need to vote on it before President Trump finally gets to sign it. In short, there are many more mini-celebrations likely ahead.

Another highlight will be US payrolls on Friday, where another solid employment gain is expected – which in turn will leave the market expectations high for a Fed rate hike the week after (Dec. 13).

In Australia, interest will be on whether the RBA’s post-meeting statement on Tuesday even hints at higher rates next year given the recent run of (generally) positive data – I doubt it.  Helped by exports and business investment, and despite soggy retail spending, Wednesday’s Q3 GDP should also show reasonable economic growth of around 0.7%, pushing up annual growth (at least temporarily) to 3%.

Have  Great Week!

 

 

 

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