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Asian Market Update – Tuesday: Asian markets flat despite escalated North Korea tensions

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Tokyo, Japan

The Big Question: Are Asian investors not worried about nuclear war?

Major Asian indexes were mostly flat on Tuesday, as investors appeared to be shrugging off the escalating war of words between the US and North Korea, which has threatened nuclear war against the US.

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In Japan, the Nikkei 225 was down 0.1 percent to 20,337 at midday.

In Greater China, stocks were also largely unchanged. The Shanghai Composite Index gained a slight 0.07 percent to 3,343. In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng Index was up 0.02 percent to 27,506.63.

In South Korea, the KOSPI index was down 0.18 percent to 2,376.

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Down under, the ASX 200 was mostly flat, gaining a slight 0.05 percent to 5,680 at midday.

Geopolitical tensions on the Korean Peninsula emerged again after North Korea’s foreign minister accused the US of declaring war against North Korea. The top diplomat said North Korea could shoot down US bombers flying over the Korea Peninsula in return.

US President Donald Trump had in a speech at the United Nations General Assembly suggested that the US will have to “totally destroy” North Korea if it was forced to.

The renewed tension boosted safe haven assets, pushing up the price of yen and gold. Shares were pointing lower in early trading on Tuesday, but quickly stabilized, showing firm resilience to the turmoil in the Korea Peninsula tension.

Main Market Movers – Mid-day Asian Trading Session

Indexes Value at Midday Daily Change
Japan-Nikkei 225 20,337.29 -0.10%
China-Shanghai Composite Index 3,343.90 0.07%
Hong Kong –Hang Seng 27,506.63 0.02%
South Korea-KOSPI 2,376.13 -0.18%
Australia-ASX 200 5,680.80 0.05%

Cryptocurrencies

Prices of cryptocurrencies were slightly down overnight during the Asian trading session on Tuesday, following big gains a day earlier.

At midday in Asia, the bitcoin price was down 0.28 percent to $3,907.  Bitcoin prices saw a gain of as much as $200 on Monday. The virtual currency flirted with the $4,000 mark, but did not manage to surpass it. The price of bitcoin has now been below $4,000 since last Wednesday.

The price of ethereum was also pointing lower overnight, having lost 0.93 percent, changing hands at $292 around midday in Asia. The ethereum price also surged from $282 to about $295 on Monday, the closest to the $300 level since September 18.

Litecoin was also down by 0.27 percent around midday to $51.95. Similar to other cryptocurrencies, litecoin has also been in a downtrend since September 18, when the price started to drop from a high of about $57.

More regulatory news is coming out of the US and Ukraine. The US market watchdog is said to crack down on violations involving distributed ledger technology and initial coin offerings.

Also, a Ukrainian central banker reportedly delivered a blow to cryptcurrencies, saying bitcoin would not be considered a currency or a medium of exchange in Ukraine.

Currencies

The Japanese yen gained 0.19 percent against the US dollar at midday Monday to 111.51 per dollar, boosted by rising tensions on the Korean Peninsula. The yen is considered a safe haven asset during times of market volatility.

The Chinese yuan gained 0.09 percent against the US dollar to 6.6149.

The Australian dollar also lost 0.13 percent on the dollar, changing hands at 1.2587 per dollar at midday.

Commodities

WTI Oil gained 0.40 percent to $52.31 per barrel.

Brent Crude was up 0.58 percent to $59.43 per barrel.

Gold gained 0.23 percent to $1,312 an ounce.

Business News across Asia

In China, a campaign to crack down on social media is underway ahead of a big meeting of the Communist Party of China. Several domestic social media sites have reportedly been fined for not screening content posted on the sites. Users are also reporting difficulties using foreign apps like WhatsApp, which has previously worked well in China.

Take away: It’s common for China to launch such campaigns ahead of big occasions. Good news is that the market and economic activities will remain stable, as stability is the key for the Party before these meetings.  

In Japan, banks are reportedly mulling to introduce a new digital currency that could come as soon as 2020. The digital currency would be convertible into yen on a one-to-one basis, according to media reports. The aim is to compete with China’s Alibaba, which launched its Alipay-the mobile-phone payment service in Japan, reports say.

Take Away: Though “J Coin” is said to use blockchain and bear other similarities with cryptocurrencies, there is a fundamental difference. Cryptocurrencies are decentralized – free of government control or commercial banks, but the “J Coin” would be issued by a central authority.

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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4.2 stars on average, based on 21 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 mainly follows the stock and forex markets, and is always looking for the next great alternative investment opportunity.




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Analysis

Daily Analysis: Oil Extends Rally as Nasdaq Leads Stocks Higher

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Friday Market Recap

Asset Current Value Daily Change
S&P 500 2749 1.38%
DAX 12,483 0.18%
WTI Crude Oil 63.58 1.29%
GOLD 1330.00 -0.16%
Bitcoin 10,14 -0.09%
EUR/USD 1.2295 -0.28%

US equities built up some bullish momentum towards the end of the week, ignoring the technical damage that the volatility-crash caused, and the major US indices rallied into the close today, squeezing the shorts. The Nasdaq, which led the rally as we expected, took out the key 6850 level in late trading and added another percent to, incredibly enough, finish only a hundred point of the all-time high.

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NASDAQ 100 Futures, 4-Hour Chart Analysis

Should the tech benchmark retest the high next week, it will be amid very strong negative divergences, but hey, those divergences have been building for months now. The rally in equities was boosted by the dip in Treasury yields, especially at the long end of the curve, while Amazon continued ot lead the charge, closing right at the historic $1500 per share level.

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Russell 2000 (Small Cap) Index, 4-Hour Chart Analysis

The advance in the Dow and the S&P 500 is much less convincing and with small caps also lagging the tech-behemoth juggernaut, we remain skeptical regarding the sustainability of the move. That said, if the broader indices stay above the key levels, we will be trading the long side in equities, even as from an investment standpoint, valuations are still way above acceptable.

Forex Markets and Commodities

The lackluster performance of European and Asian stocks adds to the negative divergences, especially as the Euro stopped appreciating against the Greenback, and that should be helping stocks of the old continent. Of course, the DAX and the EuroStoxx 50 could play catch-up next week, barring another surge in the common currency.

EUR/USD, 4-Hour Chart Analysis

The most-traded forex pair remains in a short-term downtrend, as it failed to recapture the previously broken rising trendline, and the commodity related risk-on currencies also remained under pressure. The Canadian Dollar did bounce back off yesterday’s 8-week lows, boosted by the much hihger than expected inflation release and the jump in the price of crude oil.

USD/CAD, 4-Hour Chart Analysis

Oil benefited from the positive shift in sentiment, while the Syrian situation, which took a backseat in the headlines, still supports the rally. The Japanese Yen and gold were stable amid the risk-rally and that adds to our suspicions regarding the upside potential form these levels.

Cryptocurrencies

The segment started out the day with a strong bounce that carried the major coins higher by around 10%, but given the recent steep short-term pullback, even that wasn’t enough to turn the tide, and the day ended with an (almost usual) sell-off after the US close. Despite the recent volatility, the overall picture is still encouraging, with most of the majors being safely above the crash lows, likely in a new bullish cycle that has the potential to last for several more weeks or even months.

While new all-time highs are it guaranteed following the 60-70% declines among the largest coins, but even without those, plenty of upside potential is left for investors. With that in mind, investors should hold on to their coins and even add to their holdings on the short-term dips like the current one.

ETH/USD, 4-Hour Chart Analysis

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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4.7 stars on average, based on 113 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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Market Overview

Bitcoin is Clear

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It’s not often that drama from reality television influences the stock markets but I suppose it’s one of the hallmarks of the new world we live in.

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For those of you who haven’t heard yet. Kylie Jenner sent out this tweet…

…and SNAP stocks did this…

The follow-up apology didn’t seem to help much though.


Love or no love, it’s pretty clear that investors are following these personalities fairly closely and taking notes.

@MatiGreenspan
eToro, Senior Market Analyst

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Today’s Highlights

  • More Market Funk
  • Bitcoin is Clear
  • CME Bitcoin Expiration

Please note: All data, figures & graphs are valid as of February 23rd. All trading carries risk. Only risk capital you can afford to lose.

Traditional Markets

The market funk continues. All the indicators are totally sensational and correlations are way-out.

The Dow Jones went up and the Nasdaq was down. This morning the Asians did great but Europe is starting out weird.

Things are just kind of all over the place. There weren’t really any progressions in Volatility or the 10 Year Yield. Both kind of just coasted through Thursday.

But hey, today is Friday. So we could get some action going into the weekend. Especially with some heavy fed activity planned for this evening.

Of course, the only FOMC member traders really want to hear from at the moment is the newly appointed Jerome Powell, who will be giving his first interest rate announcement on March 21st.

Bitcoin in the Clear

The community celebrated yesterday as the bitcoin mempool was cleared for the first time in months.

Here we can see that during the peak of the FOMO from December 8th util January 21st, the bitcoin network was backlogged with more than 100,000 unconfirmed transactions at any time.

This comes as the adoption of both Segwit and the Bitcoin Lightening Network have been dramatically increased.

In short, the scaling issue that we’ve spoken about often in the last few months may finally have a solution. Of course, we’ll only know for sure once we give it a real test.

For now, transactions rates are at the lowest point since at least May of 2016, with an average of only 2.14 transactions per second (TPS) over the last 7 days.

It should be noted however that adoption of the Lightning Network will actually reduce the TPS rates since Lightening transactions happen off of Bitcoin’s main chain.

Rather than adding each transaction to the main blockchain, trusted parties are able to transact freely with each other. They then send an aggregate summary of their transactions onto the main blockchain so that the rest of the network can update the final results.

Either way, it’s clear for now that there’s simply less activity on Bitcoin since the pullback. This can be confirmed by Google Trends which shows that interest in the world’s largest digital currency is now as low as it was in early November, which at the time was an all-time high.

Futures

Another thing to bear in mind is that the CME February Bitcoin futures contracts will expire today. Any positions that are not rolled over to the March contracts will need to be settled in cash on the Gemini exchange.

It should be noted that Wall Street is still taking it very slowly with bitcoin, and so far only 5,840 BTC have been traded on the February CME contracts.

Some people have pointed out that the price of bitcoin tends to dip around the time of the contract expirations, but I still haven’t seen enough evidence to support this theory.

For now, my tinfoil hat is still in the closet. Will let you know once I take it out. 😉

Have an amazing weekend!!

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.

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

Pre-Market: Stocks Refuse to Fall Even as China Takes Over Key Insurer

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Although it should have been a very quiet week in China, thanks to the New Year celebrations, the recent surge in volatility and the plunge in equities didn’t pass without consequences in the key market. Just shortly after effectively shutting down the Chinese version of the Volatility Index (VIX) (presumably to calm the markets…), one of the main actors of the monstrous financial web, Anbang, of the country had to be taken over to avoid a systemic event and stop the “creative” financial engineering that involved criminal activity (the shadow of 2008).

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China will likely need many more duck-tapes like this one if it wants to stop the largest credit bubble in human history to collapse, but for now, the solution could work. Equity futures edged higher since yesterday’s volatile close, and as the major US indices are holding up well, not far off last Friday’s highs, our bearish short-term view might have to be revised.

Nasdaq 100 Futures, 4-Hour Chart Analysis

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As we discussed before, the long-term uptrend is intact, and we expect at least a re-test of the highs even if we are in a large-scale top formation, but we thought that the technical damage caused by the crash three weeks ago would require more healing.

We are not turning bullish just yet, but today’s session could finally decide if we the BTFD-crowd is strong enough to turn the tide after the choppy drift lower this week. We are still focusing on the Nasdaq, as the broader market seems to be following the lead of the tech benchmark, and a move 6850 (in the Nasdaq 100 futures, and still the 2735 level in the S&P) would be a very positive sign for bulls.

DAX Index, 4-Hour Chart Analysis

The German DAX index is also showing some tentative short-term relative strength although it remains almost 10% below its all-time high, and it remains a strong negative divergence to be monitored.

Forex Markets Quiet

EUR/USD, 4-Hour Chart Analysis

The main pairs are trading in a choppy narrow range today after the strong move in the Yen and the drop in the USD yesterday. US Treasury Yields are edging lower today, helping the calm in equities and currencies, but on a bearish note, commodity currencies failed to rebound so far, and they were providing good signals since the crash. Day-traders should note that the Canadian Dollar will likely be very active again, with the Canadian CPI report coming out pre-market.

To sum the outlook up, we are still leaning on the risk-off side here regarding the short-term outlook, but we wouldn’t bet the farm on that, as there are mixed signals before the weekend.

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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4.7 stars on average, based on 113 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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