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Awash with Cash and Jay Powell’s Continuation, Markets Look Up

 In Audio and Podcasts

Tony Nash joins BFM 89.9 and explained where markets are headed in the context of rumors that dovish Fed chief Jerome Powell might stay a second term, even as corporate earnings and cash-rich US tech giants might boost gains with share buybacks. He was also asked whether the US market is bullish right now — and what sectors should investors look at? Also discussed is the EU economy amidst the recent lockdowns.

 

This podcast first appeared and originally published at https://www.bfm.my/podcast/morning-run/market-watch/awash-with-cash-and-jay-powells-continuation-markets-look-up on July 22, 2021.

 

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Show Notes

 

SM: BFM 89.9. You are listening to the Morning Run I’m Shazana Mokhtar together in studio with Wong Shou Ning and Khoo Hsu Chuang as we always do in the early morning, we recap how global markets ended the trading day.

 

WSN: Yes, it was an excellent day in the U.S. The Dow and S&P 500 were up zero point eight percent. Nasdaq was actually up 0.9%. Nikkei 0.6%. Shanghai is up 0.7%. Hong Kong was down 0.1%. Singapore is up 0.3%. And week Abkhasia were down 0.2%.

 

SM: OK, then to get some insight into where global markets are headed, we have on the line with us Tony Nash, CEO of Complete Intelligence. Good morning, Tony. Let’s start with the markets. They seem to be toggling between risk on and risk off. Which direction is it in? Is it a long bull or one that’s plateauing?

 

TN: It really all depends on the Fed. I think we expect to see things continue to rise through Q3. Well, they should continue to rise gradually. Doesn’t mean we won’t see volatility. We do expect to see further fallout. But by the end of the quarter, we expect things to continue to march higher, even through the volatility and some of the uncertainty. The Fed meeting in August in Jackson Hole really should give us a bit of clarity around what some of their future plans are. But beyond that, we do expect the Fed to be pretty calm and markets to proceed accordingly.

 

KHC: There’s some news, of course, unconfirmed at this point in time that Jerome Powell might seek a second term. What might that mean for markets and investors, given that he’s more of a dove than a hawk?

 

TN: I think it’s continuity, I think the White House has talked about other people to take that role, but I think keeping Powell right now is actually important for continuity because a really tricky situation. So I actually think I’m not a huge Powell fan, I’m not a huge detractor, but I actually think it would probably be a good idea to keep him in order to to reassure the markets with continuity.

 

WSN: Meanwhile, its results season. So far so good, except maybe for financials and Netflix. But we already see some strategists upgrading the S&P 500 year end targets. Do you think they’re a little bit too premature?

 

TN: No, I don’t think so. I think we’ll continue to march higher. We’ll have a few scares before the end of the year. But I think we will continue to march higher. The thing that I think is will be a little bit worrying for people toward the end of the year will be, you know, will the risk of keeping things in be enough? You know, will you get enough reward for keeping your money in the market?

 

Because I think things will get riskier the further way we go along in the year. All of this is assuming there isn’t more Covid aid and Fed stimulus and all this other stuff like increased rate of stimulus. But assuming everything is the same as it is now, we’ll hit toward the end of the kind of benefits of that stimulus toward the end of the year, at least the perceived benefits. And I think people really start to wonder whether the reward is there for them to to keep their money in the markets.

 

WSN: But, Tony, if I ask you to look into your crystal ball, what sectors do you think might surprise on the upside then?

 

TN: I think we’ll start to see things like travel and tourism do well. There are mumblings of efforts in the US that certain people want to close down parts of the economy. Again, we’ve seen California start to take some steps in that direction. But I just don’t think that anybody here wants things closed down again. Texas has said today that he will not reinstate a massive mandate in Texas.So Americans really want to get out. They want to travel. They want to see other parts of the country in the world. So I think we’ll see some things in tourism and travel do really well.

 

KHC: What you’ve just mentioned obviously reflects the economic fundamentals and a reflection in terms of those sectors. But JP Morgan, I think a couple of days ago talked about the S&P hitting 40, 600 points, is about 200 of the plus points from here on, and not because of the economy returning, but because of the share buybacks. What do you think about that particular development?

 

TN: Look, companies have a lot of spare cash and and how are they going to get EPS growth if they don’t buy back shares? The economy is awash with cash right now. If you’re the CFO for a publicly traded company and you have a lot of cash on the side, you really have to do that calculation to understand how is it going to hit your share price if you do buybacks. I think that’s definitely a part of the equation, at least of the end of the year, if not in the second half of ’22.

 

KHC: So names wise, who pop out obviously Berkshire with over 200 billion and Apple a notable cash hoarder’s, what are the names pop out to you.

 

TN: I can’t think of any right now to be honest, but I think it’s just a matter of looking at balance sheets and looking at who has that cash and then also, doing some research on the CFO and the board and look at their previous behavior. Some companies want to sit on cash or they want to say invest it. Others want to do share buybacks are typically technology companies do a lot of share buyback services. Companies do a lot of share buybacks. So I think those are the sectors that you would want to be looking at, banking, services, technology, those sorts of things.

 

SM: All right, Tony, let’s squeeze in one more question. Looking across the pond to Europe in 2020. Europe’s economy struggled with the pandemic. What’s your outlook on the E.U. this year, particularly in terms of an export led recovery?

 

TN: You’re getting a lot of pushback among EU citizens around lockdown’s, especially with the current variant that’s going through. And there’s a lot of discussion about the efficacy of the virus. And, you know, all this a lot of public health debate. But the problem of Europe has is well, on its on the plus side, China will likely keep the CNY strong into 2022, so that should help European exports. But when you look on the down side, Chinese PMI and consumer spending really haven’t been aggressive in recent months and we don’t really expect that to come roaring back in the next six months or 12 months.

 

So China is going to have some real pressure. Europe is going to have some real problems with goosing exports into China. I think the U.S. is fine and number two, export market for Europe. But I think there are some difficulties between the U.S. and Europe right now. And it may not necessarily outside of maybe automotive, it may not necessarily be a roaring market for Europe. So I think they have some serious headwinds and I think they’re going to struggle.

 

SM: All right, Dan, thank you so much, Tony. That was Tony Nash of complete intelligence, giving us his outlook for European exports and not looking particularly rosy at this point.

 

WSN: Yeah, but still very bullish on the U.S. markets. Right. He does suggest that S&P 500 might inches we up, but the risk of what may be the easy money has been made. So it’s not going to see some stellar jumps. But he likes tourism and travel. He thinks that Americans don’t stay home anymore.

 

KHC: No brainer. I mean, people have been stuck at home for 15 months, right? They want to go traveling.

 

WSN: But I don’t know if your infection cases rise. I mean, will you curb your own behavior? You might write especially I think in America, Delta is now 80, 80 percent of all the infections.

 

KHC: Don’t forget, America is the land of the free and the brave, the brave.

 

WSN: I like that word.

 

KHC: be the first of the Marcellus. And then, you know, Bob’s your Uncle Gene. I mean.

 

WSN: OK, well, we’ll watch this space, but I think its results season.

 

SM: That’s right. We’ve got a few results on our docket to look at this morning. Let’s start with Coca Cola’s. Coca Cola reported a second quarter revenue that surpassed twenty nineteen levels, prompting the company to hike its full year outlook. So Coke reported a net income of two point six billion dollars. That’s up forty six percent on year. Of course, there was a low base last year. Net sales rose forty two percent to ten point one dollars billion, topping expectations of nine point thirty two billion dollars.

 

WSN: Well, the. Good news is that the company said that the away from home channels, so like restaurants and movie theaters were actually rebounding in some markets like China and Nigeria. However, India and Southeast Asia were the only areas that did not see any sequential volume acceleration on a two year basis this quarter. Surprise, surprise, because I think India, particularly by covid-19 in Southeast Asia, was still in some form of lockdown, especially Malaysia. But all is doing segments reported double digit volume growth for the quarter.

 

Sparkling soft drinks units, including, of course, its namesake soda did particularly well.

 

KHC: I saw net sales rise by 42 percent. That is incredible. You know, this is a 245 billion dollar company, right, for net sales in one quarter. The rise with 40 percent. You know, I think lest we forget, a lot of people, they don’t care about diabetes. You know, they don’t care about high blood pressure.

 

WSN: No, but I think that’s why Coke is venturing into other drinks. So you do see high drinks. They do like growing five percent and even coffees significantly.

 

KHC: So there’s a developed market bias, which is obviously to grow more healthy. And there’s an emerging market base which is aspirational. Coca-Cola is aspirational. You cannot I mean, for people who have grown up on Cichon and warm water, right. They want to have Coke.

 

WSN: By the way, for those who are wondering what says is Chinese to eat.

 

KHC: Yeah, the chips drink you can find in a coffee shop.

 

I should know I’m from Penang.

 

WSN: But the street clearly loves it, right? I mean, when I’m looking at Bloomberg, the consensus price target is sixty U.S. dollars and twenty six cents. Current share price is fifty six dollars and fifty five cents. Still nineteen buys nine holes five times current earnings.

 

SM: Well when you think about it, this is probably super cash generative. So not surprising. It’s perfect. Right.

 

WSN: All right. I’m looking at another company that has its earnings out. Johnson and Johnson reported earnings and revenue that beat Wall Street’s expectations. Revenue rose up twenty seven percent to two point three billion U.S. dollars, beating the twenty two point two billion expectations.

 

Well, this is the pharmaceutical industry business, right? They developed the single shot covid-19 vaccine generating twelve point six billion in revenue, a seventeen percent year on year increase. Global sales just this quarter, 164 million. And I think that’s just just the beginnings of it, right?

 

KHC: Yeah. I mean, I recall a few weeks ago Pfizer talked about how they’ve seen they expect billions and billions of decades of billions of dollars in top line. And Pfizer’s it’s a very long tail. Pharmaceutical sales.

 

SM: There we go, 719 in the morning. Up next, we’re going to bring to you the major headlines in today’s papers and portals. Stay tuned. BFM eighty nine point nine.

 

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