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uBanker Blog

  • Day Ahead: Top 3 Things to Watch

    Investing.com - Here’s a preview of the top 3 things that could rock markets tomorrow.

    1. FedEx Heads Earnings Calendar

    Package delivery behemoth FedEx (NYSE:FDX) leads earnings tomorrow, reporting after the bell.

    The company is expected to report earnings of $3.14 a share for its fiscal third quarter, up from $3.11 a year ago, according to analysts polled by Investing.com. Revenue is forecast at $17.62 billion, up 6.8% from a year ago. FedEx shares rose 2.5% on Monday and are up more than 13% this year.

    “FedEx stock looks cheap when compared to its peers after the significant downward correction of the past 12 months,” Investing.com’s Haris Anwar wrote Monday. “Its price-to-earnings ratio of 15.68 is lower than the industry average of 25.84.”

    And whatever numbers FedEx reports tomorrow, investors shouldn’t forget the dividend of $0.65 per share, with an annual yield of 1.45%, Anwar said.

    “This yield looks meager when compared to some high-yielding stocks in the market,” he said. “But we would still prefer FedEx stock over other, riskier, names because the company has a lot of room to grow its payouts.”

    Ahead of trading, Michaels Companies Inc (NASDAQ:MIK), which operates the Michaels hobby-center chain and the Aaron Brothers picture-framing business, is expected to report $1.42 a share in the fiscal-fourth quarter, up from $1.19 a share a year ago. Revenue is expected at $1.78 billion, down 5.8% from a year ago. The stock is down nearly 47% from its 52-week high.

    After the bell, Steelcase (NYSE:SCS), the venerable maker of office furniture systems, is expected to report 26 cents a share in earnings for the fiscal-fourth quarter, up from 19 cents a year ago.

    And Smartsheet (NYSE:SMAR), which went public a year ago, is expected to report a loss of 14 cents a share for the fiscal-fourth quarter. Analysts see revenue jumping 50.8% to $49.7 million. The company makes cloud-based collaboration and work management software. The stock is up 191% since its IPO.

    2. Factory Orders Seen Rising

    It’s a light economic calendar tomorrow and investors will likely want to keep their powder dry under the Federal Reserve weighs in on interest rates on Wednesday.

    The Census Bureau will report January factory orders at 10:00 AM ET (14:00 GMT).

    On average, economists expect that orders rose 0.3% in January, according to forecasts compiled by Investing.com.

    Factory orders rose just 0.1% in December, well below the 1.5% the market was expecting at the time.

    3. Draw in Crude Supplies to Continue?

    A fresh batch of crude oil inventory data from the American Petroleum Institute will be closely watched to determine whether U.S. oil producers have ramped up output following data last Tuesday showing a draw in oil inventories.

    The American Petroleum Institute reported crude oil stockpiles fell by 2.6 million barrels for the week ended March 15.

    Crude oil futures gained 1% to settle at $59.09 a barrel after Saudi Arabia talked up the prospect of extending output cuts beyond June into the second half of 2019.

    U.S. oil prices are near four-month highs, but some have warned that a rise non-OPEC production, led by the U.S. producers, could offset OPEC's efforts to avert a glut in global supplies.

    "When it comes to non-OPEC production, all eyes are on the U.S.," Stratas Advisors said, but added that while it expects a substantial amount of U.S. production growth to occur this year (up 1.1 million bpd) "we do not think volumes will be overwhelming."

    The rise in crude prices has also boosted demand for currencies with strong ties to the price of oil like the Norwegian Krone.

    "Tactically, we still like longs in NOK at these (oil) prices. Short USD/NOK and short EUR/NOK both appeal," Societe Generale said in a note.

    Read more
  • Tilray Climbs After Hours; Del Taco, Revlon Sink Sharply

    Investing.com - These stocks were active postmarket.

    Cannabis company Tilray (NASDAQ:TLRY) rose 3% in after-hours trading. It reported a quarterly loss wider than expectations from Investing.com. Revenue of $15.5 million slightly missed the Investing.com forecast, but was up more than 200% from the year-ago period thanks to strength in bulk sales.

    But perhaps most exciting for investors, Tilray’s CEO told CNBC that cannabis beverages could be on shelves in Canada by October.

    Things going well for pot, but not for tacos is probably a rare occurrence, but that happened after the bell as Del Taco Restaurants (NASDAQ:TACO) dived 7% after hours.

    The fast food company reported earnings just below the Investing.com consensus, with sales in line. But profit guidance was a concern. Del Taco said it now sees fiscal 2019 profit of 47 to 52 cents per share, below the S&P Capital IQ forecast of 58 cents per share, according to Briefing.com.

    And cosmetics company Revlon (NYSE:REV) plunged 12% postmarket. The company reported a fourth-quarter loss of 86 cents per share. That was way off the 15 cents per share profit forecast, but investors should take that with a grain of salt since just one analyst is covering the stock and offering forecasts.

    The company is still in the process of an audit and said it “expects to disclose in its 2018 Form 10-K that it identified a material weakness in its internal control over financial reporting as of year-end 2018.”

    Read more
  • Canada stocks higher at close of trade; S&P/TSX Composite up 0.67%

    Investing.com – Canada stocks were higher after the close on Monday, as gains in the Healthcare, Energy and Financials sectors led shares higher.

    At the close in Toronto, the S&P/TSX Composite added 0.67% to hit a new 6-months high.

    The best performers of the session on the S&P/TSX Composite were TransAlta Corp (TO:TA), which rose 7.13% or 0.59 points to trade at 8.86 at the close. Meanwhile, Aphria Inc (TO:APHA) added 6.40% or 0.820 points to end at 13.640 and Precision Drilling Corporation (TO:PD) was up 5.98% or 0.18 points to 3.19 in late trade.

    The worst performers of the session were Fortuna Silver Mines Inc (TO:FVI), which fell 4.43% or 0.23 points to trade at 4.96 at the close. North West Company Inc (TO:NWC) declined 4.29% or 1.29 points to end at 28.77 and Knight Therapeutics Inc (TO:GUD) was down 4.24% or 0.34 points to 7.67.

    Rising stocks outnumbered declining ones on the Toronto Stock Exchange by 644 to 453 and 108 ended unchanged.

    Shares in TransAlta Corp (TO:TA) rose to 3-years highs; gaining 7.13% or 0.59 to 8.86.

    The S&P/TSX 60 VIX, which measures the implied volatility of S&P/TSX Composite options, was up 20.00% to 12.18.

    Gold Futures for April delivery was up 0.05% or 0.65 to $1303.55 a troy ounce. Elsewhere in commodities trading, Crude oil for delivery in May rose 0.75% or 0.44 to hit $59.26 a barrel, while the May Brent oil contract rose 0.39% or 0.26 to trade at $67.42 a barrel.

    CAD/USD was up 0.11% to 0.7499, while CAD/EUR fell 0.05% to 0.6611.

    The US Dollar Index Futures was down 0.11% at 95.945.

    Read more
  • UnitedHealth Shares Finding Their Mojo Again

    Investing.com - UnitedHealth Group (NYSE:UNH) has been a big reason why the Dow has held its own lately.

    The world's largest health-insurance company was the Dow's best performer last week, up 6.73% adding 108 points to the index by itself. It was up another 1% today.

    UnitedHealth's rebound came after falling 3.6% two weeks ago in a crummy week for stocks generally. The Dow, S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite all fell for five-straight days.

    The UnitedHealth rally is part of the easing of recent selling pressure on health stocks generally.

    The Health Care Select Sector SPDR (NYSE:XLV) ETF was up 1.7% last week after falling 3.8% the week before. UnitedHealth represents nearly 7% of the Health Care ETFs assets, third-largest after Johnson & Johnson (NYSE:JNJ) and Pfizer (NYSE:PFE).

    The selling in health stocks seemed prompted by investor panic over the push by Democrats on health-care-for-all plans. But many analysts noted that, even if a plan was passed by the House of Representatives, it would face intense industry opposition, with UnitedHealth a big leader, and will get nowhere in a GOP-ruled Senate.

    The company serves some 115 million customers with its various coverage plans. In addition, it has a large pharmacy benefit management business that negotiates substantial rebates from drug companies and passes the rebates on to customers.

    Analysts love the stock.

    Twenty-four of 25 analysts tracked by Investing.com rate UnitedHealth a buy. The consensus is that the stock could top $307 in the next 12 months, a 22% gain from current levels. Technical measures also tracked by Investing.com rate the stock a strong buy.

    UnitedHealth has been a star performer among the 30 Dow stocks in recent years as earnings and revenue routinely beat estimates. In 2017, it soared nearly 38%. In 2018, the stock rose just 13%, but that included a 6.4% drubbing in last fall's selloff.

    An aging population is a big reason health insurance stocks have been strong in recent years. Add to that the ability to add acquisitions to complement their core offerings.

    Critics say their premiums are rising too fast and operating pharmacy benefit plans just adds to the companies' bottom lines at the expense of consumers.

    UnitedHealth made a stab at addressing that issue last week. It said Tuesday that, starting in 2020, new corporate customers will have to pass their drug rebates on to consumers.

    Read more
  • U.S. Crude Jumps, Nearing $60, as OPEC+ Talks up Production Cuts

    By Barani Krishnan

    Investing.com - OPEC and its ally Russia are betting that their mantra of production cuts will continue kicking oil prices higher and the market seems to be buying that -- for now.

    New York-traded West Texas Intermediate crude settled up 57 cents, or 1%, at $59.09 per barrel after hitting a four-month high of $59.54 in response to remarks by the energy ministers of Saudi Arabia and Russia that the two partners under the OPEC+ alliance will be more aggressive than ever in reducing output.

    WTI is now less than $1 from the key $60 resistance, which many expect to be breached later Monday, if not in the coming days, as the first course toward getting the market to the Saudi-aspired price of $80 per barrel.

    WTI's prospects have improved dramatically since last week, reducing its discount to global oil benchmark Brent after government data indicated that oil output in the United States was slowing.

    Brent was up 31 cents, or 0.5%, at $67.47 per barrel by 2:45 PM ET (18:45 GMT).

    The gap between the two benchmarks now stands at slightly more than $8 compared to the about-$10 differential that existed for months prior.

    Saudi Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih told reporters in the Azerbaijan city of Baku at the weekend, where OPEC+ met for a preliminary review of its production cuts, that the alliance's work in so-called market rebalancing was far from over. Falih has been cautious not to sound like a price hawk since the OPEC+ campaign began in January, stressing that there should be adequate oil supply as much as there shouldn't be a glut (although Saudi officials privately agree with economists' views that the kingdom needs Brent to be at $80 a barrel at least to fund its budget).

    “The supply-cut narrative has outpaced the potential slowdown in global demand scenario for the last few weeks, keeping the oil bears on the sidelines,” Dominick Chirichella, director of risk and trading at the Energy Management Institute in New York, said in a note.

    After Europe and China, the U.S. economy has been sounding its own weak warnings lately, raising doubts about global oil demand.

    Falih said in Baku that uncertainties over Iranian and Venezuelan supplies were also complicating the market rebalancing. The U.S. holds the keys to production in those two OPEC members through sanctions, giving the Trump administration, which wants lower oil prices, the advantage of surprising the cartel at any time with unexpected decisions.

    With all this, cuts above the 1.2 million barrels per day originally agreed by OPEC+ will probably be needed, Falih said. Riyadh, so far, has been the only one in the 25-member alliance to exceed that target every month, an achievement the Saudi energy minister has never failed to flag to the market. He said Sunday that the Saudis won’t be the only ones carrying that burden.

    That last line appeared to be a gentle nudge to his Russian counterpart Alexander Novak that Moscow needed to do more. As if on cue, Novak responded, saying Russia will raise its compliance to cuts hereon, explaining it had difficulty turning down its production earlier due to winter freeze.

    That was enough to spur Monday's buying in oil.

    "The strategy of OPEC+ already appears to be bearing fruit," analysts at Commerzbank (DE:CBKG) said in a note.

    Read more
  • France stocks higher at close of trade; CAC 40 up 0.14%

    Investing.com – France stocks were higher after the close on Monday, as gains in the Technology, Consumer Goods and Healthcare sectors led shares higher.

    At the close in Paris, the CAC 40 rose 0.14% to hit a new 3-months high, while the SBF 120 index climbed 0.13%.

    The best performers of the session on the CAC 40 were Credit Agricole SA (PA:CAGR), which rose 2.57% or 0.284 points to trade at 11.326 at the close. Meanwhile, Societe Generale SA (PA:SOGN) added 2.47% or 0.68 points to end at 27.97 and ArcelorMittal SA (AS:MT) was up 2.22% or 0.424 points to 19.550 in late trade.

    The worst performers of the session were STMicroelectronics NV (PA:STM), which fell 2.53% or 0.370 points to trade at 14.250 at the close. Dassault Systemes SE (PA:DAST) declined 1.96% or 2.60 points to end at 129.95 and EssilorLuxottica SA (PA:ESLX) was down 1.13% or 1.20 points to 105.20.

    The top performers on the SBF 120 were Aperam SA (AS:APAM) which rose 2.92% to 28.59, Credit Agricole SA (PA:CAGR) which was up 2.57% to settle at 11.326 and Societe Generale SA (PA:SOGN) which gained 2.47% to close at 27.97.

    The worst performers were Casino Guichard Perrachon SA (PA:CASP) which was down 4.76% to 39.04 in late trade, Trigano SA (PA:TRIA) which lost 4.05% to settle at 84.20 and Neopost SA (PA:NPOS) which was down 3.50% to 22.60 at the close.

    Rising stocks outnumbered declining ones on the Paris Stock Exchange by 306 to 266 and 96 ended unchanged.

    The CAC 40 VIX, which measures the implied volatility of CAC 40 options, was up 2.00% to 13.29.

    Gold Futures for April delivery was down 0.03% or 0.45 to $1302.45 a troy ounce. Elsewhere in commodities trading, Crude oil for delivery in May rose 0.82% or 0.48 to hit $59.30 a barrel, while the May Brent oil contract rose 0.48% or 0.32 to trade at $67.48 a barrel.

    EUR/USD was up 0.07% to 1.1333, while EUR/GBP rose 0.56% to 0.8567.

    The US Dollar Index Futures was down 0.00% at 96.047.

    Read more
  • StockBeat - Facebook Under Fire; Apple Launches Products as FANG Trades Mixed

    Investing.com - Facebook fell out of favor, for Monday at least, after Wall Street turned bearish on the stock, while Apple's launch of new products boosted sentiment ahead of an event next week where the iPhone maker is expected to unveil a big bet on original content.

    Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) fell more than 3% as Needham downgraded the social media giant from a buy to a hold rating amid worries the financial impact of the pivot towards privacy and encrypted messages, as well as growing regulation risks, may hamper the company's ability to monetize its data. The stock has been enjoying a 22% rebound this year from the hammering it took in 2018, but it is still trading some 27% below its 52-week high.

    Bank of America echoed Needham's bearish view on Facebook, cutting its price target on the stock to $187 from $205 on worries that a move toward "a more privacy-centric platform could raise questions on three-year growth."

    The apparent pivot toward privacy comes as the company has faced backlash over numerous privacy scandals, prompting top-level executives to leave.

    Two top executives including Chief Product Officer Chris Cox, one of CEO Mark Zuckerberg's top deputies, will leave the social media network, according to reports last week. The social media firm is also set to lose WhatsApp Vice President Chris Daniels.

    Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL), meanwhile, held a 0.9% gain after launching a new 10.5-inch iPad Air and an iPad mini with Pencil support. Both iPads come in 64GB and 256GB variations and are expected to hit stores next week.

    The release of new iPads comes just a week ahead of the tech giant's event on March 25, when it is expected to launch a television and video service in a bid to bolster its services revenue and reduce its reliance on iPhones, which generate about 60% of total revenue.

    "We raise our 12-month target price to $210 from $195 on a price over earnings of 16.1 times our 2020 view, above AAPL's ten-year historical forward average of 15.2x, warranted, we think, to reflect AAPL's ongoing shift to services," CFRA said in a note. "We believe that AAPL's entry into video streaming will pave the way for greater services offerings (e.g. video streaming, magazine subscription, gaming, healthcare)."

    Read more
  • Israel stocks lower at close of trade; TA 35 down 0.35%

    Investing.com – Israel stocks were lower after the close on Monday, as losses in the Oil&Gas, Communication and Financials sectors led shares lower.

    At the close in Tel Aviv, the TA 35 fell 0.35%.

    The best performers of the session on the TA 35 were Gazit Globe Ltd (TA:GZT), which rose 5.50% or 154 points to trade at 2955 at the close. Meanwhile, Delek Group (TA:DLEKG) added 2.29% or 1490 points to end at 66500 and Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd (TA:TEVA) was up 1.31% or 78 points to 6018 in late trade.

    The worst performers of the session were Israel Corp (TA:ILCO), which fell 3.75% or 3450 points to trade at 88540 at the close. ICL Israel Chemicals Ltd (TA:ICL) declined 2.89% or 57 points to end at 1915 and Bezeq Israeli Telecommunication Corp Ltd (TA:BEZQ) was down 2.12% or 6.5 points to 299.5.

    Rising stocks outnumbered declining ones on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange by 211 to 164 and 45 ended unchanged.

    Crude oil for May delivery was up 0.94% or 0.55 to $59.37 a barrel. Elsewhere in commodities trading, Brent oil for delivery in May rose 0.51% or 0.34 to hit $67.50 a barrel, while the April Gold Futures contract fell 0.00% or 0.05 to trade at $1302.85 a troy ounce.

    USD/ILS was up 0.32% to 3.6063, while EUR/ILS rose 0.43% to 4.0873.

    The US Dollar Index Futures was down 0.01% at 96.037.

    Read more
  • Russia stocks higher at close of trade; MOEX Russia up 0.28%

    Investing.com – Russia stocks were higher after the close on Monday, as gains in the Telecoms, Mining and Oil&Gas sectors led shares higher.

    At the close in Moscow, the MOEX Russia gained 0.28%.

    The best performers of the session on the MOEX Russia were X5 Retail Group NV (MCX:FIVEDR), which rose 2.67% or 42.5 points to trade at 1635.0 at the close. Meanwhile, MMK (MCX:MAGN) added 2.27% or 1.030 points to end at 46.330 and Surgutneftegaz PAO (MCX:SNGS) was up 2.27% or 0.550 points to 24.750 in late trade.

    The worst performers of the session were Safmar Finansovye Investitsii PAO (MCX:SFIN), which fell 7.68% or 46.6 points to trade at 560.4 at the close. Yandex NV (MCX:YNDX) declined 1.99% or 46.80 points to end at 2306.00 and Ros Agro PLC (MCX:AGRODR) was down 1.94% or 15 points to 760.

    Rising stocks outnumbered declining ones on the Moscow Stock Exchange by 143 to 83 and 18 ended unchanged.

    The Russian VIX, which measures the implied volatility of MOEX Russia options, was down 0.22% to 22.430.

    Gold Futures for April delivery was up 0.10% or 1.25 to $1304.15 a troy ounce. Elsewhere in commodities trading, Crude oil for delivery in May rose 0.80% or 0.47 to hit $59.29 a barrel, while the May Brent oil contract rose 0.28% or 0.19 to trade at $67.35 a barrel.

    USD/RUB was down 0.57% to 64.4380, while EUR/RUB fell 0.51% to 73.0262.

    The US Dollar Index Futures was down 0.04% at 96.010.

    Read more
  • Caesars Enjoys Post-Ides of March Rally Midday

    Investing.com - Caesars Entertainment was among the top movers midday on Monday after reports that it is in talks with U.S. casino operator Eldorado Resorts on a possible merger.

    Analysts have speculated on a merger between the two in the past, as Eldorado owns 26 properties across the U.S. and Caesars is one of the dominant casino companies in Las Vegas.

    The potential merger talks, first reported by Reuters, come after Caesars agreed to give billionaire investor Carl Icahn three board seats to his representatives. Icahn has been pushing for the company to sell itself.

    Caesars (NASDAQ:CZR) jumped 2.4%, while Eldorado (NASDAQ:ERI) slipped 1.5%.

    Elsewhere in the sector, MGM Resorts International (NYSE:MGM) inched up 0.3%, while Wynn Resorts (NASDAQ:WYNN) was down 0.04% and Las Vegas Sands (NYSE:LVS) fell 0.1%.

    Read more
  • U.S. Dollar Falls to 2-1/2 Week Low

    Investing.com - The greenback fell to a two-and-a-half week low on Monday as investors pulled back ahead of the Federal Reserve’s meeting later in the week.

    The Fed is expected to keep rates unchanged at its latest policy meeting on Wednesday, but its update on rate forecasts will be looked over closely.

    The U.S. dollar index, which measures the greenback’s strength against a basket of six major currencies, lost 0.1% to 95.958 as of 10:44 AM ET (14:44 GMT).

    Recent weak economic data could lead to loosening monetary policy. The Fed has said it will be patient and review data before increasing rates in the near term.

    Traders currently expect no interest rate hikes this year, according to Investing.com’s Fed Rate Monitor Tool.

    Wednesday’s meeting is just the start of central bank decisions, with the Bank of England and Swiss National Bank due to meet on Thursday, while Russia’s central bank meets on Friday.

    The dollar rose against the safe-haven yen, with USD/JPY rising 0.1% to 111.57.

    Sterling fell as U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May tries to push her Brexit bill through parliament for the third time, even as analysts expect it to fail again. If it fails, May will have to ask the European Union to extend the March 29 deadline. GBP/USD slipped 0.4% to 1.3242.

    Elsewhere, AUD/USD increased 0.2% to 0.7093, while NZD/USD gained 0.2% to 0.6855. The loonie inched up, with USD/CAD down 0.01% to 1.3330. EUR/USD was up 0.2% to 1.1341.

    Read more
  • Crypto Wrap: Cboe Stops Trading Bitcoin Futures; Bitcoin Cash Surges

    Investing.com - Cryptocurrency prices rose over the last week, led by a 25% surge in Bitcoin Cash, against a backdrop of further signs of weakness in fiat currencies such as the dollar.

    Bitcoin rose 2.7% over the week to $3,982.00 on the Investing.com Index, continuing to flirt with reaching the $4,000 mark. Trading volumes of the coin have risen slightly, but still remain below peak levels.

    Bitcoin Cash jumped 25% over the last seven days to a two-month high of $165.29, as trading volumes have skyrocketed. Reports suggest that trading has been concentrated in South Korea. BCH emerged from a 'hard fork' with the original Bitcoin, created by miners concerned with the scalability of BTC.

    On a weekly basis, Ethereum gained 3.8% to $138.06 and XRP inched up 1.5% to $0.31396 while Litecoin was up 8.5% to $59.527.

    Cryptocurrencies overall rose to $139 billion at the time of writing, compared to $132 billion a week ago, despite a lack of obvious positive catalysts.

    Indeed, CBOE Global Markets announced it will stop trading in Bitcoin futures just one-year after its launch. The Chicago-based group said Friday it will not list new contracts for the coin, meaning trade will end when open contracts are settled in June. Interest in Cboe futures has waned, as trading volumes at Cboe are much lower than those on rival CME, which is still live.

    CBOE still has an application to list a bitcoin ETF and is waiting for a decision on the matter from the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

    Meanwhile, the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision called on banks to report their exposure to virtual currency assets, as they have “the potential to raise financial stability concerns” and “increase risks” for banks.

    The committee called on banks to publicly disclose their exposure to such assets, as well as assessing material risks associated with exposure to digital currencies.

    Regulators have been concerned over the potential of digital tokens as a way to get around money laundering rules, as the transactions and wallets of cryptocurrencies are often anonymous.

    SEC senior advisor for digital assets Valerie Szczepanik was quoted as saying at SXSW on Friday that stablecoins - which were created to address some of the risks that regulators have flagged - could themselves "raise issues under securities laws," and consequently expose them to strict regulation.

    Stablecoins are digital coins that are meant to minimize price volatility, most often by being pegged to another asset such as a fiat currency held in reserve.

    Szczepanik warned that “where there is one central party controlling the price fluctuation over time,” the asset in question “might be getting into the land of securities.”

    This could arise when the coin's price is "tied to the issuance, creation or redemption of another type of digital asset tied to it, or whether it is controlled through supply and demand in some way to keep the price within a certain band,” Szczepanik said.

    Read more
  • Stocks - Worldpay, Deutsche Rise in Pre-market; Boeing, Walt Disney Fall

    Investing.com - Stocks in focus in premarket trade Monday:

    · Boeing (NYSE:BA) slumped 2.2% by 8:15 AM ET (12:15 GMT) on the news that data from the Ethiopian Air jet that crashed earlier this month suggests similarities with an earlier crash off Indonesia. The U.S. Department of Transportation is investigating the Federal Aviation Administration's approval of Boeing’s 737 Max 8.

    · Worldpay (NYSE:WP) surged 11.5% after Fidelity National Information Services agreed to buy it by for $35 billion in cash and shares, plus another $7 billion in debt.

    ·Deutsche Bank (NYSE:DB) rose 4.9% after confirming at the weekend it had opened merger talks with its German rival Commerzbank (OTC:CRZBY).

    . Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA) was up 0.5% after it dropped its mid-range battery option from its Model 3.

    · Pacific Gas & Electric (NYSE:PCG) dropped 0.8% as the troubled utility company comes closer to naming a new CEO and board.

    · Caesars Entertainment (NASDAQ:CZR) jumped 4.7% after news that it is in talks on a possible merger with with U.S. casino operator Eldorado Resorts.

    · Amazon.com (NASDAQ:AMZN) stock inched up 0.2% amid news that it received the final approval for its second headquarters deal in Virginia.

    · Walt Disney (NYSE:DIS) stock fell 1.5% as the company announced preliminary consideration results by 21st Century Fox shareholders for the $71 billion asset sale. Around 52% elected to receive cash, while 36% elected to receive stock in New Disney.

    Read more
  • India stocks higher at close of trade; Nifty 50 up 0.31%

    Investing.com – India stocks were higher after the close on Monday, as gains in the Real Estate, Oil&Gas and Public Sector Undertakings sectors led shares higher.

    At the close in NSE, the Nifty 50 gained 0.31% to hit a new 6-months high, while the BSE Sensex 30 index climbed 0.19%.

    The best performers of the session on the Nifty 50 were Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Ltd (NS:HPCL), which rose 3.45% or 9.55 points to trade at 286.80 at the close. Meanwhile, Indian Oil Corporation Ltd (NS:IOC) added 3.65% or 5.75 points to end at 162.80 and Bajaj Finance Ltd (NS:BJFN) was up 2.77% or 79.25 points to 2929.55 in late trade.

    The worst performers of the session were Lupin Ltd (NS:LUPN), which fell 3.98% or 31.25 points to trade at 754.20 at the close. Maruti Suzuki India Ltd. (NS:MRTI) declined 2.57% or 182.00 points to end at 6909.10 and Hero MotoCorp Ltd (NS:HROM) was down 2.37% or 64.85 points to 2669.50.

    The top performers on the BSE Sensex 30 were Bajaj Finance Ltd (BO:BJFN) which rose 2.84% to 2941.00, Power Grid Corporation of India Ltd (BO:PGRD) which was up 2.29% to settle at 196.75 and AXIS Bank Ltd. (BO:AXBK) which gained 2.21% to close at 751.95.

    The worst performers were Maruti Suzuki India Ltd. (BO:MRTI) which was down 2.56% to 6910.35 in late trade, Hero MotoCorp Ltd (BO:HROM) which lost 2.47% to settle at 2671.50 and Bharti Airtel Ltd (BO:BRTI) which was down 2.08% to 330.00 at the close.

    Falling stocks outnumbered advancing ones on the India National Stock Exchange by 960 to 654 and 70 ended unchanged; on the Bombay Stock Exchange, 1504 fell and 1098 advanced, while 163 ended unchanged.

    Shares in AXIS Bank Ltd. (BO:AXBK) rose to all time highs; gaining 2.21% or 16.25 to 751.95.

    The India VIX, which measures the implied volatility of Nifty 50 options, was up 6.52% to 16.9000.

    Gold Futures for April delivery was up 0.17% or 2.25 to $1305.15 a troy ounce. Elsewhere in commodities trading, Crude oil for delivery in May fell 0.20% or 0.12 to hit $58.70 a barrel, while the May Brent oil contract rose 0.07% or 0.05 to trade at $67.21 a barrel.

    USD/INR was down 0.53% to 68.600, while EUR/INR fell 0.30% to 77.8140.

    The US Dollar Index Futures was down 0.14% at 95.917.

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  • Stocks - U.S. Futures Mixed as Trade Summit Reportedly Postponed to June

    Investing.com - U.S. futures were subdued on Monday as news that a proposed summit between U.S. President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping could be pushed back to June cast further doubt over the fate of talks to end the trade war between the two countries.

    The proposed meeting was originally scheduled for March, then pushed to April, and has now been pushed back to June, the South China Morning News reported on Saturday.

    The delay indicates the two sides are far from an agreement on trade disputes, despite comments from both sides last week claiming that they had made progress.

    Dow futures fell 83 points to 0.32% by 6:41 AM ET (10:41 GMT), while S&P 500 futures slipped half a point or 0.01% and tech-heavy Nasdaq 100 futures was up 2 points or 0.04%.

    Chinese stocks closed overnight on a high note, likely moved by U.S. data on Friday that encourage hopes that the Federal Reserve's next move on interest rates will be down rather than up.

    Boeing (NYSE:BA) fell 3.5% to a seven-week low in premarket trading on news that data from the Ethiopian Air jet that crashed earlier this month suggests similarities with an earlier crash off Indonesia. The U.S. Department of Transportation is investigating the Federal Aviation Administration's approval of Boeing’s 737 Max 8 in the wake of the deadly crashes that both involved the best-selling model. Walt Disney (NYSE:DIS) slipped 1% while Kraft Heinz (NASDAQ:KHC) dipped 0.3%.

    Payment processor Worldpay (NYSE:WP) jumped 10.9% on news that it's being bought by Fidelity National Information Services for $35 billion in cash and shares, plus debt. Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA) rose 0.9% after it dropped its mid-range battery option from its Model 3, while Intel (NASDAQ:INTC) gained 0.2% and Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) inched up 0.5%.

    In commodities, gold futures recovered 0.1% to $1,304.75 a troy ounce, while crude oil inched down 0.4% to $58.59 but was still near 2019 highs. The U.S. dollar index, which measures the greenback against a basket of six major currencies, fell 0.2% to a two-and-a-half-week low of 95.917.

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  • StockBeat: Deutsche Bank, Commerzbank Rise After Confirming Merger Talks

    By Geoffrey Smith

    Investing.com -- All aboard the good ship Moral Hazard!

    Common sense may suggest that combining two weak banks doesn’t make a strong one (anyone remember Bankia?), but Deutsche Bank (DE:DBKGn) and Commerzbank (DE:CBKG) are both up sharply this morning after the two finally confirmed the worst-kept secret in European banking at the weekend.

    At 04:00 AM ET (0900 GMT), Deutsche was up 3.2% while Commerzbank was up 3.4% at a new 2019 high. Germany’s Dax was up 0.1% while the benchmark Euro Stoxx 600 was up 0.92 points, or 0.2% at 382.02. The U.K. FTSE 100 was up 0.6%.

    Try not to think about the banks’ obvious lack of enthusiasm for a deal that would create the euro zone’s third-largest institution by assets: Deutsche Bank CEO Christian Sewing’s message to his employees couldn’t have hedged his bets any harder if he’d tried, while Commerzbank restrained itself to a single sentence, that lacked any words such as ‘opportunity’ or ‘value creation’.

    And never mind how hard it will be to lay off enough German bankers to realize the hoped-for cost efficiencies (union bosses estimate at least 20,000), or the extra layer of IT complexity to a bank (Deutsche) that was called by its last IT head the most ‘dysfunctional’ place she’d ever worked in.

    And whatever you do, don’t worry that the single most influential shareholder in the merged bank could be the very government that has structured its own banking market for years in favor of state-owned and cooperative banks that have other priorities than profit.

    Only two things matter today for markets: first, the two have finally admitted that neither bank can save itself by its own efforts, a conclusion that most analysts reached some time ago. Second, a Deutsche-Commerzbank merger creates, for all practical purposes, a bank that will never be allowed to fail. In the short term, that should depress funding costs and support Deutsche’s investment banking business, in particular.

    Both stocks currently trade at around a quarter of their book value, so investors can be forgiven for thinking that the short-term downside risk is limited. Where it leads in the long run is a story for another day.

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  • Dollar Weakens While Pound Holds Gains Ahead of New Brexit Vote

    Investing.com -- The euro hit a two-week high against the dollar in early trading in Europe Monday, as the greenback continues to suffer from weak economic data out of the U.S. on Friday that strengthened expectations for a Federal Reserve interest rate cut later this year.

    Futures contracts on dollar interest rates are now indicating a 40 percent chance of a cut by the Fed later in 2019, despite assurances from many of its officials that the economy is still robust. However, a mixed labor market report, a lack of visible progress in ending the U.S.-China trade war and a sharp drop in manufacturing activity in February have all suggested that the slowdown seen at the end of 2018 may extend well into the current year.

    At 03:55 AM ET (07:55 GMT), the euro was at $1.1349, just off a two-week high posted earlier. The British pound was holding on to most of last week’s gains at $1.3285, as Prime Minister Theresa May prepares to push her EU Withdrawal Bill through parliament for the third time by trying to win over the Northern Irish Democratic Unionist Party.

    Most analysts expect the bill to fail again, which would effectively force May to ask for an extension to the March 29 deadline for Brexit.

    The dollar index, which measures the greenback against a basket of six major currencies, fell below 96.00 for the first time this month to stand at 95.88.

    The Fed’s policy-making Federal Open Markets Committee meets on Tuesday and Wednesday, and chairman Jerome Powell will be asked afterwards whether ‘patience’ – a byword for holding off from further rate hikes – is enough to support the economy any more.

    Central banks across the world will be chiming in on the outlook for their economies this week: the Bank of England and Swiss National Bank will both meet on Thursday, while Russia’s will follow on Friday. The Philippines, Indonesia and Thailand also hold central bank meetings this week.

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  • U.S. Dollar Falls After Weak Data; Upcoming Fed Meeting in Focus

    Investing.com - The U.S. dollar continued to slide on Monday in Asia following the release of Friday's weaker-than-forecast U.S. economic data.

    The U.S. dollar index that tracks the greenback against a basket of other currencies edged down 0.1% to 96.48. The index shed 0.8% last week, the biggest loss since late August.

    The fall in the dollar came after data on Friday showed that U.S. manufacturing output fell for a second straight month, while factory activity in New York State was weaker than expected this month. The data extended a recent streak of weak economic reports and underlined the case for the Fed’s patient stance on further rate hikes this year.

    In its policy meeting this week, the Federal Reserve is expected to keep rates unchanged, and to revise its plan for a median projection down to just one rate hike this year. The central bank might also announce the end of asset roll-off from its balance sheet, analysts said. The decision is due Wednesday.

    In other news, investors continue to wait for a breakthrough in U.S.- China trade. A report by Xinhua news agency raised hopes of a potential trade deal after the state-owned newspaper said last Friday that the two sides have made progress toward striking an agreement.

    The USD/CNY pair traded near flat at 6.7125. The People's Bank of China (PBOC) set the yuan reference rate at 6.7088 vs Friday's fix of 6.7167.

    The GBP/USD pair was unchanged at 1.3288. The pound ended last week at 1.3296, up 2% for the week, the biggest gain since late January after the U.K. parliament voted to seek a delay in Britain’s exit from the EU, following a decision to avert a no-deal Brexit.

    Looking ahead, the Bank of England is expected to hold steady at the end of its meeting on Thursday.

    The European Union (EU) summit on Thursday will also be closely watched, as traders wait to see if it agrees to an extension to the Brexit deadline and whether it presses Britain for a delay of one year or more.

    The USD/JPY pair edged up 0.1% and the AUD/USD pair rose 0.3%.

    The Reserve Bank of Australia is due to publish the minutes of its latest policy-setting meeting on Tuesday.

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  • Gold Prices Slip Ahead of Fed Meeting

    Investing.com - Gold prices slipped on Monday in Asia ahead of a Federal Reserve meeting that is expected to shed more light on the outlook for U.S. interest rate hikes this year.

    Gold Futures were down 0.3% at $1,298.65 on the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange by 11:39 PM ET (03:39 GMT).

    The Fed is due to announce its latest monetary policy decision on Wednesday. The central bank is widely expected to keep monetary policy unchanged at the end of its two-day policy meeting and policymakers will also update their projections for future rate hikes.

    In January, the U.S. central bank indicated that it will be patient as it considers more rate hikes, amid concerns over slowing global growth.

    The U.S. Dollar Index that tracks the greenback against a basket of other currencies was down 0.1% at 96.48.

    Meanwhile, renewed optimism over prospects for a U.S.-China trade deal was cited as a headwind for the safe-haven metal on Monday.

    The Xinhua news agency said last Friday that China and the U.S. have made further progress toward striking a deal.

    Chinese Vice Premier Liu He had a telephone conversation with U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer last Thursday, the report added, without giving further details.

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  • Israel stocks higher at close of trade; TA 35 up 0.66%

    Investing.com – Israel stocks were higher after the close on Sunday, as gains in the Oil&Gas, Biomed and Real Estate sectors led shares higher.

    At the close in Tel Aviv, the TA 35 rose 0.66%.

    The best performers of the session on the TA 35 were Nice Ltd (TA:NICE), which rose 2.21% or 930 points to trade at 43030 at the close. Meanwhile, Gazit Globe Ltd (TA:GZT) added 2.04% or 56 points to end at 2801 and Phoenix Holdings Ltd (TA:PHOE1) was up 1.84% or 39 points to 2164 in late trade.

    The worst performers of the session were Shufersal (TA:SAE), which fell 2.70% or 70 points to trade at 2520 at the close. Tower Semiconductor Ltd (TA:TSEM) declined 1.53% or 92 points to end at 5939 and Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd (TA:TEVA) was down 1.07% or 64 points to 5940.

    Rising stocks outnumbered declining ones on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange by 280 to 110 and 50 ended unchanged.

    Crude oil for May delivery was unchanged 0.00% or 0.00 to $58.82 a barrel. Elsewhere in commodities trading, Brent oil for delivery in May fell 0.28% or 0.19 to hit $67.04 a barrel, while the April Gold Futures contract rose 0.55% or 7.15 to trade at $1302.25 a troy ounce.

    USD/ILS was up 0.06% to 3.5967, while EUR/ILS rose 0.07% to 4.0729.

    The US Dollar Index Futures was unchanged 0.00% at 96.050.

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  • Israel stocks higher at close of trade; TA 35 up 0.66%

    Investing.com – Israel stocks were higher after the close on Sunday, as gains in the Oil&Gas, Biomed and Real Estate sectors led shares higher.

    At the close in Tel Aviv, the TA 35 rose 0.66%.

    The best performers of the session on the TA 35 were Nice Ltd (TA:NICE), which rose 2.21% or 930 points to trade at 43030 at the close. Meanwhile, Gazit Globe Ltd (TA:GZT) added 2.04% or 56 points to end at 2801 and Phoenix Holdings Ltd (TA:PHOE1) was up 1.84% or 39 points to 2164 in late trade.

    The worst performers of the session were Shufersal (TA:SAE), which fell 2.70% or 70 points to trade at 2520 at the close. Tower Semiconductor Ltd (TA:TSEM) declined 1.53% or 92 points to end at 5939 and Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd (TA:TEVA) was down 1.07% or 64 points to 5940.

    Rising stocks outnumbered declining ones on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange by 280 to 110 and 50 ended unchanged.

    Crude oil for May delivery was unchanged 0.00% or 0.00 to $58.82 a barrel. Elsewhere in commodities trading, Brent oil for delivery in May fell 0.28% or 0.19 to hit $67.04 a barrel, while the April Gold Futures contract rose 0.55% or 7.15 to trade at $1302.25 a troy ounce.

    USD/ILS was up 0.06% to 3.5967, while EUR/ILS rose 0.08% to 4.0746.

    The US Dollar Index Futures was unchanged 0.00% at 96.050.

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  • Saudi Arabia stocks lower at close of trade; Tadawul All Share down 0.23%

    Investing.com – Saudi Arabia stocks were lower after the close on Sunday, as losses in the Agriculture&Food, Multi Investment and Financial Services sectors led shares lower.

    At the close in Saudi Arabia, the Tadawul All Share lost 0.23%.

    The best performers of the session on the Tadawul All Share were Abdullah A. M. Al-Khodari Sons Co (SE:1330), which rose 9.94% or 0.47 points to trade at 5.20 at the close. Meanwhile, Al Alamiya Cooperative Insurance (SE:8280) added 5.83% or 1.85 points to end at 33.60 and Saudi Industrial Services Co. (SE:2190) was up 5.80% or 0.74 points to 13.50 in late trade.

    The worst performers of the session were Al Maather REIT (SE:4334), which fell 7.93% or 0.67 points to trade at 7.78 at the close. Riyad REIT (SE:4330) declined 2.76% or 0.22 points to end at 7.75 and Savola Group (SE:2050) was down 2.56% or 0.80 points to 30.50.

    Falling stocks outnumbered advancing ones on the Saudi Arabia Stock Exchange by 92 to 86 and 11 ended unchanged.

    Crude oil for May delivery was unchanged 0.00% or 0.00 to $58.82 a barrel. Elsewhere in commodities trading, Brent oil for delivery in May fell 0.28% or 0.19 to hit $67.04 a barrel, while the April Gold Futures contract rose 0.55% or 7.15 to trade at $1302.25 a troy ounce.

    EUR/SAR was up 0.03% to 4.2485, while USD/SAR rose 0.01% to 3.7502.

    The US Dollar Index Futures was unchanged 0.00% at 96.050.

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  • Gold / Silver / Copper Prices - Weekly Outlook: March 18 - 22

    Investing.com - This week precious metals traders will be monitoring the tone in the U.S. dollar ahead of a Federal Reserve meeting expected to shed more light on the outlook for U.S. interest rate hikes this year.

    The Fed is widely expected to keep monetary policy unchanged at the end of its two-day policy meeting on Wednesday and policymakers will also update their projections for future rate hikes.

    In January the Fed indicated that it will be patient as it considers more rate hikes, amid concerns over slowing global growth.

    Gold prices were boosted on Friday, rising above the psychologically important $1,300 level as the greenback was weighed down by weak U.S. economic data.

    U.S. manufacturing output fell for a second straight month in February and factory activity in New York state was weaker than expected this month. The data extended a recent streak of weak economic reports and underlined the case for the Fed’s patient stance on further rate hikes this year.

    The U.S. dollar index was 0.24% lower, last at 96.540 and posted its biggest weekly loss since the first week of December.

    A weaker greenback can be supportive for dollar priced commodities, making them cheaper to holders of other currencies.

    Gold futures settled up 0.55% at $1,302.25 on the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange, for a second straight weekly gain.

    Gold also appeared to get a boost from renewed optimism over prospects for a U.S.-China trade deal.

    “While primarily seen as a safe haven, gold is highly exposed to the emerging markets, which make up more than half of global demand, and China in particular,” said Carsten Menke, commodities research analyst at Julius Baer, in a note.

    “An improving economic backdrop and strengthening local currencies versus the U.S. dollar bode well for gold demand. This is particularly true for China, where gold demand has been lackluster over the past few years, as consumers have become increasingly concerned about the outlook for the economy,” Menke said.

    Elsewhere in metals trading, silver was up 0.78% to $15.290 a troy ounce, while copper ended at $2.908, up 0.57% for the day, for a weekly gain of 0.35%.

    Ahead of the coming week, Investing.com has compiled a list of significant events likely to affect the markets.

    Monday, March 18

    The U.K. is to release data on house price inflation.

    The euro zone will report on trade figures.

    Tuesday, March 19

    The Reserve Bank of Australia is to publish the minutes of its latest policy setting meeting.

    The U.K. is to publish its monthly jobs report.

    The ZEW Institute is to publish a report on German economic sentiment.

    Wednesday, March 20

    The U.K. is to publish data on inflation.

    The Federal Reserve is to announce its latest monetary policy decision and Chairman Jerome Powell will hold a press conference to announce the decision.

    Thursday, March 21

    Financial markets in Japan are to remain closed for a holiday.

    New Zealand is to release data on fourth quarter growth.

    Australia is to publish employment data.

    The Swiss National Bank is to announce its latest monetary policy decision and hold a press conference.

    EU leaders are set to meet in Brussels to discuss Brexit.

    The U.K. is to report figures on retail sales and public sector borrowing. Later in the day, the Bank of England is to announce its latest interest rate decision.

    The U.S. is to publish data on jobless claims and manufacturing activity in the Philadelphia area.

    Friday, March 22

    The euro zone is to release data on private sector activity.

    Canada is to produce figures on retail sales and inflation.

    The U.S. is to round up the week with a report on existing home sales.

    --Reuters contributed to this report.

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  • Weekly Outlook: March 18 - 22

    Investing.com - As investors continue to wait for a breakthrough in U.S.- China trade talks they will get an update on Federal Reserve rate hike projections this week and the central bank could also announce plans to end the wind-down of its balance sheet.

    The Fed is widely expected to keep monetary policy unchanged at the end of its two-day policy meeting on Wednesday and policymakers will also update their projections for future rate hikes. In January the Fed indicated that it will be patient as it considers more rate hikes, amid concerns over slowing global growth.

    Like the Fed, the Bank of England is expected to hold steady at the end of its meeting on Thursday and any clarity on its policy intentions is likely only after the manner and timing of Brexit becomes evident.

    The EU summit on Thursday will be closely watched, first to see if it agrees an extension to the Brexit deadline and second, whether it presses Britain for a delay of one year or more.

    The U.S. dollar was broadly lower on Friday and posted the largest weekly drop in over three months as disappointing U.S. economic data weighed.

    U.S. manufacturing output fell for a second straight month in February and factory activity in New York state was weaker than expected this month.

    The data extended a recent streak of weak economic reports and underlined the case for the Fed’s patient stance on further rate hikes this year.

    The U.S. dollar index was 0.24% lower, last at 96.540 and posted its biggest weekly loss since the first week of December.

    The euro ended the day little changed against the dollar, with EUR/USD at 1.1326 in late trade.

    The pound ended the week at 1.3296, little changed for the day but up 2% for the week, the biggest such gain since late January after the U.K. parliament voted to seek a delay in Britain’s exit from the EU, following a decision to avert a no-deal Brexit.

    “The market has some reassurance that the chances of a no-deal Brexit are very low, which is the reason why the currency market has taken this news as a positive. These votes have removed the worst-case scenario,” said Ugo Lancioni, head of global currency at Neuberger Berman in London.

    The yen was holding steady, with USD/JPY last at 111.45 after the Bank of Japan kept monetary policy steady but tempered its optimism that robust exports and factory output will underpin growth, giving a boost to its perceived safe-haven status.

    Ahead of the coming week, Investing.com has compiled a list of significant events likely to affect the markets.

    Monday, March 18

    The U.K. is to release data on house price inflation.

    The euro zone will report on trade figures.

    Tuesday, March 19

    The Reserve Bank of Australia is to publish the minutes of its latest policy setting meeting.

    The U.K. is to publish its monthly jobs report.

    The ZEW Institute is to publish a report on German economic sentiment.

    Wednesday, March 20

    The U.K. is to publish data on inflation.

    The Federal Reserve is to announce its latest monetary policy decision and Chairman Jerome Powell will hold a press conference to announce the decision.

    Thursday, March 21

    Financial markets in Japan are to remain closed for a holiday.

    New Zealand is to release data on fourth quarter growth.

    Australia is to publish employment data.

    The Swiss National Bank is to announce its latest monetary policy decision and hold a press conference.

    EU leaders are set to meet in Brussels to discuss Brexit.

    The U.K. is to report figures on retail sales and public sector borrowing. Later in the day, the Bank of England is to announce its latest interest rate decision.

    The U.S. is to publish data on jobless claims and manufacturing activity in the Philadelphia area.

    Friday, March 22

    The euro zone is to release data on private sector activity.

    Canada is to produce figures on retail sales and inflation.

    The U.S. is to round up the week with a report on existing home sales.

    --Reuters contributed to this report.

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  • Crude Oil Prices - Weekly Outlook: March 18 - 22

    Investing.com - Oil traders will continue to focus on the outlook for global crude supplies in the week ahead amid signals that OPEC-led production cuts have helped tighten an oversupplied market.

    OPEC, which together with some non-affiliated producers like Russia, known as 'OPEC+', agreed late last year to reduce output by 1.2 million barrels per day (bpd) to remove a glut and prop up prices.

    Speaking on the sidelines of the OPEC, non-OPEC Joint Ministerial Monitoring Committee in Baku, Azerbaijan on Sunday, Saudi Arabia's energy minister said he was optimistic about continued commitment to the oil supply cut agreement between OPEC and non-OPEC members.

    "I am obviously optimistic that implementation of our OPEC+ agreement will improve, it’s already strong by historical standards," Khalid al-Falih said.

    OPEC+ ministers will next meet on April 17-18 to decide on production policy.

    Fresh data on U.S. commercial crude inventories and production activity will also capture the market's attention this week.

    The Energy Information Administration (EIA) reported that U.S. crude supplies unexpectedly fell by 3.9 million barrels for the week ended March 8. The EIA also reported that total domestic crude production inched down from record territory, down 100,000 barrels to 12 million barrels a day.

    Oil futures settled lower on Friday, with U.S. prices pulling back from a four-month high as worries about the economy weighed.

    U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude declined 9 cents to settle at $58.52 a barrel by close of trade. It earlier went as high as $58.95, the most since Nov. 13.

    For the week, the U.S. benchmark climbed 4.3%, its best weekly gain in about a month.

    Meanwhile, International Brent crude oil futures ended Friday's session down 7 cents at $67.16 a barrel.

    Brent prices, which on Thursday hit their highest so far this year at $68.14, saw a gain of approximately 2.1% on the week.

    With two weeks to the end of the first quarter, WTI is up 29% on the year and Brent 25%, with both benchmarks benefiting extensively from aggressive production cuts carried out by OPEC since the start of January. However, rising U.S. output is threatening to undo those cuts.

    Data on Friday from energy services firm Baker Hughes showed that the number of active rigs drilling for oil in the U.S. fell for a fourth straight week, though it was down by just one to 833.

    “The market is still torn between economic concerns and high U.S. oil production on one hand and remarkable OPEC+ compliance on the other,” PVM oil broker Stephen Brennock said.

    Ahead of the coming week, Investing.com has compiled a list of the main events likely to affect the oil market.

    Monday, March 18

    The EIA will release its forecast for April U.S. shale oil production.

    Tuesday, March 19

    The American Petroleum Institute (API) is to publish its weekly update on U.S. oil supplies.

    Wednesday, March 20

    The EIA will release its weekly report on oil stockpiles.

    Friday, March 22

    Baker Hughes will release weekly data on the U.S. oil rig count.

    -- Reuters contributed to this report

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  • Economic Calendar - Top 5 Things to Watch This Week

    Investing.com - The Federal Reserve’s policy meeting will be the big deal for markets in the week ahead. While the U.S. central bank is not expected to take action on interest rates, investors will be watching for signals on how patient it will be before raising borrowing costs again.

    Policymakers have pointed to two increases in 2019, but a recent wave of underwhelming U.S. economic data, along with worries over the ongoing U.S.-China trade conflict, have underlined expectations the Fed may pause its rate-hiking cycle altogether this year.

    Elsewhere, British Prime Minister Theresa May will try again to get parliament's approval for her proposed deal on leaving the European Union. The unpopular agreement has already been heavily rejected twice but prospects of a long delay or even another referendum that may reverse Brexit could well swing eurosceptic Tories over to her side.

    A monetary policy announcement from the Bank of England is also on the agenda, though it's highly unlikely it will rock the boat policy-wise amid uncertainty over Brexit.

    Staying in Europe, markets are keeping an eye on flash PMI surveys on manufacturing and service sector activity, which should give further indication of how the region's economy fared at the end of the first quarter amid global trade conflicts and messy Brexit negotiations.

    Ahead of the coming week, Investing.com has compiled a list of the five biggest events on the economic calendar that are most likely to affect the markets.

    1. Federal Reserve Rate Decision

    The Federal Reserve is not expected to take action on interest rates at the conclusion of its two-day policy meeting at 2:00PM ET (18:00 GMT) on Wednesday, keeping it in a range between 2.25%-2.5%.

    Fed Chair Jerome Powell will hold what will be a closely-watched press conference 30 minutes after the release of the Fed's statement.

    The U.S. central bank will also release new forecasts for economic growth and interest rates, known as the "dot-plot", which will probably point to either no more rate hikes this year or to one more at most.

    The Fed will also likely announce further details on when it will end its operation to unwind its balance sheet.

    2. Philly Fed Manufacturing Survey

    U.S. economic data will also remain in focus, following a series of weak reports, with the latest Philly Fed manufacturing survey topping the agenda.

    The report, which comes out at 8:30AM ET (12:30 GMT) on Thursday, is expected to show a reading of 6.1 in March. It dropped sharply into negative territory for the first time since May 2016 in February, hitting -4.1.

    Investors will pay particular attention to the data after a similar survey last week showed manufacturing activity in the New York area fell to the lowest since May 2017 this month, offering further evidence of a sharp slowdown in economic growth early in the first quarter.

    PMI data Friday on manufacturing and the services sectors will be important. Existing home sales are also released Thursday.

    3. Another Brexit Vote

    British Prime Minister Theresa May warned lawmakers over the weekend that unless they approved her Brexit divorce deal, Britain's exit from the European Union could face a long delay.

    Her deal, an attempt to keep close relations with the EU while leaving the bloc's formal structures, was defeated by 230 votes in parliament on Jan. 15 and by 149 votes on March 12.

    But May continues to fight to build support for her plan, which is expected to put before lawmakers for a third time next week, possibly on Tuesday.

    To get it through parliament, the prime minister must win over dozens of Brexit-supporting rebels in her own Conservative Party and the Northern Irish Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) which props up her minority government.

    After two-and-a-half years of tortuous divorce negotiations with the EU, the final outcome is still uncertain with options including a long delay, exiting with May's deal, a disorderly exit without a deal or even another referendum.

    4. Bank of England Policy Announcement

    Governor Mark Carney and his fellow interest rate-setters are expected to keep borrowing costs on hold at 0.75% when the Bank of England makes its policy announcement at 8:00AM ET (12:00 GMT) on Thursday.

    Economists expect a 9-0 vote by the MPC in favor of leaving rates steady.

    In addition to Brexit and the BoE, market players will focus on the monthly jobs report, as well as the latest inflation and retail sales figures for further hints on the health of the economy.

    Britain's economy came close to stagnating again in February amid Brexit nerves and sluggish global growth.

    5. Flash Euro Zone PMIs

    IHS Markit's composite flash Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) for the euro zone is due at 5:00AM ET (09:00 GMT) on Friday, amid expectations for a slight increase to 52.0.

    The index measures the combined output of both the manufacturing and service sectors and is seen as a good guide to overall economic health.

    Ahead of the euro zone PMI's, France and Germany will release their own PMI reports at 4:15AM ET (08:15 GMT) and 4:30AM ET (08:30 GMT) respectively.

    Earlier this month, the European Central Bank pushed back until at least 2020 the timing of its first post-crisis rate increase. It also offered banks a new round of cheap loans to help revive the euro zone economy.

    -- Reuters contributed to this report

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  • U.S. stocks higher at close of trade; Dow Jones Industrial Average up 0.54%

    Investing.com – U.S. stocks were higher after the close on Friday, as gains in the Telecoms, Technology and Consumer Services sectors led shares higher.

    At the close in NYSE, the Dow Jones Industrial Average added 0.54%, while the S&P 500 index gained 0.50%, and the NASDAQ Composite index climbed 0.76%.

    The best performers of the session on the Dow Jones Industrial Average were Intel Corporation (NASDAQ:INTC), which rose 1.67% or 0.89 points to trade at 54.33 at the close. Meanwhile, Boeing Co (NYSE:BA) added 1.52% or 5.69 points to end at 378.99 and Pfizer Inc (NYSE:PFE) was up 1.43% or 0.59 points to 41.78 in late trade.

    The worst performers of the session were Coca-Cola Company (NYSE:KO), which fell 0.88% or 0.40 points to trade at 45.30 at the close. UnitedHealth Group Incorporated (NYSE:UNH) declined 0.74% or 1.87 points to end at 251.40 and Caterpillar Inc (NYSE:CAT) was down 0.76% or 1.02 points to 132.67.

    The top performers on the S&P 500 were Ulta Beauty Inc (NASDAQ:ULTA) which rose 8.29% to 338.41, Broadcom Inc (NASDAQ:AVGO) which was up 8.24% to settle at 290.29 and Applied Materials Inc (NASDAQ:AMAT) which gained 3.75% to close at 40.39.

    The worst performers were Whirlpool Corporation (NYSE:WHR) which was down 4.92% to 133.18 in late trade, Chesapeake Energy Corporation (NYSE:CHK) which lost 4.19% to settle at 2.970 and WestRock Co (NYSE:WRK) which was down 4.11% to 37.55 at the close.

    The top performers on the NASDAQ Composite were Soleno Therapeutics Inc (NASDAQ:SLNO) which rose 98.52% to 2.680, Celsius Holdings Inc (NASDAQ:CELH) which was up 28.31% to settle at 4.8500 and Tenax Therapeutics Inc (NASDAQ:TENX) which gained 28.22% to close at 2.090.

    The worst performers were Atossa Genetics Inc (NASDAQ:ATOS) which was down 50.35% to 3.5100 in late trade, PHI Inc (NASDAQ:PHII) which lost 31.09% to settle at 2.77 and Akari Therapeutics PLC (NASDAQ:AKTX) which was down 29.66% to 4.080 at the close.

    Rising stocks outnumbered declining ones on the New York Stock Exchange by 1736 to 1244 and 108 ended unchanged; on the Nasdaq Stock Exchange, 1525 rose and 1116 declined, while 84 ended unchanged.

    Shares in Ulta Beauty Inc (NASDAQ:ULTA) rose to all time highs; gaining 8.29% or 25.90 to 338.41. Shares in Broadcom Inc (NASDAQ:AVGO) rose to all time highs; rising 8.24% or 22.09 to 290.29.

    The CBOE Volatility Index, which measures the implied volatility of S&P 500 options, was down 4.59% to 12.88 a new 3-months low.

    Gold Futures for April delivery was up 0.51% or 6.65 to $1301.75 a troy ounce. Elsewhere in commodities trading, Crude oil for delivery in April fell 0.34% or 0.20 to hit $58.41 a barrel, while the May Brent oil contract fell 0.28% or 0.19 to trade at $67.04 a barrel.

    EUR/USD was up 0.18% to 1.1322, while USD/JPY fell 0.17% to 111.50.

    The US Dollar Index Futures was down 0.20% at 96.575.

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  • Oil Dips, Spooked by U.S. Economic Data; Strong Weekly Gains Though

    Investing.com - Forget China's growth, for now -- the U.S. might be a bigger problem as New York manufacturing data showed on Friday, casting more economic worries for oil.

    Both U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude and U.K. Brent oil dipped slightly after the Empire State Manufacturing Index slumped to a reading of 3.70 for March, its third consecutive monthly reading below 10 and the lowest since May 2017.

    The unexpected drop in manufacturing activity across New York state, the bellwether of the dynamic U.S. East Coast, rippled across markets as it was another sign that the world's largest economy might be weakening as the effects of President Donald Trump's 2017 tax cuts fade. Worries about Washington's prolonged trade dispute with China and how that is impacting U.S. growth also spooked investors.

    While concerns over the Empire State manufacturing data pushed oil to a lower settlement, crude prices still posted strong gains for the week.

    WTI settled down 9 cents, or 0.2%, at $58.52 per barrel, after hitting a 2019 high of $58.95 earlier. For the week, the U.S. crude benchmark rose 4.4%.

    Brent, which had broken away from WTI's four-day rally on Thursday, fell for a second straight session, sliding 18 cents, or 0.3%, to $67.05 by 3:21 PM ET (19:21 GMT). However, the U.K. crude benchmark remained on track for a 2% gain on the week.

    WTI's outperfomance against Brent and the narrowing gap between the two has become one of the biggest plays in the oil market this week. Until last week, Brent had fairly consistently commanded a premium of $9.50 to $10 a barrel against its U.S. peer.

    But in recent days, the difference has shrunk and is approaching $8.50. The near-term catalyst came when the U.S. Energy Information Administration shocked the market this week by announcing a crude stockpile drop of nearly 4 million barrels versus an expected build of 2.7 million. Inventories at the Cushing, Okla., storage hub for WTI also fell last week by 5.4 million barrels.

    "A lack of builds recently has created optics that have the Cushing bears on the run for the time being and generating a WTI/Brent rally that can do whatever it wants, as the U.S. grade will adjust to make WTI/Brent 'just a number'," said Scott Shelton, energy futures broker at ICAP (LON:NXGN) in Durham, North Carolina.

    With two weeks to the end of the first quarter, WTI is up 29% on the year and Brent 25%, with both benchmarks benefiting extensively from aggressive production cuts carried out by OPEC since the start of January.

    Friday's losses in crude were limited by the revised upward forecast of $70 for a barrel of Brent by Goldman Sachs (NYSE:GS), one of the most influential voices on Wall Street for oil market forecasting.

    The Paris-based International Energy Agency also helped sentiment by predicting that global oil supply could be in deficit of some 500,000 barrels per day by the second quarter, eliminating the modest surplus expected for the first quarter.

    A fresh slide in the U.S. oil rig count this week was another positive factor for crude, although the drop was just one rig. Oil services firm Baker Hughes put its latest reading for oil rigs at a new 10-month low of 833 units, compared to the previous week's 834. A lower rig count indicates less oil production in the future, which when combined with OPEC's output reductions, could help WTI rally faster.

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  • Denmark stocks higher at close of trade; OMX Copenhagen 20 up 0.46%

    Investing.com – Denmark stocks were higher after the close on Friday, as gains in the Personal&Household Goods, Financials and Consumer Goods sectors led shares higher.

    At the close in Copenhagen, the OMX Copenhagen 20 added 0.46% to hit a new 6-months high.

    The best performers of the session on the OMX Copenhagen 20 were ISS A/S (CO:ISS), which rose 2.61% or 5.30 points to trade at 208.60 at the close. Meanwhile, Pandora A/S (CO:PNDORA) added 1.62% or 5.1 points to end at 320.1 and Tryg A/S (CO:TRYG) was up 1.37% or 2.5 points to 185.0 in late trade.

    The worst performers of the session were Genmab (CO:GEN), which fell 1.58% or 18.0 points to trade at 1122.5 at the close. AP Moeller - Maersk A/S B (CO:MAERSKb) declined 0.69% or 60 points to end at 8690 and Chr. Hansen Holding A/S (CO:CHRH) was down 0.41% or 2.8 points to 688.0.

    Rising stocks outnumbered declining ones on the Copenhagen Stock Exchange by 78 to 56 and 18 ended unchanged.

    Shares in Tryg A/S (CO:TRYG) rose to 5-year highs; rising 1.37% or 2.5 to 185.0.

    Crude oil for April delivery was down 0.31% or 0.18 to $58.43 a barrel. Elsewhere in commodities trading, Brent oil for delivery in May fell 0.31% or 0.21 to hit $67.02 a barrel, while the April Gold Futures contract rose 0.54% or 7.05 to trade at $1302.15 a troy ounce.

    USD/DKK was down 0.13% to 6.5926, while EUR/DKK rose 0.03% to 7.4630.

    The US Dollar Index Futures was down 0.19% at 96.585.

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  • France stocks higher at close of trade; CAC 40 up 1.04%

    Investing.com – France stocks were higher after the close on Friday, as gains in the Utilities, Consumer Goods and Healthcare sectors led shares higher.

    At the close in Paris, the CAC 40 rose 1.04% to hit a new 3-months high, while the SBF 120 index added 0.94%.

    The best performers of the session on the CAC 40 were STMicroelectronics NV (PA:STM), which rose 4.99% or 0.695 points to trade at 14.620 at the close. Meanwhile, Atos SE (PA:ATOS) added 3.25% or 2.72 points to end at 86.40 and Valeo SA (PA:VLOF) was up 2.98% or 0.79 points to 27.34 in late trade.

    The worst performers of the session were Carrefour SA (PA:CARR), which fell 1.28% or 0.22 points to trade at 16.93 at the close. Publicis Groupe SA (PA:PUBP) declined 0.28% or 0.14 points to end at 50.36 and TechnipFMC PLC (PA:FTI) was down 0.15% or 0.03 points to 20.42.

    The top performers on the SBF 120 were STMicroelectronics NV (PA:STM) which rose 4.99% to 14.620, Korian Medica SA (PA:KORI) which was up 3.96% to settle at 36.260 and Elior Group (PA:ELIOR) which gained 3.88% to close at 13.11.

    The worst performers were Casino Guichard Perrachon SA (PA:CASP) which was down 6.54% to 40.99 in late trade, Mercialys SA (PA:MERY) which lost 3.23% to settle at 12.60 and Vallourec (PA:VLLP) which was down 2.99% to 2.174 at the close.

    Rising stocks outnumbered declining ones on the Paris Stock Exchange by 343 to 234 and 90 ended unchanged.

    Shares in Korian Medica SA (PA:KORI) rose to 5-year highs; gaining 3.96% or 1.380 to 36.260.

    The CAC 40 VIX, which measures the implied volatility of CAC 40 options, was down 4.35% to 13.03.

    Gold Futures for April delivery was up 0.54% or 7.05 to $1302.15 a troy ounce. Elsewhere in commodities trading, Crude oil for delivery in April fell 0.32% or 0.19 to hit $58.42 a barrel, while the May Brent oil contract fell 0.34% or 0.23 to trade at $67.00 a barrel.

    EUR/USD was up 0.16% to 1.1321, while EUR/GBP fell 0.11% to 0.8525.

    The US Dollar Index Futures was down 0.19% at 96.585.

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