Intermezzo

Intermezzo
It was a predictable snoozefest in FX overnight as global holiday sessions crimped activity. And adding to the void, there was scant data during European hours which severely nipped action as traders had few if any fundamental guideposts.

But the markets interlude included the usual holiday- liquidity induced mystery move as the dollar went bid at the NY open. But the step was humble and little more than an attempt to trigger some stops in low liquidity market conditions. But all near-term support levels held and the move and quickly retracted as there was no news to support the quickstep sell-off. Chalk it up to the ghosts of presidents past.

Currency markets have remained relatively muted with few if any headlines to sink one’s teeth into but as the markets pivot to Fed speak and the FOMC minutes this week, “deficit mania” is sounding a few decibels lower this morning.But none the less, ongoing concerns about swelling deficit’s and the Feds sequence of interest rate normalisation should be the markets key focus this week and the primary drivers of near-term volatility.
Oil Markets

Oil prices have started the week on a positive note.With risk aversion abating, equity markets have remained guardedly positive. Also, an escalation of middle east tensions on the back of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu beating the war drums by suggesting that Isreal could act against Iran alone has nudged prices higher. Predictably this warmongering has put the region on a state of readiness fearing a head to head incident and boosted oil prices due to the fear of sizable supply disruptions. Of course, when Isreal comes into the equation it could spark contagion across a region

Also, convincing signals from OPEC and their partners to extend production cuts continues to resonate with investors.

Gold Markets

Gold prices slid lower overnight on a drop in volatility and a slightly stronger dollar. Selling pressure emerged after USD speculative buyers emerged along with some position short covering ahead of the plethora of critical Fed speak and of course the FOMC minutes. But given the late-January Fed meeting was primarily interpreted as Hawkish; the bar is high for the minutes to sound an even more Hawkish note,  but they will still attract the lions share of attention.

Given that the sun seldom shines on a capital hill along with escalating middle east tension, on the first sign of a dollar downdraft gold with ratchet higher.

G-10

The Japanese Yen

Markets are focusing on Friday’s crucial Japan CPI print, and with all the recent chatter about the BoJ extending YCC in perpetuity given the stronger Yen, short-term traders are paring back bearish dollar bets. And with a relative sense of calm in overall volatility,  dollar bears are taking an interlude in holiday thinned-trading conditions

The Euro

Very little buying interest yesterday after Friday’s sell-off so given the lack of demand the Euro could fall to low 1.23  on even minor unexpected hic-up on news flow given thin liquidity conditions. But dips should look attractive for long-term players.

The Malaysian Ringgit

Very quiet trading session to start the week with local trader biding time until the FOMC minutes release. In the meantime, the broader USD sentiment will dictate the pace of play for regional currencies and imparticular the USDJPY which is moving towards 107 which is mildly negative for the MYR

On a favourable note, Oil prices remain robust on the escalation of middle east tension and production cut compliance among OPEC members which should provide support for the MYR.

Gold Trading Sideways in Thin Holiday Trade

Gold prices are trading sideways in the Monday session. Currently, the spot price for an ounce of gold is 1347.25, down 0.02% on the day. There are no US releases on Monday, as bank and stock markets are closed for Presidents Day.

Volatility in the stock markets last week translated into gains for safe-haven assets such as gold. The base metal gained 2.3%, as nervous investors lost their appetite for risk. On Friday, gold lost ground but managed to briefly push above $1360, for the first time since late January. US fundamentals have been generally strong, pointing to a robust US economy. This has raised speculation of a quicker pace of rate hikes from the Fed, but gold has managed to hold its own against the US dollar, largely due to the recent stock market correction.

The US posted sharp housing and consumer confidence reports on Friday, but the dollar failed to make headway against the surging Japanese yen. Building Permits jumped to 1.40 million in January, up from 1.30 million in December. This easily beat the estimate of 1.29 million. Housing Starts followed suit and improved to 1.33 million in January, up from 1.19 million a month earlier. This was well above the forecast of 1.28 million. There was more positive news from consumer confidence, as UoM Consumer Confidence climbed to 99.9, well above the estimate of 95.4 points.

 

XAU/USD Fundamentals

Monday (February 19)

  • There are no US events

*All release times are EST

*Key events are in bold

XAU/USD for Monday, February 19, 2018

XAU/USD February 19 at 12:50 EST

Open: 1347.53 High: 1351.46 Low: 1345.82 Close: 1347.15

XAU/USD Technical

S3 S2 S1 R1 R2 R3
1285 1307 1337 1375 1416 1433
  • XAU/USD posted small gains in the Asian session but retracted. The pair was flat in European trade and this continues in North American trade
  • 1337 is supporting support
  • 1375 is the next resistance line
  • Current range: 1337 to 1375

Further levels in both directions:

  • Below: 1337, 1307, 1285 and 1260
  • Above: 1375, 1416 and 1433

OANDA’s Open Positions Ratio

On the Monday session, XAU/USD ratio is showing short positions with a majority (57%). This is indicative of trader bias towards XAU/USD breaking out and moving lower.

This article is for general information purposes only. It is not investment advice or a solution to buy or sell securities. Opinions are the authors; not necessarily that of OANDA Corporation or any of its affiliates, subsidiaries, officers or directors. Leveraged trading is high risk and not suitable for all. You could lose all of your deposited funds.

GBP/USD – Pound Dips at Start of Week

The British pound is trading quietly in the Monday session. In North American trade, GBP/USD is trading at 1.4002, down 0.21% on the day. On the release front, there are no US events, with US markets closed for Presidents’ Day. In the UK, Rightmove HPI gained 0.8%, its strongest gain in four months. On Tuesday, the UK releases CBI Industrial Order Expectations.

GBP/USD gained 1.3% last week, as the dollar continued to lose ground to its major rivals. However, the dollar rebounded with gains on Friday, following strong US housing and consumer confidence reports on Friday. Building Permits jumped to 1.40 million in January, up from 1.30 million in December. This easily beat the estimate of 1.29 million. Housing Starts followed suit and improved to 1.33 million in January, up from 1.19 million a month earlier. This was well above the forecast of 1.28 million. There was more positive news from consumer confidence, as UoM Consumer Confidence climbed to 99.9, well above the estimate of 95.4 points. Despite stock market volatility, consumer confidence was boosted by the recent tax reform package and a red-hot labor market.

Should cryptocurrencies be regulated? Bitcoin has seen wild fluctuations in recent months, ranging from under $1000 to just under $20,000. There are growing calls for these currencies to be regulated, and central banks could play a key role in such a move. However, last week, ECB President Mario Draghi poured cold water on any ECB involvement, saying that it was not the ECB’s responsibility to ban or regulate Bitcoin. Draghi added that the ECB was exploring the use of blockchain, a digital technology to monitor bitcoin transactions. Still, with Bitcoin gaining more and more popularity, the Bank of England and other central banks will have to pay greater to attention to the impact of Bitcoin on the currency markets.

GBP/USD Fundamentals

Sunday (February 18)

  • 19:01 British Rightmove HPI. Actual 0.8%

Monday (February 19)

  • 14:45 BOE Governor Carney Speaks

Tuesday (February 20)

  • 6:00 British CBI Industrial Order Expectations

*All release times are GMT

*Key events are in bold

GBP/USD for Monday, February 19, 2018

GBP/USD February 19 at 12:25 EDT

Open: 1.4032 High: 1.4050 Low: 1.3959 Close: 1.4002

GBP/USD Technical

S1 S2 S1 R1 R2 R3
1.3744 1.3809 1.3901 1.4010 1.4128 1.4271

GBP/USD posted gains but then retracted in Asian trade. In the European session, the pair showed limited movement. In North American trade, GBP/USD headed lower but has recovered

  • 1.3901 is providing support
  • 1.4010 was tested earlier in resistance and remains under pressure

Current range: 1.3901 to 1.4010

Further levels in both directions:

  • Below: 1.3901, 1.3809 and 1.3744
  • Above: 1.4010, 1.4128, 1.4271 and 1.4345

OANDA’s Open Positions Ratio

In the Monday session, GBP/USD ratio is showing a majority for short positions (54%). This is indicative of trader bias towards GBP/USD continuing to move lower.

This article is for general information purposes only. It is not investment advice or a solution to buy or sell securities. Opinions are the authors; not necessarily that of OANDA Corporation or any of its affiliates, subsidiaries, officers or directors. Leveraged trading is high risk and not suitable for all. You could lose all of your deposited funds.

USD/JPY – Yen Edges Lower in Thin Holiday Trade

The Japanese yen has posted slight losses in the Monday session. In North American trade, USD/JPY is trading at 106.54, up 0.23% on the day. On the release front, there are no US events, with US markets closed for Presidents’ Day. In Japan, the current account surplus jumped to JPY 0.37 trillion in January, up from JPY 0.09 trillion a month earlier. This easily  beat the estimate of JPY 0.14 trillion. On Tuesday, Japan releases Manufacturing PMI and All Industries Activity.

The US posted sharp housing and consumer confidence reports on Friday, but the dollar failed to make headway against the surging Japanese yen. Building Permits jumped to 1.40 million in January, up from 1.30 million in December. This easily beat the estimate of 1.29 million. Housing Starts followed suit and improved to 1.33 million in January, up from 1.19 million a month earlier. This was well above the forecast of 1.28 million. There was more positive news from consumer confidence, as UoM Consumer Confidence climbed to 99.9, well above the estimate of 95.4 points.

The yen enjoyed a banner week, as the currency climbed 2.5% this week. This marked the strongest weekly gain since July. Nervous investors continued to snap up the safe-haven yen, as stock markets across the globe continued to show volatility, draining risk appetite. On Friday, the dollar dropped below 106 yen for the first time since November. If the markets continue to fluctuate during the week, the yen rally could continue.

Bank of Japan Governor Harohiko Kuroda has been reappointed to another 5-year term, the first time a BoJ governor has received a second term in 60 years. The move is a clear message from the Bank that it is no rush to make any change to the massive stimulus program, a key component of Abenomics. Kuroda has made it a priority to raise inflation, but this has proven a daunting task, as inflation is still below of the BoJ’s inflation target of 2%. In this period of strong volatility in the currency markets, Kuroda’s re-election may have a calming effect on the markets. What’s next for the BoJ? With the yen continuing to rise, policymakers may contemplate further easing in order to curb the yen’s value and protect the export sector, which has improved due to stronger global demand.

 

USD/JPY Fundamentals

Sunday (February 18)

  • 18:50 Japanese Trade Balance. Estimate 0.14T. Actual 0.37T

Monday (February 19)

  • There are no Japanese or US events

Tuesday (February 20)

  • 19:30 Japanese Flash Manufacturing PMI. Estimate 55.2
  • 23:30 Japanese All Industries Activity. Estimate 0.5%

*All release times are EST

*Key events are in bold

USD/JPY for Monday, February 19, 2018

USD/JPY February 19 at 11:20 EST

Open: 106.30 High: 106.73 Low: 106.10 Close: 106.54

 

USD/JPY Technical

S3 S2 S1 R1 R2 R3
103.16 104.32 105.53 106.64 107.29 108.00

USD/JPY ticked higher in the Asian session. The pair was flat in European trade. In North American trade, the pair posted small gains but has retracted.

  • 105.53 is providing support
  • 106.64 was tested earlier in resistance and remains a weak line

Current range: 105.53 to 106.64

Further levels in both directions:

  • Below: 105.53, 104.32 and 103.16
  • Above: 106.64, 107.29, 108.00 and 109.11

OANDA’s Open Positions Ratios

In the Monday session, USD/JPY ratio is showing long positions with a majority (75%). This is indicative of trader bias towards USD/JPY continuing to move higher.

This article is for general information purposes only. It is not investment advice or a solution to buy or sell securities. Opinions are the authors; not necessarily that of OANDA Corporation or any of its affiliates, subsidiaries, officers or directors. Leveraged trading is high risk and not suitable for all. You could lose all of your deposited funds.

USD/CAD – Canadian Dollar Unchanged, No Fundamentals to Start Off Week

The Canadian dollar is almost unchanged in the Monday session, after posting losses on Friday. Currently, USD/CAD is trading at 1.2493, up 0.07% on the day. On the release front, there are no Canadian or US events on the schedule, so traders can expect the pair to have a quiet day. In the US, banks and stock markets are closed for Presidents’ Day.

The Canadian dollar posted losses on Friday, but managed to post slight gains last week. The currency weakened on Friday, after the US posted sharp housing and consumer confidence reports. Building Permits jumped to 1.40 million in January, up from 1.30 million in December. This easily beat the estimate of 1.29 million. Housing Starts followed suit and improved to 1.33 million in January, up from 1.19 million a month earlier. This was well above the forecast of 1.28 million. There was more positive news from consumer confidence, as UoM Consumer Confidence climbed to 99.9, well above the estimate of 95.4 points. This marked a 4-month high. On Wednesday, the Canadian dollar recorded its best one-day performance in 2018, gaining close to 1 percent against the greenback. The US dollar sagged as investors focused on poor retail sales reports in January. Retail Sales was flat at 0.0%, short of the estimate of 0.5%. Core Retail Sales declined 0.3%, well off the forecast of +0.2%.

Should cryptocurrencies be regulated? Bitcoin has seen wild fluctuations in recent months, ranging from under $1000 to just under $20,000. There are growing calls for these currencies to be regulated, and central banks could play a key role in such a move. However, last week, ECB President Mario Draghi poured cold water on any ECB involvement, saying that it was not the ECB’s responsibility to ban or regulate Bitcoin. Draghi added that the ECB was exploring the use of blockchain, a digital technology to monitor bitcoin transactions. Still, with Bitcoin gaining more and more popularity, the Bank of Canada and other central banks will have to pay greater to attention to the impact of Bitcoin on the currency markets.

USD/CAD Fundamentals

  • There are no US or Canadian indicators

USD/CAD for Monday, February 19, 2018

USD/CAD, February 19 at 8:05 EST

Open: 1.2555 High: 1.2566 Low: 1.2527 Close: 1.2563

USD/CAD Technical

S3 S2 S1 R1 R2 R3
1.2190 1.2351 1.2494 1.2630 1.2757 1.2855

USD/CAD ticked lower in the Asian session but has recovered in European trade

  • 1.2494 is providing support
  • 1.2561 is the next resistance line
  • Current range: 1.2494 to 1.2630

Further levels in both directions:

  • Below: 1.2494, 1.2351, 1.2190 and 1.2060
  • Above: 1.2630, 1.2757 and 1.2855

OANDA’s Open Positions Ratio

USD/CAD ratio is showing little movement in the Monday session. Currently, short positions have a slender majority (52%), indicative of slight trader bias towards USD/CAD breaking out and moving lower.

This article is for general information purposes only. It is not investment advice or a solution to buy or sell securities. Opinions are the authors; not necessarily that of OANDA Corporation or any of its affiliates, subsidiaries, officers or directors. Leveraged trading is high risk and not suitable for all. You could lose all of your deposited funds.

Don’t go barking up the wrong tree in the Year of the Dog

Don’t go barking up the wrong tree in the Year of the Dog

A predictable wave of profit taking and risk reduction, as is standard form ahead of US long weekends, dominated Friday session leading to USD gains as US  yields pulled back. And while the broader  US dollar negativity continues to seep through capital markets, some traders are suggesting of potential shifts in conviction levels while others believe  Friday to be little more than pre-weekend risk reduction. But one thing that’s clear, even the most prolific purveyors of price action are baffled regarding the breakdown of historical correlations across most asset classes.

One telling feature, however, is long-term investors continue to shun the greenback and this should continue to weigh on near-term sentiment. So no don’t  go barking up the wrong tree in this Year of the Dog, stick to the basics and follow the flow.

By way of the ordinary course of developments, the various market holiday observances might challenge liquidity conditions. Golden Week celebrations continue across Asia through Wednesday, while both the US and Canada take holidays Monday. Still, it could be an actionable week with numerous Fed speakers on tap and the FOMC minutes are sure to liven things up. Keep in mind; March rate hike is all but entirely priced-in so the markets will be keying on forwarding guidance.

As the markets pivot to Fed speak and the FOMC minutes this week, “deficit mania” is sounding a few decibels lower this morning.But none the less, ongoing concerns about swelling deficit’s and the Feds sequence of interest rate normalisation should be the markets key focus this week and the primary drivers of near-term volatility.

And while US Bond yields eased on Friday,  traders see icebergs ahead suggesting Friday’s price action was little more than a reprieve amidst a bear market.

Equity Markets

Equity markets continue climbing the wall of worry despite inflationary fears gaining momentum and Bond Yields moving higher.Eventually, something has to give, but so far investors are betting on corporate earning rather than the shifting macro narratives.

Oil markets 

Oil prices finished modestly higher on Friday to chalk up a weekly gain as prices continue to see-saw between the binary descriptions from OPEC’s ongoing efforts to blow out the worldwide glut against the indications of rising U.S. production.Although Fridays price movements were likely  position sensitive amid USD risk reduction and book squaring ahead of tomorrows Oil contract expiration

We should expect the WTI whipsaw to continue as debate rages between US shale and OPEC, but we’re starting to carve out near-term ranges as longer-term oil bulls remain in dip buying mode with shale oil hedger looking to sell upticks.
Gold Markets

Gold prices eased late Friday as the dollar tentatively lifted off the canvas, despite taking a standing eight count earlier in the session when the DXY hit a three year low. A couple of hours USD short covering is unlikely to change the broader USD negativity, but when coupled with inflationary concerns heightening and a probable follow-up correction in equities markets around the corner, golds haven demand should continue to glitter.

On the physical side of demand, China Lunar New Year has seen few gold bars change hands despite physical premiums easing as futures prices continue to grind higher.

G-10 Currency Markets

Japanese Yen

Although the reappointment of Kuroda and the reshuffle of deputy governors is slightly more dovish BoJ, it is hard to reverse USDJPY downside given that continuous USD weakness could further drag USDJPY into the abyss. With the tables turned upside down on ten year US yield to JPY correlation and the US ” deficit mania. ” likely to return, USDJPY is in a precarious position.

Predictably we heard from Japan as Currency Chief Asakawa that he’s readying the necessary action to prevent “one-sided” currency moves, but with the Buck getting pounded against all major currencies, Japans verbal intentions are falling on deaf ears.
The Euro

The pace of the EURUSD rally post-CPI last week surprised everyone but none the less if not for timely comments( seems always to happen when EUR rallies) from ECB Cœuré, we should have closed closer to the 1.2500 rather than 1.2400 handles. His remarks spooked the markets in pre-weekend risk reduction mode after he suggested policymakers are unanimous in sequence when market positioning was suggesting the Hawks were gaining the upper hand. But at some juncture, the market will ignore this verbal balderdash, and in reality, 1.3000 shouldn’t be unimaginable before long predicated on strong fundamentals, the realisation of more hawkish ECB guidance but also the mechanics of the taper could reverse bond outflows.

Asia FX

Malaysian Ringgit 

External drivers and specifically the broader USD moves will dictate the Ringgit momentum this week with the critical focus on USDJPY 106 level.But on the positive side of the equation, one of the primary headwinds that we considered to be a negative for the Ringgit was higher US yields which typically and historically have supported the USD. But the US interest rate to FX correlation broken, and despite USD bond yields pushing much higher t, the USD continues to sell off.

The markets are still feeling the hangover effect from the Chinese Lunar New Year, and risk appetite is waning and with a plethora of Fed speak along with the FOMC minutes likely to cause an uptick in volatility this week, offshore demand could remain muted. None the less, 106 level USDJPY will be a crucial US dollar sentiment gauge, and if the market pushes through again this week, we could see the Ringgit move to 3.87 and below as traders would then set sights on the critical 3.85 level.

Singapore Dollar

The US CPI fallout was somewhat unusual; triggering moves out of the dollar and into riskier currencies, so the SGD benefited as the CNH rallied hard this week.But  CNH could start to underperform. Let me qualify this next comment as no one, and I mean no one knows what the Pboc are going to do. So we can only make hay from innuendo and strategically placed criticisms from regulators in HK  press. But there seems to be a  pickup in debate onshore about the merits of further RMB appreciation which could dent SGD appeal. But in the mean times, we should enjoy the SGD strength ( not because I get paid in SGD, although that is always a welcome bonus). But there is some real value appeal that has emerged in SGD  ahead of this weeks budget, as a rosier outlook in the statement could be the precursor to monetary tightening.But also appealing to foreign investors is the government will take measures to cover the current operating fiscal deficit gap.

Dollar Regains Ground Ahead of Fed Minutes

Higher US inflation fails to spark dollar revival

The US dollar depreciated across the board versus major pairs despite consumer prices rising more than expected. Inflation anxiety had triggered a sell-off in global stock markets with the Fed expected to ramp up their interest rate hike path yet the dollar did not benefit as higher rates have already been priced in by the market. Fiscal uncertainty driven by political factors continue to confound investors with stock indices rebounding this week and the dollar hitting a 2014 low. The paradox in consumer spending and retail sales continues as Americans remain confident in the economic outlook yet core retail sales remain flat and taking into consideration auto sales they actually dropped by 0.5 percent. The dollar showed some signs of life on Friday as it gained against a basket of major pairs, but not enough to offset the losses earlier in the week.

  • Fed to release minutes of January meeting
  • Kuroda renominated as Governor of Bank of Japan (BOJ)
  • Lower trading activity with start of Chinese New Year celebrations and 3 day weekend in NA

Dollar Recovers on Friday But Still Underwater this Week



The EUR/USD gained 1.62 percent in the last five days. The single currency is trading at 1.2448 with the EUR recovering against the earlier losses versus the USD suffered earlier in the month. US inflation rose more than expected and US treasuries dropped in prices as investors sold them anticipating higher rates this year. Bond yields rose with the 10 year at four year highs (2.93 percent). The correlation between higher yields and a stronger currency is broken at the moment for the USD as the confidence in the stability of the US economy is up for debate. Fundamentals are strong and would point to a higher dollar, but political uncertainty around fiscal stimulus has made it hard to quantify the effects of actual and proposed legislation on the currency. The U.S. Federal Reserve will publish the minutes from its January Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meeting on Wednesday, February 21 at 2:00 pm EST. The meeting was the last presided by Chair Janet Yellen and is not expected to bring any surprises, but could prepare the market on what to expect in March when Chair Jerome Powell heads his first FOMC.

The USD went through a topsy-turvy week, with Wednesday’s release of consumer price index data providing the most volatility. The market forecasts were slightly improved with a 0.3 percent monthly gain. The employment report in February 2 was the first data point that suggested a stronger inflationary pressure. Stock markets had already suffered two difficult weeks and the dollar rose as the inflation data was released only to quickly give back all gains and end up in the red.

President’s day in the US will give some investors a much needed rest from a high octane trading week. The Lunar New Year celebrations will also affect trading volumes as Hong Kong and China markets will remain closed until Thursday. Stock markets had a positive week after stronger corporate results erased earlier losses.



The USD/JPY lost 2.38 percent during the week. The currency pair is trading at 106.19 as the JPY keeps gaining. The government issued a statement where it was clear there is no need for intervention and the market took it as a sign to keep buying the yen. The tone changed slightly on Friday as the currency kept appreciating and there were some warning that the trade is one sided. The softness of the USD and uncertainty about how the American government will deal with growing twin deficits and political drama has boosted the JPY due to some safe haven flows.

The reappointment of BOJ Governor Haruhiko Kuroda along with other nominations of economist who favour further easing did not factor into Yen pricing in the short term, but should impact the growing gap between rates in Japan and the United States. In the short term, lack of stability in politics and fiscal uncertainty are overriding higher growth and interest rate expectations in the US.



Oil prices advanced during the week. The price of West Texas Intermediate is trading at $61.21 with most of the gains in energy coming from dollar softness. Oil prices suffered losses earlier in the month as higher production in Canada, Brazil and the United States is anticipated given the high prices and producers in those nations not bound to the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) production cut agreement. Lack of traction of the US currency is keeping prices above $60.

A small rise in oil rigs in Baker Hughes was not enough to derail energy prices specially with an underlying weak US dollar. The OPEC agreement with other major producers has stabilized oil prices after the freewill caused by overproduction. The question remains if demand for energy has recovered to the point that even after the agreement timeline runs out supply will not once again outweigh demand causing another drop in prices.

Market events to watch this week:

Monday, February 19
7:30pm AUD Monetary Policy Meeting Minutes
Wednesday, February 21
4:30am GBP Average Earnings Index 3m/y
9:15am GBP Inflation Report Hearings
2:00pm USD FOMC Meeting Minutes
Thursday, February 22
4:30am GBP Second Estimate GDP q/q
8:30am CAD Core Retail Sales m/m
11:00am USD Crude Oil Inventories
4:45pm NZD Retail Sales q/q
Friday, February 23
8:30am CAD CPI m/m

*All times EST
For a complete list of scheduled events in the forex market visit the MarketPulse Economic Calendar

US Indices on Course For Full House

Futures Point to Full Week of Gains After Sharp Correction

US equity markets could end the week with a full house of gains as long as indices manage to hold onto the small gains being seen in futures ahead of the open.

This would also bring an end to two shocking weeks for equity markets that saw more than 10% quickly wiped off indices, the first time we’ve seen such a move since the start of 2016. While the prospect of higher yields and interest rates, combined with a surge in volatility, have been blamed for the decline, the rebound we’re now seeing reaffirms the belief that fundamentals are still strong which should prevent the situation deteriorating further.

There are a few economic releases that traders will likely be aware of as the week draws to a close. The UoM consumer sentiment reading is always an interesting release, given the importance of the consumer to the US economy. Building permits and housing starts will also be released ahead of the open on Friday. The bulk of companies may have already reporting numbers for the fourth quarter but there are still some more to come today, with 13 due to release earnings including Coca Cola and Kraft Heinz.

US Bond Auction TIPS the dollar

Sterling Resilient After Poor Retail Sales Figures

UK retail sales data for January was once again disappointing, providing further evidence that the post-Brexit squeeze on consumers is heaving an economic impact. While this could be partially reversed as sterling continues to rebound off its lows and wage growth picks up to offset higher living costs – assuming it does – we’re seeing few signs that the squeeze is easing and that’s being reflected in the spending figures.

The pound has actually been quite resilient to the data in the aftermath of the release. While it has since declined against the dollar, this has primarily been driven by the bounce in the greenback. The consumer squeeze and economic implications of it are already known and priced in, traders are far more concerned with wages and inflation and the impact this will have on interest rates, which makes the jobs report next Wednesday far more important.

GBPUSD Daily Chart

OANDA fxTrade Advanced Charting Platform

Bitcoin Struggling to Overcome Psychological Barrier

Bitcoin is once again threatening the psychological $10,000 barrier but as was the case on Thursday, it’s struggling to maintain its push above and once again finds itself falling slightly short. While a break above $10,000 should be no more significant than any other, it would appear to represent an end to the plunge in bitcoin that saw it fall around 70% from its mid-December highs and for this reason, it’s proving a difficult hurdle to overcome.

Bitcoin (CME) Daily Chart

Source – Thomson Reuters Eikon

Those expecting a similar response to breaking above $10,000 that we saw last time – a near 100% increase in less than three weeks – may also be disappointed. We’re not seeing the kind of euphoria that accompanied the break at the end of November when the speculative fomo trade was contributing greatly to its meteoric rise. The crash of the last couple of months has made this less of a one-way move and those that got burned may not be so keen to jump back in.

DAX Gains Ground as Dollar Under Pressure

All of this is assuming that bitcoin will break above $10,000 which is far from certain when you consider the gradual – by its own standard – bounce from its lows. This could quite easily be another corrective move and the lows may be tested once again. The absence of a constant negative news flow is helping but whether this can be sustained is debatable.

Economic Calendar

For a look at all of today’s economic events, check out our economic calendar.