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Brazilian stocks are off to a hot start this year, with the country's benchmark index rising more than 8 percent in 2019. The jump in Brazilian shares comes as investors cheer the possibility of key reforms being passed by new President Jair Bolsonaro, including changes to the country's pension system. Bolsonaro is "hitting all the right notes the market has been wanting to hear for years," says one strategist. "That's why I think the market reaction has been so positive.
Investors are returning to emerging markets, hoping to find bargains after one of the worst selloffs in years. Flows into developing countries’ stocks and bonds surged in November to $33.9 billion, their highest level since January, data from the Institute of International Finance showed. After years of double-digit returns, emerging markets have been slammed in 2018 by a host of concerns, from a stubbornly strong dollar to a trade conflict between the U.S. and China.
An end to the bull run in global stocks is not far away, according to a Reuters poll which also showed a broad cut to forecasts for next year on concerns over global growth and tightening financial conditions. World stocks tested lows at the end of October during a brutal rout that wiped off trillions of dollars of market value, driven by a U.S.-led trade war and a hawkish Federal Reserve. The recent turbulent sell-off in stocks is more or less over, according to nearly 250 equity strategists polled Nov 13-28.
Because of Brazil's unpredictable nature, Andean Capital CEO Dan Osorio is waiting to see how the president-elect of Latin America's largest economy will lead beginning in January. "As my Brazilian friends and colleagues tell me, Brazil is not for beginners, so predicting is far from easy," says Osorio. Far-right candidate Jair Bolsonaro won with 55 percent of the vote in Brazil's presidential election on Sunday.
The iShares MSCI Brazil ETF (EWZ) — which tracks Brazilian shares — has skyrocketed more than 18 percent this month, while global shares are down 9 percent. Far-right candidate Jair Bolsonaro triumphed over leftist Fernando Haddad in national elections, and investors will be watching to see if the controversial new administration delivers on economic and budgetary promises. Global stocks have taken a beating this month, but one surprising market has bucked the overall negative trend: Brazil .
A poll released Monday by Ibope showed far-right candidate Jair Bolsonaro would tie Fernando Haddad, the left-wing candidate from Brazil's Workers Party, in a likely second-round runoff. Bolsonaro is seen as a more market-friendly candidate than Haddad given his economic platform, says Alberto Ramos, head of Latin American economics at Goldman Sachs.
Emerging-market currencies rounded off a winning month, defying the prospect of further rate hikes by the Federal Reserve, as more developing-nation central banks deployed tighter monetary policies to backstop local markets. Trade tension between China and the U.S. escalated as some $200 billion of Chinese products became subject to U.S. tariffs on Sept. 24, on top of $50 billion of existing levies.
Emerging-market stocks, currencies and bonds were unfazed by an escalation in the U.S.-China trade dispute, rising for a second week as the dollar retreated. The Chinese yuan had its first weekly gain this month as Premier Li Keqiang said the country won’t devalue its currency in order to make its exports more competitive amid trade tension with the U.S.
This was supposed to be Brazil’s breakout year. During the ensuing 12 months, $1.3 billion poured into Latin America’s largest economy through exchange traded funds, making it a top-10 nation among investors. The biggest of them, BlackRock’s MSCI Brazil ETF, suffered its worst outflows since inception in 2000.
Far-right candidate Jair Bolsonaro leads the polls heading into the first round of Brazil's presidential election. Other candidates, meanwhile, are seen as unwilling or unable to move forward with much-needed economic reforms to jumpstart the Brazilian economy. "The market would like to see a market friendly candidate win, but that's more of a dream than reality," says Goldman Sachs' head of Latin America economics.
Forget all the talk about an escalating trade war damaging the U.S. economy or that the coming midterm elections threaten to throw the political system into disarray. In fact, they are loading up on super-safe cash-like instruments as bets on the Federal Reserve raising interest rates two more times before year-end reach a new high. Demand at the U.S. Treasury's bill auctions this week were on the high side, especially for 52-week bills.
Brazilian markets dropped as a poll showed left-wing candidates gaining support while those favored by investors stalled out with less than a month to go until the presidential election. The real and the benchmark stock index were the worst performers among major markets globally Tuesday, erasing all gains posted after last week’s knife attack targeting conservative Jair Bolsonaro spurred speculation his candidacy would get a boost. Candidates on the left, who investors fear would backtrack on efforts to shore up Brazil’s fiscal accounts, were the only ones who gained support at a level that exceeded the margin of error in a Datafolha poll released last night.
Brazilian legendary hedge-fund manager Luis Stuhlberger is taking advantage of election jitters to step up his bet on stocks. The "Brazilian market continues on its frantic search to adjust to election odds on a daily basis," Stuhlberger’s Verde Asset Management SA said in a monthly note to clients. The fund took advantage of the Ibovespa’s 11 percent drop in dollar terms last month to "marginally" increase its position on Brazil stocks.
It’s stacking up to be another roller-coaster week for emerging markets, still reeling from a sell-off that drove stocks into a bear market for the first time since March 2016. Central banks in Turkey and Russia will make key rate decisions, with investors waiting to see how far policy makers will go to defend their weakening currencies. Meantime, the near-fatal stabbing of election front-runner Jair Bolsonaro will remain a focus in Brazil.