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Will Micron Be the News of Note? Global Week Ahead

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In the Global Week Ahead, here are Reuters’ five big world market themes.

These are likely to dominate the thinking of investors and traders in the coming week. I re-ranked them, in order of importance to equity markets. Reuters put rising oil prices at the top of the global list they constructed.

However, the bigger trading news looks to be the Micron earnings report, out After the Market (AMC) closes on Thursday. The chip stocks follow this market leader. These bellwether Micron shares are basing off their annual lows now.

Will chip shares break even lower, or a bounce mightily off the lows in their trading ranges? -- That is what this Micron earnings report can bring.

(1) Energy Markets: Can the Brent Oil Benchmark Stay at $80 a Barrel?

Brent oil hit $80 a barrel last week — good news for exporters like Saudi Arabia and Russia, but less so for importers such as India and especially those with big current account deficits, like Turkey.

The loss of Iranian supply into an already tight market should keep prices elevated for now.

But $80 has proved a formidable psychological and technical barrier, so staying above that is going to be tricky. Brent briefly popped above $80 in May, marking its highest in over three years, but it could not maintain altitude. There’s likely to be a lot of options positions around this big number, and for all you chartists out there, technicals are in play too.

The 61.8 percent Fibonacci retracement of Brent’s $90 plunge, between June 2014 and January 2016, comes in just above $81.

There’s another barrier to consider: Donald Trump. The U.S. president has complained repeatedly about oil prices, demanding OPEC action to bring them down. And he was doing that when oil was lower than it is today, so another tweet-storm from the White House would be a surprise to pretty much nobody.

(2) Developing Nation Central Banks Make Tough Calls All Week Long

Turkey may have delivered a chunky 625 basis-point interest rate rise but similar fireworks are unlikely at next week’s crop of central bank meetings in emerging markets. Nevertheless, with inflation and growth worries rising across the developing world and policymakers engaged in a delicate balancing act to calm investors, markets will watch for the sort of signals central bankers send.

Hungary, for instance, is expected to keep interest rates unchanged but its inflation report, also due on Sept 18, could show price pressures picking up. So it could spell out details of future policy tightening, though the first rate rise is unlikely before end-2019.

South Africa’s rand, which is down 16% this year, looks like it needs the support of higher rates. But with the economy recently dipping into recession, authorities are unlikely to make the move, choosing to hold fire in case the emerging market turmoil worsens.

Brazil too should hold rates at 6.5%. The real has not been spared by sellers, though, and is down 21% this year. But inflation is running below-target and growth is sluggish. Political risks ahead of next month’s elections remain high too. All of which suggest the central bank will keep its powder dry.

(3) The Bank of Japan (BoJ) Meets on Thursday

When the Bank of Japan meets next week, it will scrutinize market moves since its July decision to allow bond yields more flexibility around its zero percent target. There won’t be much to look at, though.

Despite Governor Haruhiko Kuroda’s assurance the BOJ will allow 10-year yields to stretch to around 0.2 percent, they have been caught in a tight range around 0.1 percent. It’s proving difficult to revive a market that has seen liquidity dry up as a result of the central bank’s huge purchases. This in turn means strains on the banking sector will remain in focus.

For now, the BOJ may blame sticky yields on a summer lull and prefer to wait for longer before drawing any conclusions. But policymakers will also have to debate the risks that global trade frictions pose to the export-reliant economy. They’ll notice there was no holiday lull in the rest of the world.

(4) Fresh U.S. Housing Permits and Starts Data Land

U.S. existing home sales have hit a wall, falling for four straight months, and next week could bring news that they slipped again last month.

A decade after the financial crisis – which had its beginnings in the U.S. housing market collapse – sales of pre-owned U.S. homes remains more than 25% below its pre-crisis peak. The sales pace has dropped nearly 7% from its post-recession high last November.

What’s keeping a lid on sales? In a word: supply.

The number of homes for sale is stuck near a record low and inventory growth has been negative on a year-over-year basis every month for more than three years. That is driving prices to a record with annual sales price increases of nearly 5%. Many economists believe the steep prices are cutting into affordability, and the limited number of homes for sale is dissuading current owners from putting their homes on the market to trade up.

(5) U.K. Retail Data Comes Out, as That Nation Struggles to “Brexit”

The mood music on UK retail is pretty dire. Sector bellwether John Lewis just told investors that its first-half profit was all but wiped out — down 99 pct as the store chain was forced to match discounting by peers.

Its struggling rival Debenhams plumbed new record lows after telling adviser KPMG to examine radical restructuring options for the group.

Overall, earnings growth for retailers on the FTSE 350 has slowly crept up since the Brexit vote, but is still a way from recovering to pre-June 2016 levels.

Retail sales data on Thursday will update us on the health of the UK consumer, but signs are not encouraging. BAML economists say the summer bounce won’t last and figures from the British Retail Consortium last week showed shoppers had shunned the stores during the hot weather, apparently in favor of pubs.

Fears of Britain crashing out of the European Union without an exit deal have kept investors favoring exporter stocks over domestically-focused stocks like retailers, which suffer directly from the squeeze on consumer wallets.

But retailers aren’t just worried about a no-deal Brexit: as John Lewis shows, they face an intensifying struggle against discounters and competition online — where the “infinite shelf” of products lures in consumers while keeping costs low.

Three Top Zacks Rank Stocks—

How long can this narrow FAANG momentum trade go on? We shall see.

Apple (AAPL - Free Report) : Yes, it’s a $1.1T market cap stock now. And a #1 Rank stock. But the Zacks Value score is D and the Growth score is also D. The stock trades on Momentum, which gets an A.

Microsoft (MSFT - Free Report) : Yes it’s a $872B market cap stock. And also, this big tech stock is a #1 Rank stock in our system. Again, the long-term scores are poor. The Zacks Value score is F and the Growth score is C.

KLA Tencor (KLAC - Free Report) : There’s a big Micron (MU - Free Report) earnings report this week, on Thursday.

All chip stocks seem to follow Micron lower or higher, in terms of share price trends. This wafer fabricator is a Zacks #1 Rank right now, despite the hullabaloo about ‘peak’ boom and bust chip cycles.

Key Global Macro—

In the U.S., traders should watch for the aftermath of Hurricane Florence on risk markets.

On Wednesday, Brazil’s central bank is widely expected to keep SELIC monetary policy rates at the historic low of 6.5%.

What of the twin monetary policy problems down there? The local currency, the Brazilian real, keeps losing strength. But inflation remains below target.

On Wednesday, The Bank of Japan should leave zero rates unchanged too.

On Thursday, Norges Bank (Norway’s central bank) should raise its deposit rate for the first time in over seven years.

On Monday, the unemployment rate in Turkey is 9.7%. We get a fresh reading from this troubled country.

The Eurozone’s core HICP consumer inflation rate comes out. It has been +1.0% y/y. A better reading here helps to end “QE” later this year.

On Tuesday, the Bank of Japan (BoJ) target yield is 0.00%. We get a new policy update. Don’t expect this zero rate to go anywhere.

On Wednesday, the Brazilian SELIC monetary policy rate gets re-set. The consensus is for no change at 6.5%.

The CPI for South Africa (now in recession) is +5.1% y/y. We get a new m/m reading. The last one was +0.8% m/m.

U.S. building permits and housing starts come out. Permits could fall from 1.3M to 1.26M, while starts rise from 1.17M 1.24M. Permits are the more forward looking number, and fall is here.

On Thursday, the Norges (Norwegian central bank) deposit rate comes out. It could rise from 0.50% to 0.75%.

Weekly U.S. initial claims look super low at 204K. We get a fresh reading.

On Friday, the Eurozone composite PMI comes out. The prior measure was 54.5. Services came in at 54.4. Manufacturing was at 54.6.

Retail sales in Mexico should be going up +2.6% y/y, down from a prior reading of +3.7% y/y.

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