Well, last week, tech stocks had their worst week since March, with stability far from returning. While the jury is still out, most still view the pull back in tech stocks as a healthy correction following a prolonged period of gains, blaming increased options activity over recent months for the magnitude of the decline. The buy on dip mentality is likely to continue to prevail, though tech stocks have not yet show any sign of wanting to make a convincing pull back.
Signs of nervousness are clear; equity volatility remains elevated, but many investors are still sitting on healthy gains over recent months. Given the low cost of funding, low returns in government bonds, alongside continued strong demand for stay at home electronics and a vaccine that could still take months to arrive, it is hard to see the tech sector falling too far.
The fall in the pound sterling has been quite dramatic over recent weeks, both against the US dollar and euro. Fears over a collapse in trade talks with the European Union have intensified. The sudden waking up of the market to these risks has been provoked by the prospects that the withdrawal agreement with the EU will be torn up, prompting threats of legal action by the EU.
Time is running out to get a deal on the table before the end of the Brexit transition period at the end of the year, but UK Prime Minister Johnson has said that the internal market bill is necessary to prevent “a foreign of international body from having the power to break up our country.” The new legislation is already facing a rebellion in parliament. Against this background its hard to see GBP rally, with the currency likely to be particularly volatile over the coming weeks.
Attention this week will turn to several central bank decisions, with monetary policy makers in Poland (Tue), US (Wed), Brazil (Wed), Japan (Thu), Indonesia (Thu), Taiwan (Thu), South Africa, (Thu), UK (Thu) and Russia (Fri) all scheduled to announce their decisions. After months of policy easing globally, this week will look rather boring, with none of the above likely to ease further.
The Fed FOMC meeting will likely capture most attention, but there is potential for disappointment if the Fed does not provide further details on its shift to average inflation targeting in its forward guidance, even as the accompanying statement and Chair Powell’s press conference are likely to sound dovish. The US dollar has continued to stabilize, aided by the drop in GBP, but a dovish Fed could limit further upside in the short term.
Aside from central bank decisions attention will be on US election polls, which take on more importance as the election creeps closer. US fiscal stimulus talks have hit a wall, with little chance of progress this week, while US pressure on China and Chinese companies is likely to continue to be unrelenting as elections approach. On the political front the race to take over Japan’s prime minister following the resignation of Shinzo Abe will conclude this week (Wed).