April 24, 2019

Global Commentary

Asian markets began the day broadly lower, but saw some recovery later in the day to finish mixed. Japan’s Nikkei finished the day 0.19% higher after trading down by 0.2% in the morning, and the Kospi in South Korea was 0.17% higher. By far the best gains in the region came from Australia, where the S&P/ASX 200 closed 0.95% higher, with gains from energy companies and technology leading the rally. Mainland China opened in the red and continued lower throughout the session, finishing with a loss of 0.51%. In Hong Kong the Hang Seng managed to climb out of negative territory to finish flat despite the losses on the mainland.

European markets finished a tough session in positive territory as the rally in energy shares outweighed the caution investors are experiencing as we head into the heaviest part of earnings season. The pan-European Stoxx Europe 600 moved into positive territory in the afternoon, ending the day 0.23% higher. In Germany the DAX edged up by 0.11%, while the CAC 40 in France advanced 0.20%. The clear winner in the region was the U.K.’s FTSE, which closed out the day at a seven month high as it gained 0.85% on the back of gains from energy shares and a weaker Pound. In the U.S. markets made solid gains, propelled higher by a rally in consumer discretionary names and a rebound in the beat-up healthcare sector. At the close the Nasdaq and S&P 500 both hit new record highs for the first time since last August and September respectively. The Nasdaq closed higher by 1.32%, while the S&P 500 was 0.88% higher. The Dow didn’t miss out on gains either as it finished up by 0.55% and just below its record closing high from October.



Cryptocurrency markets are mixed, despite Bitcoin rising 3.7% and trading above the $5,600 level late in the day. That’s the best gain in the top ten cryptocurrencies, with the next closest gain coming from Bitcoin Cash, up 1.3%. Losses in the top ten are also mostly modest, although Bianance Coin is 3.8% lower and Cardano has fallen 3.6%. Overall just 34 of the top altcoins ended the day in positive territory.



GBP/USD – Now that it is under the 1.3000 handle the pair is seeing increased downside pressure and that caused it to fall for no better reason than broad based U.S. dollar strength. It is now widely accepted that the U.S. economy is stronger than most other developed nations and that is leading to increased USD strength which could have this pair back near the 2018 lows around the 1.2500 level.

USD/CAD – Even strength from crude isn’t helping the Canadian dollar recently as this pair shot higher despite the gains seen from crude so far this week. The move took the pair above the 1.3400 level and there’s a good chance we’ll see a test of the 1.3450 level, which is the last line of resistance for the pair before the 1.3650 level.



Metals – Precious metals fell as risk appetite remains high and the U.S. dollar climbed to a two year high. Gold for June delivery declined $4.40, or 0.3%, to settle at $1,273.20 an ounce, while May silver lost 1.2% to finish at $14.791 an ounce.

Oil – Crude continued climbing for a third consecutive session as the U.S. moves to ensure oil output from Iran hits zero. West Texas Intermediate crude for June delivery added $0.75, or 1.1%, to settle at $66.30 a barrel, while June Brent crude, the global benchmark, tacked on $0.47, or 0.6%, at $74.51 a barrel. Both WTI and Brent crude are at their highest levels since late October.



FTSE 100 – London’s benchmark equity index jumped 0.85% higher as a weak Pound helped British exporters, while news that the U.S. is removing all waivers for buyers of Iranian oil sparked a rally in energy shares. Banks were a weak spot, but overall investor sentiment was positive, and there seems to be a feeling that the rest of earnings season is going to be outstanding.

S&P/ASX 200 – Australia’s benchmark equity index climbed 0.95% as investors returned from the Easter holiday weekend in a buying mood. Technology shares led gains, and energy shares rallied in response to the overnight gains in crude. Banking shares were laggards however. In individual names Woodside Petroleum gained 2.55%, while Beach Energy shot higher by 4.21%.


Twitter – Shares of the real-time social media service jumped as much as 17% higher after reporting higher revenues and a growing subscriber base. Revenues rose 18% from a year before, while daily active user counts were up 11%. Twitter founder and CEO Jack Dorsey also said the company is taking steps to make the platform more conversational, while also reducing abuse and its effects on Twitter. By the end of the day the stock held onto a 15.02% gain, despite providing second quarter guidance that was below analyst expectations. Shares of Twitter are up 38.5% since the start of the year, and with the post-earnings gain and momentum look as if they might make a run at the 52-week high of $47.79 a share.

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