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Oil Hits Mid-2015 Highs as Tech Drags on U.S. Stocks

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U.S. stocks finished lower on Tuesday, as a major overhaul of the  tax code before Christmas failed to brighten investor sentiment. Meanwhile, oil prices rose to their highest level since mid-2015 after a Libyan pipeline blast threatened supplies.

Stocks Struggle for Momentum

U.S. stocks finished mostly lower on Tuesday, with technology companies among the worst performers. The S&P 500 Index closed down 0.1% at 2,680.50, with four of 11 sectors contributing to the decline.

The index’s information technology component fell 0.7%, with hardware companies and semiconductor providers shouldering the heaviest losses.

Shares of Apple Inc. (AAPL) declined on reports of weaker than expected iPhone X demand. Taiwan’s Economic Daily News reported that Apple will slash its outlook for iPhone X sales this quarter to 30 million units from 50 million. Other reports suggested that the iPhone X’s $999 price tag could reduce consumer demand.

Apple’s weak performance weighed on the Dow Jones Industrial Average. The blue-chip index, which tracks 30 of Wall Street’s biggest companies, finished virtually flat at 24,746.21.

Stumbling tech shares also weighed on the Nasdaq Composite Index, which fell 0.3% to 6,936.25.

Other sectors to report losses included utilities, financials and materials.

A measure of 30-day volatility known as the CBOE VIX rose on Tuesday and closed at its highest level in almost two weeks. The so-called “fear index,” which trades on a scale of 1-100, rose 3.5% to 10.25.

U.S. Crude Hits $60

Oil futures traded on the New York Mercantile Exchange rose above $60 a barrel on Tuesday for the first time since June 2015. The West Texas Intermediate (WTI) benchmark for U.S. crude futures rose $1.33, or 2.3%, to $59.80 a barrel. ICE Brent futures climbed $1.56, or 2.4%, to $66.81 a barrel.

Oil prices have been trekking higher on renewed confidence that major oil crude producers will be able to drain the supply glut. However, the Tuesday rally was triggered by news of a pipeline explosion in Libya, which reportedly compromised 90,000 barrels a day in supply. The war-torn African nation pumped 973,000 barrels per day in November.

Rising oil prices lifted other energy-related investments. Energy stocks traded on the S&P 500 Index were the top performers Tuesday, rising 0.8%.

Crude wasn’t the only commodity to strengthen on Tuesday. Gold prices rallied $8.80, or 0.7%, to $1,287.60 a troy ounce on the Comex division of Nymex. That was bullion’s highest level in nearly a month.

Commodity traders took advantage of a subdued U.S. dollar after the holidays. The dollar index (DXY) traded within a narrow range before consolidating at 93.29. The DXY index is headed for a yearly decline of roughly 9%.

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 601 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: Sell The Rumor, Buy The News?

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After a long period of uncertainty, the US finally decided to commence with the second round of tariffs directed at China, slapping a 10% levy on $200 billion worth of goods, and threatening with tariffs on another $267 billion of goods in case of a Chinese retaliation. The tariffs will increase to 25% in 2019, but for now, the Chinese response was measured, with only an announcement coming from the Chinese ministry of commerce, saying that the country has no choice but to retaliate.

Shanghai Composite, 4-Hour Chart Analysis

While stock futures fell initially following the after-hours announcement by Donald Trump, today equities are slightly higher across the board, with even the Shanghai Composite staging a rally off its fresh bear market low. The new tariffs were widely expected by the market, so the “buy-the-news” response is understandable, but for a sustained rally in Chinese assets, a resumption of the trade talks between the two largest economies would likely be needed.

DAX 30 Index, 4-Hour Chart Analysis

The main European indices are little changed with the DAX still hovering around the 12,000 level and the EuroStoxx 50 being stuck ear 3350. Both benchmarks hit three-week highs in early trading, but the rally on the Old Continent is still lacking real momentum, especially given the distance to the bull market highs.

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

Emerging markets are still very weak with the recent bounce being barely visible on the charts, and the segment is still stuck in a strong downtrend, with especially the most vulnerable countries weighing heavily. Emerging market currencies are mixed today, with the Turkish Lira completely erasing its rate hike gains, but with the Brazilian Real, the Chinese Yuan, and the Argentinean Peso being relatively stable after the US trade announcement.

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

Stocks are set to open slightly in the green on Wall Street, with the major indices still being within striking distance of their all-time highs, and with only the Nasdaq pulling back meaningfully recently. The S&P 500 is just a tad below its record high, and with the MACD indicator back in neutral territory, a move to new highs could still be just around the corner.

Dollar Stable as Oil Jumps Amid Syria Escalation

Interestingly forex markets remained stable despite the trade war escalation, with the Dollar drifting slightly lower compared to its major peers, and losing a bit more ground against the main China-related currencies. Commodities are also higher today, with especially the China-linked copper and crude oil being in the green and gold trading virtually unchanged.

WTI Crude Oil Futures, 4-Hour Chart Analysis

While the scope of the Syrian conflict shrank in recent months, the tensions around the last rebel stronghold Idlib are rising. Russia and Turkey (which back opposing forces) surprisingly announced the formation of a demilitarized zone around the city to avoid a siege and a likely bloodbath, but overnight, a Russian recon plane was downed, which could lead to a reescalation in the country.

Russia is blaming Israeli forces for the casualty, and an open conflict between the two countries would be increase risks in the region, and possibly drive oil prices higher. The Brent Oil contract has been already outperforming the WTI one thanks to the sanctions against Iran, and today Saudi officials stated that the Kingdom is comfortable with the $80 per barrel Brent price, further widening the divergence between the two contracts.

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 347 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 Fall as Trump Set to Unveil New China Tariffs; Crypto Selloff Resumes

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U.S. stocks declined on Monday as investors once again weighed the prospects of an all-out trade war between the United States and China. On the cryptocurrency front, Ethereum led a broad decline in afternoon trading.

Stocks Fall

All of Wall Street’s major indexes headed for losses on Monday. The technology-heavy Nasdaq Composite Index was the hardest hit, falling 1.4% to 7,895.79. The large-cap S&P 500 Index fell 0.6% to 2,888.80, with losses mainly concentrated in information technology and consumer discretionary shares. Dow industrials closed down 92.55 points, or 0.4%, to 26,062.12.

The CBOE Volatility Index, commonly known as the VIX, spiked 12.8% to 13.62. The so-called “fear index” had declined in each of the past five sessions. Prior to that, it reached two-month highs as stocks declined following Labor Day.

U.S.-China Trade War

The White House is preparing to unveil a new round of tariffs on China targeting $200 billion in goods, marking the most dramatic escalation in the year-long trade war. According to the Financial Times, Washington’s trade haws are urging President Trump not to back down on tariffs, which are believed to run as high as 25% for certain goods. U.S. officials had previously said they are likely to impose a 10% tariff rate on 40% of Chinese imports.

The Trump administration is escalating its trade war against China amid reports that Beijing was looking to take a more assertive stance on tariffs. That said, China’s Foreign Ministry has once again reiterated that a trade war isn’t in anyone’s interest.

“We have always maintained that the only correct means to resolve the trade dispute is through dialogue and consultation on an equal basis with mutual trust and respect,” ministry spokesman Geng Shuang recent said, as quoted by CNBC.

The new round of tariffs will be announced mere days after both countries signaled their readiness to return to the negotiating table.

Cryptos Decline

The cryptocurrency market was back on the defensive Monday, with Ethereum leading a broad downtrend that included tokens, altcoins and bitcoin. The combined market capitalization of all coins fell to a low of around $193 billion, according to CoinMarketCap.

Ether’s price pivoted lower after regaining more than 30% of lost value. The second-largest cryptocurrency plunged10.5% to $197.50. Among the top-ten ERC-20 tokens by market cap, nine reported losses.

Bitcoin also pulled back sharply after failing to make new highs. BTC was down 3% to $6,311 despite relatively strong technical indicators that pointed to short-term upside.

There was no immediate catalyst for the sudden reversal, a sign that bearish sentiment continues to dictate market trends. In terms of news, Ripple has confirmed that one of Japan’s largest financial institutions will soon launch a payment app using the company’s xCurrent technology. Meanwhile, security issuer XBT has announced plans to launch a new product designed to give investors access to a basket of cryptoassets.

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 601 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: China Bear Market Deepens as Shares Hit 4-Year Lows

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Global stocks and other risk assets started the week with slight losses so far, and the recently weak segments continue to struggle, while US markets are still acting relatively strong, suggesting the continuation of the recent trends. European markets are among the weaker ones again, even after last week’s bounce, with the major benchmarks all being around 10% off their highs, in stark contrast with their US peers.

Shanghai Composite, 4-Hour Chart Analysis

With all eyes on the second round of US tariffs directed to China, it’s no surprise that the pressure on the Shanghai Composite didn’t ease yet, and the benchmark slid to yet another almost 4-year low this morning. The Chinese Yuan is holding on well in the meantime, with the August low being in no danger, as of now.

USD/TRY (Turkish Lira), 4-Hour Chart Analysis

That said, emerging market currencies are back in the crosshairs, with Argentinean Peso, the Brazilian Real, and the Turkish Lira all drifting in early trading.  The Lira, which got a boost from the emergency 6% rate hike by the local central bank last week, is headed towards pre-rate hike levels, and that doesn’t bode well for the coming weeks with regards to Turkish and other emerging market assets.

Dow Futures, 4-Hour Chart Analysis

Economic releases will be few and far between this week compared to last week’s busy calendar, and today, only the Empire State Manufacturing Index made some waves, missing the consensus estimate, and suggesting a slowdown in the recently well-performing US segment. The final CPI in the Eurozone didn’t cause any surprises, coming in at the originally reported 2.0% annualized rate. The Dow, the Nasdaq, and the S&P 500 all opened slight below Friday’s levels after the releases, but the more interesting moves are in Forex markets.

Dollar Declines Against Majors as Commodities Mixed

DXY, 4-Hour Chart Analysis

After Friday’s bounce, the Dollar couldn’t maintain its momentum and today, the reserve currency is lower against most of its global peers, with the Dollar index sliding towards its July lows. With the Fed’s next rate hike just around the corner, the current move is more the product of Mario Draghi’s inflation warning, which is pushing the Euro higher since Thursday’s ECB meeting.

From a longer-term perspective, the Dollar’s strength could be undermined by the Trump administration’s pro-cyclical fiscal expansion, at least against the majors, but until the US economy keeps on booming, we expect bulls to be in control of the Greenback’s market.

Gold, 4-Hour Chart Analysis

Commodities are trading without a clear direction today, with copper following Chinese stocks lower, maintaining the strong correlation, while gold and crude oil are slightly higher. The WTI crude contract is edging towards the $70 per barrel price level again, still trading within a narrowing range, while the main precious metal is also stuck near the $1200 level following a four-month-long decline.

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 347 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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