April 23, 2018

Time (GMT) Currency Event Previous Forecast
01:30 JPY Flash Manufacturing PMI 53.1
08:00 EUR French Flash Manufacturing PMI 53.7
08:00 EUR French Flash Services PMI 56.9
08:30 EUR German Flash Manufacturing PMI 58.2
08:30 EUR German Flash Services PMI 53.9
09:00 EUR Flash Manufacturing PMI 56.6
09:00 EUR Flash Services PMI 54.9
14:45 USD Flash Manufacturing PMI 55.6
14:45 USD Flash Services PMI 54.0
15:00 USD Existing Home Sales 5.54M

 

Global Commentary

Asian markets finished the week on a sour note, falling broadly on a selloff in technology after Taiwan Semiconductor warned that second quarter sales would be more than 10% below analyst estimates due to soft demand for high end smartphones. Mainland China’s Shanghai Composite had the days’ worst loss, falling 1.47% and in Hong Kong the Hang Seng followed the mainland as it lost 0.94%. Japan’s Nikkei outperformed as it lost just 0.13%, and losses in Australia were modest as the S&P/ASX 200 fell only 0.21%. South Korea’s Kospi was weighed down by losses from Samsung and ended the day 0.39% lower.

European markets finished a volatile session mixed, but broadly lower as consumer stocks weighed on indices. The pan-European Stoxx Europe 600 slipped 0.03%, coming off a seven week high hit the previous session, but still recording a fourth consecutive weekly advance as it was up 0.7% on a weekly basis. In Germany the DAX fell for a second consecutive session, losing 0.21% as it continues to underperform the region. The CAC 40 in France outperformed however gaining 0.39% as it rose for the fourth consecutive session. London’s FTSE rose for the fourth session in a row as well, tacking on 0.54% as the Pound continued falling following a comment from Bank of England governor Mark Carney that indicated an interest rate hike in the U.K. could come much later than markets are anticipating.

U.S. markets dropped in a broad based selloff, paring most of their weekly gains in the process, although all the major indices did remain in positive territory for a second consecutive week. At the close the S&P 500 was lower by 0.85%, and the Dow Industrials had a 0.82% loss, pressured by a 4.2% drop in shares of Apple. The Nasdaq underperformed as it fell 1.27%, with technology leading the way lower. On a weekly basis the Nasdaq had the best performance, rising 0.6%, while the Dow industrials were up by 0.4% and the S&P 500 gained 0.5%. Markets came under pressure as U.S. Treasury yields reached 2.96%, nearly a four year high. The one bright spot of the day was the financial sector, which gained 0.05% and was the only S&P subsector to finish the day in positive territory.

 

Cryptocurrencies

Cryptocurrencies continued gaining for a third consecutive session on Friday, with Bitcoin remaining the laggard, while altcoins took the lead. Momentum seemed to be increasing heading into the weekend, which is historically a potentially volatile and explosive time period for the cryptocurrency markets. Bitcoin was up a modest 3.2% and Ethereum gained 6.2%. Ripple and Bitcoin Cash led gains for the top coins however, rising 19.8% and 15.9% respectively. Litecoin was among the more modest gainers as it tacked on 4.5%.

 

FOREX

GBP/USD – The pair saw no letup in selling pressure on Friday, slicing right through the 1.4000 level and finishing below that support level. The pair has now fallen for four consecutive sessions, and with the U.S. dollar now strengthening in response to rising Treasury yields we could see further downside taking the pair to the 1.3800 level next week. There is also increased pressure on the Pound as the Brexit agreement with the EU is coming under fire for the Irish border issue, which will once more throw the Brexit uncertainty into the picture.

USD/CAD – Traders are continuing to punish the Canadian dollar after the Canadian central bank failed to raise interest rates at their last meeting. Despite crude remaining at a three and a half year high, the USD/CAD has risen for the past three sessions, reaching well above the 1.2700 level on Friday. Currently it looks as if the pair could push up to test the resistance just above the 1.2900 level, especially if the U.S. dollar continues to strengthen.

 

Commodities

Metals – Precious metals fell on Friday, with gold slipping into negative territory for the week as the U.S. dollar firmed broadly, reaching a two-week high against a basket of rival currencies. June gold lost $10.50, or 0.8%, to settle at $1,338.30 an ounce, lower by 0.7% for the week. Silver also retreated after starting to play catch-up to gold for much of this week. May silver shed $0.076, or 0.4%, to $17.163 an ounce, pulling back from its own 2 ½ month high, hit in the previous session. Elsewhere in the metals market, May copper rose 0.1% to $3.135 a pound, ending about 2.1% higher on the week, while July platinum shed 0.9% to $931.80 an ounce—down about 0.1% for the week, and June palladium added 0.4% to $1,030.20 an ounce. For the week, it was up 5%, with the gains tied to U.S. tensions with Russia.

Oil – Crude ended mixed on Friday as it fell early in the day following a tweet from President Trump blaming OPEC for “artificially high” crude prices. Brent crude remained depressed at its close, but West Texas Intermediate crude recovered by its close. The June contract for global crude benchmark Brent fell $0.77, or 1%, to $73.01 a barrel. Meanwhile May West Texas Intermediate crude rose $0.09, or 0.1%, to $68.38 a barrel. The contract expired at the day’s settlement. June WTI, the new front-month contract, added $0.07, or 0.1%, to settle at $68.40 a barrel.

 

Indices

Nasdaq – The Nasdaq led losses on Friday in a broad based selloff that was led by the technology sector. The weakness from technology came after Taiwan semiconductor announced overnight that it would likely miss profit targets by more than 10%, citing weakness in high end smart phone sales. The news sent shares of Apple producers across Asia sharply lower, and caused Apple itself to drop 4.2% on Friday, along with sparking broad based weakness in the technology sector in general.

FTSE 100 – The FTSE gained for the fourth session in a row Friday, with the continued rally being propelled by more weakness from the Pound. At the close, the FTSE was 0.54% higher, as the Pound softened following comments from the head of the Bank of England which indicated there are no plans anytime soon to raise U.K. interest rates. The move higher took the FTSE to an eleven week high as British multi-national companies, which make up roughly 70% of the FTSE, benefit from a weaker Pound.

Shanghai Composite – After two days of gains, the mainland Chinese equity index finished out the week with a loss that erased nearly all the solid gains of the previous two sessions. Friday saw the Shanghai Composite fall 1.47%, led by falling brokerage stocks as the sector has been reporting falling profits. The airline sector was also hard hit, as rising crude prices have investors worried about the impact on the airlines fuel costs. Overall it finished out the worst week in a month for the Shanghai Composite as it lost 2.8% on a weekly basis.


Stocks

General Electric – Shares of the beleaguered industrial conglomerate gained 4.3% on Friday after reporting earnings and revenue that topped expectations. It also said it was making progress on its cost-cutting efforts and reaffirmed its 2018 financial targets. Shares had been up as much as 6.3%, but the overall negative sentiment of the day pulled it off its daily high. It remains the worst performer in the Dow however, down 51% over the past 52 weeks, but with earnings looking up it could move out of last place in 2018 and let another stock become the worst Dow component.

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