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Asian Market Update – Friday: Asian stocks surged from negative territory to post minor gains on US tax reform hopes

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US tax reform

The Big Question: Are markets still hopeful for a US tax reform?

Most Asian stock indexes surged back from losses in earlier trading on Friday’s morning session to post minor gains at around midday, as news out of the US suggested that a market-friendly tax reform plan sees new hopes.

In China, the Shanghai Composite Index was up 0.05 percent to about 3,371 before midday. The benchmark was down to as low as 3,360 in early trading on Friday morning.

In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng Index was up 0.98 percent to around 28,435, more than 100 points higher than the low of 28,313 in the morning session.

In Japan, the Nikkei 225 was relatively flat at around 21,443. The Nikkei was trading between 21,363 and 21,489 during the morning session.

In South Korea, the Kospi moved up 0.37 percent to around 2,482 shortly before midday.

Down Under, the ASX 200 was down 0.21 percent to around 5,908. Though the benchmark remains in negative territory at midday, it was still higher than daily low of 5,868.

Media reports suggest that the US Senate, majority controlled by Republicans, has approved a budget blueprint for the fiscal year 2018 – a move that would pave the way for Republicans to push for tax cut packages without Democratic support.

Markets in Asia are still digesting GDP and trade data out of China and Japan. The Chinese economy posted a 6.8 percent growth in the third quarter, slower than the 6.9 percent posted in the previous quarter.

Japanese trade data showed that the country’s exports rose for the 10th straight month in September, helped largely by a weaker yen and strong demand overseas.

Main Market Movers – Mid-day Asian Trading Session

Indexes Value at Midday Daily Change
Japan- Nikkei 225 21,443 -0.02%
China-Shanghai Composite Index 3,371 0.05%
South Korea-KOSPI 2,482 0.37%
Hong Kong –Hang Seng 28,435 0.98%
Australia-ASX 200 5,908 -0.21%

Cryptocurrencies

Prices of the main cryptocurrencies were sluggish overnight during Asia’s morning trading hours on Friday, with bitcoin and ethereum prices slightly down and litecoin price slightly up.

At midday in Asia, bitcoin price was down 0.25 percent to $5,684. Though pointing lower, that’s still higher than about $5,617 at the same time on Thursday.

Ethereum lost a slight 0.01 percent to about $308 before midday. Ethereum has been trading steadily above the $300 level since Wednesday.

Litecoin was up 0.39 percent to about $59.78 at midday. The virtual currency has been trading quite steadily around the $60 market since Wednesday.

Currencies

The Japanese yen lost 0.56 percent the US dollar at midday Friday to 113.17 per dollar.

The Chinese yuan lost 0.11 percent against the US dollar at 6.6195 per dollar.

The Australian dollar also lost 0.4 percent on the dollar, changing hands at 1.2742 per dollar at midday.

Commodities

WTI Oil was up 0.16 percent to $51.64 per barrel.

Brent Crude gained 0.17 percent to $57.36 per barrel.

Gold was down 0.37 percent to $1,283 an ounce.

Business News across Asia

In Singapore, Singapore Airlines has reported an order of 39 Boeing aircraft, costing $13.8 billion. The order is expected to be signed next week when Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong visits the US.

Take Away: The deal could be viewed as a major blow to Europe’s Airbus SE. Already, Airbus has fallen behind Boeing in orders in the first nine months of 2017.  

In Japan, the aggressive investors in tech – Japan’s Softbank – and it’s ever-expanding financing partners have invested so heavily in the tech start-ups that it dimmed the outlook for tech IPOs markets hoped for, per Reuters.

Take Away: Still, Softbank and its partners are showing no signs of slowing down their endeavor in investing in tech start-ups across the globe.

Featured image from Pixabay.

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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4.3 stars on average, based on 37 rated postsFredrik Vold is an entrepreneur, financial writer, and technical analysis enthusiast. He has been working and traveling in Asia for several years, and is currently based out of Beijing, China. He closely follows stocks, forex and cryptocurrencies, and is always looking for the next great alternative investment opportunity.




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Market Update: U.S. Stocks Rally on Banks, Industrials; Fed’s Powell Sees Big Risks in Cryptocurrencies

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U.S. stocks traded in positive territory Wednesday, as earnings tailwinds propelled banks and industrials companies higher while a slump in energy shares subsided.

S&P 500, Dow Rise

The large-cap S&P 500 Index rose 0.2% to 2,815.62, its highest in over five months. Gains were largely concentrated in just two sectors, with financials rising 1.5%. Industrials stocks, which include airlines and railroads, jumped 1.1%.

On the opposite side of the ledger, consumer staples and utilities companies were the biggest drags on growth, falling at least 0.6%.

Dow industrials added 79.40 points, or 0.3%, to finish at 25,199.29.

The technology-heavy Nasdaq Composite Index finished at 7,854.44, virtually flat for the day after reporting only minor upside earlier.

A measure of implied volatility known as the CBOE VIX touched new six-month lows Wednesday. The so-called “fear gauge” bottomed at 11.44 on a scale of 1-100 where 20 reflects the historic mean.

Powell: Cryptocurrencies Lack Intrinsic Value

Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell lashed out against cryptocurrencies Wednesday in round two of his semiannual testimony before Congress. According to Powell, crypto-assets present serious risks to unsophisticated investors who are more likely to react to large fluctuations in market prices.

“There are investor and consumer protection issues as well,” Powell told the House Financial Services Committee before adding that digital assets lack intrinsic value.

Despite heading the most powerful central bank in the world, Powell’s take on cryptocurrency is hardly unique and suffers from the same ‘lack of sophistication’ that he says characterize bitcoin investors. As Hacked recently showed, arguments against crypto’s intrinsic value fail to take into consideration the vast resources required to maintain individual networks such as bitcoin.

Although Congress remains skeptical about digital assets, federal securities regulators are loosening their restrictions on the market. The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has deemed bitcoin and Ethereum to be non-securities while at the same time opening up new avenues for security tokens to be traded on regulated exchanges.

Cryptocurrency Market Cap Approaches $300 Billion

Cryptocurrency prices continued higher Wednesday, as bitcoin’s sudden rally sparked a wider uptrend in altcoins, resulting in the highest market valuation in over a month.

Bitcoin traded above $7,500 on major exchanges while major altcoins like Cardano and Stellar Lumens put up double-digit gains. At the time of writing, the total cryptocurrency market was valued at $288 billion, according to CoinMarketCap. The market’s total value peaked above $297 billion.

The large uptrend has been accompanied by an equally impressive jump in trading volumes. Total market turnover exceeded $21 billion for the first time since May. It’s also a 70% increase from week-ago levels.

Disclaimer: The author owns bitcoin, Ethereum and other cryptocurrencies. He holds investment positions in the coins, but does not engage in short-term or day-trading.

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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4.6 stars on average, based on 499 rated postsSam Bourgi is Chief Editor to Hacked.com, where he specializes in cryptocurrency, economics and the broader financial markets. Sam has nearly eight years of progressive experience as an analyst, writer and financial market commentator where he has contributed to the world's foremost newscasts.




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Market Overview

DJ King Crypto Banker

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Hi Everyone,

If you’re reading this, you probably agree that the old school financial industry is in need of a shakeup. It seems that Goldman Sachs agrees.

This hit track is a remix of the old Fleetwood Mac song “Don’t Stop Thinking About Tomorrow.” It was created by Goldman’s incoming CEO David Solomon (AKA: DJ D-Sol). Named after two ancient kings and an angel, Solomon will assume the throne on October 1st.

Current CEO Lloyd Blankfein was famously indecisive about cryptocurrencies, yet over the last few months, it’s become clear that the bank is ramping up their cryptotrading activities in a big way.

Solomon has been a lot more clear on crypto and has gone on record saying that Goldman is focused on crypto due to a high level of demand from their clients.

@MatiGreenspan
eToro, Senior Market Analyst

Today’s Highlights

  • Dollar Climbs – Gold Falls
  • Bitcoin Party Time
  • Double Double Crypto Day

Please note: All data, figures & graphs are valid as of July 18th. All trading carries risk. Only risk capital you can afford to lose.

Traditional Markets

President Trump admitted yesterday to making a mistake. After causing a global stir backing Putin over the FBI at the Helsinki summit, Trump has now walked back his comments and even admitted for the first time that he agrees with the assessment that Russia was indeed behind the meddling in the 2016 elections.

Though many remain unconvinced, the markets remain unfazed and instead the focus from many analysts remains on the possibility of a ramped up trade war with China and on the Fed’s actions.

In his testimony yesterday, Fed Chair Jerome Powell did his best not to be political but did note that the effects of further tariffs would likely be felt throughout the US economy. Today Powell testifies before the House Financial Services committee. We can probably expect further questions from the House regarding the specific reaction the economy might have to said tariffs.

Stocks are rather mixed today but we do have notable moves in the currency market where the US Dollar is gaining strength.

The US Dollar Index is once again bumping up against resistance at 95 points. If this level is passed, it could lead to further gains, especially since the United States seems to be a lot more aggressive than the rest of the world on their plans to raise interest rates.

In line with the stronger Dollar, the metals have continued to decline. Gold is now the cheapest it’s been in over a year.

Bitcoin Surge!!

After more than a month of doing nothing, bitcoin broke out yesterday rising $656 in 40 minutes, bringing life and optimism back into the market.

Here we can see the strong break above the key resistance level of $6,800, clearing quickly past $7,000 then spending a short time above $7,500 before a retracement.

By looking at the volumes, it seems that the cause of the surge was from some fresh money entering the market. This graph from www.cryptocompare.com shows the incredible volume spike at the time of the surge.

This one shows the volumes by currency. The blue circle is the exact time of the surge. Notice the spike in USD volumes?

Lately, we’ve been seeing a trend that Tether (USDT) has been becoming more prominent in overall volumes. Tether volumes generally indicate cryptotraders speculation on the exchanges. The fact that this surge happened on USD and not Tether might indicate that it is due to fresh money coming in.

Double Double Crypto Day

Today the US Congress is set to hold not one, but two separate hearings that relate to cryptocurrencies. This is a clear sign that the US government is taking the crypto industry seriously and it seems that point of both hearings will be to help not harm innovation in the space.

The double-header comes as the SEC’s mailbox is reportedly inundated with letters from citizens urging them to approve VanEck’s Bitcoin backed ETF at their hearing on August 10th.

Shifting over to Wall Street, it seems that the bitcoin monthly futures contracts on both the CME and the CBOE group will expire today. As we’ve stated before, there is nothing to fear from the expiration of these contracts. The chances that any large player is trying to manipulate the markets using them is very slim.

Just to get a picture of the volumes of these markets, I’ve pulled the following graph from the Bloomberg terminal for you. This shows the daily volumes on the CBOE’s XBT futures since inception.

The small white line shows the average daily turnover, which is just under 5,000 BTC.

Even though the volumes on the CME are higher, it’s less significant for this analysis since they are using a more complex index as a reference rate for contract settlement and thus would be much more difficult for anyone to try and manipulate.

As always, let me know if you have any questions, comments, or feedback. I’m always happy to hear them. Let’s have an excellent day ahead!

This content is provided for information and educational purposes only and should not be considered to be investment advice or recommendation.

The outlook presented is a personal opinion of the analyst and does not represent an official position of eToro.

Past performance is not an indication of future results. All trading involves risk; only risk capital you are prepared to lose.

Cryptocurrencies can widely fluctuate in prices and are not appropriate for all investors. Trading cryptocurrencies is not supervised by any EU regulatory framework.

Best regards,
Mati Greenspan
Senior Market Analyst

Connect with me on….

eToro: @MatiGreenspan | Twitter: @MatiGreenspan | LinkedIn: MatiGreenspan | Facebook:MatiGreenspan

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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4.7 stars on average, based on 115 rated postsSenior Market Analyst at Etoro.com.




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Market Update: U.S. Stocks Rise After Fed Chairman Testimony; Earnings in Focus

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U.S. stocks rebounded Tuesday after Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell told Congress that economic growth and inflation should keep the central bank on track to raise interest rates later this year.

Stocks Rise

All of Wall Street’s major indexes reported gains on Tuesday, with the Nasdaq Composite Index returning to record territory. The technology-focused average climbed 0.6% to 7,855.12.

The broader S&P 500 Index rose 0.4% to close at 2,809.55, with seven of 11 primary sectors finishing in positive territory. Materials stocks were the biggest gainers, rising 1.3% as a cluster. Technology, consumer staples and healthcare stocks also outperformed the broader market.

Dow industrials gained 55.53 points, or 0.2%, to close at 25,119.89.

Expectations of 30-day volatility drifted toward six-month lows on Tuesday in a sign of prevailing calm on Wall Street. The CBOE VIX Volatility Index declined 6% to 12.06.on a scale where 20 represents the historic average.

Powell Testifies

Fed Chair Jerome Powell’s Congressional hearings began Tuesday in a session chaired by the Senate Banking Committee. Though not appearing overly hawkish, the Fed leader indicated that short-term interest rates are likely headed higher in the coming months.

“Overall, we see the risk of the economy unexpectedly weakening as roughly balanced with the possibility of the economy growing faster than we currently anticipate,” Powell said.

He added: “The unemployment rate is low and expected to fall further. Americans who want jobs have a good chance of finding them.”

The Fed’s policy-setting board is scheduled to meet July 31 but is not expected to raise interest rates again until the September gathering. Policymakers and investors have priced in two more upward adjustments this year to the federal funds rate.

Powell will resume his testimony on Wednesday.

Earnings in the Spotlight

With corporate earnings season in full swing, investors are closely monitoring top- and bottom-line results of S&P 500 companies.

Netflix (NFLX) reported weaker than expected subscriber growth late Monday, sending share prices sharply lower. According to The Wall Street Journal, the stock was poised for its single-worst session in two years.

Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (GS) posted bottom-line results that were higher than expected, but rising legal costs weighed on share prices. The Wall Street giant reported per-share earnings of $5.98, crushing forecasts for $4.66. Organization-wide revenue jumped 19% to $9.40 billion, compared with estimates for $8.74 billion.

The earnings season is off to a positive start with roughly nine of ten S&P 500 companies posting stronger than expected profit results. However, as of Friday, only 5% of the S&P 500’s constituents had reported.

Despite the robust results, half of the S&P 500 companies that reported as of Friday said currency swings had a negative impact on their business. After a disastrous start to the year, the U.S. dollar index has returned more than 6% over the past three months. DXY rose half a percent on Tuesday.

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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4.6 stars on average, based on 499 rated postsSam Bourgi is Chief Editor to Hacked.com, where he specializes in cryptocurrency, economics and the broader financial markets. Sam has nearly eight years of progressive experience as an analyst, writer and financial market commentator where he has contributed to the world's foremost newscasts.




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