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Marketmind: Fragile Friday as big tech finally falters

2023-07-21 05:57
By Jamie McGeever A look at the day ahead in Asian markets from Jamie McGeever, financial markets columnist.
Marketmind: Fragile Friday as big tech finally falters

By Jamie McGeever

A look at the day ahead in Asian markets from Jamie McGeever, financial markets columnist.

The bigger they are, the harder they fall.

The old maxim wasn't originally a reference to stock prices, but it's a pretty apt summary of Wall Street's moves on Thursday that will likely set a bearish tone at the open for Asian markets on Friday.

After rallying almost 40% since the turn of the year, the Nasdaq posted its biggest one-day loss since March, dragged down 2.05% by steep post-earnings plunges in 'mega tech' stocks Tesla (-10%) and Netflix (-8.5%).

Before Thursday's second quarter results, Tesla and Netflix had posted year-to-date gains of around 140% and 60%, respectively, lifting a closely-watched index of mega tech shares up by 85%. That 'NYSE FANG+TM' index slumped 4.6% on Thursday, its biggest fall this year.

Safe to say, there was plenty froth to be taken out of this corner of the market.

Other more defensive parts of the market, however, are powering on. The Dow Jones Industrials chalked up its ninth consecutive gain, lifted by a 6% post-earnings surge in Johnson & Johnson shares, its biggest rise in more than three years.

Big increases in the dollar and U.S. Treasury yields on Thursday following the latest U.S. jobless claims figures - maybe a little over-cooked relative to the move in weekly claims - could also add to the broadly bearish tone in Asia.

The regional data focus on Friday will be the latest consumer inflation figures from Japan.

Core consumer inflation likely re-accelerated in June to a 3.3% annual rate from 3.2% the previous month, staying above the central bank's 2% target for the 15th straight month.

The data will be a key factor in the Bank of Japan's July 27 to 28 policy meeting. BOJ Governor Kazuo Ueda continues to insist the bank is some way from sustainably and stably achieving its 2% inflation target, signaling his resolve to maintain ultra-loose monetary policy for the time being.

Many private sector economists reckon the BOJ should be moving faster to tweak its yield control policy, but so far they have been disappointed. Could an above-consensus inflation print on Friday move the dial for the BOJ?

Japan's government on Thursday forecast inflation sharply exceeding the central bank's 2% target this year. In its mid-year review, the government expects overall consumer inflation to hit 2.6% for the fiscal year that began in April, up sharply from 1.7% projected in January. Inflation last year was 3.2%.

Here are key developments that could provide more direction to markets on Friday:

- Japan inflation (June)

- South Korea producer price inflation (June)

- U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen visits Vietnam

(By Jamie McGeever; Editing by Josie Kao)