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Market Overview

The Bull Market that Keeps on Giving

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Not even the biggest mass shooting in U.S. history was enough to deter Wall Street this week. The benchmark indexes have posted back-to-back records, with the S&P 500 Index seeing three straight days of record-breaking rallies.

Bull Market Continues

The benchmark S&P 500 Index added 0.2% to close at 2,534.58. Over the past four weeks, the index has gained 3.1%.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average also notched new highs, rising 0.4% to 22,641.67. It was a similar story for the Nasdaq Composite Index, which climbed 0.2% to a new high of 6,531.72.

A measure of 30-day volatility known as the CBOE VIX rose slightly on Tuesday, but continued to trade well below historic levels. The so-called “fear index” has closed below 10.00 in each of the past four sessions.

Bull Market Unaffected by Domestic, International Disturbances

The strength of the U.S. bull market has been nothing short of remarkable. On Sunday evening, Stephen Paddock opened fire at the Route 91 Harvest country music festival on the Las Vegas Strip. In the process, he killed at least 58 people and wounded more than 500. The event, which shook the nation to the core, had a minimal impact on how the markets performed.

Also on Sunday, 92% of Catalans voted to secede from Spain, a member of the European Union and Eurozone. The referendum has sparked pandemonium, with the government of Spain opposing any self-determination for the autonomous region. The vote caused a ripple effect in the currency markets, with the euro suffering a broad retreat at the start of the week. But once again, U.S. equities have gone virtually unscathed.

‘Heartless’ Bull Market Approaching its Doom?

For a couple bears, the bull market on Wall Street doesn’t have much gas left in the tank.

“And so the ‘heartless’ bull market continues marching ahead, despite the world’s larger problems,” wrote CrackedMarket’s Jani Ziedins.

MarketWatch also quoted Macro Tourist’s Kevin Muir, who believes inflation will be the “undoing of the stock market.” Muir pointed the recent ISM manufacturing index, who rose to a 13-year high but still showed a huge rise in raw material prices.

Other analysts argue that the bulls are relying too much on the stars to align. Expectations for a Trump tax cut, faster economic growth and the continuation of ultra-easy policies in Japan and the Eurozone (this time with good results!) are what’s largely keeping the bull market going. But what will equity investors do when the global economy becomes stronger and policy accommodation is removed? The old adage, be careful what you wish for, certainly applies in this case.

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 701 rated postsSam Bourgi is Chief Editor to Hacked.com, where he leads content development for one of the world's foremost cryptocurrency resources. Over the past eight years Sam has authored more than 10,000 articles and over 40 whitepapers in the fields of labor market economics, emerging technologies, cryptocurrency and traditional finance. Sam's work has been featured in and cited by some of the world's leading newscasts, including Barron's, CBOE and Forbes. Contact: sam@hacked.com Twitter: @hsbourgi




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Analysis

5 Things To Watch Next Week + ChartBook

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Last Fed Rate-Hike of the Cycle?

EUR/USD, 4-Hour Chart Analysis

The Federal Reserve will announce its rate decision on Wednesday, and according to the consensus on Wall Street, the central bank will deliver the fourth rate hike of the year. The huge shift of the last couple of months in the US bond market means that now, no additional tightening steps are “priced in” for 2019.

The bearish shift in global stocks and the mounting evidence regarding a global economic slowdown confirm that view, but we still have doubts about the intentions of the Fed. While it’s true that yield curve is about to invert and the global slowdown will eventually affect the US economy, for now, the numbers remain solid, and the Central Bank might use these conditions to raise rates further in order to have “firepower” in the case of a recession.

That could fuel another strong leg higher in the USD, but in any case, the foundations of the Dollar’s rally are still strong, with the record deficits only affecting the currency’s long-term outlook in our view. Even if a stronger pullback is still possible, we expect new lows in the EUR/USD and new highs in the Dollar index in 2019.

China in Focus as Economic Slowdown Accelerates

Shanghai Composite Index CFD, 4-Hour Chart Analysis

This week’s Chinese economic releases were quite scary for bulls, as both Industrial Production and Retail Sales missed by a mile, which is unusual in the history of the country. The Chinese stock market has been one of the first to enter a bear market during the broad bearish shift, and even though a trade deal with the US got closer, equities failed to rally substantially off their lows.

The Chinese Yuan is also very close to its lows, and should the slowdown further accelerate, the country’s financial system and the currency could get under heavy pressure given the extent of the credit bubble of the past years. With that in mind, the fate of the Chinese market is crucial for risk assets globally, and a break below the prior lows would be another nail in the coffin of the US bull market as well.

Another Big Week for the Pound

GBP/USD, 4-Hour Chart Analysis

The Brexit chaos pushed the Great British Pound to its lowest level since early 2017 against the USD, and from a technical perspective, we could be looking at a test of the 1.20 level in the near future. Looking at the possible outcomes of the Brexit saga, a new referendum, a no-deal Brexit, or a renegotiated deal, uncertainty is extremely high, and unless the May-government finds a quick solution, further steep losses are likely ahead for the currency.

Several key economic releases will also be coming out next week, such as the CPI and PPI indices on Wednesday, the final GDP and the Current Account balance on Friday, while Thursday’s Retail Sales report be out just before the Bank of England’s rate decision, so forex traders could be in for another very active week in the Pound-related pairs.

Financials Signaling Trouble Across the Globe

XLF, 4-Hour Chart Analysis

The month’s most interesting market trend is the plunge in financial stocks, which continued unabated even as trade war fears subsided somewhat. The pressure on the major European banks has been apparent for a while now, and as the quantitative tightening is gaining speed, their US peers also got hammered in December. Some analysts point at the excesses of the leveraged loan market and the collapsing yield curve, but most likely the funding squeeze is at the root of the problem.

The XLF ETF firmly entered bear market territory and fell to its lowest level since mid-2017 this month, and although the broad rising trend remains intact in the sector, given the global technical picture, we would only look for short-term long positions. We continue to view all rallies as selling opportunities in equities, and the fact that more and more crucial sectors confirm the downturn is another bearish sign.

A Slew of Key Economic Releases on the Last Full Week of the Year

We will have a busy regarding the global economy even besides the Fed meeting and the British releases, with the US and Canada providing the most important indicators. The German IFO index, and US Building Permits and Housing Starts will highlight Tuesday’s session, the Canadian CPI will be out on Wednesday, followed by the Australian Employment Report and the BOJ’s rate decision on Thursday.

The Canadian GDP and Retail Sales will be released on Friday, and the US Durable Goods report will also be out, and following several months of disappointments, a positive surprise could cause a jump in the Dollar, especially we will have a hawkish surprise delivered by the Fed.

ChartBook

Major Stock Indices

S&P 500 Futures, 4-Hour Chart Analysis

Nasdaq 100 Futures, 4-Hour Chart Analysis

Dow 30 Futures, 4-Hour Chart Analysis

VIX (US Volatility Index), 4-Hour Chart Analysis

DAX 30 Index CFD, 4-Hour Chart Analysis

FTSE 100 Index CFD, 4-Hour Chart Analysis

EuroStoxx50 Index CFD, 4-Hour Chart Analysis

Nikkei 225 Futures, 4-Hour Chart Analysis

EEM (Emerging Markets ETF), 4-Hour Chart Analysis

Forex

USD/JPY, 4-Hour Chart Analysis

EUR/GBP, 4-Hour Chart Analysis

AUD/USD, 4-Hour Chart Analysis

Commodities

 

WTI Crude Oil, 4-Hour Chart Analysis

Gold Futures, 4-Hour Chart Analysis

Copper Futures, 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 419 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

Signs of Slowing China Rattle U.S. Stocks; Cryptos on the Verge of New Lows

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U.S. stocks sold off anew Friday after Chinese retail sales data pointed to a severe slowdown in the nation’s consumption-oriented growth, triggering fresh concern over the health of the global economy. Meanwhile, the cryptocurrency market approached $100 billion for the first time since August 2017, a level that would have seemed unfathomable just six months ago.

Learn more about the factors that influenced the market in our weekly review.

Hard Fall on Wall Street

The benchmark U.S. indexes fell hard in the final session of the week. The Dow Jones Industrial Average plunged 496.87 points, or 2%, to close a 24,100.51. The Dow 30 is down a staggering 2,700 points from its October peak.

The much broader S&P 500 Index fell 1.9% to 2,599.95, the lowest in over eight months. All 11 primary sectors finished in the red, with health care and energy stocks leading the market lower. Health stocks plunged by an average 3.4%. Shares of energy companies were down 2.4%. Information technology and consumer staples also posted heavy losses.

A hard slide for information technology dragged the Nasdaq Composite Index sharply lower. In doing so, the tech-heavy index nearly joined its counterparts in negative territory for the year. The Nasdaq closed at 6,910.67, having lost 2.3%.

The CBOE Volatility Index, also known as the VIX, rose in the final session of the week, painting a grim picture for Wall Street over the next 30 days. VIX climbed 4.8% to close at 21.63 on a scale of 1-100 where 20 represents the historic mean. The so-called “fear index” has gained a whopping 87% this year.

Investors are exiting U.S. stocks in nearly record fashion, according to Bank of America Merrill Lynch. In a note obtained by Bloomberg, the bank said U.S. equity funds have experienced their second-biggest run in history, bleeding $27.6 billion through Dec. 12. As Bloomberg notes, the bloodbath on Wall Street has erased up to $4 trillion in U.S. stocks since the end of September, a period that was characterized by record highs.

China’s Cause for Alarm

Once again, China was at the center of the selloff on Friday after Beijing reported the biggest slowdown in retail sales in over 15 years. Receipts at Chinese retail stores rose just 8.1% annually in November, which was well below forecasts calling for 8.8%. Industrial production also languished, rising just 5.4% annually during the same month.

The world’s second-largest economy is in the midst of a multi-year cooldown marked by slowing industrial output and a gradual shift away from export-oriented industries. This is part of a much broader strategy to transform China into a consumer-oriented economy. However, heavy reliance on traditional smokestack industries remains a focal point to the nation’s short-term economic well-being.

China remains heavily dependent on exports, which means it relies on a strong U.S. economy as a destination market. This has given the Trump administration considerable leeway in pressuring Beijing to reform its trade policies. China and the U.S. have made considerable progress on trade talks in recent weeks but a comprehensive deal has yet to be reached.

Cryptos Locked in Bearish Retreat

Cryptocurrency prices on Friday touched new lows for the year, offering little doubt that a new bear-market bottom was around the corner. The combined value of all coins in circulation fell to $102 billion, the lowest in 16 months.

Bitcoin’s price briefly fell below $3,200 for the first time this year, extending its daily loss to more than 4%. The leading digital currency is down roughly 5% for the week, though its share of the overall market continues to grow amid a mass exodus from altcoins.

XRP, Ethereum and EOS each recorded declines of at least 3% on Friday; Stellar XLM was down 9%, falling below 10 cents for the first time this year.

With the exception of Tether, a dollar-backed stablecoin valued at $1.00, all cryptocurrencies in the top-20 were down at least 4% during the session. Twentieth ranked Maker (MKR) was the biggest laggard, falling 13% on the day.

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 701 rated postsSam Bourgi is Chief Editor to Hacked.com, where he leads content development for one of the world's foremost cryptocurrency resources. Over the past eight years Sam has authored more than 10,000 articles and over 40 whitepapers in the fields of labor market economics, emerging technologies, cryptocurrency and traditional finance. Sam's work has been featured in and cited by some of the world's leading newscasts, including Barron's, CBOE and Forbes. Contact: sam@hacked.com Twitter: @hsbourgi




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Analysis

Forex Update: Dismal Chinese Data Causes Turmoil in Markets

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Forex Market Snapshot

Asset Current Value Daily Change
EUR/USD 1.1302 -0.47%
GBP/USD 1.2571 -0.68%
USD/JPY 113.35 -0.21%
AUD/USD 0.7179 -0.66%
GOLD 1,243 -0.20%
WTI Crude Oil 51.16 -3.18%
BTC/USD 3,180 -2.54%

We continue to have an unusually active December in traditional financial markets, as the recent bearish shift, the continued Brexit woes and the slowing global economy add up to a very nervous trading environment. Volatility is especially high in stock markets compared to seasonal averages but currencies are also having very active days, with the Dollar clearly being in focus.

Today we had negative headlines in China with both industrial production and retail sales missing the consensus estimates by a mile, and the history of manufactured economic releases from the country makes that even scarier.

It’s no surprise that the Chinese stock market is leading the way lower globally, while the Chinese Yuan is also among the weakest currencies globally, even amid the improving trade-related sentiment. Risk-on currencies got it hard today, and the Dollar is defying its bearish seasonality, trading very close to its recent lows, confirming the broad risk-off shift.

Technical Analysis

GBP/USD, 4-Hour Chart Analysis

The Great British Pound continues to trade with pronounced relative weakness, and as Prime Minister Theresa May was sent home empty-handed from Brussels, with the leaders of the EU refusing to renegotiate the draft Brexit plan, the currency’s position just got even shakier.

From a technical standpoint, the Cable confirmed the key breakdown with a failed pullback in the past couple of days, and with no major support found above the generational lows near 1.20, long-term odds now favor a test of that zone, and bulls shouldn’t enter positions below the key 1.27 level.

EUR/USD, 4-Hour Chart Analysis

The EUR/USD pair dipped below the 1.13 level after yesterday’s the dovish growth and inflation forecast by the European Central Bank and today’s strong US Retail Sales report. The US economy continues to perform relatively well compared to its global peers, and although we think that the slowdown will eventually reach the US, the fiscal stimulus and the labor momentum could keep the engines going for a while.

That only adds to the buying pressure which is pushing the USD higher, and the troubles in the European financial system are also mounting, which could lead to another leg lower in the common currency next year. The main technical levels to watch are still the 1.12 support and the 1.1440 resistance, and with the broader downtrend clearly being intact in the most traded currency pair.

AUD/USD, 4-Hour Chart Analysis

The AUD/USD pair fell below the bearish wedge pattern on the negative Chinese news as we expected, and it’s now testing the 0.7165 support zone. A move towards the 0.70 level is likely in the coming weeks, should the pair violate the support zone, and the short-term trend change is close to being confirmed, while the broader downtrend is clearly intact, with strong resistance ahead near 0.7250 and 0.74.

WTI Crude Oil, 4-Hour Chart Analysis

Another rally attempt faded away today in crude oil, and the crucial commodity continues to trade in a bearish consolidation range following the series of dead-cat-bounces. The top of the range is found near the $54.25 per barrel price level, while strong support is found in the $49.50-$50 per barrel range.

Given the deeply oversold long-term momentum readings, bulls can open speculative long positions near the bottom of the range, despite the clearly intact long-term downtrend, while bears should wait for a larger scale bounce to reenter the market.

Key Economic Events on Monday

ChartBook

Forex

USD/JPY, 4-Hour Chart Analysis

EUR/GBP, 4-Hour Chart Analysis

EUR/JPY, 4-Hour Chart Analysis

AUD/JPY, 4-Hour Chart Analysis

GBP/JPY, 4-Hour Chart Analysis

USD/CHF, 4-Hour Chart Analysis

USD/CNH, 4-Hour Chart Analysis

Commodities

Gold Futures, 4-Hour Chart Analysis

Copper Futures, 4-Hour Chart Analysis

Major Stock Indices

S&P 500 Futures, 4-Hour Chart Analysis

DAX 30 Index CFD, 4-Hour Chart Analysis

Nikkei 225 Futures, 4-Hour Chart Analysis

Shanghai Composite Index CFD, 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 419 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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