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#DeleteFacebook

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The global stock market sell-off continued yesterday and bearing the brunt of it were shares in the world’s largest social network.

Facebook fell a whopping 6.77% during yesterday’s session after it was revealed that a massive data breach allowed Cambridge Analytica to harvest the personal information of 50 million users without their permission and use it in the 2016 Trump elections.

The hashtag #DeleteFacebook is now trending on Twitter and Mark Zuckerberg’s personal wealth has dropped by $5 billion overnight.

However, this couldn’t possibly be the sole reason for the global sell-off. In fact, there are several other factors weighing on stocks lately and the entire year has been marked by heavy volatility and general uncertainty in the markets.

In today’s premium market webinar we will discuss some of those factors and some steps you can take to protect your portfolio. This webinar is usually held for Platinum members twice a month but due to the urgency of recent events, I would like to invite all of my readers to join in today at 15:00 GMT.

Space is limited so please register now at: http://etoro.tw/Pwebi32018

@MatiGreenspan
eToro, Senior Market Analyst

Today’s Highlights

  • Volatility is Backwards
  • Focus About to Shift
  • Crypto Support

Please note: All data, figures & graphs are valid as of March 20th. All trading carries risk. Only risk capital you can afford to lose.

Traditional Markets

Several financial websites pointed out a clear sign of weakness in global stock markets and the indicator that they’re pointing to is called VIX Backwardation.

As we know, the VIX index shows the level of volatility in the SPX500 stock index and after the record low levels witnessed in 2017, the first quarter of this year has been particularly bumpy.

What we don’t always pay attention to is that are the futures contracts of the VIX, Usually, the price of a VIX contract is more expensive the farther out you go. Meaning, traders are willing to pay a higher price for contracts that expire in a year from now than they are for one expiring next month. This is because the farther into the future you go the more uncertain things become.

Today however, this metric has been flipped upside down with traders paying a higher price for contracts that are closer to today’s date. This means that traders are willing to pay a higher price for short term protection than they are for protection in the future.

Notice on the following chart how the contracts are progressively lower from March until June.

Focus is Shifting

Many of you will recall that one of the main factors mentioned as the reason for the sell-off in February was Fed tightening.

The idea that interest rates are about to rise is particularly scary for long term stock traders because it means that anybody who borrowed money to buy stocks over the last few years will now need to re-think their investments.

Tomorrow, the US Federal Reserve is all set to raise their interest rates by 0.25% in the very first meeting that will be chaired by the new Fed boss Jerome Powell.

This has been the top thing on the minds of many investors over the last few months. Of course, we’ll take a deeper look in tomorrow’s update and in today’s webinar that we mentioned above but for now, just know that this is happening and will likely play into today’s market movements.

Crypto Support

Mark Carney’s letter to the G20 really went a long way to help support the prices of bitcoin and the alts. Though the meeting in Buenos Aries still isn’t over, at this point it does seem unlikely that any bad news will be coming from the world’s financial leaders.

While the world watches for any updates in South America, my eyes are locked on a different part of the world…. Japan.

Bitcoin is legal in Japan and these days the volumes there make up about half of the overall trade on digital currencies worldwide.

As we mentioned in Friday’s update, Japan is currently going through somewhat of a political crisis. So much so that the finance minister Taro Aso had to skip the G20 meetings, where he was largely expected to speak from a place of experience, about cryptocurrencies.

For the moment, the situation in Japan is largely contained and so far has been serving to strengthen the Japanese Yen. Prime Minister Abe finds himself at the center of all this is a big supporter of the weak Yen policy.

Now, many Japanese citizens are familiar with the markets and are excellent traders. So, as long as the Yen continues to strengthen they may just hold out on making large bitcoin purchases. However, if the political fear subsides, or if the Bank of Japan decides to intervene and weaken the rising Yen, this could create buying pressure on Bitcoin.

The alternative of course, if the political uncertainty gets worse, could create buying pressure for altogether different reasons.

Let’s have an awesome day!

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

eToro: @MatiGreenspan | Twitter: @MatiGreenspan | LinkedIn: 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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Analysis

Volatile and Flat US Session Ends a Hectic Week for Stocks

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The major US indices finished virtually unchanged today, despite the positive open, while short-dated Treasuries closed the week near their multi-year lows. The session had several ups and downs, but the uptick in yields and the weakness in Europe proved too much for a sustained move higher to develop, despite the string of better-than-expected quarterly earnings reports.

S&P 500 Index Futures, 4-Hour Chart Analysis

From a broader perspective we can say that another bounce faded in stocks, with small-caps underperforming yet again, so the risk-off trend got one more confirmation.

Russell 2000, 4-Hour Chart Analysis

We have been tracking the main US small-cap benchmark all week long, as it has been precisely leading the broader market in recent weeks, and today the index got very close hitting a new 6-month low. The next week will be crucial for global risk assets, as given the long-term breakdowns in the main European benchmarks, the new bear market lows in Chinese stocks, and the ugly market internals on Wall Street, this might be the last opportunity to avoid protracted bearish period, or even a global bear market.

While Italian assets are under severe pressure, with government bond yields charging higher, decoupling from the “core” of the Eurozone, credit markets in general are not showing signs of broad distress. With that in mind, we don’t expect 2008-like dislocations in financial markets, for now, but investors should watch high-yield corporate bonds, where large excesses built up in recent years.

Forex Markets Turn Choppy as Dollar Pulls Back Again

EUR/USD, 4-Hour Chart Analysis

The China-led rebound in equities, which faded in late trading, and the Dollar’s retreat were the two main drivers in forex markets today. The EUR/USD recovered above the key 1.15 level after reaching as low as 1.1430 in early trading, while the Dollar index also failed to rise above its recent swing high, so the reserve currency could continue to consolidate before re-testing the August lows.

The bounce in the Euro was helped by the rumors regarding a possible new budget proposal from Italy, and as Moody’s downgraded Italy after the US market close, we will likely see further choppy, hard-to-trade action in currencies, especially given the large moves in US Treasury yields.

Gold Futures, 4-Hour Chart Analysis

Commodities had a mostly bullish day thanks to the Dollar’s dip, with copper and crude oil both recovering after yesterday’s selloff. The WTI crude contract bounced back all the way to the $70 per barrel level, while copper avoided a key breakdown out of its lengthy consolidation pattern.

Gold is also consolidating, albeit in a much different technical position, as the precious metal is trying to form a swing low that would confirm a short-term uptrend after last week’s breakout. A move above short-term resistance would likely lead to a test of the $1245-$1250 zone, with a likely rally up to the next major resistance level near $1260.

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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4.6 stars on average, based on 380 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

Market Update: U.S. Stocks Settle Mixed in Choppy Trade; Cryptocurrencies Endure Modest Pullback

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U.S. stocks traded mixed on Friday, as only one of three major bourses managed to bounce back from the heavy losses incurred in the previous session. Cryptocurrencies showed signs of wobbling early on before a modest recovery kept the market near break-even.

Stocks Lose Steam

The large-cap S&P 500 Index held higher up until the final moments of trade before running out of gas. It settled flat at 2,767.78 following a back-and-forth session. Among the 11 major sectors tracked by the index, five reported gains. Consumer staples were the strongest contributors, surging more than 2% as a whole. Utilities companies and financials stocks also reported firm gains.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average also finished in positive territory, adding 64.89 points, or 0.3%, to close at 25,444.34.

Meanwhile, the technology-driven Nasdaq Composite Index fell further into the red, shedding 0.4% to 7,449.03.

A measure of implied volatility known as the CBOE VIX held near the historic average on Friday, as the recent string of tumultuous sessions eroded risk sentiment on Wall Street. The so-called fear gauge closed just below 20 on a scale of 1-100.

U.S. equity markets pulled back sharply on Thursday as China-induced volatility weighed on investors’ sentiment. Chinese stocks led a global recovery on Friday as policymakers offered soothing remarks on the health of the economy. Still, the benchmark Shanghai Composite Index is down double-digits this month.

Earnings Show Promise

Another batch of upbeat corporate earnings have helped smooth out the recent bout of volatility in U.S. markets. On Friday, Dow blue-chip Procter & Gamble (PG) reported better than expected revenue growth as well as the sharpest rise in quarterly sales in five years. The company posted adjusted per-share earnings of $1.12 on revenues of $16.69 billion.

Other companies to report higher than expected results include Honeywell International Inc. (HON) and Schlumberger Limited (SLB).

As of last Friday, 86% of S&P 500 companies had reported earnings surprises for Q3, according to FactSet. The current blended earnings growth rate for S&P 500 companies is 19.1%.

Crypto Volumes Plunge

Cryptocurrency prices saw limited upside on Friday, as a sharp decline in trading volumes kept investors on the sidelines. The combined market capitalization of all coins bottomed near $206 billion overnight Thursday before recovering near $208 billion. Overall, the market is little changed compared with previous sessions.

Trade volumes are down some 6% over the previous day and nearly 20% compared with a week ago. As CCN recently reported, daily turnover in bitcoin is approaching yearly lows – a clear indication that bullish upside is limited.

Bitcoin posted a quick and dramatic upsurge on Monday as Tether’s USDT token lost its peg to the U.S. dollar. According to Galaxy Digital’s Mike Novogratz, the selloff of USDT is due to a lack of transparency at the parent company.

“I think Tether didn’t do a great job in terms of creating transparency,” he said at a recent conference in Frankfurt, as quoted by Bloomberg. Until now, Tether has refused to provide an audit of its dollar-backed reserves, igniting concerns that it was artificially inflating its stablecoin circulation.

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 647 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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Analysis

Pre-Market Analysis And Chartbook: Risk Assets Higher Thanks to Chinese Bounce

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Friday Market Snapshot

Asset Current Value Daily Change
S&P 500 2,797 0.81
DAX 30 11,568 -0.18%
WTI Crude Oil 69.61 1.35%
GOLD 1,230 0.16%
Bitcoin 6,379 -0.24%
EUR/USD 1.1480 0.24%

Risk assets are having an active and already very busy day after yesterday’s tumultuous session, as volatility continues to be high, especially in equities. All eyes were on Chinese stocks and the Yuan today in early trading, as several key economic numbers were published in the country. Chinese officials lived up to the occasion, doing everything in their power to prop up the market verbally and most likely more directly too.

USD/CNH, 4-Hour Chart Analysis

Chinese stocks started the day lower due to yesterday’s broad global selloff, and although they surged higher towards the end of the session, erasing their early losses, the main benchmarks remain in steep downtrends on all time-frames, and the Yuan is also very close to its cycle lows.

Shanghai Composite Index CFD, 4-Hour Chart Analysis

The quarterly GDP and industrial production came in slightly below expected, continuing the deterioration of the recent quarters, while retail sales beat the consensus estimate, as the consumer segment is still outperforming.

 While the official numbers are far from disastrous, it’s hard to trust the government statistics, given the history of “controlled” releases, and looking at the unofficial indicators, the country’s economy and financial system are under larger stress than reported.

EuroStoxx50 Index CFD, 4-Hour Chart Analysis

Global stock futures celebrated the Chinese rally for a few hours, but a large chunk of the gains is already gone near the end of the European session, and the focus is back on the Italian budget crisis and the looming Brexit deadline.

The Italian banking sector is under heavy pressure on rumors suggesting increased capital flight from the country and although the Euro is stable, the risk-off trade is well and alive on the Old Continent.

The EuroStoxx 50, which has been performing relatively well form a long-term standpoint failed to leave the vicinity of the spring lows, and the mega-cap index is now threatening to join the long-term breakdown of the DAX after the decline of the past couple of sessions.

US Stocks Rebound as Dollar Rally Pauses

Dow 30 Futures, 4-Hour Chart Analysis

The major US indices opened modestly above yesterday’s closing levels, as Treasury yields settled down following the volatile post-Fed-minutes period. The Dow, the S&P 500, and Nasdaq are all stuck in declining short-term trends, and despite the recent strong bounce, last week’s panic lows are still close.

The Volatility Index (VIX) fell back below 20 today, small caps are performing in line with the broader market, so while we remain bearish form a broader perspective, the immediate outlook for equities is mixed, with no strong divergences before the last session of the week.

Today’s bounce is helped by the better-than-expected earnings report of Procter & Gamble (PG), which opened 6% higher, and the slight pullback Dollar, which got close to its 2-month highs today in European trading. Forex markets, in general, are showing a risk-on bias today, with the Australian Dollar and the Kiwi being helped by the Chinese bounce, and with Pound being stable after yesterday’s selloff.

ChartBook

Major Stock Indices

S&P 500 Futures, 4-Hour Chart Analysis

Nasdaq 100 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

Nikkei 225 Futures, 4-Hour Chart Analysis

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

Forex

EUR/USD, 4-Hour Chart Analysis

USD/JPY, 4-Hour Chart Analysis

GBP/USD, 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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4.6 stars on average, based on 380 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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