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Isn’t it Ironic?

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So here’s a nice quote from the Chicago Federal Reserve Senior Economist , Mr. Francois Velde…

“It is hard to imagine a world where the main currency is based on an extremely complex code understood by only a few and controlled by even fewer, without accountability, arbitration, or recourse.”

Of course, he was talking about bitcoin when he said it but many people in the Internet community heard a concise description of the current monetary system, which is held in place by the Federal Reserve and other central banks, the very same institution that Mr. Velde currently serves.

@MatiGreenspan
eToro, Senior Market Analyst

Today’s Highlights

Trump: Putting out Fires

What caused the Crypto Sell-off?

What could drive the next surge?

Please note: All data, figures & graphs are valid as of January 9th. All trading carries risk. Only risk capital you can afford to lose.

Backdrop

For the first time in two years, leaders of North and South Korea got together and had a meaningful discussion. The main result was that the DPRK will likely be sending a team of Olympians to the Winter Games in Pyeongchang next month.

No doubt the President of the United States will be taking at least some of the credit for this groundbreaking change in relationship status, as he has with the soaring stock market, and the roaring economy.

Somehow, I’m pretty Ok with that though. After the fires he’s been putting out lately with the new book “Fire & Fury” and Special Investigator Robert Mueller hot on his heels, the man deserves a win.

Ironic as it may seem, the new tax incentives have in fact improved the outlook for businesses in the USA, even if they are derived from borrowed money. And it is possible that comparing button sizes with Kim Jong Un was exactly what was needed to get the job done.

Crypto Sell Off

A massive sell-off gripped the crypto markets yesterday afternoon. What caused it?

An unannounced data adjustment by coinmarketcap.com. CMC is probably the biggest website in the world of crypto. I myself have included their information in these daily updates many times and according to the Wall Street Journal, the website is ranked in the same ballpark as Alibaba.

It seems the decision was taken to exclude data coming from the South Korean exchanges. As we’ve noted several times, the pricing on cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Ripple is frequently up to 25% higher in South Korea than it is in the rest of the world. So it seems the CMC felt that their data was being offset by this outlier.

The result of this sudden change appeared to many traders to be a sudden drop in the price without any real reason for it, which in turn prompted an onslaught of panic selling.

The biggest and most noticeable drop was Ripple, which was already extremely inflated over the past few weeks and was due for a major correction. But the selling soon spread to the entire crypto-market. Only Ethereum stood out as a safe haven and managed to stay positive throughout the day.

The good news is that because people figured out pretty quickly that the sell-off was due to a fluke, the prices rebounded pretty quickly. The not so great news is that these sudden movements do seem to be sparking further volatility in the market as well as other side effects.

For example, I noticed an anomaly on Cryptocompare.com. From this graph, it appears as if the US Dollar controlled 100% Bitcoin volumes for a few minutes. This is of course highly improbable and is more likely due to imperfections in the data. They did tweet about some delays on their site at around that time and tried to reach out to them for comment but I guess they’re probably pretty busy at the moment.

Ethereum As a Safe Haven

Over the last year and throughout the current crypto-boom Ether has stood out as the most solid blockchain network not just in price and “market cap” but in the number of transactions, transaction speed, the broad variety of use cases, and many other metrics.

But the biggest use case that has just been announced is not receiving nearly as much media coverage as it should.

It seems that the government of Brazil is about to use the Ethereum public blockchain to streamline their political process. Of course, we haven’t heard any official announcement from the government as of yet but sources say that this is not only likely but necessary to restore confidence in the Brazilian Electoral Process.

We will of course keep our ears to the ground. Obviously, a nationwide government backed ERC20 token in the world’s fifth most populated country could have a big impact on the network and on the infrastructure of global technology as we know it.

Many thanks to Alanis Morissette for the title of today’s update. Even though it’s been a while, feels quite natural to insert her jagged little pill inside my own.

As always, please feel free to reach me directly through eToro or any other social network anytime with any questions, comments, feedback, and resources.

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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4.6 stars on average, based on 133 rated postsSenior Market Analyst at Etoro.com.




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2 Comments

2 Comments

  1. johnnyquid

    January 9, 2018 at 6:09 pm

    I really appreciate your candid posts and always look forward to what you write. Cheers to the new year Matti.

    • Mati Greenspan

      January 10, 2018 at 12:42 pm

      Thanks a lot Johnny!!

      Very glad to hear you’re enjoying my drivel. 🙂

      Let me know if you need anything further from my end.

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Analysis

5 Things To Watch Next Week

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An Italian Budget Deal?

EuroStoxx50 Index CFD, 4-Hour Chart Analysis

Outside the European Union, the ongoing debate regarding the Italian budget might be quite perplexing, especially given the strong reaction by financial markets. While the relatively small budget deficit of the country is really violating the rules of the Eurozone, we have seen much larger deviations from the fiscal rules without meaningful consequences.

That said, the sorry state of the Italian financial system, the stealth capital flight from the country, and the structural imbalances of the ECB’s bond purchasing program validate the scrutiny of the EU. Some analysts say that the Italian banking system is outright insolvent, but in any case, deep structural reforms would be necessary, and the real issue behind the debate is the populist anti-EU rhetoric of the new government. With that mind, even if the two sides reach a deal on the budget, which could lead to a strong relief rally in Europe, Italy will likely cause further severe headaches down the road.

Trillions in Market Cap Reporting

Nasdaq 100 Futures, 4-Hour Chart Analysis

The US earnings season is entering its crucial phase, with next week being one of the busiest in this quarter. The Nasdaq will be in the focus throughout the week, but the sheer size of the tech giants reporting means that the whole market could experience wild swings.

The three largest companies Microsoft (MSFT), Amazon (AMZN), and Google parent Alphabet (GOOG), alone represent more than $2 trillion in market value, and Intel (INTC), Verizon (VZ), AT&T (T), Visa (V) are also very important for the US and the global economy.

So far, the quarter surpassed expectations, and should the string of earnings beats continue, it could provide stability to the shaky stock markets. Besides the largest firms, we will keep a close eye on anything China-related, to get authentic information on the real state of the country’s economy.

The European Central Bank Behind the Curve, as Usual…

EUR/USD, 4-Hour Chart Analysis

As global economic growth is clearly slowing, and the Italian worries already caused a widening in the yield spreads between the core and the periphery in the Eurozone, the ECB seems to be way behind the curve with its monetary policies.

Although the tightening the schedule of ECB is very gradual, we could still get a hawkish surprise next week, and that could enter the hall of fame among the disastrous decisions by the central bank. The ECB managed to hike rates in the middle of financial crises before (the summers of 2008 and 2011), and although the Euro’s weakness and the Fed’s tightening steps could give the impression that there is room for a hawkish shift, the macro backdrop suggests otherwise. Look for a strong bounce in the Euro and further weakness in equities, should Draghi & Co. confirm our suspicions.

Will the Chinese Bounce Last?

Shanghai Composite Index CFD, 4-Hour Chart Analysis

2018 for Chinese stocks has been nothing short of disastrous, with the key benchmarks entering deep bear markets, fading all rally attempts so far. With the largest credit bubble in history threatening the country’s financial system, and with Chinese growth being more important than ever for the global economy, what happens in the coming months could be crucial for all investors.

On Friday, one of the lowest (official) GDP prints came out from China, while auto sales also dropped for the first time in decades, suggesting that the stock market could be correct in pricing a hard landing. While the verbal and other forms of intervention lifted stocks before the weekend, should another rally attempt fail, the bear market could enter an accelerating, mainstream phase.

US Midterms Drawing Closer

The Chinese problems are likely not caused, but definitely amplified by the ongoing trade spat with the US, and before the midterm elections in three weeks time, it’s unlikely that we will see easing in the conflict. According to polls and prediction markets, the GOP will likely keep the Senate majority. While the Democrats are still expected to take the House, the Republicans and Trump seem to have the momentum.

As stocks usual suffer in times of political uncertainty, risk assets would likely be better of, at least short-term if the current trends would continue, as A blue House + Senate combination could mean two very stormy years in Washington.

ChartBook

Major Stock Indices

S&P 500 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

Nikkei 225 Futures, 4-Hour Chart Analysis

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

Forex

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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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 648 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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