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Wall Street Shrugs Off Hawkish Fed En Route to New Highs

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U.S. stocks eked out new highs on Thursday as investors digested Fed Day without losing their appetite for risk.

Wall Street Record Streak Continues

Equities rallied at the tail end of a largely uneventful day in the market. The large-cap S&P 500 Index gained 0.1% to close at 2,508.24, its fourth consecutive all-time high. Seven of 11 sectors registered gains, led by energy, industrials and financials stocks. On the opposite side of the ledger, consumer discretionary and utilities stocks were the biggest laggards.

The benchmark’s gains have really narrowed recently, with the most recent four-day run tacking on a mere 13 points.

Blue-chip stocks also contributed to the rally on Wednesday, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average registering its seventh straight record-breaking rally and ninth daily increase overall. The Dow 30 climbed 0.2% to close at 22,412.59.

Meanwhile, the Nasdaq Composite Index pared its losses all the way down to 0.1%. It settled at 6,456.04.

Volatility Drops

Wall Street’s favorite measure of implied volatility dropped below 10 on Wednesday, reaching its lowest since July 26. The Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE) Volatility Index fell 3.9% to 9.78. The so-called “fear index” trades on a scale of 1-100, where 20 represents the historic mean.

The VIX normally trades inversely with the S&P 500. A low Vol reading is normally associated with bullish conditions for U.S. equities.

Volatility has spiked on several occasions throughout the year, as markets responded to geopolitical unrest. Underlying volatility is down more than 30% since Jan. 1.

The Great Unwind

The Federal Reserve surprised no-one Wednesday when it kept interest rates at 1.25%. Officials also played to expectations by announcing October as the start of the ‘great unwind’.

That of course refers to the scaling down of the Fed’s $4.5 trillion balance sheet. Asset reduction has been in the cards for some time, as officials look to normalize rein in monetary easing.

The Fed indicated it would start to shrink its balance sheet by $10 billion a month. At this pace, it will take at least two years for the balance sheet to be cut in half.

Fed officials also maintained their outlook for one more interest rate increase in calendar 2017. This was seen by some analysts as a vote of confidence for an economy that has looked lackluster for long stretches of the year.

U.S. gross domestic product (GDP) accelerated 3% annually in the second quarter. A repeat of that performance will be difficult in Q3 in the wake of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma.

Asian Markets Mixed Following Fed

Asian stocks on Thursday were mixed through the midday, as investors awaited the fallout from the Bank of Japan meeting. The Japanese Nikkei rose 0.8% before noon Tokyo time, extending its one-month gain to 5.6%.

Chinese markets were mixed, with the CSI 300 Index edging up slightly. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index edged lower through midday trading.

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 604 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

Markets Looking for Direction as Dow Eyes All-Time High

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Global stocks have been trading without clear direction so far today, even after Asia kicked off the day in a bullish fashion, with the Shanghai Composite rallying for the second session in a row following Trump’s tariff announcement. The Nikkei retreated a bit after its recent surge, but Europe followed China’s lead and the majority of US stocks are also sporting gains, even as the Nasdaq is in the red, with the likes of Amazon (AMZN), Microsoft (MSFT) and Apple (AAPL) lagging behind.

Dow 30 Index Futures, 4-Hour Chart Analysis

The Dow, which has been relatively strong in the past weeks is outperforming again, thanks now mainly to the jump in mega-cap banks, and the index is edging ever closer to its all-time high from January which is less than 1% away currently. Should the industrial average set a record high, the correction that started with the February mini-crash would be erased by all the US indices, further widening the divergence compared to the rest of the world.

DAX 30 Index CFD, 4-Hour Chart Analysis

Looking closer at Europe, the DAX is trading at its highest level since the first days of the month, similarly to the EuroStoxx50, but the longer-term downtrends are not in danger yet. British assets were in the center of attention today, since the CPI came in higher than expected in the UK, giving a brief boost to the Pound in the generally choppy environment in the Forex segment.

In the US, the housing market provided the most excitement, with building permits significantly missing the consensus estimate of 1.31 million, coming in at 1.23 million, while housing starts beat expectations with 1.28 million units vs. the 1.24 units expected. The sector remains under pressure from rising rates, and activity is clearly below the cycle-peak earlier this year.

US Yields Continue Surge after the BOJ Meeting

2-year US Treasury Yield, 4-Hour Chart Analysis

The upward pressure on yields is apparent today again, with Treasuries plunging and rates rising across the curve. Today, the 30-, 5-, and 2-year yields all hit multi-year highs, and the 10-year yield is also close to the highs it hit in May, as rate hike odds continue to climb before next week’s Fed meeting.

USD/JPY, 4-Hour Chart Analysis

The Bank of Japan didn’t surprise the market today, sticking to its policy despite some recent tightening rumors, and the Yen is virtually unchanged after the decision, with a slight bullish bias.

Gold Futures, 4-Hour Chart Analysis

Commodities are higher today, even as copper gave back most of its early gains, with gold drifting higher towards the $1210 level and WTI crude oil getting back above the key $70 per barrel level. The precious metal is boosted by the slightly weaker Dollar, while oil gained ground after the larger than expected crude inventory draw in the US.

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 348 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 Rise as Investors Shrug Off Tariff War; XRP Leads Crypto Market Recovery  

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U.S. stocks rebounded sharply on Tuesday, with investors seemingly looking past a worsening trade spat between China and the United States. In cryptocurrencies, XRP surged more than 16% in anticipation of a major commercialization effort by Ripple, Inc.

Stocks Recover Lost Ground

All of Wall Street’s major indexes put up firm gains on Tuesday. The large-cap S&P 500 Index rose 0.5% to 2,904.31, with most major sectors finishing higher. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 184.84 points, or 0.7%, to 26,246.96. The technology-driven Nasdaq Composite Index jumped 0.8% to 7,956.11.

On a sectoral basis, consumer discretionary shares were the strongest performers Tuesday, gaining 1.3% as a whole. The S&P 500’s information technology component finished 0.9% higher. Healthcare, energy and industrials also put up firm gains.

The CBOE Volatility Index, also known as the VIX, fell 6.5% to 12.79. The so-called “fear index” surged more than 12% at the start of the week, snapping a five-day losing skid.

Trade-War Escalates

In response to new tariff measures by the Trump administration, China on Tuesday announced it will tax $60 billion in American-made goods. More than 5,000 U.S.-made goods will be targeted in the new round of levies, including meat, alcoholic beverages, automotive parts, clothes and machinery. Levies placed on American products range between 5% and 10%, according to China’s state council.

Hours prior, President Trump said he will impose 10% tariffs on $200 billion in Chinese imports, the most comprehensive measures taken in the yearlong trade spat. The new round of levies will take effect as early as next week.

With respect to China’s countermeasures, Trump issued the following tweet Tuesday morning: “There will be great and fast economic retaliation if our farmers, ranchers and/or industrial workers are targeted!”

Both sides were aiming to return to the negotiating table later this month but those plans appear to have faded. Given China’s massive surplus with the U.S., it is already running out of products to penalize.

XRP Leads Cryptocurrency Rebound

The cryptocurrency market made incremental gains back toward $200 billion on Tuesday after Ripple announced new commercialization efforts for its technology. As a result, XRP surged more than 17% to $0.319, the highest in almost two weeks.

Ethereum exhibited unusual trading activity as prices rose sharply and suddenly over the span of an hour. The second-largest cryptocurrency by market capitalization reached a session high of $222, more than offsetting the previous day’s drop. ETH was last seen trading at $210 for a gain of more than 7%.

Bitcoin also clawed back most of its recent slide, signaling renewed stability in the market.  BTC rose 0.7% to $6,347, based on latest available data.

The total crypto market cap briefly climbed above $200 billion. At the time of writing, the market was valued at $198.7 billion, according to CoinMarketCap.

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 604 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 348 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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