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WSJ: 美股9月面临五大威胁​Five Threats to Stocks in September


2011年 09月 06日 12:36
Five Threats to Stocks in September

After the Dow Jones Industrial Average's ugliest August in a decade, everyone from retail investors to heads of Wall Street trading desks are buckling up for September, historically the worst month of the year for stocks.

So far, the news isn't good: Stocks are off to the worst start to September since 1974. And Monday's stock action in Asia and Europe kicked off the week with losses.

Investors don't have to look far for potential potholes that could make for bumpy trading. The Federal Reserve is scheduled to hold what could be one of its most important meetings in recent years, burdened by market expectations that the bank will do something to aid the stalling U.S. economy.

President Barack Obama will join the fray with a key speech on jobs and deficit reduction on Thursday. As Europeans return from August vacations, politicians and policy makers have scheduled key votes and meetings to address the status of bailouts and long-running concerns about economic growth.

And companies will again bear the weight of investors' expectations as they prepare to report third-quarter earnings.

Here is a quick primer on what could be loosely dubbed the Fall Five─the key focus areas for investors this month.

Economy
With news Friday that the U.S. failed to generate any jobs on a net basis during August, the outlook for growth in the world's largest economy remains highly uncertain.

One particularly disappointing wrinkle in Friday's report was the wages numbers, which showed that average hourly wages shrank 0.1% during the month.

Growth in pay is a crucial support for U.S. consumers, whose activity accounts for roughly 70% of U.S. economic activity. Consumer activity has so far held up surprisingly well, but some argue that numbers to be released in September will show a slowing. Most data released so far doesn't reflect the disruptive debate over the U.S. debt ceiling, or the market volatility that followed Standard & Poor's downgrade of the U.S.'s credit rating.

Early readings on economic activity in September, coming in the form of reports on regional manufacturing, will also be important. The Philadelphia Federal Reserve's regional manufacturing survey, which plunged in August into territory usually seen only in recessions, is due to be released Sept. 15.

On the other hand, some August data─on auto sales, for example─do suggest consumers are still standing strong.

'The consumer definitely held in there in July,' said Tom Porcelli, chief U.S. economist at RBC Capital Markets, in New York. 'The consumer seems to be holding in there in August. This was the month where there was a question mark.'

Earnings
Quarter after quarter, companies' earnings have powered the stock market's 70% advance from its March 2009 lows. The formula for success: Cut costs, keep payrolls lean and boost sales overseas.

Expectations that earnings will keep rising has underpinned the bullish argument that stocks are cheap.

But earnings may be losing their steam. Analysts have begun to ratchet down their forecasts for third-quarter earnings of the companies in the Standard & Poor's 500-stock index, a significant move considering that analysts had long stuck with their upbeat calls despite a string of poor economic data.

Toward the end of the month, companies themselves will likely give indications of how they see the quarter ending. That, too, could be a speed bump for investors.


Analysts now expect companies in the S&P 500 to earn an average $24.94 a share in the third quarter, down from $25.31 in mid-July, according to Capital IQ.

'That's a pretty significant drop,' says Christine Short, senior manager of valuation and risk strategies at Standard & Poor's. Credit Suisse equity strategist Douglas Cliggott says companies' earnings are likely to fall next year as revenue growth slows.

Federal Reserve
With the economy showing increasing signs that it could slide into recession, many investors are counting on Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke to ride to the rescue. Already, the Fed has expanded its late September meeting to two days from one, 'to allow a fuller discussion' of the options.

Market participants have pleasant memories of the last big action the central bank undertook: the $600 billion round of Treasury bond purchases that began last November. The Fed's August 2010 hints about that program, and the buying itself, drove the Dow up 14% by year-end. Crude oil rose 22% and copper 31%.

But there are big hurdles facing any repeat rally. For starters, the Fed may not announce any moves, a decision that would likely be met with huge disappointment by stock and bond investors. Even if the Fed does act, any Fed policy move likely won't have the firepower of last time.

Credit Suisse interest-rate strategists suggest that the Fed may just shift the kinds of Treasury bonds it buys as others mature, a strategy known in market lingo as 'Operation Twist.' That may push up prices of longer-term U.S. debt, reducing long-term rates, but likely won't juice the stock and commodity markets.

'The more things get tried, the more you begin to question whether they're going further and further down their bag of tricks and getting to things that are less able to produce the desired results,' said Steven Ricchiuto, U.S. economist with Mizuho Securities USA Inc.

Europe
A raft of key dates loom in September as vacationing European policy makers return to work, and attention refocuses on Greece. On Wednesday, a German court is scheduled to rule on the legality of the first Greek bailout and a regular meeting of the European Central Bank will be held the next day.

A series of votes on a second bailout for Greece are also scheduled in national legislatures. France has scheduled a special Parliamentary session for Tuesday; Germany says its Parliament will vote by Sept. 29. Uncertainties such as Finland's recent insistence on collateral in exchange for contributing to the bailout still threaten to derail the deal.

In addition, J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. expects a multi-notch downgrade of Italian government debt by the middle of September, the bank has said. Such a development could further rattle markets.

'The near-term hurdle for Europe is to ratify the bailout agreement, and there is sufficient skepticism in the market that this will occur,' said Robert Michele, global chief investment officer for J.P. Morgan Asset Management's Global Fixed Income and Currency Group.

Politics

With governments playing a critical role in financial markets, signs in the U.S. that the rancor between the Democrats and Republicans hasn't dissipated could become a key overhang in September.

In Europe, debates between Germany and France and the rest of the region are also provoking worries that Europe is far from reaching any resolution to its crisis.

'Part of this sell-off is attributable to a sense of policy paralysis in the U.S. and Europe, which has driven home the point that there is no cavalry to ride to the rescue,' wrote analysts at J.P. Morgan Chase in a late-August research note.

MATT PHILLIPS / JONATHAN CHENG


 2011年 09月 06日 12:36
美股9月面临五大威胁

 

道琼斯工业股票平均价格指数(Dow Jones Industrial Average)经历10年来最难看的8月份之后,从散户到华尔街交易室负责人,大家都在为9月份做好防备。9月份历来都是全年股市表现最差的一个月。

目前为止没有好消息:股市迎来1974年迄今最坏的9月份开局,周一亚洲和欧洲股市又以下跌开始了本周的行情。投资者不必费力就能找到有可能导致震荡行情的因素。美联储(Federal Reserve)按计划即将召开的会议,可能是近年来最重要的会议之一。市场对将美联储寄予厚望,希望它采取一定措施来扶助停滞不前的美国经济。

总统奥巴马(Barack Obama)也将加入争吵。他要在周四发表一篇主旨演讲,讨论就业和削减赤字。在欧洲人度完8月假期之际,政治家和政策制定者已经安排了一些重要的表决和会议,来讨论救援的地位问题,以及长期以来有关经济增长的担忧。

在为发布第三季度财报做准备的时候,公司会再次背负投资者期望的重担。

以下概述投资者本月需要重点关注的几个领域,可以不严谨地称为“秋季五项”(Fall Five)。

 

经济

上周五消息说,美国8月份没有净增任何就业岗位。在这种情况下,世界最大经济体的增长前景仍然极不明朗。

上周五报告中的工资数据尤其让人失望。它显示,8月份平均小时工资下降了0.1%。

消费者活动约占美国经济活动的70%,而工资增长是其关键支撑。目前为止消费活动是出人意料地稳住了,但一些人认为9月份公布的数据将显示消费活动放慢。迄今公布的多数数据都没有反映美国债务上限争论带来的破坏,也没有反映标准普尔(Standard & Poor's)下调美国信用评级后的市场震荡。

体现于地区制造业报告的9月份经济活动初步数据也会很重要。费城联邦储备银行地区制造业调查报告按计划将在9月15日公布。8月份的报告滑落到了通常只有在经济衰退期间才会出现的水平。

从另一方面来看,8月份汽车销售等部分数据确实表明消费依然坚挺。

加拿大皇家银行资本市场公司(RBC Capital Markets)驻纽约首席美国经济学家普塞利(Tom Porcelli)说,7月份消费肯定是坚持住了,8月份好像是坚持住了,这个月就说不准了。

 

盈利

公司盈利曾经一个季度接一个季度地把股市从2009年3月份低点拉高了70%。它们的成功秘诀是削减成本、缩减人手,并加强海外销售。

盈利将继续增长的预期曾为股市估值便宜的看多观点提供支持。

但盈利可能正在失去后劲。分析人士已经开始下调标准普尔500种股票指数(Standard & Poor's 500-stock)成份股公司的第三季度盈利预期。考虑到他们曾不顾众多疲弱经济数据长期坚持乐观预期,这是一个引人注目的举动。

临近月底时,公司本身也有可能给出它们自己对本季度业绩的预测。这也有可能打击投资者情绪。

据财经信息提供商Capital IQ的数据,分析人士目前预计,三季度标普500指数成份股公司平均每股收益将为24.94美元,较7月中旬的25.31美元有所下降。

标普负责估值及风险战略的高级经理肖特(Christine Short)说,这个降幅很大。瑞士信贷(Credit Suisse)股市策略师克里格特(Douglas Cliggott)说,明年公司收益可能会随着收入增长放缓而下滑。

 

美联储

在经济越来越多地显示出可能滑入衰退的情况下,很多投资者开始指望美联储主席贝南克(Ben Bernanke)能够出手相救。美联储已经将9月下旬的会议从一天延长至两天,以便有充足的时间对各项选择进行更全面彻底的讨论。

市场参与者对美联储上次采取的重大措施有着美好的记忆:从去年11月开始的一轮规模6,000亿美元的美国国债收购。美联储在2010年8月对出台这一计划的暗示,以及收购行动本身,都使年底前道指涨了14%。原油价格飙升22%,铜价则大涨31%。

不过,要出现任何再次的大幅上涨都面临巨大的障碍。首先,美联储可能不会宣布更多的举措,这一决定可能令股市和债市投资者大失所望。即使美联储采取了行动,它的任何政策举措都可能难以产生上次那样的威力。

瑞士信贷利率策略师们表示,随着一些美国国债到期,美联储可能只会调整收购的种类,这一战略以市场行话讲就是“扭曲操作”。这可能会推高更长期美国国债的价格,降低长期利率,但可能不会令股市和大宗商品市场上涨。

瑞穗证券(美国)(Mizuho Securities USA Inc.)的美国经济学家雷契特(Steven Ricchiuto)说,尝试的方法越多,你越开始质疑是否越来越接近黔驴技穷,使用的方法是否越来越难以产生理想的结果。

 

欧洲

随着休假中的欧洲决策者们返回工作岗位,9月份将陆续迎来一系列的重要日子,关注点将重新集中到希腊身上。周三,德国一法院将就首轮希腊救助的合法性做出裁决。次日,欧洲央行将召开例会。

就第二轮希腊救助计划的一系列投票也将定于在多国立法机构举行。法国定于周二召开议会特别会议;德国则说议会将于9月29日前举行投票。芬兰最近坚持要求在参与救助的同时获得担保,这类不确定性仍可能令救助计划破裂。

此外,摩根大通(J.P. Morgan Chase & Co.)说,预计将在9月中旬前把意大利国债下调多级。这样的局势发展可能进一步造成市场动荡。

摩根富林明资产管理(J.P. Morgan Asset Management)旗下全球固定收益及汇率集团全球首席投资长米歇尔(Robert Michele)说,欧洲近期面临的障碍是批准救助计划,市场对此存在很大的质疑。

 

 

政治形势

在多国政府在金融市场中发挥重要作用之际,美国民主党和共和党之间显示出尚未尽释前嫌的迹象,这可能成为9月份的一个重要不确定性因素。

在欧洲,德法与其他国家之间的论战也开始引发担忧,人们担心欧洲距离就危机达成任何决议还很远。

摩根大通分析师8月下旬在研究报告中说,抛售部分归因于投资者感觉美国和欧洲政策“瘫痪”,这使人们认识到不会有骑士来相救。

MATT PHILLIPS / JONATHAN CHENG
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