Now that the bull run has started, Tony Nash CEO and Founder of Complete Intelligence joins BFM 89.9 in another global markets discussion. What’s behind this rally and will it be sustained? They also discuss OPEC, the Brent price and its future, Europe’s fiscal stimulus, the ECB, and the resumption of trade war between the U.S. and China.
Listen to the podcast on BFM: The Business Station.
On the back of an emerging bull run in Asia and the U.S., we reach out to Tony Nash, CEO of Complete Intelligence, for his thoughts on whether or not this momentum can be maintained, oil prices, as well as the ECB’s bond purchase programme.
Produced by: Michael Gong
Presented by: Wong Shou Ning, Lyn Mak
BFM: U.S. stocks extended their rally into the eighth straight day as investors clung to optimism for quick recovery from the pandemic. So the Dow Jones closed up 2.1 percent. The S&P 500 closed up 1.8 percent, and NASDAQ was up 0.8 percent. In fact, NASDAQ in the intraday trading did touch an all-time high. It’s as if COVID-19 never happened.
Meanwhile, Asia also had a very good run. Nikkei 225 closed at 1.3 percent. Shanghai was barely up, though. It was flat at 0.1 percent. Hang Seng was up 1.4 percent. Singapore was the big surprise here. We talked about it yesterday. The banking stocks were up and this caused the Straits Times Index to go up by 3.4 percent. Meanwhile, on the FBMKLCI, our market was up 2.1 percent. Also on the back of banking stocks, public bank RHP saw almost a pulping double-digit gains.
Pandemic? What pandemic? Never happened.
So this morning, for more insight into global markets, we have on the line with us Tony Nash, CEO of Complete Intelligence. Thanks very much for joining us this morning, Tony.
Now, equities have recently exhibited strong bullish momentum in both Asia and the U.S.. What’s behind this rally? And is it sustainable?
TN: I think a lot of it is the monetary policy expectations and the stimulus expectations washing through. It’s a lot of hope around activity in the summer, say, for crude prices, driving and consumption. There’s an expectation that there’s been some pent up consumption because of COVID. Some of this is coming back. It’s key to know that the U.S. markets are still 10 percent below where they were pre-COVID, 10 percent or more. So it’s not completely as if things never happened, but it has come back relatively quickly. The S&P, for example, was at around 2300. So we’ve climbed about 700 points in the S&P 500 since the nadir of COVID.
BFM: I always ask our commentators this, and I’m going to ask you also. Why the disconnect between what is happening on Main Street versus what’s happening on Wall Street.
TN: There’s an expectation that most publicly traded companies are going to pack as much bad news into Q2 as possible. And so they’re just throwing the kitchen sink into Q2. So that should mean pretty clear sailing for the rest of the year, assuming that it is 2020 and all. So anything can happen. But assuming that there isn’t another major catastrophe, things should be pretty clear for the rest of the year if every- and anything that could go wrong goes into Q2 data.
BFM: Brent has also erased some of its recent gains and is back below the $40 a barrel mark with the OPEC meeting now in doubt. What do you think oil prices will be heading?
TN: Our view is that things have been pretty range traded. We don’t see things going up to, say, $50 anytime soon. It’s possible. But we’ve expected things to stay pretty range traded until probably August or so.
We’re going to see daily rises and we’re going to see falls. But prices have come back a little bit on some drawdowns we’ve seen in storage and expectations around driving. Although, It’s not a perfect substitution for flying. And those volumes will still be down until we start to see people get back on planes. And until we start to see commuters back on their daily drives, we really don’t expect to see things come back above, say, $50 for Brent.
BFM: Shifting to Europe. The ECB is expected to expand its bond repurchase program this Thursday. So they’ve got a currency 750 billion euros outlay. Is that enough or do you think they need to increase it?
TN: It’s not enough. But I don’t know that Europe really has the financial wherewithal to do much more. They are not a fiscal union. And so they’re really having to contort their mandate to make sure that they can do this. This is really pushing Europe and the ECB and the concept of a quasi-fiscal union under the E.U. is putting real pressure on that.
So the limits of the monetary, not fiscal union are really pressed. And when you look at things like the insolvencies we saw in Greece and Italy and other places in southern Europe over the last 10 years, places like Germany are just tired of fiscal stimulus of other countries in the EU.
BFM: And if you look at the equity markets in Europe, that’s been also the lag out. Do you think there’s any opportunities there or is it a similar situation whereby the corporates there are going to not perform up to par?
TN: No, we don’t think they’ll perform up to par. Until we see countries beyond Germany really lift some of these lockdowns in a big way, it’s going to be really slow going. It’s strange how we’ve seen these protests really go against the lockdown. We may actually see some of these countries rip the Band-Aid off, because if you have tens of thousands or hundreds of thousands of protesters out there, it may be a situation where you can just say, “Well, lockdown’s over,” and you may start to see consumption patterns come back to normal. That would be a good thing for markets. That would be a good thing for companies. But European companies, especially European banks, remain troubled. And I think this crisis has really forced those banks to look in the mirror. And if markets are functioning well, then we’ll start to see some consequences, particularly for European banks.
BFM: Thank you very much for speaking with us this morning, Tony. And that was Tony Nash, CEO of Complete Intelligence.
He made some comments there about Brent crude, which he doesn’t really expect to come above the fifty dollars per barrel mark until perhaps we see planes start flying again. But the Trump administration has just made an announcement to that effect, saying that they are suspending passenger flights to the U.S. by Chinese airlines effective June 16th.
So the U.S. government said in a statement that it was responding to the failure of the Chinese government to allow U.S. carriers to fly to and from China. Now, this hasn’t, of course, been good for the tensions that have already been flaring between the two countries over the handling of COVID-19, as well as the treatment of Hong Kong.
China recently paused some agriculture imports after Trump threatened to limit the policy exemptions that allow America to treat Hong Kong differently than the mainland.
And that was done. The global economy was cheering and it looks like they’ve started fighting again. I think I’m just curious, what else is there to fight over? Because there’s been soybeans, beef, pork imports, corn, and now airlines.
U.S. airlines did see a bit of a share surge amidst the broader market rally and signs that travel demand is starting to rebound. Boeing was up 13 percent at one point after a report from IATA indicated that recovery was underway for global airlines.
So looks like we’re going to be watching that space as well, quite closely.