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Trader Insights – Alphabet, Microsoft, and Snap deliver for investors

Chris Weston
Head of Research
25 Apr 2024
US cash equity indices opened on their lows, and despite a solid sell-off in the US bond market (US 2yr Treasury closed +7bp at 4.99% and US 5yr real rates +5bp), we saw a steady grind higher into the close, with the NAS100 closing -0.6% and SPX500 -0.5%.

Once again it was the after-market that caught the focus of many in the market, where we saw a complete reversal of Wednesday's post-market volatility - this time Alphabet, Microsoft and Snap showed Meta how to deliver when it matters, and where we were treated to some truly outsized moves in Snap (+23% in the aftermarket) and Alphabet (+11.8%) and to a lesser extent Microsoft (+3%).

Alphabet beat on revenue and capex and went hard on returning cash to shareholders through an additional $70b buyback. We also saw a slight change intact and holders will now get income with a surprise 20c dividend announcement – the very positive share price reaction speaks to a market that is not concerned that management could be seeing limited growth opportunity, but the div is a very compelling sweetener. Snap easily beat on actuals but guided to Q2 sales of $1.24b, with the street forecasting $1.21b. Microsoft showed us once again why this is a core holding in most portfolios, with beats across the board and again showing that this is a business simply doing everything right.

*Clients can trade the post-market equity moves on the MT5 platform, where we recently released 24-hour US share pricing, which facilitates trading in the marquee US equity names even when the post-market session closes at 10 am AEST. Reach out to the team for more information on this.

NAS100 rallied 1.5% on the moves and would be higher if Intel weren’t trading 8.4% lower, after guiding to Q2 sales of $13b vs the consensus at $13.63b. The bulls have regained control with the daily candle pricing a bullish reversal (price traded below Wednesday’s low and closed above the high), and a retest of the 50-day MA at 17,947 is the target in the near term. That said, a move into the 50-day MA may require a weaker US core PCE report in the session ahead, given US corporate earnings from Exxon and Chevron are unlikely to really rock the boat to intently.

FX markets have been mixed, and again the focus has largely been on USDJPY which rallied into 155.75 before chopping around in a 155.75 to 155.33 range. The ZAR has been the star of the show, with USDZAR -1.1%, while the GBP has seen solid flows, with GBPUSD moving into 1.2527 and testing the former range lows from December to March. GBPJPY pushes higher and there have been no real concerns to stay long despite the threat of JPY-intervention. Again, watch USD exposures into US core PCE (22:30 AEST).

Gold traded a $2344 to $2305 range, slightly less than the range I had laid out in yesterday’s note – again the path of gold in the session ahead could be heavily influenced by the US inflation read, but technically I would turn more constructive about the near-term upside on an upside break of $2340 – where we could see a move on the day into $2355/60 – a level which could be cap proceedings and where I’d consider fading (shorting) the strength.

We turn to what is shaping up to be a constructive open in the respective Asian cash equity market, with the outlier being the ASX200, where SPI futures are 1.2% lower than where the ASX200 cash market closed on Wednesday. Given that S&P500 futures are +0.1% through that same frame, it suggests the underperformance of the Aussie equity market may be a tad overdone. BHP are a clear consideration here though given they traded -2.2% in London, and its ADR suggests the miner opens 3% weaker - there could be a long/short trade there for me, but let's see if the ASX200 banks can find some love, and if BHP is supported below $44.

The focus then falls on the BoJ meeting in the afternoon – no policy changes are due, but tweaks to the bank's inflation forecasts could offer some clues to future tweaks to its policy setting. USDJPY overnight implied volatility has lifted to 18% and I suspect it will go higher – the market expects movement in the JPY, so be aware of this as part of the risk management process.

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