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Market Update: U.S. Stocks Drift Lower Ahead of Fed; Bakkt Offers Up Physical Bitcoin Futures

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U.S. stocks drifted mostly lower on Tuesday, as traders reduced their exposure to riskier assets ahead of the Federal Reserve’s upcoming policy decision on Wednesday. Crypto markets were down across the board despite getting some positive news from a keenly awaited blockchain startup.

Stocks Mostly Lower

The S&P 500 Index declined 0.1% at 2,915.57, with seven of 11 primary sectors finishing lower. Losses were largely concentrated in utilities and consumer staples. After a strong open, Dow industrials reversed course to finish down 69.71 points, or 0.3%, at 26,492.34.

The technology-heavy Nasdaq Composite Index bucked the downtrend, climbing 0.2% to 8,007.47.

Monetary policy is back in focus on Wednesday as the Federal Reserve concludes its two-day meeting in Washington. Fed officials widely expected to raise interest rates for the third time this year. The policy statement, which will be released at 2:00 p.m. ET, will be accompanied by a quarterly summary of economic projections covering GDP, unemployment and inflation.

Altcoins, Tokens Plunge

The cryptocurrency market lost more than $10 billion in combined value on Tuesday, though losses were largely concentrated in altcoins and tokens. Ethereum, XRP, EOS and XLM – ranked nos. 2, 3, 5 and 6 by market cap, respectively – each fell by at least 10%.

Capital outflows from bitcoin left the digital currency with a loss of 3.9%. BTC was last valued at $6,381 on total trade volumes of $4.5 billion.

After a promising week, cryptocurrencies entered a brief period of consolidation before resuming their slide on Monday. Combined market values are down $24 billion from Friday’s high. While the pullback wasn’t unexpected, given XRP’s massive rally last week, the extent of the selloff offers further evidence of a prolonged bear market that is disproportionately impacting altcoins and tokens.

ICE’s Bakkt Announces Physical Bitcoin Futures

Although bearish forces still control crypto prices, market fundamentals continue to paint a brighter future for digital assets. Case in point: Bakkt, the new cryptocurrency startup created by Intercontinental Exchange (ICE), is set to unveil the first physically delivered bitcoin futures contracts. The announcement, which was confirmed on Tuesday by ICE, will offer new pathways for institutional investors and retail traders to access cryptocurrency.

“Our first contracts will be physically delivered Bitcoin futures contracts versus fiat currencies, including USD, GBP and EUR,” Bakkt tweeted on Tuesday. “For example, buying one USD/BTC futures contract will result in daily delivery of one Bitcoin into the customer’s account.”

ICE’s new crypto platform is set to launch in November. In addition to securitizing crypto assets, Bakkt has partnered with some of America’s biggest companies to bring bitcoin payments to consumers.

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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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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