Midday wrap: Europe higher as risk appetite returns, DAX near ATHs


European markets enjoyed solid gains Thursday as risk appetite returned. But the rally hardly betrays a wanton desire for equities because a) we’re already at or near record highs and b) the selloff had not been especially deep despite US-Iran conflict fears seeing havens enjoy firm bid. Even a shaky ceasefire is enough right now to support the bulls. Stronger-than-expected German industrial production figures (+1.1% vs -1.7% prev and 0.8% est) are helping sentiment, particularly in Frankfurt.

The DAX has led the charge with a 1.25% push higher to 13,485, having earlier touched a high of 13,522. With investors apparently keen to load up on risk with US-Iran tensions easing and a US-China trade deal baked in, we may well see the drive to January 2018’s all-time high just shy of 13,600. Geopolitical risks remain of course with the situation in the Middle East still fluid, but you get the sense the bulls are keen to push this over the line. 

The FTSE 100 added 0.5% to break 7600 with resistance seen at 7675, the high posted Dec 27th.  A softer pound is compensating for the weaker oil price.

Elsewhere US markets are firmer again with the Dow shaping up for a triple-digit gain on the open.

Oil has held just short of $60 with no further losses while gold is also holding the line around $1545. 

In FX, the pound took a drubbing as the market decided Bank of England governor Mark Carney’s comments were more dovish than before. GBPUSD slipped the 1.31 handle to test support on the 50-day moving average around 1.3010. I don’t see much in what he said as particularly more dovish than in the past. Commentary around the likelihood of the UK agreeing a trade deal with the EU before the end of 2020 is also weighing on the pound today. 

Meanwhile, as flagged in the morning note, the bullish engulfing daily candle for USDJPY is resulting in further gains today with the pair moving to 109.50 and momentum in favour of USD across the board. Having cleared the 200-day and other MAs bulls are looking to break the trend line drawn from the falling highs since the swing high of Oct 2018. Big 61% Fib level to cross at 109.60 where we have seen rallies hit a wall several times lately. This level will offer a decent amount of resistance as a result. 

US pre-mkts 

Cowen has come out with a bunch of price target upgrades 

Facebook raised PT to $245 from $240 

Alphabet raised PT to $1575 from $1525 

Twitter raised PT to $34 from $32 

Elsewhere AMD shares are up c2.5% pre-market after Mizuho raised the stock to buy. 

Benchmark has initiated Lyft with a sell rating , price target of $35, which is $10 below yesterday’s closing price. 

Boeing shares are up a touch pre-mkt despite Berenberg cutting to hold. After enjoying a thumping 5% jump yesterday, Tesla shares are a touch softer pre-market after being cut to neutral at Baird, a long-time bull which seems to think the recent rally has run its course. They said: “we would not short the stock and remain positively biased over the long run.” See yesterday’s Equity Strategy: US earnings Q4 preview: Two major stocks to watchfor more on Tesla.

Volatility returns as stocks slip on trade worries, eyes on ISM today

Morning Note

Volatility is a double-edged sword for the trader and, for better or worse, it’s back. The confident march of the bulls into the year-end has come unstuck. With the S&P 500 up 23% and Europe, ex-UK, up about 15% this year there is still room for investors to be booking profits into Christmas that could spell further downside pressure. Last year it was the Fed to blame, today it’s Trump and trade.  Things may get a little dicey as we run towards the Dec 15th deadline for the planned tariff hike on $156bn in Chinese goods by the US.

Stocks continue to feel the heat from Donald Trump’s salvoes tariffs and the mounting risk that the US-China trade war will continue festering like an open sore well into 2020.  China today is saying that it will take necessary countermeasures to defend its interests, refused to set a timeline for a deal and stressed that a trade deal needs to be on the basis of ‘equality and mutual respect’ – not the one-sided deal that Trump is demanding. Nothing in these comments is especially new.

Wall Street had a tough session with the VIX suddenly emerging from its slumber to try a squeeze on 18. The Dow ended down 1% to 27,502 and the S&P 500 dropped two-thirds of one percent to 3,093. But having opened sharply lower bulls took a grip and steadied the ship and we closed at the highs of the day. US large caps should at least benefit from a flight to quality in all this mess.  

Asia has been broadly softer overnight with Sydney and Hong Kong moving down well over 1%. European markets are flattish ahead of the open – FTSE 100 a tad weaker, the DAX a shade higher.

Few pointers 

  • Markets are discounting a trade deal with China being done this year, but it’s still not impossible. The caprice of Trump means, as we have consistently stressed, anything can happen.
  • An EU-US tit-for-tat trade war is a risk but not to be overplayed yet  – most think it can be avoided 
  • Global equities have had a good run this year – there is still plenty of profit taking that could occur in the run-up to Christmas- do we see a repeat of last year and the ‘nightmare on Wall Street before Christmas’? 
  • The market, and Trump, ultimately know the Fed has their back. Pullbacks are to be expected as the market drifts higher and higher
  • After the soft manufacturing PMI on Monday, eyes on today’s ISM non-manufacturing PMI for a health-check of the US economy – could be important as – at present – the market does not seem overly stressed by worries about the US economy after the yield curve inverted and then uncoiled again  – have markets been prematurely ecstatic? Usually after inversion you see a sharp steepening before the recession strikes.

The bid for havens has seen the yen move sharply against the dollar. USDJPY has moved one big figure on the ratcheting up of trade pressures to trade around 108.50, having begun Monday at 109.70 and with bulls confidently eyeing 110. Now we are looking at support emerging from the 50-day moving average at 108.470. A possible golden cross needs to be watched.

Elsewhere in FX, GBPUSD dutifully pulled back from the highs after touching on 1.30 and trying to make to reach its highest since May. As of send time the pair was hovering around 1.2990 – if it taps on the door enough it should open. A lot depends on the confidence the market has in the polls which shout loud and clear that a Tory majority government is coming. Services PMI on tap at 09:30 GMT is of secondary importance but could produce some movement.

EURUSD has done little since moving up to 1.1070. AUDUSD is holding the 68 handle for now. 

Gold has also found bid with yields coming down – US 10s back under 1.7% point to the pressure in equities. Gold rallied to $1482 and a look at the 50-day moving average at $1483 which may offer some resistance near-term. 

Elsewhere, oil is holding in the upwards channel trend with support at $56 holding as we run into the OPEC meeting. Talk of OPEC and allies increasing their curbs – that is, deepening cuts from 1.2m bpd to 1.5m bpd may be overconfidence, but bulls will be hopeful. 

Week Ahead: Brexit crunch time, US earnings season kicks off

Week Ahead

Welcome to your guide to the week ahead in the markets.

European Council Summit 

It’s make or break time for Brexit. EU heads of state hold their next summit this week, starting on Thursday. The meeting also marks UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s last chance to agree a Brexit deal, but the UK’s latest proposals have not met a warm reception. If nothing is forthcoming, the recently passed Benn Act obligates the PM to request an extension by Saturday at the latest. Boris seems to have some plan to circumnavigate the legislation, although Downing Street is unsurprisingly quiet on the details. 

Earnings Season 

The third quarter earnings season on Wall Street gets underway this week, with S&P 500 companies seen posting a year-on-year earnings per share decline for the third straight quarter. 

As usual banks get the season off to a start. Financials posted decent gains in Q3, boosted by a strong +4.5% gain in September.  

JP Morgan (Tuesday) is expected to deliver EPS of $2.45. In Q2 the company reported net income up 16% to $9.65 billion from last year’s $8.32 billion. EPS beat the $2.50 expected at $2.82, rising from $2.29 in the same quarter a year before. Net interest income is the concern in early September at the Barclays conference boss Jamie Dimon said he sees full-year 2019 net interest income down $500M from the last guidance.  

Citigroup (Tuesdayposted good numbers in Q2 as well with EPS of $1.95 topping the $1.80 expected, although trading revenues were down. For Q3 the Street expects EPS growth of c13% at $1.97 a share. Revenues are expected to rise a little less than 1% to $18.54bn. 

Wells Fargo (Tuesday) beat in Q2 but lower net interest income and comments about higher expenses acted as a drag. EPS for Q3 is seen as at $1.20, up 5.3% year-on-year, on revenues seen –5% at $20.85bn. In September the bank’s CFO lowered the net interest income for the third time in five months, with the company now seeing this key profit metric down 6% this year compared with 2018. Bulls will be clinging to anything positive on net interest income. 

Netflix (Wednesday) has had a tough comedown and Wall Street has turned cold on the stock as the risk of a competitive spiral from the rise of rival streaming services threatens to derail the company’s remarkable growth. Investors have shown concern about subscriber growth rates that have started to falter. In Q2 global net adds of 2.7m massively missed expectations for 5m.  

Eco data 

On the high frequency economic data front we are looking at the RBA meeting minutes and Chinese inflation figures early on Tuesday, with the German ZEW economic sentiment survey likely to be key for the European session. 

Wednesday sees the CPI inflation numbers for the UK and Canada, with US retail sales also in focus. 

Thursday, we have the Australian unemployment data, which is a key factor in the RBA’s thinking on monetary policy, before the Phill Fed manufacturing index ahead of the US session. 

On Friday the focus will be the data out of China, with GDP, industrial production and fixed asset investment figures due. 

Tentatively scheduled for Friday is the US Treasury Currency Report, which outlines countries that the US deems currency manipulators.

Corporate Diary

Earnings season is upon us again, here are the notable releases this week.

October 15thJPMorgan Chase & Co
October 15thJohnson & Johnson
October 15thWells Fargo & Co
October 15thCitigroup
October 16thIBM
October 16thNetflix
October 17thMorgan Stanley
October 17thPhilip Morgan
October 18thAmerican Express

 Coming Up in XRay

There are plenty of great sessions coming up on XRay this year. Watch them live on XRay or catch up in a time to suit you.

Don’t forget to ask your questions in advance to xray@markets.com

07.15 GMTOct 14thEuropean Morning Call
10.00 GMTOct 14thLIVE Earnings Season Preview
15.45 GMTOct 15thAsset of the Day: Oil Outlook
19.00 GMTOct 15th LIVE Trader Training
18.00 GMTOct 17thThe Stop Hunter’s Guide to Technical Analysis (Part 7)

Key Economic Events

There are lots of releases this week that are likely to impact the markets. Also remember that trade tensions and Brexit rumble on which make also cause volatility.

09.30 GMTOct 15thRBA Monetary Policy Meeting Minutes
09.00 GMTOct 15thGerman ZEW Economic Sentiment
08.30 GMTOct 16thUK CPI
12.30 GMTOct 16thUS Retail Sales
14.30 GMTOct 16thEIA Crude Oil Inventories
00.30 GMTOct 17thAustralia Employment Change, Unemployment Rate
08.30 GMTOct 17thUK Retail Sales
12.30 GMTOct 17thPhilly Fed Manufacturing
02.00 GMTOct 18thChina GDP, Industrial Production

The US and China are set to restart trade talks

Week Ahead

Welcome to your guide to the week ahead in the markets. This week, US-China trade talks, US inflation, Brexit gets closer and UK GDP announced.

US-China trade talks

The US and China are due to restart high-level trade talks on Thursday (Oct 10th) as the two sides try to hammer out an agreement on reducing tariffs. Failure to reach agreement will likely mean an escalation in tariffs and may spark fears in the market of a greater slowdown in economic activity. The White House delayed imposing tariffs on a large chunk of Chinese imports from Oct 1st until Oct 15th, whilst a range of goods have been exempted until Dec 15th. At the very least market watchers will be eyeing whether these delays can be extended, or the tariffs even scrapped. However, hopes for a comprehensive deal on trade remain low at this stage.

US inflation

The last three readings of the core CPI have shown a steady march higher in inflation, raising the prospect that the Fed could have to walk back on its rate cut ambitions should higher inflation take hold. In the 12 months through August, the core CPI increased 2.4%, the most since July 2018, after climbing 2.2% in July.

Brexit marches closer

We cannot take our eyes off the political developments in the UK as the deadline for Brexit approaches on October. In the next few days we should expect MPs, the government and the EU do a merry dance as the clock ticks down to the key European Council meeting on Oct 17th. Uncertainty is the only certainty and the pound will remain highly exposed to headline risk.


The monthly UK GDP figures will be closely watched in the wake of the soft PMI readings last week, which showed that the economy is close to recession. Markets increasingly think that whatever the outcome on Brexit, the Bank of England will have to cut rates before it thinks about hiking.

Heads Up On Earnings

Earnings season make be over, but there are still a few companies publishing. Make a note of these dates:

Oct 8thLevi StraussQ3
Oct 8thYUM! Brands IncQ3
Oct 9thGVC HoldingsQ3

Watch the Week Ahead on XRay

There’s a lot going on this week, and we discuss the headlines in our XRay videos. Watch live or catch-up at a convenient time.

Don’t forget to email xray@markets.com any questions you have and our hosts will try to answer them.

07.15 GMTOct 7thEuropean Morning Call
15.00 GMTOct 7thCharmer Trading talks Forex
15.45 GMTOct 8thAsset of the Day: Oil Outlook
13.00 GMTOct 9thAsset of the Day: Indices Insights
12.30 GMTOct 10thUS CPI LIVE
18.00 GMTOct 10th The Stop Hunter’s Guide to Technical Analysis (Part 6)

Key Economic Events

There are quite a lot of data published this week. Here are the top events to put in your diary.

07.30 GMTOct 7th UK Halifax House Price Index
08.30 GMTOct 7th EZ Sentix Investor Confidence
00.30 GMTOct 8thNAB Business Confidence (Australia)
TentativeOct 8thChina Trade Balance
12.30 GMTOct 8thUS Core PPI
00.30 GMTOct 9thAustralia Westpac Consumer Sentiment
14.30 GMTOct 9thEIA Crude Oil Inventories
18.00 GMTOct 9thFOMC Meeting Minutes
08.30 GMTOct 10thUK GDP
12.30 GMTOct 10thUS CPI Inflation
12.30 GMTOct 11thCanada Employment Change

Week Ahead: Markets bet on Fed rate cut

Week Ahead

Welcome to your guide to the week ahead in the markets. Federal Reserve, Bank of England and Bank of Japan policy meetings ahead.

Markets bank on Fed cut 

Equity markets have recovered from the August doldrums to push higher, with the S&P 500 hitting 3,000 again. All eyes will be on the Fed this week as it’s expected to cut rates – the question will be how many more cuts should the market bank on? Market pricing suggests a 90% chance of a cut, with a roughly 70% of at least another by the end of the year. The FOMC decision will be announced at 18:00 (GMT) on Wednesday. 

Bank of England to stand pat 

Wages are rising at 4% and inflation is on target at 2% – perfect conditions for the Bank of England to raise rates. But the uncertainty over Brexit and signs of a slowdown in GDP growth are likely to leave policymakers standing pat for the time being. The Monetary Policy Committee decision is due at 11:00 (GMT) on Thursday. 

Anything from Bank of Japan? 

The Bank of Japan is also in action Thursday, with markets anticipating no change to its ultra-loose monetary policy. In fact, governor Haruhiko Kuroda said recently that cutting rates deeper into negative territory is among its policy options. Meanwhile, inflation remains stubbornly low, sinking in July to its weakest level in two years. 

Kingfisher and Next earnings 

Results from Kingfisher and Next are among the main events on the corporate diary. For Kingfisher it’s likely to be more of the same with trading tough in France, whilst things are improving in the UK, where B&Q enjoyed a decent bump in like-for-like sales in the first quarter. Next interims come after it delivered a blockbuster trading statement at the end of July as sales growth in Q2 picked up markedly and was well ahead of expectations. Full price sales rose 4%, a thumping beat on the -0.5% guided in May. 

Corporate Diary

These are the upcoming company announcement to put in your calendar.

September 17thAdobe IncQ3
September 17th FedEx CorpQ1 2020
September 18thKingfisher PlcInterim Results
September 19thNext PlcInterim Results

Coming Up On XRay

Watch live or catch up on YouTube. Plus, if you subscribe via the MARKETSX platform, you can submit questions in real time.

07.15 GMTSept 16thEuropean Morning Call
15.30 GMTSept 17thAsset of the Day: Bullion Billions
15.45 GMTSept 17thAsset of the Day: Oil Outlook
19.00 GMTSept 17thLIVE: Trader Training
18.00 GMTSept 18th The Stop Hunter’s Guide to Technical Analysis (part 3) 

Key Economic Events

There’s a lot going on in the coming week, here are the events we to watch out for.

01.30 GMTSept 17thRBA Monetary Policy Meeting Minutes
09.00 GMTSept 17thGerman/Eurozone ZEW Economic Sentiment
08.30 GMTSept 18thUK CPI Inflation
18.00 GMTSept 18thFOMC Monetary Policy Decision Annoucement
18.30 GMTSept 18thFOMC Press Conference
22.45 GMTSept 18thNew Zealand GDP (QoQ)
01.30 GMTSept 19thAustralia Employment Change/ Employment Rate
04.00 GMTSept 19thBank of Japan Interest Rate Decision
07.30 GMTSept 19thSwiss National Bank Rate Announcement
11.00 GMTSept 19th BoE Monetary Policy Decision Announcement

ECB to loosen policy, data to prompt Fed and BoE easing bets?


Welcome to your guide to the week ahead in the markets. 

ECB monetary policy meeting  

Expectations are high ahead of this week’s European Central Bank policy meeting. A run of poor Eurozone data has raised bets on further rate cuts, while investors have snapped up government bonds in the bloc in anticipation of a potential restart to the quantitative easing programme. 

US ISM was dire – will CPI, retail sales and sentiment be any better? 

Key releases on the US calendar this week could crank up the odds of more easing from the Federal Reserve before the year is through. Last week’s ISM manufacturing print shocked, with the index falling into contraction territory. Soft readings from the upcoming CPI, retail sales, or University of Michigan sentiment index could see further dovish bets. 

UK GDP and average earnings – background noise? 

Sterling remains almost exclusively at the mercy of Brexit-related news flow, but growth and wage figures might draw some attention. After having been stuck on hold thanks to the uncertainty of Brexit, the Bank of England may have to be quick out of the starting gate once the October 31st departure deadline passes. Data recently has been weak and another blow from either growth or earnings would see expectations of a rate cut climb. 

Kroger earnings 

It’s been another bad year for Kroger so far. KR is down 12% year-to-date, compared with rises of 14% for the S&P 500 and 16% for its industry. Peers such as Target and Walmart have had strong quarters. Will Kroger’s own investments in expanding online and delivery offerings help it deliver a strong Q2 report? 

Corporate diary 

September 11thHermes InternationalH1
September 12thWM Morrison SupermarketsQ2 2020
September 13thKrogerQ2

Coming Up on XRay

We’re got loads of great sessions for you this week. with our expert guests and residents. Watch live, or catch up when it’s convenient for you. Subscribe to submit questions that our presenters answer in real time.

07.15 GMTSeptember 10thEuropean Morning Call
15.30 GMTSeptember 10thAsset of the Day: Bullion Billions
15.45 GMTSeptember 10thAsset of the Day: Oil Outlook
07.00 GMTSeptember 12thLive Trading Room
18.00 GMTSeptember 12th The Stop Hunter’s Guide to Technical Analysis

Key Economic Events

Stay ahead of the markets by understanding what key economic events are coming up, and what impact they could have on your trades.

08.30 GMTSeptember 9thUK Monthly GDP
01.30 GMTSeptember 10thChina CPI
08.30 GMTSeptember 10thUK Average Earnings
00.30 GMTSeptember 11thAustralia Westpac Consumer Confidence
11.45 GMTSeptember 12thECB Monetary Policy Rate and Statement
12.30 GMTSeptember 12th US CPI
12.30 GMTSteptember 13thUS Retail Sales
14.00 GMTSeptember 13th US Preliminary Michigan Sentiment Index

M&S out of FTSE 100 for the first time


It’s bad news for Marks & Spencer as the retailer is dropped from the FTSE 100.

It is the first time the troubled food and fashion company has not been a FTSE 100 member since the index was launched in 1984.

The relegation is the latest in a long line of miserable milestones marking the decline of the once-great British retailer.

M&S has had a tough year, with shares down 40% since the start of the year. Based on the closing price of stock on Tuesday, its market value fell below the threshold for inclusion in the index. The announcement was made on Wednesday and the move will be implemented on September 23rd.

This won’t have come has a surprise for traders, as relegation has been on the cards for more than a year as the share price has steadily declined on poor sales, slow uptake of online shopping and recently struggling food business.

The retailer has been one of the losers in the High Street slowdown, but has compounded these issues by dropping the ball with womenswear, with complaints of poor value and enormous competition from fast fashion brands and online retailers.

Its food offering used to be a highlight for the company, but that too has struggled in recent years. Investors hoped that a partnership with Ocado may help the retailer turn things around, but some argue M&S overpaid and is unlikely to realise a return on the deal.

M&S wasn’t the only company relegated or promoted in the FTSE Quarterly review.

FTSE 100 Movers

Micro Focus and Direct Line will also be dropping out of the FTSE 100, and entering the FTSE 250. They will be replaced by precious metals mining company Polymetal, drug-maker Hikma and aerospace and defence group Meggitt.

All three companies have already made appearances in the FTSE 100.

FTSE 250 Movers

Perhaps unsurprisingly, there is more movement in the FTSE 250 review. Amigo Holdings, Funding Circle Holdings and Intu Properties have been demoted from the FTSE 250, alongside Metro Bank. Metro Bank’s shares fell 90 per cent over the last year after an accounting error revealed at the start of the year showed some of its assets were classed as riskier than they should have been.

Fund Manager Neil Woodford suffered another blow as his Woodford Patient Capital Trust was dropped from the index; shares had fallen 40 per cent since the start of the year due to investor fears of illiquid assets. Earlier this year, the Trust froze assets to prevent investors withdrawing funds.

Fashion retailer Ted Baker was also a casualty. The company was hit by a huge scandal in March this year, causing its founder to resign as Chief Executive, as well as facing two profit warnings.

On the flip side, Trainline, which only floated earlier this year, was promoted to the FTSE 250. Other promotions to the index were Airtel Africa, Finablr, Foresight Solar Fund, Sirius Real Estate and Watches of Switzerland Group.

US, China jawbone on trade, but markets aren’t taking the bait


In a remarkable show of restraint, markets have remained in the red despite positive noises on the prospect of reopening trade negotiations between Washington and Beijing.

US and Chinese officials are trying to sound positive on the odds their nations can reach an agreement on trade. It’s just the latest in a cycle of: sound positive > negotiate terms > back away from a deal > raise tariffs.

But this time around it seems markets are becoming wary of the rhetoric. Today, major indices are mostly in the red. Even the cautious optimism of yesterday’s early rise was quickly wiped out later in the New York session as traders thought twice about bidding up the major indices.

It could partly be exhaustion. The past month has seen the Dow gain or lose over 800 points in a single session on more than one occasion. 1,000 point swings are unusual, but not rare for the Hang Seng these days. Gold has seen movements in the region of 2%, while volatility for oil has produced swings of 5% in both directions.

The mystery phone call

On Monday, China’s top negotiator tried to calm fears ignited by Friday’s new tariff announcements. Vice Premier Liu He stated,

“We believe the trade war escalation is bad for China, bad for the United States and bad for the interest of the people in the world. We are willing to use a calm attitude to solve problems by negotiations and cooperation.”

Trump later claimed that “China called last night”, and strengthened the message by telling reporters at the G7 summit that “This is a very positive development for the world”. He later claimed “I think we’re going to make a deal”.

Asian markets trimmed losses and US and European stocks edged higher. But traders weren’t convinced.

Trump’s claim that there had been a phone conversation between officials from the US and China kept markets on the back foot. China’s Commerce Ministry declined to comment when asked by Reuters for confirmation that a call had taken place. While US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said the two sides had been in contact, editor of China’s state newspaper the Global Times, Hu Xijin, claimed that negotiators haven’t talked recently.

After being burned before, markets need something more concrete

It’s not that hard for an official to say that a trade war is bad and they don’t want one. Without confirmation of the key phone call, that’s all markets have to go on.

The major indices today are largely in the red, with the DAX heading towards a 1% loss and US futures pointing to a lower open. Traders clearly aren’t falling for the jawboning – if Trump or Beijing wants to calm market fears they’re going to have to offer up something a lot more solid.

Dow off 575 points; Market turmoil deepens as trade war panic sets in


Where to start? Last week’s surprise announcement from President Donald Trump of new tariffs against China continues to panic markets. Just when it looked like relations were beginning to thaw again, we’re back where we started.

The trade war looks to have no end in sight. The new 10% tariffs on $300 billion of additional Chinese goods could be raised higher. It may even go above the 25% level imposed upon other imports. Beijing has already retaliated (even though the new tariffs don’t come into effect until September): the People’s Bank of China has let the yuan depreciate to its lowest levels in years.

Incredible losses for Dow: Equities hammered again as sell-off deepens

Two weeks ago the stock market seemed like a rosy place. Belief was that the Federal Reserve was about to start a sustained cutting cycle, and that US-Sino relations were on the mend.

Fast forward to today. The Dow is off a whopping 575 points, the SPX is recording 2.2% losses, the FTSE 100 is at a two-month low and the Dax is not far off the lows of April 1st. The ASX has plunged 2.8%, or 191 points, while the Hang Seng has been knocked for six, with losses of 3.8% or 1,000 points taking it down to lows not seen since January 8th.

Meanwhile, the VIX is up two points and challenging the highs of early May.

FX: Chinese Central bank braces for trade pain with yuan devaluation

The yuan is trading above 7 per dollar for the first time in over a decade today after the People’s Bank of China set the daily mid-point of its trading range at US$6.9225.

The dollar may be up against the yuan – and the commodity trio – but elsewhere it is sliding. EUR/USD has leapt 0.6% to trade around 1.1175, USD/JPY has dropped half a percent to trade just above 106, which makes it very likely it’ll be the lowest close of 2019 for the pairing. Meanwhile the greenback has dropped 0.8% against the Swiss franc to 97.50 – its lowest level since the end of June.

While Sterling is holding its ground against the dollar, elsewhere it has tumbled as well. A spokesperson for the European Commission has claimed that the current Brexit agreement is the ‘best deal possible’, denting hopes that Brussels will budge and open the way for more negotiations ahead of the October 31st deadline.

Gold surges as investors flee to safety, oil slides further

Gold is up 1.8%, adding around $25, to trend around $1,465 as markets dump risk and look for shelter in safe-haven assets. Silver has jumped 1.8%.

Meanwhile, crude oil has dropped 1.4% to trade below $54.50 and Brent is down 1.2% and trading around $60.60 after giving up support at $6.

Natural gas is taking an absolute hammering, off more than 5% and trading around $2.035 – not that far from the key psychological $2.00 handle.

Cryptocurrency: Sell off? What sell-off?

Things are much rosier in the cryptocurrency market today, with Bitcoin up 14% to test the $12,000 handle again. Litecoin is up 6.2% ahead of this week’s halving, Ethereum has gained nearly 5%, and Bitcoin Cash and Dash are both trading up 3.3% on today’s opening levels. Ripple is something of a straggler today, registering comparatively small gains of 1.5%.

Some view cryptocurrency as something of a safe-haven, with the equity sell-off prompting many to pile into cryptos.

Trump blows up markets with surprise China tariffs

Morning Note

All hell broke loose in the markets yesterday and continues today. with the sharp shooters having given way to the heavy artillery.

The trade war just got very hot, just as we thought things were improving. And just as the Fed had come up short as far as the market is concerned. What can the Fed do now?! Markets are like Test matches – you think you’re on top and suddenly a big hitter comes to the crease and knocks you all the park.

Donald Trump torpedoed the markets with a surprise decision to slap a 10% tariff on an additional $300bn in Chinese goods effective Sep 1st. China is sure to retaliate – this is real escalation.

Commodities hammered as risk-appetite evaporates

Risk assets took a pounding and gold rallied very hard from its lows of the days. Gold found bid to rally about $40 off its lows – incredible. It has eased back slightly today but still remains around a two-week high. Bond yields have sunk as investors sought shelter. These kind of risk-off moves are quite phenomenal.

Oil was absolutely hammered. We saw enormous selling in crude oil and Brent with the latter retreating to the $60 handle. Having been hanging around the $63 mark it gave up 5% in a matter of minutes. WTI shipped $4 from $58 to $54 in minutes too. Those are big, big moves and highlight the kind of sensitivity the market has to trade. Today the two benchmarks are on the rise, but even with gains of 1.5% for crude and 1.9% for Brent yesterday’s pre-announcement levels are still far away.

Equities sink on tariff drama

US equity markets, which had been in the green, turned sharply lower. SPX dropped 40 points or so from its highs in short order to breach the key 2970 level and trade around 2952 at the lows. Today is has shed another 6 points to trend around 2,943 – after a brief drop all the way down to 2,933.

European indices are still being hit hard – the FTSE 100 is off 0.75% to trade around 7,446, while the DAX has drop a whole percentage point to trade sub-12,000.

FX: Yen leaps on flight to safety

Bid for the yen, which had been strengthening all day, accelerated markedly as USDJPY returned to the 107 handle – and today it dropped lower, bouncing off support at 106.70 to trade a little shy of 106.90. GBPUSD has held its ground and the euro also a touch firmer as the dollar has taken a knock. USDCNH has firmed up – a possible retaliation by China is to let the 7 handle be breached. Australia’s dollar has been hit for six.

All bets are off as trade war escalates

The new tariffs have completely taken the market off guard. You have to question the motives when a) the trade team have been in China this week conducing talks, and b) it’s coming just a day after the Fed disappointed the president by not signalling enough cuts. Trump got his cut, so he’s pushing China again. It’s just gaslighting.

Your move, Beijing…


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