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  • FXTM Official
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    Daily Fundamental ForexTime ( FXTM )

    Risk on the defensive​







    The mood in markets is pretty subdued after two days of losses in stock markets and US futures pointing to another day in the red, even after bumper earnings reports by two of the major US retailers, Walmart and Home Depot. European bourses are nursing losses of over one per cent as risk sentiment is put in the shade by lingering inflation fears.





    Bitcoin has caught the headlines this morning after falling below $40,000. Two weeks ago, the world’s most popular cryptocurrency was trading close to $60,000 but Elon Musk’s “did he or didn’t” (sell Tesla’s holding) tweet plus a China ban on financial services offering crypto services has hurt the crypto. Prices have just bounced off the widely watched 200-day SMA.



    Focus on FOMC Minutes

    This current cautious environment is generally good for the dollar which has halted the run of four days of losses so far today. The downtrend from the end of March peak is strong though, with the FOMC minutes released later today not expected to upset markets a great deal. The focus is on interpreting the Fed members’ thinking on the upbeat economic picture and the current assessment of “transitory” inflation drivers. Notably, this April meeting saw Chair Powell state in the press conference that “now is not the time to talk tapering” so the dollar may have a tough time looking for many positives in the minutes.







    It’s those “base effects” again…

    UK inflation data jumped this morning with the headline more than doubling to 1.5% from 0.7%. For sure, energy prices were helped by the regulator lifting the household cap, but the increase was well known, like in every country’s CPI figures. Going forward, energy prices and reopenings are expected to push inflation higher in the coming months. Wage pressures will also be important as the jobs market comes to terms with the ending of the furlough scheme in September.

    GBP/USD had enjoyed three days of gains, propelling it to levels not seen since February. Bulls would like to hold onto last week’s highs around 1.4160 but the bounce from the more important 1.40 support mark should stay the course.









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  • FXTM Official
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    Daily Fundamental ForexTime ( FXTM )

    Key events this week: Inflation all the rage?






    Gold prices are holding relatively steady on Tuesday, holding on to most of its gains garnered over the past three days. Earlier today, it posted a 3-month high before paring gains.

    From a technical perspective however, a near-term pullback may be healthy and necessary in order to clear the path for further gains. After all, its 14-day relative strength index has been flirting with the 70 mark, which typically denotes overbought conditions.







    That isn’t to take anything away from spot gold’s start to the trading week – one that gold bulls will be savouring.

    Bullion has punched decisively above its 200-day simple moving average, having built on a series of higher highs since forming a double bottom in March, even threatening to fall into a bear market (20% drop from its record high). It dipped below the $1680 line on a couple of occasions in March, only to go on and advance by more than 9% since.

    Perhaps most importantly, gold prices this week have broken out of the downtrend it has adhered to since posting its record high back in August 2020.

    'Markets Extra' Podcast: Can gold return to $2000?

    Why are gold prices climbing?

    1) Investors’ desire to hedge against inflation
    The precious metal is traditionally seen as a way to preserve one’s wealth during times when the prices of goods and services climb higher, eroding consumers’ purchasing power along the way. With markets having grown more concerned about the prospects of faster US inflation, it has helped boost gold prices.


    2) The weaker dollar
    Gold tends to have an inverse relationship with the US dollar. In other words, as the buck goes up, gold goes down, and vice versa. With that in mind, the greenback has been declining for a third consecutive day, with the dollar index (DXY) falling by about one percent since last Thursday.


    3) Stabilizing US Treasury yields
    Recall throughout the first quarter, Treasury yields spiked higher which roiled various asset classes, including the zero-yielding yellow metal. However, of late, 10-year Treasury yields haven’t strayed too far away from the psychologically-important 1.60% line over the past month, while real rates on the same tenor are falling back deeper into negative territory. All that has created a more conducive environment for gold to explore more of its upside.


    4) Volatility in cryptocurrencies
    In recent months, markets had been questioning gold’s suitability as an inflation hedge, with some segments of the market apparently preferring alternative assets. However, given the volatility seen in the likes of Bitcoin of late, it appears that investors are flocking back towards an asset that has stood the test of time.


    5) ETF inflows
    The flow of funds in and out of gold ETFs have had a major say on spot prices. According to Bloomberg data, these bullion-backed ETFs have been adding on troy ounces of gold for a 7th straight day, which is the longest streak of additions since 6 January. Although on a year-to-date basis these ETFs have net sold about 6.63 million ounces of the precious metal, recent purchases suggest that investors are coming round after a tumultuous Q1.


    6) A dovish Fed
    Policymakers at the world’s most influential central bank, the Federal Reserve, have repeatedly assured markets that the inflation surges are likely to be temporary. Hence, the Fed is in no rush to pull back its support for the financial markets, nor bring forward any US interest rate hike. Although markets took some time to buy into that messaging, the repeated assurances by Fed officials have enabled gold prices to climb higher.



    What else could move gold prices this week?

    The minutes from the latest FOMC meeting, to be released on Wednesday, could offer more clues about the Fed’s inflation outlook. More signs that the Fed is willing to tolerate an inflation overshoot could spur on gold bulls.

    Thursday’s weekly US jobless claims could be key as well. Another better-than-expected reading on the labour market could prompt investors to raise their expectations for faster US inflation, adding to gold’s gains in the process.

    The rest of the week is also set to feature more speeches and appearances by Fed officials. Any hint about the Fed’s outlook on the US economy and consumer prices, and the eventual policy response by these central bankers, could also move gold prices and the dollar.


    Could we see $2000 gold?

    Markets are currently pricing in just an 8.4% chance that spot gold would breach the $2000 mark by the end of this quarter.

    While there appears to be plenty of tailwinds in play at the moment, gold prices still have another 7% to make up for before reaching that psychologically-important mark.

    Gold bulls would need a significant ramp up in any of the 6 reasons listed above in order to close that gap and achieve the $2000 handle once more.





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  • FXTM Official
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    Daily Fundamental ForexTime ( FXTM )

    Key events this week: Inflation all the rage?​








    So much for that blockbuster US jobs report last Friday.

    The April nonfarm payrolls came in at an utterly disappointing 266,000 instead of the one million figure that was expected. Yet US stocks merely shrugged off the jaw-dropping figures to climb higher, with both the S&P 500 and the Dow Jones Industrial Average posting their respective record highs on Friday.

    Even Big Tech got in on the act, with the Nasdaq 100 climbing for a second straight day to move to within 2.3% of its highest ever closing price that was set on 16 April.

    'Markets Extra' podcast: Sell in May - Yea or Nay






    The futures contracts for all three major US stock indices (S&P 500, Dow, Nasdaq 100) are pushing higher at the time of writing.

    US stocks have demonstrated tremendous resilience by taking everything in its stride, supported by a better-than-expected US vaccination rollout and the Fed’s ultra-accommodative stance.

    Let’s see how they fare with this week’s key events:

    Monday, May 10

    Chicago Fed President Charles Evans speech
    Tuesday, May 11

    Fed speak: Fed Governor Lael Brainard, San Francisco Fed President Mary Daly,
    New York Fed President John Williams
    Germany ZEW survey expectations
    OPEC monthly market report
    Wednesday, May 12

    UK GDP, industrial production
    BOE Governor Andrew Bailey speech
    Fed Vice Chair Richard Clarida speech
    US inflation
    Thursday, May 13

    St. Louis Fed President James Bullard speech
    US weekly jobless claims
    Alibaba earnings (before US market opens)
    Disney, Coinbase earnings (after US market closes)
    Friday, May 14

    Dallas Fed President Robert Kaplan speech
    US consumer sentiment, industrial production, retail sales


    Can Gold reach its 200-day SMA?

    When the shocking US jobs report was released, investors fled to safe havens.

    The buying of US Treasuries sent its yields lower. The strong correlation between Treasury yields and spot gold once again on full display last week, especially when the shocking jobs figures were released. 10-year yields screeched towards the 1.5% mark before erasing its declines, not before elevating gold prices onto a higher plain.






    In order for gold prices to climb even higher, investors must have stronger conviction about the precious metal’s traditional role as a hedge against inflation. Of course, falling Treasury yields and a weaker dollar would also go a long way for bullion bulls.

    And that brings us to the April US consumer price index due Wednesday.

    Although this set of data is expected to be high due to the low base effect, given the abnormally low CPI figures throughout Q2 2020 due to the lockdown measures across the United States, the inflation outlook is very much central to global financial markets. Still, concerns about inflation making a roaring comeback could be taken down a notch after last Friday’s severely disappointing US jobs report.

    This could mean that gold bulls may have to depend on other factors, namely another decline in US yields, a softer dollar, or bouts of risk-off sentiment.

    Any of these events could help move bullion closer towards testing its 200-day simple moving average as a resistance level over the course of this week. However, with spot gold’s 14-day relative strength index now flirting with overbought levels, should prices lurch higher, that may trigger a pullback to clear some of the eventual froth.









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  • FXTM Official
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    Daily Fundamental ForexTime ( FXTM )

    US stocks to climb on jobs optimism​









    Asian markets are climbing on the back of Thursday’s gains for US benchmark indices, following fresh signs that the US economy is healing from the wounds inflicted by the pandemic.

    The S&P 500 is now just 0.23% away from its record high, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average posted a fresh record high. The Nasdaq 100 ended a 4-day losing streak, though remains about 3% lower from its highest ever closing price recorded on 16 April.

    At the time of writing, the futures contracts are pointing to further gains for US and European stocks before the weekend.
    Nonfarm payrolls to validate risk-on sentiment

    Yesterday, the US recorded its first sub-500k weekly jobless claims since the pandemic forced lockdowns across the country. With more Americans re-entering the workforce, that would help bring the US economy further along into the post-pandemic era.

    Such optimism has to be endorsed by today’s US nonfarm payrolls data, with markets forecasting that one million jobs were added in April.
    While anything above March’s print of 916,000 would still demonstrate an improvement in the US jobs market, a payrolls tally that’s higher than the-expected one million could well trigger another wave of risk-taking activities across global markets.

    Investors will also be monitoring how US consumer price pressures would react to more slack being taken out of the jobs market. More importantly, markets want to know whether such inflation would persist once the low base effect fades, and force the Fed’s hands into adjusting its policy settings earlier than what these central bankers have conveyed to the markets so far.

    The Fed’s commitment to its ultra-accommodative stance is arguably the biggest theme in play at the moment, despite the concerted attempts by officials to play down any talk about a premature paring of its stimulus measures.
    Gold breaches psychologically-important mark

    Spot gold has broken above the $1800 level for the first time since February, and is set to register its biggest weekly gain of the year so far. Gold’s climb has been aided by stabilizing Treasury yields, which in turn has led to a US dollar that’s been moderating since April, noting the inverse relationship between gold and the greenback.

    The precious metal is now up by almost 7.8% over the past two months, since it registered its year-to-date low on 8 March, and has now broken above its 100-day simple moving average.

    Real yields on 10-year Treasuries remain firmly in negative territory, while its breakeven rates are now around their highest since 2013. Such conditions have implored gold prices to pare its year-to-date losses, considering its trait as a zero-yielding asset.

    In order for gold to push higher from current levels, spot prices must carve out an extended presence above $1800 in order to encourage more bulls to get off the sidelines, especially those who cling to the belief that the precious metal is a worthy hedge against faster inflation.




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  • FXTM Official
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    Daily Fundamental ForexTime ( FXTM )

    Earnings Preview: Uber to drive past pandemic woes?​







    America’s largest ride-hailing platform is set to announce its Q1 results after US markets close on Wednesday. Investors want to know how much Uber’s services are back in demand, as lockdown measures eased between January and March this year.

    Even as broader stock markets have been celebrating the reopening of the US economy, Uber’s stock prices were noticeably more sanguine. The stock has been relatively range-bound over the past two months, with the stock finding a close above $60 unsustainable since posting its highest ever closing price on 10 February. The stock has fallen by over 16% since.





    Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen spooked some segments of the US stock market on Tuesday with comments that hinted at rising interest rates to curb an overheating economy. The selloff in tech stocks contributed to Uber’s share price closing below its lower Bollinger band.

    That in itself may not be such a bad thing for technical traders.

    Uber bulls might take heart from such a technical event because the last time the stock closed below the lower bound of the band, it went on to stage a massive rally of more than 35% in just over two weeks! Also, over the past 12 months, the stock has found its forays below its 100-day simple moving average (SMA) to be fleeting.

    Perhaps in that regard, this stock is akin to a coiled spring, raring to be propelled higher from such oversold conditions, with Wednesday’s announcement potentially serving as the trigger.

    Though with momentum firmly pointing south, Uber appears in need of a major vote of optimism from the markets before we can say with conviction that a new record high is coming into view.

    Is the pandemic finally in Uber’s rearview mirror?

    For the quarter, markets are expecting Uber’s revenue to come in at $3.25 billion, which would mark a gradual increase from the past two quarters, though still 8.2% lower year-on-year.

    The bigger boost likely came from some pandemic-era habits that have stuck around. Uber’s delivery services increased by 150% year-on-year in March, which helped the company post a record high for its monthly gross bookings!

    Still, Uber’s net loss for Q1 is forecasted at around $1.05 billion, with investors wanting to know how such numbers might impact the company’s repeated forecasts of achieving profitability by year-end.

    Winding road ahead

    In its pursuit of profitability, Uber is also set to face some near-term challenges.

    The company has set aside an extra $250 million to lure drivers back with, as the demand resurgence outpaces the number of drivers who’s willing to return to such gigs. That figure could erode its bottom line in the coming quarters.

    Also, Uber may have to contend with higher operating costs if regulators are to have their way. Just last week, US Labor Secretary, Marty Walsh, said that gig workers should be classified as “employees”, which raises the prospects of the likes of Uber being saddled with the compliance costs to employment law. In March, Uber reclassified all its drivers in the UK as “workers”, and the entitled benefits to drivers would cost the company about $300 million per year, according to Morgan Stanley estimates.

    Raring to grow

    Still, it’s not all doom and gloom for Uber’s outlook.

    Besides riding on the global economic reopening, Uber plans to also aggressively grow its delivery services across the US over the coming months, reportedly in partnership with GoPuff, a startup that focuses on deliveries. Such a move would help bolster its deliveries offerings, following its $2.65 billion acquisition of Postmates last year.

    There are also plans to roll out Uber Eats Germany, expanding its foray on the continent beyond existing markets in Spain, France, Poland, and the UK. Uber is also partnering with a London-based EV maker to produce cars for ride-hailing by Q3 2023.

    Such ambitions could help Uber diversify its income streams, both geographically and also across varying business segments.

    How could Uber’s shares react post-earnings?

    Markets think that the stock could move by 8.43% when the US cash session reopens after Uber’s Q1 earnings have been released.

    Uber’s shares already gained 3.6% in extended trading on Tuesday, climbing alongside the stock prices of its rival, Lyft, which announced its own results after markets closed.

    Those who believe in Uber’s long-term prospects must gain enough critical mass in order for the stock to hit a new record high.

    At least for the near-term, investors can take heart that, as the Covid-19 vaccine continues permeating major economies, that should help bolster Uber’s core business as people grow more comfortable hopping back into an Uber for their trips back to work, school, or out about town.





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  • FXTM Official
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    Daily Fundamental ForexTime ( FXTM )

    Key events this week: Big earnings for Big Tech?​








    There’s a lot happening this week, especially on the US earnings front:

    Monday, April 26

    Tesla earnings (after US markets close)
    Tuesday, April 27

    Bank of Japan rate decision
    Alphabet earnings (after US markets close)
    Microsoft earnings (after US markets close)
    Wednesday, April 28

    US President Biden addresses joint Congress
    Fed rate decision
    ECB President Christine Lagarde speech
    OPEC+ meeting
    Apple earnings (after US markets close)
    Facebook earnings (after US markets close)
    Thursday, April 29

    Amazon earnings (after US markets close)
    Twitter earnings (after US markets close)
    US Q1 GDP, weekly jobless claims
    Friday, April 30

    China PMI
    Eurozone GDP, CPI, unemployment
    US personal income/spending, consumer sentiment


    As I had mentioned last Thursday:

    “Corporate guidance for earnings growth over the coming weeks is likely to have an influential role in determining whether US stocks can roar higher. Investors want to ascertain whether earnings prospects are bullish enough to warrant another leg higher for US indices, and whether the Q1 performance has justified recent gains.”

    The same will be applicable for these Big Tech stocks that are scheduled to unveil their latest quarterly earnings this week.

    Note that Tesla, Alphabet, Microsoft, Apple, Facebook, and Amazon have a combined market cap of about $9 trillion. That’s more than half of the total value of the Nasdaq 100 index, which has a market cap of nearly $16 trillion. Hence, how these stocks move could have an outsized impact on the tech-heavy index this week. At present, markets are pricing in an average single-day move of 4% in either direction for each of these six stocks once US markets resume trading after their respective earnings releases.

    A notedly optimistic earnings outlook from these tech behemoths could spur the Nasdaq 100 onto a new record high, considering that the index itself is less than one percent away from beating its 16 April peak.

    Meanwhile, the futures contract is now edging its way back towards the 14,000 mark.






    Amidst all these headline-grabbing earnings releases, Joe Biden is also set to address Congress for the first time as the President of the United States. As he unveils more details about his ambitious spending plans, investors would also be anxiously awaiting details about how it would be funded.

    There’s been media reports last week about a doubling of the capital gains tax, adding to the proposed corporate tax hike announced earlier this month.

    And with Big Tech companies front and center of the taxman’s sights, more of such details released this week could drag US tech stocks lower.



    FXTM Social Media index to cross 700 and hit new record high this week?

    This index is evenly weighted between its 4 constituents, namely Facebook, Alphabet, Twitter, and Snapchat. Note that Snapchat already released its latest quarterly earnings after US markets closed on Thursday, 22 April. This social media company reported better-than-expected surges in its revenue and daily active users, which grew 66% and 22% year-on-year respectively.

    Such a performance pushed Snap’s share price up by 7.45% on Friday alone, which ended a losing streak for the 5 consecutive sessions prior.

    Friday’s surge in Snap’s stocks helped propel the FXTM Social Media index to its highest ever closing price before the weekend.





    Positive guidance out of Facebook, Alphabet, and Twitter this week might see the FXTM Social Media index push above the psychologically-important 700 line before it reaches overbought territory.

    However, should markets be grossly disappointed either by the latest quarterly results or what management has to say about the coming quarters, that could deflate this index until it tests its 50-day simple moving average as a support level once more. The 610-640 range may also prove to be a key area of interest to the downside.




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  • FXTM Official
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    Daily Fundamental ForexTime ( FXTM )

    US stocks vexed by tax plan








    US stocks took a step back on Thursday, amid reports that President Joe Biden could impose a higher capital gains tax rate of 39.6% on individuals earning US$ 1 million or more. Such headlines may have prompted wealthier investors to book in some profits before such a measure kicks in, and will be eyeing the official tax rate that POTUS will unveil before Congress on 28 April.

    Following the news, the S&P 500 registered its biggest single-day drop since 18 March, falling by 0.92% at yesterday’s close. The Dow also declined, shedding 0.94%, led by the materials sector.






    US tech stocks took a bigger hit yesterday, with the Nasdaq 100 falling 1.24% to drop below its February cycle highs.





    Big Tech companies are seen to be more exposed to the threat of higher tax bills. Noting that tech giants such as Apple and Microsoft have revealed overseas profits exceeding US$100 billion, they are seen to be prime targets to help fund the Biden administration’s spending plans. Recall also earlier this month, the Treasury Department announced plans to raise the corporate tax from 21% to 28%, although a compromised 25% is likelier to become law.

    Note that these are just proposals at this point in time, and have yet to be passed by lawmakers. Still, given the forward-looking nature of the markets, it hasn’t stopped markets from reacting to such risks. The Biden policy pipeline remains a key risk that global investors will have to continuously monitor.

    Despite such bumps along the way, as highlighted in yesterday’s report, stock markets are still expected to explore more of their upside potential.

    At the time of writing, the futures contracts for all 3 benchmark US indexes are edging higher.

    EURUSD little changed after ECB meeting

    The European Central Bank kept its policy settings unchanged at yesterday’s rate meeting, as widely expected, while ECB President Christine Lagarde said little to rock the boat. Lagarde stated that the central bank isn’t yet entertaining the thought of reining in its emergency bond-buying programme, amid green shoots of an economic recovery, buffered by higher vaccination rates and the prospects of 800 billion euros in fiscal stimulus being rolled out later this year.

    However, Lagarde did say that the ECB will keep a close eye on the shared currency, considering that a stronger euro could serve as a drag on import prices which would influence inflationary pressures onshore, while making European exports less affordable to its global customers.

    Such commentary suggests that the euro might have a tough time matching its highs against the greenback from earlier this year, despite the softer dollar environment that we are witnessing currently. And given that the euro accounts for 57.6% of the benchmark Dollar index (DXY), a euro that is prevented from taking full advantage of the softer buck may in turn offer support for the DXY.

    As things stand, the world’s most traded currency pair remains hemmed in by the psychological 1.20 level and its 100-day simple moving average (SMA).







    What are markets looking out for on Friday?

    Global investors will be eyeing the April preliminary PMI figures out of the US, UK, and the Eurozone today.

    These economic data are mostly expected to march further into expansionary territory, as denoted by a print above the 50 line, except for the Eurozone’s services sector.

    Even as they digest the latest developments surrounding the pandemic, and also the prospects of higher taxes in the US, market participants who still harbour a healthy appetite for risk-taking activities would be hoping that the optimism surrounding the global economic recovery would remain intact and help stock markets end the trading week on a positive note.

    There remain enough reasons to expect further gains for risk assets, considering the continued rollout of the Covid-19 vaccine around the world, and the continued fiscal and monetary policy support across major economies.



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  • FXTM Official
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    Canadian dollar bruised ahead of BoC decision









    [SIZE="3"]Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has just announced that the country will keep its border restrictions intact for at least another month, until May 21. The decision was made as the country continues battling Covid-19, especially in Ontario, which is Canada’s largest province and home to some 14.7 million people.

    The country recently had more new Covid-19 cases than the US for the first time since the pandemic hit. Ontario has been in a state of emergency since 8 April amid a third wave of cases. According to Bloomberg data, Canada has enough vaccines for almost 14% of its population, lagging behind the US and the UK which have enough to account for over 30% of their respective populations.

    Trudeau’s announcement apparently prompted the knee jerk reaction in USDCAD. The pair has eased off since, pulling away from overbought territory on the hourly chart.






    Zooming out to the daily chart, USDCAD has now breached its 50-day simple moving average (SMA) though remains unable to breach the 1.263 resistance level (as highlighted in Monday’s report) which has repelled any attempt by this pair to break higher since early March.






    The recent drop puts the Canadian dollar in third place among the best-performing G10 currency against the US Dollar so far this year. The Norwegian Krone is still in first place, while the British Pound overtook the loonie in second place this week. Also on a year-to-date basis, the Canadian dollar had strengthened against all G10 currencies except for the NOK and the GBP.

    However, the CAD has weakened against all of its G10 peers on a month-to-date basis.







    From a fundamental perspective, the Canadian dollar’s strength in Q1 had been fuelled by the robust recovery in Canada’s economy. The country added 303,100 jobs in March, which was three times more than market expectations, while also being about 17% higher than the jobs added in the month prior.

    Canada’s economic fundamentals should be bolstered by the government’s recently-released budget; its first in two years. This past Monday, Prime Minister Trudeau released the government’s US$80.6 billion spending plan which would span the next three years, featuring over 200 new measures.

    This prospects of increased spending, while noting Canada’s aim to keep its debt-to-GDP ratio in check, should also help the loonie take advantage of the softer greenback while keeping the overall downward trend in USDCAD intact.

    Bank of Canada to make rate decision Wednesday

    With the economy apparently on firmer footing, the Bank of Canada could announce the paring back of its weekly bond purchases, from the current rate of C$4 billion down to C$3 billion, and may even comment about a potential rate hike sooner than 2023.

    Should that happen, that could drive up Canada’s government bond yields even higher, which may then serve as a tailwind for the CAD. Such commentary could move USDCAD back below its 50-SMA and closer towards the 1.247 mark.

    However, should the BOC adopt a dovish tone in light of Covid-19’s resurgence within its borders, that could surprise markets and trigger another round of weakness in CAD.

    Such a dovish surprise could see USDCAD climb towards its 100-SMA and possibly even test the 1.2690 resistance line.




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  • FXTM Official
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    Daily Fundamental ForexTime ( FXTM )

    Key events this week: Can US stocks climb higher?







    The Dow, S&P 500, and the Nasdaq 100 all posted new record highs last week, although the futures contract for all three benchmark indices are easing slightly at the time of writing. From a technical perspective, such dips are only natural as these assets pull away form overbought territory, as adjudged by their respective 14-day relative strength indexes.

    "Markets Extra" Podcast: What is an index and why it matters? A chat with Nasdaq



    Last week was also the calmest week for the US stock market so far in 2021, with this past Friday’s trading volume at its lowest since Christmas eve, according to Bloomberg data. Wall Street’s fabled fear gauge, the VIX index, fell to its lowest since February 2020, before the pandemic forced lockdowns across the developed world.

    Perhaps the most pressing questions now: how long will this tranquility last, and can these benchmark US indices post fresh record peaks?

    Much could depend on the key data and events this week:



    Tuesday, April 13

    US consumer price index
    Wednesday, April 14:

    Fed Beige Book
    Fed chair Jerome Powell speech
    US earnings season kicks off
    Thursday, April 15:

    US retail sales and industrial production
    Friday, April 16:

    US consumer sentiment


    Inflation expectations still a primary driver of market sentiment

    The outlook for US inflation still remains a hot topic for debate.

    On one hand, markets expect prices to rise, fueled by the trillions that have been pumped into the economy by the US government and the Federal Reserve. On the other hand, Fed officials have often reiterated their expectations that any burst of inflation is likely to fade away. They have also sought to repeatedly assure the markets that policymakers have the tools to rein in inflationary pressures if they start to do damage to the economic recovery.

    With all that in mind, Tuesday’s release of the US March consumer price index is set to be used as the next marker in ascertaining whether markets’ expectations for an inflation overshoot are warranted. Economists expect the month-on-month print to come in at 0.5%, 10 basis points compared to February’s reading. The year-on-year headline CPI is expected to come in at 2.5%, although investors will be cognizant of the low base effect from March 2020.

    All that said, a higher-than-expected inflation reading could prompt more selling of US Treasuries, pushing yields higher while triggering volatility in equities. Overvalued tech names stand to lose out in such a scenario, potentially eroding the Nasdaq 100’s month-to-date gains of 5.76%.





    Of course, investors will be parsing through all of the key events listed above, and assessing how each of them (Fed Beige Book, Powell’s speech, retail sales, industrial production, consumer sentiment) could fit into the broader narrative surrounding US inflation and the Fed’s policy response.

    If markets get the impression that the Fed has got it wrong, and may have to ease up on their asset purchases and raise US interest rates sooner than expected, that could send a jolt across multiple asset classes and dampen the tech stocks party once more.

    Earnings season to encourage risk-on mood?

    Still, investor sentiment could be buffered by what’s expected to be the highest earnings growth for S&P 500 companies in a decade!

    Earnings season kicks off on Wednesday, with financial heavyweights such as JPMorgan, Goldman Sachs, and Wells Fargo reporting their respective quarterly financial results.

    According to FactSet, it’s estimated that earnings could grow by 23.8% year-on-year, although the actual figure might be at least 28%. More surprises to the upside could spell further gains for the S&P 500.



    The main story around the US stock market remains the US economic recovery. Fed Chair Jerome Powell, in a TV interview that was aired over the weekend, said that the US economy is at an “inflection point” and that “the outlook has brightened substantially”. He also warned of that a resurgence of Covid-19 in the States is a major risk to the economic recovery.

    Unless such a negative risk materializes, markets think that the recovery that runs too far too fast could influence the Fed policy outlook, although such a narrative is still subject for interpretation. A massive shift in expectations surrounding the Fed’s policy trajectory, which causes an unruly surge in Treasury yields, could upend the risk-on party. Also, if the inoculation efforts are derailed which dashes the optimism surrounding the US economic recovery, that could warrant a pullback in stocks as well.

    Until such things happen, I do expect stocks to continue claiming higher ground over the near-term.




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    Daily Fundamental ForexTime ( FXTM )


    Can Carnival’s share price cruise to a new 2021 high?










    Carnival Corporation is set to unveil its latest quarterly earnings on Wednesday, 7 April.


    The cruise operator’s financial results for the three months ending 28 February are set to bear the deep scars inflicted by the global pandemic. Yet investors have been willing to pay scant attention to such backward-looking figures. Instead, they have been looking forward to the day when Carnival’s cruise ships will set sail once more, filled with holiday goers who are eager (and also hopefully vaccinated) for a break from the lockdowns around the world.

    Such hopes have catapulted the stock higher by almost 260% since 2 April 2020!







    Carnival’s stock price still a long way from pre-pandemic levels

    Following an 85% plunge between 17 January until 2 April last year, Carnival’s stock ended up sinking below the [imath]8.00 mark to hit its lowest levels since 1993. Despite the stunning recovery in the 12 months since, the stock currently remains about 45% lower from its pre-pandemic high, when it breached the[/imath]50 mark in January 2020.


    From a technical perspective, Carnival’s stock recently enjoyed support at its 50-day simple moving average. And with its MACD momentum poised to break above its signal line, coupled with the fact that its 14-day relative strength index has yet to reach technically overbought levels, the stock appears on the cusp of exploring more of its upside.
    Although there is still a notable distance between its current share price from pre-pandemic levels, such a gap also signals the potential upside for Carnival’s stock, as its business eventually is restored.

    How might Carnival’s share price perform today?


    Market participants are poised to react to any commentary or details today about when more of Carnival’s cruises can resume. Any developments related to advanced bookings and pricing could reveal a lot about the pent-up demand for the company’s products and offerings.
    Markets are pricing in a 5.56% move, either upwards or downwards, when Carnival releases its fiscal Q1 earnings. Note that this stock is now 4% away from this year’s highest closing price, set on 15 March.

    Carnival’s share prices registered gains after 4 out of the past 5 quarterly earnings announcements. Despite some negative surprises in the hard numbers, clearly many investors and traders had little qualms getting on board with this stock, pushing it higher by 32% already so far this year.




    Still, going into the earnings announcement, at least 5% of Carnival’s shares are being shorted.


    What are the market expectations for Carnival’s fiscal Q1 earnings?


    Wall Street predicts that Carnival’s latest quarterly revenue would come in at [imath]66.9 million, and an adjusted loss per share of[/imath]1.68 for the period.


    For Carnival’s bottom line, Wall Street is forecasting a net loss of [imath]1.74 billion in this latest financial quarter, which would mark a fifth consecutive fiscal quarter of net losses for the cruise operator. No surprise also that its top line has been wiped out by Covid-19, dwindling to a mere pittance versus the average[/imath]5.1 billion in quarterly revenue it used to rake in since December 2018 until the pandemic struck.


    It is also estimated that Carnival had to burn through $600 million per month between December 2020 and February 2021 in trying to keep its business afloat. Carnival’s decision to get rid of 19 ships off its books did help pad up its cash buffers, adding to the billions raised via sales of bonds and common shares.




    Is the tide turning?

    However, Carnival’s fortunes are set to reverse course in the coming months.
    • Mid-summer 2021: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said yesterday that US cruises may recommence in a few months, as Carnival threatened to relocate its ships away from US ports.
    • May 2021: Carnival’s Italian outfit, Costa Cruises, will sail guests to various locations around Italy, Greece, and Croatia, with later visits to France and Spain starting mid-June.
    • July 2021: Carnival’s ultra-luxury cruise line, Seabourn, has been approved by the Government of Greece to relaunch its voyages in the Mediterranean.

    As the Covid-19 vaccine continues making its way throughout the globe, allowing for leisurely travel to resume, that should in turn bolster Carnival’s business and stock prospects.
    The question now is whether this party is just getting started and the stock can climb much higher, or has this ship already sailed?

    Much rests on what Carnival’s management conveys today, and how well they can dispel the lingering uncertainties surrounding its business outlook. Carnival’s commentary today could potentially signal the next wave of either buying or selling of this stock, even as most of its fleet remains docked for now.



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    Technical outlook: Gold tumbles to 4-month low







    After being trapped within a wide range for many weeks, Gold has finally broken below the stubborn $1850 support level.


    The primary culprits behind Gold’s sharp decline revolved around the better-than-expected U.S business activity data and rising optimism over the progress in a Covid-19 vaccine. Appetite towards the safe-haven asset took another hit amid the triggering of a formal transition process to President-elect Joe Biden. With Biden set to nominate former Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen to become the next Treasury secretary, this may boost the prospects for further fiscal and monetary stimulus given her reputation as a dove. Such a move has been welcomed by investors, with the risk-on sentiment further pressuring Gold which has weakened over 2% since the start of the week.

    Now that Gold bears have awoken from hibernation and broken below the $1850 support level, the path of least resistance for the precious metal points south. Given how the MACD trades to the downside and the death cross technical formation – (where the 50-day simple moving average crosses below the 100-day simple moving average) is in play, bears are currently in the driving seat. Sustained weakness below the $1850 support may open the doors towards $1815 level and the psychological $1800 level above the 200-day simple moving average.


    Zooming out to the weekly timeframe, a solid close below the $1850 could signal the start of a bearish trend. Prices are already trading below the 20 SMA while the MACD is displaying early signs of crossing to the downside. Should bears keep prices below $1850 this week, previous support could transform into a dynamic resistance that encourages a decline towards $1800 and $1760.


    For those who are focusing on the shorter timeframes, there are some interesting developments on the hourly charts. An intraday rebound towards the $1840 level could be on the cards. Should this level prove to be reliable resistance, prices may decline back towards the $1820 level. If the risk-on mood further dampens appetite for the safe-haven asset, prices may break below $1820 with the psychological $1800 a key point of interest.


    Back to the fundamentals…

    While the positive vaccine news is set to impact Gold in the near term, the medium to longer term outlook may be influenced by lower interest rates and possible rise in inflation. Given how the Federal Reserve is expected to leave interest rates unchanged until at least 2023, the central bank could expand its QE program to support the US economy. Such may weaken the Dollar – essentially providing support to Gold.



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    New record high for FXTM Social Media Index





    Amid the ongoing US election uncertainty, investors stuck to a tried-and-tested play during this pandemic era. With neither Joe Biden nor President Donald Trump having yet attained the 270 electorate votes needed to claim an outright win, market participants flocked to US tech counters once more.



    This market action helped propel the FXTM Social Media Index to a new record high, after posting a 6.3 percent gain on Wednesday. That bested the Nasdaq 100’s 4.4 percent advance and the S&P 500’s 2.2 percent climb for the day. The FXTM Social Media Index’s record-setting performance was enabled by the stellar gains in its constituents:
    • Facebook: 8.3%
    • Google: 6%
    • Twitter: 2.5%
    • Snapchat: 2%

    And with Nasdaq futures edging into the green at the time of writing, that could translate into further gains for the FXTM Social Media index on Thursday as well.

    Big Tech rejoices at divided US government

    Investors continue to be gripped by the latest developments surrounding the US presidential elections, with former vice-president Joe Biden appearing closest to snatching victory. Having just won Michigan and Wisconsin, he is now estimated to be just six electoral votes short of the winning 270.

    Yet, as noted within hours after the polls closed, the expected “blue wave” had evaporated. This sets up a challenging path for any new policies to be pushed through the chambers of the US government. A Biden administration, if he does indeed clinch victory, would be met with stiff opposition from a Republican-controlled Senate. In such a scenario, the heightened regulatory pressures that Democrats wish to impose on Big Tech (including Google, Facebook, Twitter) would first have to overcome stern opposition from across the political divide. As investors did the math as to who will occupy Capitol Hill over the coming years, tech stocks were able to punch higher at the thought that further scrutiny by lawmakers may be blunted by a divided US government.

    At the same time, tech megacaps are set to enjoy pandemic-related tailwinds for a while more. With the US registering 100,000 cases in a single day, physical economic activities are not expected to be restored to pre-pandemic levels anytime soon, which should ensure heightened reliance on tech.

    Standby by tumultuous Thursday?

    Still, we must stop ourselves from getting carried away; the 2020 US presidential elections has not yet reached a conclusive end. Should President Trump’s legal onslaught gain traction and manage to put any state’s electoral votes into doubt, having already launched lawsuits in three different states, that may still spark a bout of risk aversion and prompt global equities to unwind some of the gains in the week so far.

    Beyond the US elections, the Federal Reserve is due to make a policy decision later today, although the FOMC is expected to leave its policy settings unchanged. The weekly US jobless claims is expected to show stubbornly elevated levels of over 700,000 Americans claiming unemployment benefits for the week.

    Still, barring any shocks out of the Fed or the US economic data releases, the latest developments pertaining to the presidential race are expected to hold court over global market sentiment as investors keenly await the declaration of the official winner.




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    Oil: Stuck around $40 with nowhere to go









    Later today, OPEC+ is set for a meeting to evaluate the state of the global market. And the outlook isn’t particularly inspiring for Oil bulls.

    Since bouncing out from under the $20/bbl in April, Brent Oil’s recovery has plateaued, even as it keeps its head above the psychologically-important $40/bbl line. Still, the MACD clearly points to waning momentum, with Oil prices having stuck to a sideways range since September. The FXTM Trader's Sentiments also appears rather evenly split, with 52 percent net long on this asset.





    Likewise, Crude oil prices are seeing similar fortunes, drifting sideways, even as it consolidates around its 50-day simple moving average. Although the International Energy Agency estimates that the demand for oil worldwide has been restored to 94 percent of pre-pandemic levels, markets are clearly not convinced.



    Recall back in April, OPEC and its allies had agreed to aggressively lower their collective output in order to rebalance global markets. From the 9.7 million barrels per day (bpd) that were removed starting May, those production cuts were set to be eased by about 3.9 million bpd at the start of 2021, which is in just 74 days. Their initial hopes that global demand would’ve recovered sufficiently by now to warrant restoring more Oil supply into the world has clearly been decimated by the pandemic’s refusal to go quietly into the night.

    As the OPEC+ Joint Ministerial Monitoring Committee meet on Monday, the alliance will be under pressure to delay their supply ramp-up, given how the global economy is still faltering in its post-pandemic recovery. The total number of Covid-19 cases is nearing the 40 million mark, and major Western economies are still, till this day, battling the coronavirus’s spread within their own borders. While eschewing the nationwide lockdowns that were commonplace during the first half of the year, more targeted restrictions still impede economic activity. With schools shut, work-from-home orders in place, and little allowance for social activities, such measures erode the world’s demand for Oil. Such persistent demand-side concerns ensure that the upside for Oil prices remain capped for the time being.

    At least China is a bright spark in the global economy. The world’s second largest economy grew by 4.9 percent in Q3, while its industrial production and retail sales for September exceeded market expectations. During its Golden Week holidays earlier this month, that were about 425 million trips made across China within a four-day period. However, more major economies need to follow China’s lead and keep the coronavirus in check, before Oil prices can see a sustainable lift.

    Although no decision is expected out of OPEC+ until December 1, the signs are already there that this alliance of major Oil producers may have to keep their output levels suppressed for longer if they are to retain hope that prices can climb higher from current levels. Until there is a vaccine that can help speed up the global economic recovery, perhaps Oil bulls would be content sitting off to the sidelines in the interim.





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    Is the best of the recovery behind us?









    Signs that the spread of coronavirus is gathering pace and dwindling US stimulus hopes have dented sentiment today, with major US stock markets opening up more than 1% lower. While some of the losses have been clawed back on news President Trump is willing to look beyond the current $1.8 trillion package, markets are in gloomy mood.

    The Vix index – the so-called Wall Street ‘fear gauge’ – has jumped up above 28 and is much higher than its long-term average around 20. With market sentiment wilting, the Dollar is trading broadly higher with higher beta currencies taking a pounding. The release of the weekly US initial jobless claims has also not helped the mood, with the print of 895k claims coming in well above the 825k estimate. The figures may be distorted by a processing backlog in California, but the uptick is certainly disconcerting in the current environment.

    PM Johnson will officially decide tomorrow whether the UK will remain at the Brexit negotiating table. The bar for walking away seems very high at the moment, particularly with clear downside risks to the domestic economy from imminent new lockdown measures. There is pressure on France by Germany to soften its demands on fisheries and accept a deal, but the choppy nature of sterling this week is likely to continue as headline havoc continues.

    Potential November rate cut hurting AUD

    Higher beta currencies are struggling today and overnight dovish comments by RBA Governor Lowe have added to the Aussie’s pain. He said the bank could cut rates to 0.1% and leave them at lower levels for longer. This cautious stance outweighed the better-than-expected jobs report, which saw the unemployment rate stay below 7%.

    AUD/USD has sliced through the 100-day Moving Average today at 0.7091 and a strong close below here may see prices test the September low just above 0.70. However, the pair was supported by the 100-day MA back then so the close is crucial.







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    Mixed market mood continues








    European stocks have hit three-month lows as worries about the prolonged economic damage from coronavirus will not go away, while US markets are volatile, with the Nasdaq on course for its worst month since March. The tech-heavy index touched official ‘correction’ territory just after the open, but this comes after a rampant 65% gain from April to the August highs. It certainly seems like markets are working it out now that fiscal action in the US will be limited to damage control rather than any significant spending package if it comes before the Presidential elections.

    One asset which is liking all this uncertainty and disappointment from a Fed waving the white flag in the last few days, is the Dollar. The greenback has added to its gains through the week as it sits on track for its strongest weekly performance since early-April. The shorts are definitely trimming their positions and running to the ‘close position’ door in quick fashion ahead of the depressing increases in virus contagions.



    Fed speakers are again on tap this afternoon after yesterday’s continued line that they will remain on hold for a long time and are unwilling to go the extra mile. While they are not able or willing to inject more momentum into the reflation trade, pushing the onus increasingly on to the fiscal policymakers and Government, markets are in a sombre mood.

    Sunak giving a boost to Sterling

    The pound is the top performing major currency today, as it makes back some of the 4.5% drop it has suffered since the start of September. The UK Chancellor unveiled support measures this afternoon for jobs and businesses, as the Government strives to ‘protect jobs though the winter’. Unemployment would have risen sharply in the coming months as the furlough scheme ends in October, but the new scheme is less generous. More importantly for the Treasury, it will cost alot less which matters when the size of UK public debt was equivalent to UK GDP at the end of July.

    Cable is just about bouncing off the crossing of the 100- and 200-day Moving Averages at 1.2703 and 1.2722 respectively. Prices need to get back above the mid-September lows around 1.2762 to have a chance of building any bullish momentum. Allowing for the current pause in recent selling, indicators looks quite bearish with 1.2650 opening up, if the Moving Averages prove to be feeble in their support.







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