US Opens New Front in Trade War as Oil Plunges

Financial markets are relatively calm today, with most of the major stock benchmarks being virtually unchanged after the weekend. The energy segment is experiencing the most activity as the volatile correction in crude oil prices continues. Besides that, the Euro’s relative strength is notable, but summer trading conditions remain dominant across the board, with low volumes and choppy intraday price action in most of the asset classes.

Shanghai Composite, 4-Hour Chart Analysis

There seems to be no stopping in the global escalation of trade tensions, as amid the Helsinki meeting between Trump and Putin, the US launched an official probe concerning the retaliatory tariffs of its largest trade partners. The move could deepen the standoff not just between the US and China, but the EU and its other allies as well, and global growth is already weakening, so with further trade troubles growth could grind to a halt.

S&P 500 Futures, 4-Hour Chart Analysis

While global stocks are still well off their highs, and Chinese equities remain in bear market territory, the main US indices are holding on to their recent gains, with the Nasdaq being the by far the strongest benchmark globally. The slightly weaker S&P 500 is also trading at a 4-month high despite trade war fears, and as the first earnings reports of the second quarter were slightly better than expected, with Bank of America beating today before the bell, bulls are still in control on Wall Street.

As for economic news, the much awaited US Retail Sales report delivered a small positive surprise, and last month’s figures were also revised higher. The report helped risk assets during the US session, even as the disappointing Chinese Industrial Production number weighed on investors sentiment earlier on.

Dollar Index, 4-Hour Chart Analysis

Despite the bullish numbers, the Dollar lost a bit of ground against its major peers, although forex markets were less active today than recently and the most traded pairs traded in relatively tight ranges after Friday’s hectic session.

Oil Back Below $70 per Barrel as Commodities Remain Weak

WTI Crude Oil, 4-Hour Chart Analysis

Crude oil prices are sharply lower yet again, with the WTI contract leading the way lower as tight short-term supply conditions got better in Canada, and the general weakness in the global commodity segment infected the market oil. The IMF’s report on weakening global growth, and the chatter about the release of some of the global strategic oil reserves also weighed on oil, and the WTI contract is now at $68 per barrel after trading as high as $75 just one week ago.

Copper, 4-Hour Chart Analysis

Elsewhere in the commodity space, it has been a quiet Monday session, with gold drifting slightly lower after a weak rally in early trading, as selling pressure is still apparent among precious metals. Copper, which also has been suffering in recent weeks as Chinese assets got slammed lower, is still consolidating above the strong long-term support zone that we pointed out last week.

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Trader 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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