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5 Things to Watch Next Week: Byzantium, Bitcoin Stretched, Gold’s Strength, The Next Fed Chair, Kirkuk and Crude Oil

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1.            Ethereum’s Byzantium Upgrade is Here

In only a few hours time the second largest blockchain network will go through one of its biggest upgrades yet, when the block 4,370,000 is hit sometime around 6:00 UTC on Monday. The large Byzantium upgrade, the first part of Metropolis, seems to be in for a smooth start, but the coin is headed into the much-awaited event with mixed price action. The digital currency first hit a 5-week high above $340 on Saturday, thanks to the positive prospects of the fork, but it pulled back today to trade back below the crucial $330 support/resistance line.

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Should the hard-fork upgrade go as planned, the price of the token might follow the path of Bitcoin after the Bitcoin Cash fork, and approach all-time highs in the coming weeks. In any case, volatility should increase significantly tomorrow, so short-term traders should be controlling position sizes even more than usual.

ETH, Daily Chart Analysis

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2.           Bitcoin Overbought but Will that Matter?

The most valuable coin had a great run, gaining almost 100% since the latest deep correction. The digital currency was the definite leader of the segment, storming past the historic $5000 price level and the previous all-time high, while altcoins lagged behind. With Ethererum and Litecoin gathering strength and Monero also showing signs of activity, another round of “rotation” might be happening in crypto world.

Low correlations are the hallmarks of bull markets, and a healthy correction in BTC would be a welcome development for bulls. That said, with the great fundamental background the coin might be in for another mind-blowing surge, so keeping some chips on the table is a good idea, without forgetting the rising correction risk, of course.

BTC, 4-Hour Chart Analysis

3.           Gold Defying Gravity

The precious metal is after an orderly correction that followed the much-awaited beak-out above the long-standing resistance at $1300. Gold spiked below the $1275 level before turning north again, and with the short-term environment for the metal being mixed at best, its performance is encouraging for bulls.

As we expect the headwinds to change in the coming months, gold might be ready to take the next step in the developing bullish trend and even reach the zone between $1375 and $1400 in a matter of weeks.  With equities still looking stretched a risk-off turn in financial markets could supply the fuel for such a move.

Gold, 4-Hour Chart Analysis

4.           Yellen or Somebody New Will Lead the Fed?

The first (?) term of Janet Yellen is ending soon, and the speculation regarding the Fed Chair is getting heated. The stakes are high, and the POTUS, as usual, has been very vague about his nomination plans. For now, Mrs. Yellen’s chances for a second term are slim, but she might turn out to be the safe bet for the sensitive position. Kevin Warsh has been the favorite for quite a while, but the hawkish candidate has lost ground to Jerome Powell lately after Trump met all the major contenders for the post.

We all know that Yellen is uber-dove when it comes to monetary policy, and both of the major candidates (Warsh is a prior while Powell is a current Fed governor) would likely be stricter with regards to interest rates and balance sheet decisions. That said, Warsh is considered to be the more hawkish of the two, and the Dollar and Treasury yields would likely rally on his nomination, with an even stornger reaction to the newly emerged name of John Taylor.

The timing of the decision is a bit shaky, as the President indicated mid-October, but even a few more weeks could pass before the real thing, so investors should be on alert for volatility spikes in bonds and currencies in the coming period.

The prediction market of the next Fed Chair as of October 15, Predictit.org

5.           The Kurdish-Iraqi Standoff Reaching the Next Phase?

Following the somewhat tricky Kurdish independence vote, which was most likely a slight bluff from the Pesmerga leadership, the Iraqi army started to assemble forces near the strategic city of Kirkuk. The territory is known for one of the largest oil reserves of the world, and as such it’s not a surprise that Iraq wants to control it, although they miserably failed against ISIS to do so. With only a few kilometers between the opposing forces, a conflict is not out of the question, although there is still chance for a peaceful solution.

The outcome could be vital for the future of the autonomous region, as Iran and Turkey are also against an independent state, and with the threat of ISIS declining the US might also back away from the Kurds. Oil could pop higher in the case of an escalation, but with the fundamental picture being mixed at best, we wouldn’t bet on a structural change in the energy market.

Key Economic Releases Next Week

Day Country Release Expected Previous
Monday CHINA CPI 1.6% 1.8%
Monday CHINA PPI 6.3% 6.3%
Monday US Empire Manufacturing Index 20.3 24.4
Tuesday AUSTRALIA RBA Meeting Minutes
Tuesday UK CPI 3.0% 2.9%
Tuesday GERMANY ZEW Sentiment 20.3 17.0
Tuesday EUROZONE Final CPI 1.5% 1.5%
Tuesday US Capacity Utilization Rate 0.4% 0.2%
Tuesday US Industrial Production 76.2% 76.1%
Wednesday EUROZONE Mario Draghi Speaks
Wednesday UK Average Earnings 2.1% 2.1%
Wednesday UK Claimant Count 3,200 -2,800
Wednesday UK Unemployment Rate 4.3% 4.3%
Wednesday CANADA Manufacturing Sales -2.6%
Wednesday US Building Permits 1.25 mill 1.27 mill
Wednesday US Housing Starts 1.18 mill 1.18 mill
Wednesday US Crude Oil Inventories -2.7 bill
Thursday AUSTRALIA Employment Change 15,200 54,200
Thursday AUSTRALIA Unemployment Rate 5.6% 5.6%
Thursday CHINA GDP 6.8% 6.9%
Thursday CHINA Industrial Production 6.4% 6.0%
Thursday UK Retail Sales -0.1% 1.0%
Thursday US Unemployment Claims 245,000 243,000
Thursday US Phill Fed Index 22.2 23.8
Friday CANADA CPI 0.1%
Friday CANADA Core Retail Sales 0.2%
Friday US Existing Home Sales 5.32 mill 5.35 mill

Featured image from Shutterstock

Important: Never invest (trade with) money you can't afford to comfortably lose. Always do your own research and due diligence before placing a trade. Read our Terms & Conditions here. Trade recommendations and analysis are written by our analysts which might have different opinions. Read my 6 Golden Steps to Financial Freedom here. Best regards, Jonas Borchgrevink.

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4.5 stars on average, based on 231 rated postsTrader and financial analyst, with 10 years of experience in the field. An expert in technical analysis and risk management, but also an avid practitioner of value investment and passive strategies, with a passion towards anything that is connected to the market.




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Trade Recommendation: Verizon Communications

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verizon

As U.S. markets are moving lower, Verizon is one of the few stocks that are expected to move higher irrespective of the broader markets’ next move.

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Technical Overview

  • After breaking from a double bottom pattern in 2010 (lows – violet trendline; breakout above pattern’s interim high – first blue arrow), the stock has climbed higher, finding support at a long-term trendline (green trendline and arrows).
  • Since 2013, the stock has stalled in the $53.70 – $55 range on multiple occasions (resistance range – red horizontal trendlines; retests – red arrows).

Figure 1. VZ Weekly Chart

  • Zooming in, the stock broke above a 2-month resistance (orange horizontal trendlines in Figure 2) on the heels of reporting strong Q1 earnings.
  • Since mid-March, a short-term support has carried prices higher (purple trendline).

Figure 2. VZ Daily Chart

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Implications

  • Filling the up-gap will give a bullish K-Divergence signal. While, on average, almost 85% of gaps get filled within 2 months of occurring, the stock’s strong price action during a broad market sell-off is constructive and this particular gap may remain open in the foreseeable future.
  • The stock is expected to find support within the $47.50 – $49 area if today’s up-gap is filled.
  • Nearest major resistance is at $53.70 (lower boundary of long-term resistance range – lower red trendline).

Outlook

  • Bullish as long as the stock remains above the purple trendline.

 Trade Recommendation

  • Buy half a position at current levels ($49.67 at the close on April 24). Buy another half if the up-gap gets filled and the stock remains above the short-term support (purple trendline, currently at $47.35, rising by roughly 17 cents/week).
  • Target: $53.70
  • Stop: A close below the short-term support (purple trendline).

 Benefits of Recommended Trade

  • A favourable risk-reward profile (roughly 1 : 2). Even more favourable if the up-gap gets filled and the average entry price is lower (due to averaging down).
  • An upward-sloping support used as a stop, resulting in an improving risk-reward profile of the trade as time goes by.

Disclosure: No position but may initiate a long stock/call position at any time.

Featured image courtesy of Shutterstock.

Important: Never invest (trade with) money you can't afford to comfortably lose. Always do your own research and due diligence before placing a trade. Read our Terms & Conditions here. Trade recommendations and analysis are written by our analysts which might have different opinions. Read my 6 Golden Steps to Financial Freedom here. Best regards, Jonas Borchgrevink.

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Analysis

Technical Update: NASDAQ and S&P 500 Approaching their Intermediate-Term Supports

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Technical Overview

  • After breaking their short-term supports (white trendlines in Figure 1, 2 & 3) on Friday (April 20), U.S. indices continued sliding into this week.
  • Given the lack of any major support levels within the range spanning from the low on April 2 to the high on April 18, U.S. indices moved sharply lower on Tuesday (April 24).

S&P 500

  • Next major resistance – the trendline connecting the January & March highs (orange trendline in Figure 1, currently at 2,736).
  • Next major support – the intermediate-term support (ITS – violet trendline, currently at 2,605).

Figure 1. S&P 500 Daily

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NASDAQ

  • NASDAQ’s intermediate-term support (ITS) is of extreme importance as it overlaps with the neckline of a large H&S pattern (tops – red ellipses in Figure 2). A break below the ITS activates a target of 6,000 (vertical yellow trendline). Note, the pattern is tentative until the neckline is broken.
  • Next major resistance – the trendline connecting the March & April highs (orange trendline, currently at 7,265).
  • Next major support – the intermediate-term support (violet trendline, currently at 6,885)

Figure 2. NASDAQ Daily Chart

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DJIA

  • Today’s decline intensified after the index broke back below its 2018 Resistance (red trendline Figure 3).
  • Next major resistance – 2018 Resistance is expected to continue serving as resistance after today’s move below it
  • Next major support – Feb & April lows at roughly 23,350 (green horizontal trendline).

 Figure 3. Dow Jones Industrial Average Daily Chart

Implications

  • Breaks of the intermediate-term supports for both S&P 500 and NASDAQ will carry significant bearish implications, with downside targets of at least 10 to 15%.
  • NASDAQ’s monthly chart depicts why a potential break of the ITS may lead to declines sharper than the ones observed in February and mid-March. Since June 2016, the index has marched higher, in an almost vertical fashion. Upward movement implied by the steep slope of the intermediate-term support is unsustainable in the very long run (violet trendline in Figure 4). Eventually, once the ITS is broken, the index is expected to retest its long-term support (dark blue trendline).

Figure 4. NASDAQ Monthly Chart

Outlook

  • Neutral with a bearish bias. While price action points to a likely retest and potential break of the intermediate term supports, outlook is not outright bearish until confirmation is received.
  • Short- and long-term bearish if S&P 500 and NASDAQ break their respective intermediate-term supports.
  • S&P 500 and NASDAQ need to hold their intermediate-term supports and break above the orange trendlines for outlook to shift to bullish, at least in the short-term.

Featured image courtesy of Shutterstock. 

Important: Never invest (trade with) money you can't afford to comfortably lose. Always do your own research and due diligence before placing a trade. Read our Terms & Conditions here. Trade recommendations and analysis are written by our analysts which might have different opinions. Read my 6 Golden Steps to Financial Freedom here. Best regards, Jonas Borchgrevink.

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ICON versus TenX: What You Should Know

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There are so many cryptocurrencies out there.  As the flow of ICOs continues, more tokens are added almost daily.  It may be some consolation that more the 80% of these tokens use the Ethereum platform and that means their value is connected to the mothership.  It may also help to remember that there are plenty of crypto exchanges that will unload your coin once the ICO is complete.

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That’s fine, but this takes time not to mention the fees that get tacked on along the way.  And if there has been a proliferation of currencies, now about every Fortune 500 company wants their own blockchain.  Instead of putting all of our efforts on figuring out who has the smartest contracts or which is the best crypto, maybe we should look for someone to connect all these dots.  My guess is this notion will be a big feature of Gen IV crypto technology.

Here Are Two Prospects

Of the most successful ICOs in 2017, two are really eye catching for their vision of connecting cryptocurrencies and networks.

TenX claims they will make all cryptocurrencies spendable through a debit card ranked. That vision made them $64 million during their token sale, enough for the tenth spot on the list of largest intakes. 

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The ICON project will be building one of the largest decentralized networks in the world. The total raised of $43 million was good enough for the #13 ranking of top 2017 ICOs. Before going deeper, let’s first take a look at TenX.

TenX Could Be a 10

TenX has an audacious plan to connect digital currencies and in the process disrupt one of the biggest financial monopolies in existence.  They are out to create a massive payment channel dubbed COMIT which stands for Cryptographically-secure Off-chain Multi-asset Instant Transmission network.  How does their white paper describe COMIT? It looks just like the Internet.

In simple terms, TenX is out to get a banking license, then use their own debit card running on the COMIT network to challenge the MasterCard, Visa, American Express monopoly.  The beauty of TenX is the ability to use any coin or token to buy goods and services with one card.

Even if a merchant doesn’t happen to accept crypto, no problem, TenX converts the crypto to the fiat currency.

This is the future of cryptocurrencies.  As bitcoin leads the way with some 10,000 mostly online merchants acceptance of other cryptos will follow. However, the amount of time involved in winning the game will be considerable. We are talking about a startup company attempting to capitalize on mass adoption of crypto as a medium of exchange.  So far fewer than 1% of all transactions fit that category.

Around the year 2000, online merchants accounted for 1% of all retail sales.  Some 18 years later, it amounts to just under 10%.

ICON: Connecting Networks

For those who really enjoy digging into the technical detail, here is how their whitepaper describes the project.

With ICON, numbers of blockchains are connected around Nexus via Portal. Nexus is a loopchainbased blockchain. Nexus is a Multi-Channel blockchain comprised of Light Client of respective blockchains.

Tokens called ICX (ICON Exchange) are embedded in Nexus and the interconnected blockchains can use ICX to transfer values. As a blockchain itself, Nexus can be connected to another Nexus, allowing different blockchains with different governance structures to execute transactions and exchange values.

For us simpler folks, think of the earliest days of the Internet.  Over 30 years ago, the Internet consisted of a bazillion independent networks throughout the world.  Then somebody came up with TCP/IP and presto, the modern Internet was born.

Use cases for ICX go beyond connecting currencies – they connect blockchains and that means doing something akin to TCP/IP.  So we are talking about things like connecting separate health systems and much more.

Just like TenX, the question for ICON is how long their plan will take and will $43 million be enough to deliver the bacon. However, for those investors looking for a Gen IV play, ICON is a candidate.  

Like about every other currency, ICX came down hard from its $9.95 price on January 30 to a $1.89 low earlier this month. Since then it has bounced back and is hovering around $4.30 at the time of this writing.  Raising $43 million may not be enough to get ICON to the promised land but it shows that a lot of serious investors did their research and bought the promise.

Featured image courtesy of Shutterstock.

Important: Never invest (trade with) money you can't afford to comfortably lose. Always do your own research and due diligence before placing a trade. Read our Terms & Conditions here. Trade recommendations and analysis are written by our analysts which might have different opinions. Read my 6 Golden Steps to Financial Freedom here. Best regards, Jonas Borchgrevink.

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4.4 stars on average, based on 63 rated postsJames Waggoner is a veteran Wall Street analyst and hedge fund manager who has spent the past few years researching the fintech possibilities of cryptocurrencies. He has a special passion for writing about the future of crypto.




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