3 things ASX investors should watch this week

A male investor sits at his desk looking at his laptop screen with his hand to his chin pondering whether to buy Origin sharesA male investor sits at his desk looking at his laptop screen with his hand to his chin pondering whether to buy Origin shares

Another huge week awaits ASX shares.

These are the three biggest events to monitor, according to eToro market analyst Josh Gilbert:

1. Reserve Bank cash rate decision

Unsurprisingly, the 2:30pm Tuesday decision will have the biggest direct impact on sentiment for ASX shares.

Will the central bank raise interest rates again to fight inflation or hold it steady to help struggling Australians?

It’s a close call, with 55% of economists in a survey last week predicting a rise, while the other 45% tip a hold.

According to Gilbert, last week’s updated annual inflation of 7% didn’t really give a strong push for either side. 

“This reading offered no real surprises from what the RBA already knew after pausing in April, scaling back expectations for another rate hike this week,” he said.

“However, another increase can’t be ruled out, with inflation still way above the RBA’s target rate of 2% to 3%.”

The market is expecting a hold, so a hike on Tuesday afternoon could cause ripples.

“The central bank put rates on hold [in April] to give itself some time to breathe while assessing the state of the economy after its huge tightening cycle,” he said.

“Given that this data didn’t throw up any shocks, the market would be surprised by a hike this week.”

2. US Federal Reserve rate decision

There is also a rate decision pending in the US, which often has a big bearing on Australian shares.

Gilbert is forecasting America will see one last “insurance hike”. 

“US inflation is still the most important number in markets right now, driving the Fed and recession risks,” he said.

“Although headline inflation fell in March to 5%, the worry was that core inflation jumped to 5.6%, which is why the market is now expecting a 75% chance of another hike this week.”

In the US, unemployment is still low, consumer confidence actually increased last month, and the Nasdaq Composite (NASDAQ: .IXIC) is up more than 17% year to date.

But as a counter to that, the issues with the banking industry over there have tightened liquidity and slowed economic growth.

“Despite expectations for another rate hike, the market is still pricing in at least two rate cuts this year despite Jerome Powell saying there would be none,” said Gilbert.

“Rate cuts would spell good news for risk assets, particularly for tech and crypto, in the second half of the year.”

3. Apple results

The world’s biggest company by market capitalisation, Apple Inc (NASDAQ: AAPL), reports its latest numbers this week.

Last week’s positive reception to the performance of other tech giants has set the bar high.

“Apple investors’ expectations are high, with little to no room for error from the tech behemoth,” Gilbert said.

“The worry heading into the report is whether the global slowdown in computing device spending will dampen demand for its Mac computer, which accounts for 10% of Apple’s revenue.”

The big metric will be iPhone sales, which is Apple’s “primary revenue driver”. 

“Sales may be boosted by the re-opening of China, a large market for Apple as well as easing supply chain disruptions.”

With cost-cutting the theme of the moment throughout the tech industry, Apple will be expected to address its own plans.

“Given the current environment, I’d also expect to hear from Apple’s management on fine-tuning operating expenses for the full year to help margins, with its forecast for the next quarter likely to be scrutinised by the street.”

Gilbert reminded investors that already Apple’s revenue is expected to fall 4.8% and earnings by 6%.

“Apple investors aren’t accustomed to being disappointed on earnings, but they were let down last quarter, so a strong result and a beat will be needed in order to underpin Apple’s 30% [share price] gain in 2023.”

The post 3 things ASX investors should watch this week appeared first on The Motley Fool Australia.

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Motley Fool contributor Tony Yoo has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool Australia’s parent company Motley Fool Holdings Inc. has positions in and has recommended Apple. The Motley Fool Australia has recommended Apple. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Scott Phillips.

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