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Market Overview

Week in Review: Stocks Rise With Oil and the Dollar as Cryptocurrencies Stall

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U.S. stocks returned to record territory this week as technology earnings lifted investors’ spirits after a volatile week. Gains on Wall Street were accompanied by a boom in oil prices and steady gains in the dollar following upbeat economic data. Meanwhile, cryptocurrencies traded at a standstill, with most of the attention paid to bitcoin and Bitcoin Gold.

Nasdaq’s Meteoric Rise

The Nasdaq Composite Index notched huge gains on Friday after Microsoft, Amazon, Intel and Google parent Alphabet all posted stellar quarterly results. On Friday, the tech-heavy index rose 2.2% to a new record high of 6,701.26. A total of 205 Nasdaq-listed companies posted new highs on Friday. For the week, the Nasdaq gained more than 1%.

The large-cap S&P 500 Index joined the Nasdaq in record territory on Friday after gaining 0.8% to close at 2,581.07. Six of 11 sectors posted positive results, with information technology adding 2.9%.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average advanced 0.1% to 23,434.19, finishing just shy of an all-time record. The blue-chip last finished in record territory on Tuesday. For the week, it gained around half a percent.

Wall Street’s Friday rally sapped volatility from the market after four days of anxiety-driven trading. The Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE) Volatility Index plunged 13.3% on Friday to close at 9.80. Vol had risen in each of the previous four days.

Earnings Update

Corporate earnings continued this week, with a deluge of S&P 500 companies reporting. As of Friday’s close, 55% of the companies in the S&P 500 reported actual results for the third quarter, according to FactSet. Of them, 76% reported positive earnings surprises and 67% said revenues exceeded forecasts.

For Q3, the S&P 500 is heading for a blended earnings growth rate of 4.7%. Six sectors have reported earnings growth for the quarter, with energy leading the way higher.

Oil Prices at Six-Month Highs

It was a big week in the energy markets as crude oil notched fresh six-month highs on supply-side. The Arab-led Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) is open to extending output cuts beyond March 2018, according to various sources.  The cartel is forming a consensus around extending the production freeze in a continued effort to re-balance the market.

Brent crude for December settlement added 1.9% on Friday and 4.7% for the week to close at $60.44 a barrel on London’s ICE Futures exchange. That was Brent’s first settlement north of $60 since 2015.

U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) futures added 4.7% this week to finish at $53.90 a barrel.

Dollar Rally Hits Three-Month High

The U.S. dollar forged ahead this week, rising 1.3% over the five-day period to close at more than three-month highs. The dollar index (DXY), a broad gauge of the greenback against a basket of six currencies, closed at 94.92.

Dollar bulls were encouraged by a preliminary GDP report showing the economy grew 3% annually in the third quarter. The economy has now expanded by at least 3% in back-to-back quarters for the first time since 2014.

The greenback surged against the Canadian dollar this week after a cautious Bank of Canada kept monetary policy on hold. The USD/CAD exchange rate reached a high of 1.2913 on Friday before settling about 100 pips lower.

Meanwhile, the EUR/USD plunged to three-month lows after the European Central Bank (ECB) announced that it is willing to grant an extension to its existing bond-buying program. The EUR/USD settled at 1.1604 on Friday, having declined 1.4% for the week.

Bitcoin Gold

Earlier this week, an alternative version of bitcoin came into existence following the increasingly common “hard fork” process. Bitcoin Gold (BTG) rose to as high as $680 following the hard fork that occurred Tuesday. However, prices would later plunge to a fraction of that level as sellers took control of the market. At last check, BTG was down more than 6% at $119.

Bitcoin prices stalled on Friday and declined nearly 5% for the week. The world’s largest cryptocurrency by market cap was last seen trading around $5,756, according to Bitstamp.

Ethereum prices jumped on Tuesday to $310 before giving back most of its gains over the next 24 hours. Ether continues to trade in familiar territory below $300.

The Week Ahead

Several prominent market events are scheduled next week, culminating in a Friday report on U.S. nonfarm payrolls. Preliminary CPI data out of Germany and the Eurozone will also make headlines early in the week.

In terms of monetary policy, the Bank of England (BOE) will deliver its next interest rate verdict on Thursday. The BOE is expected to raise interest rates by 25 basis points to 0.5% in response to surging inflation.

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 649 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.

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Major Stock Indices

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FTSE 100 Index CFD, 4-Hour Chart Analysis

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

Forex

USD/JPY, 4-Hour Chart Analysis

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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 649 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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