Nov 20, 2018, by Lorcan Roche Kelly
The selloff in technology stocks that pushed the NYSE FANG+ Index into a bear market during yesterday’s U.S. session is showing little sign of easing. Shares in Apple Inc. look set to follow suit when they open for trading today, falling a further 1.5 percent in the pre-market. More broadly, the MSCI Asia Pacific Index slipped 0.3 percent, while Europe’s Stoxx 600 Index was down 0.6 percent at 5:45 a.m. Eastern Time. S&P 500 futures pointed to another drop at the open, the 10-year Treasury yield was at 3.046 percent and gold was down.
If investors are suffering from the drop in tech shares, then they should count themselves lucky if they’re not exposed to cryptocurrencies today. Bitcoin was trading at $4,418.11 by 5:45 a.m., with every other major digital coin tracked by Bloomberg down at least 6 percent, adding to yesterday’s already substantial losses. The selloff coincides with a “hard fork” in Bitcoin Cash, the fourth-largest cryptocurrency. Authorities in the U.S. who launched a probe into the prospect that last year’s huge rally was fueled by manipulation have focused their investigation on whether Tether has been used to illegally move Bitcoin prices, according to people familiar with the matter.
Bank of England Governor Mark Carney said that sterling volatility is here to stay as long as uncertainty remains over the U.K.’s relationship with the European Union. He also repeated his view that a disorderly Brexit would see Britain suffer a supply shock, in an address to parliament. On the Brexit negotiation front, Prime Minister Theresa May’s position seems safe for now, while the EU’s other 27 member states are starting to voice some discontent with the exit agreement due to be signed off by the end of this week.
Goldman likes cash
Goldman Sachs Group Inc. suggests that investors should dial back on risk. They say that while equities have had a great run, it is time to increase cash holdings and move to more defensive stocks. The bank forecasts a modest single-digit return for the S&P 500 next year. Investors now seem to be pinning their hopes on a resolution of the trade war for a turnaround in equities.
At 8:30 a.m., U.S. housing starts and building permits data for October is released, with the homebuilder sector looking for a boost as sentiment continues to fall. In earnings today, it’s all about the retailers, with Lowe’s Cos Inc., Target Corp., Best Buy Co Inc. and Kohl’s Corp. among those reporting.