Complete Intelligence


Trapped With Upside Capped For US Markets

This podcast is originally published by BFM: The Business Station for their Market Watch show. Here’s the link to the original content:

Can the Federal Reserve engineer a soft landing for the US economy? Are the odds stacked against them especially if consumer spending stops suddenly. Tony Nash, CEO, Complete Intelligence gives us his views.


BFM: The business station BFM 89 Nine is seven. 6th Thursday, the 1 September, and we are in the final quarter of the year. But nonetheless, we don’t need to look so far ahead because in the next half an hour, I’ll be speaking to Hannah Pearson of the travel consultancy Pet Anderson on Asian tourism recovery.

But in the meantime, let’s recap how global markets closed yesterday. So the Dow was down 0.9%, S&P 500 down 0.8%, while the Nasdaq was down 0.6%. Meanwhile, in Asia, Nikkei was down 0.4%, Hang Seng was up very marginally by 0.3%, Shanghai was down 0.8%, Singapore Street Times was up 0.6%, and our very own FBM KLCI was of course close due to the medical holiday.

But for more in terms of where global markets are heading, we have on the line with us Tony Nash, CEO of Complete Intelligence. Good morning, Tony. Now, the S&P 500, in fact, the US markets continue to slide, but the S&P 500 we know, is down by 4.2% on a monthly basis, even though US jobs and consumer numbers released this week were largely positive. So why is this bearish sentiment in the equity markets persisting?

TN: It’s pretty easy. Equity investors weren’t prepared for Powell to have the conviction to fighting inflation that he showed in last week’s speech. So everyone else, bond vestors, commodity investors and so on, understood Powell’s conviction.

But equity investors had expected the Fed to pivot. And by pivot, maybe coming close to loosening and maybe coming close to ending rate rises. But the Fed was never going to pivot. If anything, the pace of rate rises may slow, but the Fed’s ultimate destination is 4%. And they’ve said that for months.

So there really shouldn’t have been any surprise with that. But equity investors just didn’t want to believe it. And so they’re in price discovery, continuing lower now. So once they hit the valuation that will reflect getting to 4%, I think we’ll be back in decent territory. But until then, we’re in a downward price discovery mode.

BFM: Okay, Tony, the other thing that’s going to happen in next few weeks is of course, the Fed going to reduce their $9 trillion balance sheet. What kind of impact do you think this will have on markets?

TN: Well, it’s tighter. So it’s going to be more difficult. So in September, the Fed will double quantitative tightening. So they’ve been tightening at about 47.5 billion dollars per month. They’re going to more than double that to 95 billion in September. So it will definitely add upward pressure on interest rates.

And when there is upward pressure on interest rates, that means the cost of money is higher and the cost of buying a house is higher, and so on and so forth. And with respect to buying a house, the Fed is about $50 billion behind on shrinking their mortgage-backed securities portfolio. So they do have some catching up to do, but they’ve got time on their side. They can do it at whatever pace they want.

BFM: Okay. In the meantime, right, let’s look at the US consumer. Super important in the US. Economy, but at least 60% of GDP. Do you have a sense of what’s happening there? Are they still very confident? Are they still buying, especially discretionary spending? Has it been robust?

TN: I don’t necessarily think. You have a separation. You have luxury buyers who are very confident. But I think your average buyer, I don’t necessarily think there’s a lot of confidence behind their buying. I think they’re just trying to maintain their pace of spending.

So spending continues to grow, but consumer credit has also expanded. Visa, I think, two days ago said that their payments volume grew by 11%. So that’s not the value. I mean, you could say with inflation, of course, the value is going to go up, but they saw their payments volume go up by 11%. Part of that is due to things like back to school here in the US. The school year starts in late August, early September.

But until consumers stop growing their spending, the Fed will keep raising because the Fed, part of what they’ve been trying to do is what’s called demand destruction. And until consumers and businesses stop raising the pace of their spending, the Fed will continue raising interest rates in tightening conditions.

BFM: But doesn’t this then just mean that the US is officially in a recession? Because you’re basically sending out signals to the market that the economy needs to slow down. And if we continue to do so, we’ve already seen two-quarters of it, right, which means it’s a technical recession. How bad will this recession really be? I mean, it will be official at some point.

TN: Yeah, I really honestly don’t care if we’re in a recession or not. If two quarters is the rule of thumb, then we’re in a recession. And we’ve been in a recession since Q1. So it’s really just a matter of labeling.

I think the difficulty is, as you say, what’s the impact on, say, business growth, job growth, spending growth? And we’re seeing that the job market has remained pretty strong, spending growth has remained pretty strong. And the concern is, will that stop? When will that stop? And I think we have seen things slow down, at least in terms of economic growth, but a lot of that has been around government spending as well.

So things will likely become dramatically slower in 2023 if the Republicans take over the US. House of Representatives, which controls the budget. So if Republicans take over the House, they will put a stop on a lot of the spending bills that the Biden administration continues to want to pass, and they’ll be more budget conscious. So government spending may not necessarily decline, but the pace of the rise will stop. And so government spending has been what’s been keeping, say, GDP and other things moving, but that will likely stop if Republicans take over Congress.

BFM: Okay, but what about the Fed, the actions of the Fed? Because so far it seems like markets are looking to them for engineering a soft landing in the US. Do you think they’ll succeed, though, or are we going to look at the politicians for doing so?

TN: It all depends. Well, not all. A lot of it depends on the Fed’s actions this month, in September. So if the Fed slows the pace of rate rises, let’s say to 50 basis points instead of 75, they’re signaling that they’re willing to slow down a bit with the destination remaining 4%.

So if the Fed were to come and say, a 25 basis point rise, then that would be a real signal that, yes, they’re definitely committed to getting to four, but they’re willing to slow down to get us to four by, say, Q1, maybe late Q1 of ’23. And I think that would be a signal to equity investors that the Fed understands and they’re okay if some of these valuations continue to be stretched.

If we see a 25 basis point rise, which I don’t think anybody is really calling for in September, then that would be a real kind of green light from the Fed. I think we’re likely to see 50. 75 is also likely, but I think 50 is slightly more likely. So we’ll likely see 50 and then a few 25s. And that’ll get us to four in, I think, December or January. And at that point, the Fed is just going to reassess and figure out kind of which strategy to pick after that.

BFM: So is it too optimistic to say that maybe we might have a year-end rally for US. Markets? What do you think?

TN: It’s possible. I wouldn’t necessarily count on it. Again, I think the upside is capped for a period because of the uncertainty of the Fed, at least until we have clarity on the September signaling. So if they do raise 75 in September, then that likely means we have a couple of 25 rises in October, November, something like that. But it doesn’t necessarily mean they’re going to stop. All it means is that they’re going to reassess and the beatings will continue effectively.

BFM: What about oil, though? It’s now $89 a barrel for WTI. Why have prices come under pressure so much?

TN: Well, the Saudis came out with a statement last week around the gap between the paper value of oil and the physical market. And they have been talking about cutting their output because of the difference, the broad difference between the physical market and the paper market. And so I think when we see falls like this, it just convicts the Saudis more. Unless there’s political pressure put on them, it just convicts them more to cut their output.

The Saudis, the Emiratis and others have come together and said we’re likely going to slower output. Part of this is also putting pressure on the Iran deal, assuming that there’s more capacity from Iran. So if exports from Iran are normalized, then that could put downside pressure on the price. So the Saudis are just trying to keep the price up.

Within that context, we also have to look at the Strategic Petroleum Reserve releases in the US. So that will end in October unless they slow down the pace of the SPR release, but that effectively cuts off supply to the market. And so when the SPR release ends and if the Saudis cut their output, we could have a spike in crude prices, say in Q4.

That’s kind of what we’re expecting is for crude prices to rise into the end of the year. The US midterm elections will be passed as Saudis will likely cut their output. Other OPEC countries will likely cut their output. And the US SPR release will be done. Unless the Russia-Ukraine war ends, which would put crude in the open market, we do expect to see crude price rises towards the end of the year.

BFM: All right, thank you for your time. That was Tony Nash, CEO of Complete Intelligence, telling us that we can expect Brent crude prices to actually perhaps go up for the last quarter of the year as there are more output cuts despite some of the demand destruction we are seeing because of the global economic slowdown.


FOMC Minutes Hint at 50bps Hike

Markets ended their 5 day winning streak but result season has so far been very positive. So where are markets heading since inflation is still high. Do the FOMC minutes give us any hint? Tony Nash, CEO of Complete Intelligence tells us.

This podcast is originally published at



This is a podcast from BFM 89 Nine. The business station BFM 89.9. It’s seven seven thursday the 18 August. And of course, you’re listening to the Morning Run together with Keith Kam and I’m Wong Shou Ning. Now. In about 30 minutes, we’ll be speaking to our own pie from Mong’s Hill Ventures on the Asian carbon market outlook, or the lack of one. But let’s recap how global markets closed yesterday.


Wasn’t such a good day for Wall Street. It ended a five day winning streak with the Dow down 0.5%. The SNP 500 down 0.7%. Net site was down 1.3%. All these follow the release of retail data and the Fed July meeting minutes earlier today. Asian markets, it was a bit mixed. Nikkei was up 1.2%. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng and Shanghai’s Composite were up 0.5%. Singapore’s STI was up 0.3%. Back home, the FBM KLCI was marginally lower, 0.4% down.


So for where markets are heading, we have on the line with this Tony Nash CEO of Complete intelligence. Good morning, Tony. Now, US stocks did dip last night, but we are still far higher than what we saw in June. Earning season show that four out of five companies are either meeting or beating street expectations. But does that matter? Or is the Fed still dictating market direction.


Dynamics first is we’re in the last weeks of thinly traded summer equities in the States and Europe. And so you are seeing movement on not a lot of volume. So that’s one thing we really need to consider. The other is, yes, companies have reported fairly well, but the Fed really is what people are thinking about. And the Fed, if you want to know what’s in the Fed’s mind, they’ve really been looking at the University of Michigan survey quite a lot lately, which is kind of a mainstream economic item, but it’s a little bit obscure. But there’s some conflicting data there.

So if you look at the Michigan survey, they survey current financial condition of consumers and it’s as bad now as it was in, say, 2009. So the current financial condition for consumers is not great. And then when you look at inflation uncertainty, which is also what consumers look at or the University of Michigan looks at, is very high. It’s the highest it’s been since the 1980s. So the Fed is looking at those gauges and if you looked at the Fed notes that came out today, they were a little bit dovish.

They were leaning dovish, I’ll say I won’t say they were dovish, but they were leaning more dovish than people thought. So I think traders are looking more to the Fed their September meeting, what their intentions are, rather than any specific earnings call, although Walmart was a good call, and we’ll talk about that in a second, but there are some earnings that are coming through that are helping some portions of markets.


So, Tony, are you expecting a 75 basis point hike or maybe a 50 basis point hike because swaps now are indicating or at least increasing odds of that half point hike next month.


I’m leaning towards a half point hike because we are seeing things slow down. I don’t necessarily think we’re going to be in a recession that’s at the depth that people are fearing. But consumers are laden down with worries, businesses are cutting staff and so on and so forth. So I think the Fed is likely going to slow down the rate of rise of rates,.


Meanwhile, all prices have come under pressure in last few days. Is it more due to demand destruction or increasing supply coming on stream and what sort of impact do you see going forward at least in the short term?


It’s both actually. There has been demand destruction and people have slowed down some of their purchases because of demand destruction. But the SPR release in the US has really provided supply that has curbed some prices. And so if you look at year on year, US. Imports of crude are down 1.7 million barrels per day and US exports are up 1.5 million barrels per day. So that’s a gap of 3.2 million barrels a day that has been added to the market. So we’ll likely see crude trade in a range or the price will be capped until that SPR release stops, which is the end of October, which is coincidentally just before midterm elections here in the US.


Okay Tony, let’s go back to the conversation early. So it was kind of mentioned which is consumer. So consumer stocks like Walmart and Home Depot reported better than expected profits. But on the flip side, Target numbers weren’t so positive. So help us make sense of this. I mean where is the consumer, US consumer? How do they feel? How are they doing?


Yeah, I think a big part of that is expectations. So Walmart’s Q2 earnings, or the ones they came out with three months ago, they were really negative. They had overbought. They had overbought because of supply chain issues and a lot of other issues. Walmart has since laid off a bunch of headquarters staff, really cleaned up their supply chain issues. And so their report yesterday or two days ago was fantastic. Target’s report yesterday on a relative basis was pretty terrible because Target didn’t prepare markets as negatively three months ago. So markets were still relatively optimistic on Target. And then this morning it opened, I don’t know, 6% down or something and it recovered a lot of that loss but markets were relatively negative.

What’s interesting to note on retailers is this: retailers are pushing price hikes across to consumers. So you’ll see say a 10% rise in revenues or something on quarter for example, but only a 1% rise in volumes. So what that translates to is retailers are passing along price hikes to consumers. So for those retailers who have the power to pass along price hikes, they will do well. Those who can’t pass along price hikes, they will have a really hard time.


And then the tech heavy Nasdaq has jumped 23% from June’s lows, perhaps driven by cheaper valuations and optimism that growth is back in fashion with inflation in check. Are you like the street, which believes the story except for Intel, which is still underwater?


Well, I wish growth was back in vogue. I mean, we can look at everything from, say, VC to Meta to see that there’s still a lot of skepticism around growth in tech and chip firms like, say, Micron, which are still way down compared to a few months ago. So Meta, as I mentioned, Meta is still underwater from June, and it’s trading about half the level it did a year ago. Amazon is up 40% from its June lows, which is huge, but it’s still down from a year ago.

Although things are in a relatively better place than they were a few months ago, they’re still down on year, and that’s really hurting. A number of the tech. Valuations still seem stretched. I think some things really need to play through the economy. And if you look, for example, at ad space with, say, Netflix soon to be offering ad based business model and a number of other kind of ad supply coming on the market, a lot of the tech plays like Meta and Twitter and other guys who are ad based models. They will have headwinds as they try to raise if they try to raise their revenue guidance.


All right, thank you for your time. That was Tony Nash, CEO of Complete Intelligence, warning us that growth may not still be invoked at the moment and that he’s expecting a 50 bps hike at the next FOMC meeting, actually, as opposed to 75 basis points because it looks like the US. Economy is beginning to slow.


Well, the Feds did say that they’re still committed to raising interest rates because, well, let’s face it 8.5%.

In a distance, big, far off distance by talking about us without cisco, which is actually the biggest maker of machines that run the Internet, did have a pretty good set of results for fourth quarter, and it beat street expectations and provided better than expected forecast for the coming year. Earnings were at $83 per share. Net income decreased, however, by 6% to $2.8 billion.

And revenue was at $13.1 billion, which was slightly higher than what analysts had been expecting. Cisco’s numbers generally topped estimates the company is still struggling to grow. The tech world is rapidly shifting to cloud and subscription software and away from buying physical boxes, which is what Cisco is known for. Right now, Cisco stock price is down 24% this year.

Yeah, but if you look at the street, right, I think that’s reflecting why the share price hasn’t done well. It’s somewhat mixed 14 buys, 16 holes, one sell. Consensus target price for the stock, $52.91. Close at 05:00 P.m. In us at 46.66. Now, something that we mentioned just a few seconds ago, it’s Target. Now, they released their second quarter results. Profits fell nearly 90% from a year ago. But I get the sense that the market is all about expectations, right? So if you guide early and you guide well, then the street doesn’t get disappointed. But it doesn’t remove the reality that your set of numbers are actually bad.

Yeah. They still have quite a huge backlog of stock inventory for them. What we are looking at is that there was deep markdowns on unwanted merchandise, which is now what everybody is worried about because eventually it’s going to bite them, right?

Yeah. They’ll have to write it off. 22 buys on this top ten holes, no sales consensus. Target price for target $187.67. It closed at 05:00 PM. At 175. USD $34. But up next, we’ll be speaking to David Thio on DBKL’s new housing renovation rules. Stay tuned for that. BFM 89.9 you have been listening to.


Fed Giving Mixed Signals

This podcast is originally published on BFM: The Business Station, which you can see in this link:

Macroeconomic data and the bond market are signaling that the US economy is heading for a slowdown but yet equity markets remain robust. Tony Nash, CEO of Complete Intelligence explains why whilst giving us his views of Asian equity markets.


BFM: And you’re listening to the Morning Run with Keith Kam and I’m Wong Shou Ning.

Now in about 30 minutes, we’ll be speaking to William Passet from Nikki Asia on Nancy Pelosi’s Asian trip. But let’s recap how global markets closed yesterday. 

Yeah, on Wall Street, the US markets are looking quite green. The Dow ended up 1.3% the S&P500 was up 1.6%, while the Nasdaq was up 2.6% earlier in the day. Asian markets, we are looking at the Nikkei which ended up 0.5%. Hong Kong Hang Seng closed 0.4% higher, but Shanghai’s Composite was down 0.7%. Singapore’s STI was up 0.4%, while back home burn, Malaysia’s FBM KLCI ended 0.3% lower. 

So for more on international markets, we have on the line with this Tony Nash, CEO of Complete Intelligence. Good morning, Tony, always good to speak to you. Now, we’re still in the midst of well, it’s the tail end of earning season, which hasn’t been too bad. And of course, last night there’s an influx of economic data coming out of the US. But can you tell us what actually determines the direction of markets because it’s just been so volatile in the last few days?

TN: Yeah, I think there has been a growing view in the last week or so that the Fed may change direction in September. And I think markets are becoming optimistic that the Fed may ease or at least stay neutral in September instead of raising. At this point, I think that’s a little bit over optimistic, but I think it depends on how economic data, say, inflation particularly come out over the next, say, 40, 45 days. 

BFM: So your view we are far from peak inflation? 

TN: I don’t necessarily think we’re far from peak inflation. I think there are a number of things that could potentially over the next, say, four to six months, actually ease inflation. If for example, the Russia Ukraine war stops, which I think that is a potential over the next six months, those types of things really could help to ease inflation. Something that could hurt inflation is, let’s say, China decides to actually let loose some of this fiscal spending it’s been talking about for so long. If they do, that could really put upward pressure on things like energy and precious metals. So there are some major kind of forces that could swing markets one way or another.

BFM: Another data that came in, Tony, it was July US PMI manufacturing index. And that came in lower than June at 52.8, but it still indicates expansionary activity. What was responsible for this upbeat reading? 

TN: Yeah, it’s above 50, which means things are growing. But I don’t know that I’d necessarily call it upbeat because the economy is decelerating right now. So we saw new orders and employment, both contracting, manufacturing backlogs are growing. 

On the positive side, supplier delivery times are improving. So that tells me that kind of supply chains are improving, which is great. Raw materials inventories are growing, which is great, and prices are rising at a slower rate. 

So inflation, at least PPI, according to this survey, things are slowing down. So I think if this continues to slow that with the services PMI, we could potentially have another quarter of negative GDP growth. So I’m not saying it’s going to happen. I’m saying with this and the services PMI, that raises the prospect of that happening. 

BFM: Can we say that we are actually over blowing fears of an economic downturn? That, I mean, it’s not as bad as some analysts put it. 

TN: Well, it’s definitely slowing. I think the downturn I don’t know that it’s necessarily being overblown. I think those fears are well founded. But if you look at the way, say, consumers and businesses continue to spend, what we don’t have is, let’s say, volume growth, necessarily of markets, but we do have price growth. So if you look at some of the consumer companies, like food manufacturers, consumers have accepted double digit price growth in the most recent quarter. But volumes from manufacturers, from, let’s say, food manufacturers, have grown by kind of 0% to 1%. So their revenues may have grown by double digits, but their volumes have stayed pretty steady.

BFM: Another thing, Tony, is the bond market, right? So we’ve seen the shorter tenor yields rising, but longer, maturity rates decreasing depending on key yield curve, inversion signaling a recession. So we have many indicators of a recession, but yet markets seem to be holding relatively well, especially if you look at it from a year to day basis. Still negative territory, but isn’t so bad. So why the confusing messaging?

TN: Well, I think part of it is the Feds not being clear about what their next actions are. Powell in the Q and A of the most recent meeting said basically, look, there’s a long time between now and September, which is the next Fed meeting, and there’s a lot of data that’s going to come out. So we actually don’t know what our policy is going to be in September. And they stopped forward guidance. So when you stop forward guidance and markets need information to set price expectations for securities, markets are searching for a pricing level. Is it higher or is it lower? They’re always searching for that. So without guidance, it’s really hard for investors to understand where those prices, meaning stock prices or commodity prices or whatever, will be.

BFM: What’s your view in terms of Asian equity markets in the last two, three days? Of course, North Asian markets like the Hong Kong and the Shanghai have seen sharp corrections on the back of Nancy Pelosi’s visit to this region. Do you think actually it’s a buying opportunity? Very well could be.

TN: Again, I think the Chinese government could kind of as a way to frustrate the Biden administration, they could actually launch a massive stimulus program and get money into the economy very quickly. If they did that, it would raise commodity prices and it would really make the Biden administration look bad just before the midterm elections in November. It could be bullish for Chinese securities and North Asian securities. It would also be bullish for commodities. So it wouldn’t surprise me because Chinese government is very smart. It wouldn’t surprise me if they did something like that in order to frustrate the Biden administration and have his party lose both houses of Congress.

BFM: All right, thank you for your time. That was Tony Nash of Complete Intelligence giving us

his views on where markets are. And it’s rather confused because we also aren’t getting much signaling coming from the Federal Reserve, which is the key, I think, if you ask me, the key driver in terms of where markets are hitting.

I think everybody who is questioning whether peak inflation is here, it probably is very close. But is this the end of this normalization of monetary policy? How many more rate hikes are the Fed going to implement before the end of the year? But very quickly, we’re also looking at some results.

First off is Ebay. They reported second quarter revenue that beat street expectations and an upbeat profit outlook, evidence that a new focus on luxury items and collectibles is helping offset slowing sales and customer traffic. It shares rose about 5% in extended trading and back to the sales, it decreased 9% to 2.42 billion. Rigid analysts. On average we’re expecting $2.37 billion not ring gate earnings per share was ninety nine cents per share, beating estimates of Ebay shares rose to a high of $55.4 $55.4 in extended trading after closing at 50 and a half in New York.

Well, there are ten buyers on this name, only 18 homes and two sells. So not a big buy on Wall Street by any measure. Consensus target price for this stock is 53 USD $46. Like he said, it actually closed. This is not after hours trading, but closed at 05:00 p.m.. US. Time it was $50.48. It was up 2.5 cents. Now, another company that reported results is They reported bookings in the second quarter, pun intended, that top street analysts and forecast record revenue in the current period, confirming what we already see a very strong start to what was expected to be a blowout summer travel season.

Anecdotally we can also see that generally people are out traveling a lot more and recorded gross bookings, which represent the total value of all travel services booked.

It came at $34.55 billion. And this beat and endless expectations of 32.8 billion. Total sales nearly double to $4.29 billion, less than analysts’average projection of 4.33 billion.

Not that far off its net income came in at $857,000,000, compared with a loss of $167,000,000 last year. But that was Colbyte. Yeah, I would expect less from them. The street likes the stocks. 23 buys ten holes. One sell consensus target price for the stock.

Am I looking at it correct? $2,524. Last time price $1,966.48. It was up ten point $18.

But Abdic will be speaking to Doctor Jeffrey Williams on Malaysia’s move on MNC tax implementation.

And what does this mean for foreign direct investment?