Tech stocks on Nasdaq and NYSE are being pummelled as momentum behind the Fed’s unwinding policy continues. Tony Nash, CEO, Complete Intelligence, discusses.
This podcast first appeared and originally published at https://www.bfm.my/podcast/morning-run/market-watch/tech-crumbles-as-spigots-close on January 20, 2022.
KHC: BFM 89.9 20th of January 2022, 7:06 in the morning with me Khoo Hsu Chuang with Philip See. Now let’s look at how global markets closed yesterday.
PS: Oh, it was terrible. I think that was a lot of downward pressure in the US. Down S&P500 were down 1%, Nasdaq was down one 2%. Asian markets were relatively mixed. The Nikkei was down two 8%. Hung Seng up marginally zero 6%, Shanghai Composite down zero 3%, STI up zero 1%, and back home, FBM KLCI down zero 8%.
KHC: And to discuss what’s happening in global markets, we now welcome Tony Nash, the chief executive of Complete Intelligence. Tony, Nasdaq down 8.3% year to date. It’s been a bit of a bloodbath. How concerned should equity investors be at this point in time, especially those that are heavily into tech companies?
TN: Yeah, if they’re heavily invested in tech companies, they should be very concerned when interest rates rise. It’s a signal that there should be rotation out of technology. And that’s clearly what’s going on. So if we look at Apple, for example, Apple was down over 2% today. They’ve had a really hard time recovering the kind of $180 share peak they hit in early December. So people have known for a month and a half now. Well, definitely over a month that there’s been a rotation out of tech. So we expect headwind for several months until we get a clear indication of the path that the Fed’s going to undertake and how steeply they’re going to raise rates and start to tighten their balance sheet.
PS: Do you think the markets are priced in all the hikes planned?
TN: I think markets are trying to figure out what rates they’re going to do. I mean, there’s gossip right now that they’re going to raise 50 basis points in March, which would be probably an overshoot. But that’s part of the reason you’re seeing such volatility in equities right now is people aren’t really sure. And it’s a debate. It’s an ongoing debate. So where do you put your money? Well, you look at commodities, you look at commodity companies, energy companies, more traditional say manufacturing, not durable goods. People really stocked up on durable goods over the last two years, but other types of manufacturing companies could be interesting.
KHC: And Tony, we’ll talk about oil in just a second. But where do you think the funds are flowing? I know it’s a liquid activity, but where are the funds flowing away from tech into?
TN: Well, if you look at Walmart, there’s some very reliable, say, retail names that they’re going into. If you look at some of the resource plays, like Goldfields was up almost 13% today, volley was up 4.5%. So some of these commodity plays are really intercepting those games.
KHC: That’s right. And of course, talking about commodities, oil is on a tail 13% higher for Brent at $88. West Texas is up 15% to $87. What are the key drivers behind this upper trajectory beyond obviously this market driven flows, Tony?
TN: Yeah. I mean, part of it is the rotation in the market. There are some supply constraints that have been talked about and kind of been undertaken over the past week with some activities in Iraq between Iraq and Turkey, Libya. And there are some political risks, of course, Kazakhstan, Ukraine and other places. But our view is that oil is really kind of topped out for this run. There’s potentially a little more upside, but we don’t necessarily expect oil to take a run at, say $100 right now. We expect a little bit of a pullback certainly later in the year. We expect much higher crude prices.
PS: Do you think this will have any short term impact on the travel industry then and Airlines particularly?
TN: Yes, of course, it depends on what happens with jet fuel and the magnitude of the rise with jet fuel. But Gosh Airlines are contending with enough problems already as it is. So I think for them it’s just kind of another headwind to kind of throw in their pocket.
KHC: And Tony moving into China, and of course, they are pursuing a zero covet policy. They’ve locked down key shipping ports like Nimbo. Obviously, global supply chain problems have been exacerbated by that. So what measures can countries outside China do, for example, nausea, to alleviate these issues in the short, long term?
PS: I think that’s a technology issue.
TN: Sorry, guys. No, that’s my technology issue.
We’ve had these Covid issues for about two years now, and I think the real problem there is policy uncertainty, and some of these policies are becoming quite dangerous. They were very understandable early in the pandemic. But as we’ve started to recognize the issues, these things really need to be tightened down. So, for example, I think the best thing or we think the best thing countries outside of China could do is accept COVID as endemic and convince China that it’s now endemic. Why is that important? Well, we’ve really been in a bunker mentality, and we can’t really stay in that for another two, five or ten years. So if we look over the past day or so, the UK and Denmark have both announced normalization over the next week, and that’s ending things like work from home, ending vaccine requirements and passports, that sort of thing. The impact will be social, it will be economic, and of course, there will be political benefits. So the only reason these politicians are moving in that direction is because they’re getting such political pressure to unwind the requirements that they’re finally doing it because China is the center of global supply chains.
There has to be political pressure for China to normalize because supply chain constraints are affecting every country. And so this is something that really needs to happen. Now if China will not normalize, if they continue to close factories and ports, then companies just need to move their supply chains closer to their consumption countries. And I say just it’s a very complicated activity, but they’ve certainly had two years to start preparing to move those things. So they should accelerate those plans.
PS: And, you know, Tony keeping on the theme of unwinding and going back to normal, I guess many would say increasing interest rates would be kind of normalizing. But I wonder what their applications will be for countries like Brazil, Egypt, Argentina, South Africa and Turkey Who are potentially vulnerable to rising US rates. What’s your assessment on that?
TN: Yeah, it’s going to be hard for them. These are countries with weak and volatile currencies. Turkish Leira, Brazil riyal in Asia, I work particularly about the Tai Baht and the Rupia and Indonesia, I think they’re both vulnerable to rate hikes. I think part of what we’re witnessing is a transition from government led, say, planning. And for the last two years we’ve all looked to government for leadership on this stuff. And I think we’re starting to see a transition toward private sector leadership, at least in developed countries, at least in the west, those private sector companies will feel that currency volatility in their operations in countries like Indonesia, Thailand, Turkey and so on and so forth. So it’s not going to be painless for those governments, for the people in those countries or for the companies that operate there.
KHC: Tony, delightful to have you on again. Thank you so much for your time. That was Tony Nash, chief executive of Complete Intelligence. I don’t know if you’re an investor this year. I mean, what do you do? We’re just literally 20 days into the new year and it’s been tumultuous, right?
PS: It’s choppy waters. I mean, look at year to date, right? All down. I think S&P, Dow Jones, Nasdaq, Nasdaq down 8% year to date.
KHC: Yes, but then my dad a humongous last eleven years, right? So they’ve seen the market capital explode. A bit of correction isn’t bad for the soul sometimes, but you just wonder Where’s the end inside, right?
PS: Correct. I mean, the debate is I think earnings expect to be robust, but the issue is your evaluations.