Asia Slumps, ECB Stands Pat, US Equities Rebound On Strong Earnings

US Futures point to a higher open on strong earnings reports. No surprises from the European Central Bank. Asian markets continued the big sell-off.
Thomas Hughes
Wall st

Asia Falls Hard, Led By Tech

Asian indices fell hard in Thursday trading following a massive rout in the US. The Japanese Nikkei led with a loss of 3.72% and outpaced most other major indices in the region. The Nikkei created a large price gap at the open and fell from there, creating a large red candle and setting a new 9-month low. The is bearish and gaining momentum although price action is now approaching a key support level near 21,000.

The Australian ASX posted the second largest decline during the Asian session with a loss near 2.80%. The ASX was led by tech, but bloodshed was not limited to one sector. The energy, financial, and mining sectors all saw substantial losses with shares of Rio Tinto and BHP falling roughly 3.0%. Chinese indices were not immune to the selloff but fared much better than either the Nikkei or ASX. The Hong Kong Heng Seng led Chinese markets with a loss of -1.0%, the mainland Shang Hai index posted a gain of 0.02%.

The ECB Holds Rates Unchanged

In Europe attention was focused on earnings and the ECB. The ECB held their October policy meeting over the past two days and released their statement this morning. The bank decided to hold rates unchanged which was expected; the bank also maintained its outlook for tightening. The ECB says they are on track, barring unexpected data, to end their bond purchase program in December and to begin policy tightening mid to late 2019.

EU markets were mostly flat and mixed at midday. The UK FTSE was the only index to hug the flatline, trading in a tight range over and under 0.00%, while the DAX and CAC were both able to post gains. The CAC led advancing markets with a gain near 1.0% followed by a distant 0.35% for the DAX. Markets in the region were buoyed by earnings more than anything else. Automakers were strong performers as their results reveal dominance over US car makers like Ford (F) who reported sales decline for the region.

US Futures Point To Rebound, Earnings In Focus

In the US futures trading indicated a strong open. The Dow Jones Industrial Average, S&P 500, and NASDAQ Composite were all indicated to post a gain of near 1% led by tech. The NASDAQ was indicated to open with a gain near 1.5% as strong earnings from Microsoft (MSFT), VISA (V), and Tesla (TSLA) all blew past expectations for revenue and earnings growth.

Regarding earnings and earnings season; today is the single busiest day of the season with 66 S&P 500 companies reporting. Reports from Amazon, Google, Intel, Pricesmart, Mattel, and Chipotle Mexican Grill are all due after the bell. Based on reports so far there is a high likelihood this batch will produce better than expected results with a few outlying misses. What will matter to traders is the impact of tariffs and trade war on earnings and how they will affect the outlook for earnings growth over the next five quarters.

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