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uBanker Blog

  • General Electric Rises 3%

    Investing.com - General Electric (NYSE:GE) rose by 3.05% to trade at $10.66 by 10:46 (14:46 GMT) on Thursday on the NYSE exchange.

    The volume of General Electric shares traded since the start of the session was 18.72M. General Electric has traded in a range of $10.47 to $10.66 on the day.

    The stock has traded at $10.6600 at its highest and $10.0200 at its lowest during the past seven days.

    Read more
  • Gold Prices Hit Highest Level Since 2013 on Fed Rate Cut Hopes

    Investing.com - Gold prices surged to more than a five-year high on Thursday after the Federal Reserve opened the door to interest rate cuts later in the year and the dollar dropped to a three-month low.

    Spot gold rose $20.89, or 1.5%, to $1,381.28 by 10:27 AM ET (14:27 GMT), after hitting an intraday high of $1,393.27, its most expensive level since September 2013.

    Gold futures for August delivery on the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange, jumped $36.15, or 2.7%, at $1,384.95 a troy ounce. Their intraday high of $1,395.35 is the highest level since March 2018.

    “The driver for the surge is obviously the Fed delivering the dovish tilt that the market was looking for,” Ole Hanson, head of commodities at Saxo Bank, said.

    The U.S. central bank dropped a reference to being “patient” on interest rates and also forecast a larger miss of its 2% inflation target this year, prompting fed funds futures to raise the odds of a hike in July to 100% and place the probability of two additional cuts by the end of the year above 60%.

    Not only does non-yielding gold benefit from lower rates, but the Fed’s dovish stance pressured the dollar to three-month lows, raising the appeal of the dollar-denominated metal for holders of foreign currencies.

    Adding to gold’s surge, Mark O’Byrne, founder of Gold Investments, said that short covering was a primary factor in the rise.

    “Large hedge funds globally are going long gold due to increasing worries about the U.S. and global economy,” he added.

    In other metals trading, silver futures surged 2.6% at $15.352 a troy ounce by 10:40 AM ET (14:40 GMT).

    Palladium futures traded down 1.3% at $1,472.75 an ounce, while sister metal platinum rose 0.6% at $810.55.

    In base metals, copper gained 1.2% to $2.713 a pound.

    -- Reuters contributed to this report.

    Read more
  • Saudi Arabia stocks lower at close of trade; Tadawul All Share down 0.74%

    Investing.com – Saudi Arabia stocks were lower after the close on Thursday, as losses in the Retail, Financial Services and Insurance sectors led shares lower.

    At the close in Saudi Arabia, the Tadawul All Share declined 0.74%.

    The best performers of the session on the Tadawul All Share were Trade Union Cooperative Insurance (SE:8170), which rose 3.91% or 0.61 points to trade at 16.22 at the close. Meanwhile, National Medical Care Company (SE:4005) added 3.15% or 1.80 points to end at 59.00 and Emaar The Economic City (SE:4220) was up 2.55% or 0.25 points to 10.04 in late trade.

    The worst performers of the session were The Saudi British Bank (SE:1060), which fell 5.53% or 2.30 points to trade at 39.30 at the close. Ash-Sharqiyah Development Company (SE:6060) declined 4.05% or 1.90 points to end at 45.00 and Al Hammadi Co (SE:4007) was down 4.02% or 0.92 points to 21.96.

    Falling stocks outnumbered advancing ones on the Saudi Arabia Stock Exchange by 104 to 56 and 29 ended unchanged.

    Shares in Trade Union Cooperative Insurance (SE:8170) rose to 52-week lows; up 3.91% or 0.61 to 16.22.

    Crude oil for August delivery was up 4.19% or 2.26 to $56.23 a barrel. Elsewhere in commodities trading, Brent oil for delivery in August rose 2.98% or 1.84 to hit $63.66 a barrel, while the August Gold Futures contract rose 2.76% or 37.25 to trade at $1386.05 a troy ounce.

    EUR/SAR was up 0.74% to 4.2400, while USD/SAR rose 0.01% to 3.7502.

    The US Dollar Index Futures was down 0.45% at 96.143.

    Read more
  • Comic: Stocks Set Record Highs As Dovish Powell Gives Markets What They Want

    By Jesse Cohen

    Investing.com - The S&P 500 opened at an all-time high on Thursday, as investor sentiment improved after the Federal Reserve opened the door for a rate cut as early as next month, sparking a rally on Wall Street.

    At 10:00AM ET, the S&P 500 was up 30 points, or around 1%, to 2,955, pushing it above its record high of 2,954 reached on May 1.

    The blue-chip Dow was up 240 points, or about 0.9%, to 26,744, a move that would take the 30-stock average to its highest level since September 2018.

    Meanwhile, the tech-heavy Nasdaq rose 89 points, or roughly 1.1%, to 8,077.

    The Fed dropped its pledge to be “patient” following its policy meeting on Wednesday, citing mounting concerns over the economic impact of global trade tensions and subdued inflation.

    Instead it said it will “act as appropriate to sustain the expansion” and to “closely monitor the implications of incoming information for the economic outlook.”

    Markets are now fully pricing in a rate cut of 25 basis points at the Fed’s next policy meeting on July 30-31, according to Investing.com’s Fed Rate Monitor Tool. A total of 75 basis points of easing is priced in by the end of year.

    Many investors viewed the overall tone as more dovish than their expectations, sending the 10-year U.S. Treasuries yield to below 2% for the first time since November 2016.

    Gold prices also soared, hitting their best level since September 2013, on bets for three rate cuts by the end of the year.

    However, such aggressive rate cuts when stock markets are at all-time highs would be rare, if not unprecedented, leading to some analysts to warn that market expectations of easing may have gone too far.

    To see more of Investing.com’s weekly comics, visit: http://www.investing.com/analysis/comics

    -- Reuters contributed to this report

    Read more
  • Stocks - S&P Hits Record High on Fed Cut Hope

    Investing.com - The S&P hit a record high on Thursday as investors bet on the Federal Reserve cutting interest rates this year.

    The S&P 500 hit its highest intraday level ever, above 2,956 in early trading. It was up 0.8% to 2.953.40 as of 9:45 AM ET (13:45 GMT).

    The Dow rose 0.9% and the tech-heavy Nasdaq composite gained 1%.

    Policymakers signaled on Wednesday that they would be willing to cut rates in order to combat slowing global growth and cooling inflation.

    Fed central bankers slashed their rate outlook for the rest of the year, according to the Fed’s dot plot projections, while Chairman Jerome Powell said at a press conference that many agree the case for lowering rates is increasing.

    Boeing (NYSE:BA) was among the top gainers, rising 0.9% after it began talks with other airlines for sales of its 737 Max jets after receiving a letter of intent for purchase of 200 of the grounded planes from British Airways owner IAG (LON:ICAG).

    Oracle (NYSE:ORCL) surged 6.6% after it beat quarterly earnings forecasts, while Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) was up 0.7% and Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) gained 0.7%. Amazon.com (NASDAQ:AMZN) rose 1.2% and Micron (NASDAQ:MU) was up 2%.

    Elsewhere, Kroger (NYSE:KR) fell 3.3%, even as its sales for the first quarter were in line with estimates, while Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA) slumped 2.6%.

    In commodities, crude oil jumped 4.3% to $56.30 a barrel, gold futures gained 2.8% to $1,387.15 a troy ounce, while the U.S. dollar index, which measures the greenback against a basket of six major currencies, fell 0.4% to 96.183.

    Read more
  • Bank of England Keeps Rates Unchanged; Pound Pares Gains

    Investing.com - The Bank of England kept interest rates on hold at 0.75% on Thursday, but stuck to its message that it plans to raise rates despite an ongoing lack of clarity on Brexit.

    The vote was unanimous, with all nine policymakers in favor of keeping rates on hold, despite two officials talking recently of the need for higher borrowing costs sooner rather than later.

    The bank reiterated its forward guidance that further rate increases were likely to be required “at a gradual pace and to a limited extent”, despite revising down its growth forecast.

    The decision was widely expected with most economists forecasting that borrowing costs will remain on hold until it's clear whether and on what terms the U.K. will leave the European Union.

    The bank cut its economic growth forecast for the second quarter of this year to zero from 0.2% in May, citing concerns over Brexit uncertainty, the unwinding of stockpiling and ongoing global trade tensions.

    “Underlying growth in the U.K. appears to have weakened slightly in the first half of the year relative to 2018 to a rate a little below its potential”, the bank's statement said.

    The decision came a day after data showing that the annual rate of inflation in the U.K. eased back to 2% in May from 2.1% in April, in line with the BoE’s target. Meanwhile, wages are growing at their fastest pace in a decade.

    Last month, BoE Governor Mark Carney warned that investors were underestimating how much interest rates could rise.

    BoE Chief Economist Andy Haldane said this month that the time was nearing for a rate increase to prevent inflation pressure building. Michael Saunders, another member of the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC), said Brexit uncertainty was not a reason to delay tighter policy.

    The U.K. is due to exit the EU on Oct. 31, but with staunch Brexiteer Boris Johnson the current front runner to succeed U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May, the likelihood of a no-deal Brexit or even a general election has risen.

    The BOE’s slightly hawkish tone sets it apart from many of the world’s biggest central banks. The Federal Reserve on Wednesday left rates on hold and signaled it could cut rates later this year.

    Earlier this week, European Central Bank President Mario Draghi said the bank will need to ease policy again if inflation doesn't head back to its target.

    The British pound pared gains against the dollar following the decision, to trade at 1.2700, off an earlier high of 1.2727.

    --Reuters contributed to this report

    Read more
  • Stocks- U.S. Futures Jump on Prospect of Fed Rate Cut

    Investing.com - U.S. futures jumped on Thursday as investor sentiment was boosted after the Federal Reserve kept open the possibility of rate cuts in the future.

    Policymakers signaled on Wednesday that they would be willing to cut rates in order to combat slowing global growth and cooling inflation. Fed central bankers slashed their rate outlook for the rest of the year, according to the Fed’s dot plot projections, while Chairman Jerome Powell said at a press conference that many agree the case for lowering rates is increasing.

    Tech-heavy NASDAQ 100 futures jumped 90 points or 1.2% by 6:46 AM ET (10:46 GMT), while Dow futures rose 211 points or 0.8% and S&P 500 futures inched up 24 points or 0.8%.

    Central banks around the world could soon take the Fed’s lead. The Bank of Japan left interest rates unchanged overnight, but signaled it could provide stimulus measures in light of escalating global risks.

    Meanwhile the Bank of England is expected to keep rates steady this morning.

    Oracle (NYSE:ORCL) surged 5.9% in premarket trade after its quarterly profit beat estimates, while Advanced Micro Devices (NASDAQ:AMD) gained 2.4% and Intel (NASDAQ:INTC) was up 1.4%.

    Boeing (NYSE:BA) jumped 1.6% on news that it is in talks with airlines for its grounded 737 Max models after it received a letter of intent for 200 plans from IAG (LON:ICAG).

    Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) was up 1.2%, while Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA) inched up 0.2% after it tumbled to third place in the face for U.S. residential solar installations.

    In commodities, crude oil jumped 3.5% to $55.84 a barrel. Gold futures gained 2.7% to $1,384.85 a troy ounce while the U.S. dollar index, which measures the greenback against a basket of six major currencies, fell 0.4% to 97.208.

    Read more
  • India stocks higher at close of trade; Nifty 50 up 1.20%

    Investing.com – India stocks were higher after the close on Thursday, as gains in the Auto, Capital Goods and Healthcare sectors led shares higher.

    At the close in NSE, the Nifty 50 gained 1.20%, while the BSE Sensex 30 index gained 1.25%.

    The best performers of the session on the Nifty 50 were Yes Bank Ltd (NS:YESB), which rose 11.43% or 11.80 points to trade at 114.55 at the close. Meanwhile, Indiabulls Housing Finance Ltd (NS:INBF) added 8.55% or 47.50 points to end at 599.75 and Sun Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. (NS:SUN) was up 3.68% or 13.80 points to 390.50 in late trade.

    The worst performers of the session were UPL Ltd (NS:UPLL), which fell 8.45% or 80.30 points to trade at 870.25 at the close. Wipro Ltd (NS:WIPR) declined 2.48% or 7.30 points to end at 286.95 and Adani Port and Special Economic Zone Ltd (NS:APSE) was down 1.34% or 5.45 points to 401.20.

    The top performers on the BSE Sensex 30 were Yes Bank Ltd (BO:YESB) which rose 10.94% to 114.55, Sun Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. (BO:SUN) which was up 4.01% to settle at 390.60 and IndusInd Bank Ltd. (BO:INBK) which gained 3.80% to close at 1435.50.

    The worst performers were Hindustan Unilever Ltd. (BO:HLL) which was down 0.26% to 1806.85 in late trade, HDFC Bank Ltd (BO:HDBK) which lost 0.16% to settle at 2425.50 and ITC Ltd (BO:ITC) which was down 0.07% to 277.15 at the close.

    Rising stocks outnumbered declining ones on the India National Stock Exchange by 992 to 603 and 52 ended unchanged; on the Bombay Stock Exchange, 1465 rose and 984 declined, while 128 ended unchanged.

    The India VIX, which measures the implied volatility of Nifty 50 options, was down 4.96% to 14.0000.

    Gold Futures for August delivery was up 2.67% or 36.05 to $1384.85 a troy ounce. Elsewhere in commodities trading, Crude oil for delivery in August rose 3.50% or 1.89 to hit $55.86 a barrel, while the August Brent oil contract rose 2.75% or 1.70 to trade at $63.52 a barrel.

    USD/INR was down 0.03% to 69.582, while EUR/INR rose 0.59% to 78.6275.

    The US Dollar Index Futures was down 0.39% at 96.203.

    Read more
  • Australia stocks higher at close of trade; S&P/ASX 200 up 0.59%

    Investing.com – Australia stocks were higher after the close on Thursday, as gains in the Gold, IT and Utilities sectors led shares higher.

    At the close in Sydney, the S&P/ASX 200 rose 0.59% to hit a new 5-year high.

    The best performers of the session on the S&P/ASX 200 were Resolute Mining Ltd (ASX:RSG), which rose 10.19% or 0.110 points to trade at 1.190 at the close. Meanwhile, St Barbara Ltd (ASX:SBM) added 10.11% or 0.270 points to end at 2.940 and Northern Star Resources Ltd (ASX:NST) was up 8.69% or 0.930 points to 11.630 in late trade.

    The worst performers of the session were Caltex Australia Ltd (ASX:CTX), which fell 13.27% or 3.580 points to trade at 23.400 at the close. Viva Energy Group Ltd (ASX:VEA) declined 8.04% or 0.18 points to end at 2.06 and Rio Tinto Ltd (ASX:RIO) was down 4.01% or 4.235 points to 101.475.

    Rising stocks outnumbered declining ones on the Sydney Stock Exchange by 622 to 617 and 401 ended unchanged.

    Shares in Caltex Australia Ltd (ASX:CTX) fell to 3-years lows; down 13.27% or 3.580 to 23.400. Shares in Northern Star Resources Ltd (ASX:NST) rose to all time highs; up 8.69% or 0.930 to 11.630.

    The S&P/ASX 200 VIX, which measures the implied volatility of S&P/ASX 200 options, was down 1.53% to 13.029 a new 1-month low.

    Gold Futures for August delivery was up 2.79% or 37.65 to $1386.45 a troy ounce. Elsewhere in commodities trading, Crude oil for delivery in August rose 3.34% or 1.80 to hit $55.77 a barrel, while the August Brent oil contract rose 3.22% or 1.99 to trade at $63.81 a barrel.

    AUD/USD was up 0.34% to 0.6905, while AUD/JPY fell 0.09% to 74.31.

    The US Dollar Index Futures was down 0.25% at 96.345.

    Read more
  • Oil Prices Trade Higher on Crude Inventories Drawdown

    Investing.com - Oil prices traded higher on Thursday in Asia after official government data showed a larger-than-expected drawdown in U.S. crude inventories.

    UU.S. WTI crude futures gained 1.4% to $54.72 by 1:14 AM ET (05:14 GMT). International benchmark Brent crude traded 1.3% higher to $62.64.

    The Energy Information Administration said in its regular weekly report that crude oil inventories decreased by 3.11 million barrels in the week to June 14. That was compared to forecasts for a stockpile draw of 1.08 million barrels after a build of 2.21 million barrels in the previous week.

    In other news, the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) finally agreed to push back their official meeting to July 1, followed by a meeting with non-OPEC allies on July 2, switching from previously agreed dates of June 25-26. OPEC and its allies will discuss whether to extend a deal on cutting 1.2 million barrels per day of production that expires in June.

    "Oil price volatility is likely to persist, but the upcoming OPEC meeting should serve to provide the markets with a reasonable backstop and will offer some much-needed respite for prices," said Stephen Innes, managing partner at Vanguard Markets in Bangkok, in a Reuters report.

    U.S. crude received a boost earlier this week on hopes that a trade deal could be made between the U.S. and China after U.S. President Donald Trump confirmed he will be meeting with China’s Xi Jinping next week at the G-20 summit in Japan.

    The two leaders had a “very good conversation” on phone and are expected to have an “extended meeting” at the meeting next week, according to Trump.

    Read more
  • Gold Jumps as Fed Keeps Door Open for Rate Cut

    Investing.com - Gold prices jumped on Thursday in Asia after the U.S. Federal Reserve kept the door open for an interest rate cut later this year.

    Gold futures for August delivery, traded on the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange, were up 2.6% at $1,383.50 per ounce by 12:45 AM ET (04:45 GMT).

    On Wednesday the Fed kept its benchmark rate unchanged, but signalled it is prepared cut rates amid mounting risks to the economy from slowing inflation and global trade tensions.

    "The main question is no longer if the Fed will cut rates in July, but whether the easing will be by 25 or 50 basis points,” said Daisuke Karakama, chief market economist at Mizuho Bank, in a Reuters report.

    The U.S. dollar index that tracks the greenback against a basket of other currencies was down 0.2% to 96.385.

    Since the beginning of June, gold has only settled down twice as investors piled into the precious metal to hedge against a weakening of the dollar should the Fed tilt towards a rate cut.

    Read more
  • U.S. Dollar Falls After Fed Decision; BOJ Holds

    Investing.com - The U.S. dollar fell to three month lows against a currency basket on Thursday in Asia after the Federal Reserve signalled it was prepared to lower interest rates amid mounting concerns over the global growth outlook.

    The U.S. dollar index that tracks the greenback against a basket of other currencies was down 0.2% to 96.385 by 11:26 PM ET (03:26 GMT).

    The U.S. central bank left borrowing costs unchanged on Wednesday, but suggested it could ease monetary policy as early as next month amid mounting concerns over the economic impact of global trade tensions and subdued inflation.

    "The main question is no longer if the Fed will cut rates in July, but whether the easing will be by 25 or 50 basis points,” said Daisuke Karakama, chief market economist at Mizuho Bank, in a Reuters report.

    Meanwhile, the Bank of Japan kept monetary policy steady on Thursday, but echoed the Fed in warning that global risks were increasing amid trade tensions and uncertainty over U.S. economic policies, signaling that it, too, is leaning more toward ramping up monetary support.

    The USD/JPY was down 0.4% to 107.60 following the release of the statement.

    The NZD/USD pair gained 0.6% to 0.6573. Data showed today that New Zealand’s GDP growth for the quarter ended March was at 0.6%, in line with expectations. However, some said underlying weakness in the housing market and immigration added to the rising external pressure on the economy.

    The AUD/USD pair rose 0.2% to 0.6894.

    Read more
  • Canada stocks higher at close of trade; S&P/TSX Composite up 0.05%

    Investing.com – Canada stocks were higher after the close on Wednesday, as gains in the IT, Telecoms and Utilities sectors led shares higher.

    At the close in Toronto, the S&P/TSX Composite added 0.05% to hit a new 1-month high.

    The best performers of the session on the S&P/TSX Composite were Shopify Inc (TSX:SHOP), which rose 6.82% or 27.760 points to trade at 434.950 at the close. Meanwhile, CannTrust Holdings Inc (TSX:TRST) added 6.77% or 0.4500 points to end at 7.1000 and Torex Gold Resources Inc (TSX:TXG) was up 3.73% or 0.500 points to 13.900 in late trade.

    The worst performers of the session were Gran Tierra Energy Inc (TSX:GTE), which fell 12.79% or 0.330 points to trade at 2.250 at the close. New Gold Inc (TSX:NGD) declined 4.35% or 0.040 points to end at 0.880 and HudBay Minerals Inc (TSX:HBM) was down 3.97% or 0.29 points to 7.01.

    Rising stocks outnumbered declining ones on the Toronto Stock Exchange by 561 to 476 and 134 ended unchanged.

    Shares in Shopify Inc (TSX:SHOP) rose to all time highs; up 6.82% or 27.760 to 434.950. Shares in Gran Tierra Energy Inc (TSX:GTE) fell to all time lows; falling 12.79% or 0.330 to 2.250.

    The S&P/TSX 60 VIX, which measures the implied volatility of S&P/TSX Composite options, was down 2.67% to 10.92 a new 1-month low.

    Gold Futures for August delivery was up 1.02% or 13.75 to $1364.45 a troy ounce. Elsewhere in commodities trading, Crude oil for delivery in August rose 0.54% or 0.29 to hit $54.40 a barrel, while the August Brent oil contract unchanged 0.00% or 0.00 to trade at $62.22 a barrel.

    CAD/USD was down 0.01% to 0.7529, while CAD/EUR fell 0.03% to 0.6704.

    The US Dollar Index Futures was down 0.43% at 96.733.

    Read more
  • Day Ahead: Top 3 Things to Watch

    Investing.com - The FOMC took a lot of uncertainty out of the stock market today, not only keeping rates steady but telegraphing its intention enough for a rate cut to be fully priced in for next month. Fed funds futures now indicate a 100% chance that rates will be a quarter-point lower in July, according to Investing.com’s Fed Rate Monitor tool with at least another rate cut after that.

    In addition, Fed Chairman Jerome Powell stressed he intends to serve out his full four-year term, critical tweets from President Donald Trump notwithstanding. Now, what to focus on? Apart from any comments on trade from either Washington or Beijing, investors will be looking for rate decisions across the pond. And let’s not forget about actual stocks in the stock market with some earnings on tap.

    Her are the top 3 things that could rock markets tomorrow.

    1. Initial Jobless Claims, Philly Fed Activity Expected to Fall

    The Labor Department releases its weekly count of the number of individuals who filed for unemployment insurance for the week ended June 15 . Economists forecast that initial jobless claims to decline to 220,000 from 222,000 previously.

    The Philadelphia Federal Reserve at 8:30 AM ET (12:30 GMT) will release its measure of manufacturing activity in the region. The Philly Fed index is expected to fall to a reading of 10.6, from 16.6 last month, as manufacturing activity has been under pressure from the ongoing U.S.-China trade fight.

    2. Bank of England to Pour Cold Water on Rate Hikes

    The Bank of England is widely expected to leave rates unchanged on Wednesday, as Brexit uncertainty continues to dominate the economic agenda, leaving the central bank with little room to maneuver.

    Against the backdrop of the likely appointment of Boris Johnson as Prime Minister, analysts are baking in a bigger chance the U.K. will leave the European Union without a deal. This threat could force the Bank of England to kick the rate-hike can further down road, despite calls for hawkish policy action from some members of the bank amid an uptick in wage growth and low unemployment.

    "We no longer see a Bank Rate hike in August or indeed this year as likely, as no-deal could become a bigger risk quickly, with the dovish wind blowing through global monetary policy," Citigroup said.

    3. Kroger's Earnings on Tap

    Grocery chain Kroger is set to report quarterly results on Thursday before U.S. markets open. Kroger Company (NYSE:KR) is expected to report fiscal first-quarter earnings of $0.71 a share on revenue of $37.27 billion, with same-store-sales seen growing 1.7% As well as earnings, margins are expected to be closely watched amid rising competition and higher costs.

    Kroger has been ramping up investments in its stores and digital business to better compete with Amazon. Kroger shares are down 14% this year and were battered after a surprisingly disappointing fiscal-fourth-quarter report in March.

    Read more
  • Oil Dips as Trade War Fears Pip U.S. Crude Draw, Potential Rate Cut

    By Barani Krishnan

    Investing.com - Even a crude drawdown and potential U.S. rate cut down the road couldn’t help oil bulls.

    Crude prices settled down on Wednesday after the Energy Information Administration reported the first U.S. crude stockpile draw in three weeks.

    The market also bucked expectations for a late rebound by remaining down after the Federal Reserve indicated it was open to an interest rate cut if needed. Monetary easing basically weakens the U.S. dollar and stimulates investments in dollar-denominated alternatives like oil, gold and other commodities.

    New York-traded West Texas Intermediate crude settled down 14 cents, or 0.3%, at $53.76 a barrel. The U.S. crude benchmark rallied almost 4% on Tuesday, its biggest one-day gain in five months, after President Donald Trump tweeted that he would be meeting his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping next week at the G-20 to resume trade talks.

    The president’s tweet raised hopes that the two leaders would find a way to resolve the escalation of tariffs in both countries, which businesses fear could spark a global recession.

    London-traded Brent crude, the benchmark for oil outside of the U.S., closed the official trading session down 29 cents, or 0.5%, at $61.85 per barrel.

    Crude oil inventories decreased by 3.11 million barrels in the week to June 14, according to the EIA. That easily beat the 1.08-million-barrel draw analysts had expected for last week, though it was nowhere close to offsetting the combined build of nearly 9 million barrels in two previous weeks.

    Gasoline inventories unexpectedly decreased by 1.69 million barrels, compared to expectations for a gain of 0.94 million barrels. Stockpiles of distillates, which include heating oil, diesel and other premium transport fuels such as jet and rail fuel, dropped by 0.55 million barrels, compared to forecasts for a build of 0.71 million.

    Prior to its latest dataset, the EIA reported a net growth of some 33 million barrels in crude over the past 12 weeks that crossed into the current peak driving season in the United States. Combined with recession fears generated by the U.S.-China trade war, oil prices lost about 20%from April’s highs, falling into a bear market.

    “The trade war is what’s throttling the market now for oil,” said John Kilduff, partner at New York energy hedge fund Again Capital. “We had an EIA report with good crude, gasoline and products drawdowns, but with all the builds we’ve had in past weeks, the market’s thinking is that one swallow does not a summer make.”

    “Basically, if we want to get this market and any other going, you’re going to need to resolve this trade war,” Kilduff said. “Rate cuts and stimulus alone might not help the situation we have right now.”

    Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell told a news conference that there was not much support from his fellow central bankers for a rate cut this month.

    “A number of people wrote down rate cuts, but all of those but apparently one felt that it would be better to see more before moving,” Powell said.
    FOMC member James Bullard was the lone dissenter.

    The Fed's monthly policy statement said that while it expected sustained expansion economic activity, strong labor market conditions, and inflation near its symmetric 2% objective, “uncertainties about this outlook have increased”.

    Read more
  • Bitcoin Flat Amid Range Trading as Facebook Hogs Spotlight

    Investing.com -- Bitcoin traded in a tight range Thursday, but managed to hold above the $9,000 level as traders continued to debate the impact of Facebook's upcoming foray into cryptocurrency.

    Bitcoin rose slightly to $9,108.4.

    As the regulatory spotlight heats up on Facebook's (NASDAQ:FB) new crypto, traders continue to mull whether the social media's presence in the crypto market will spur a wider adoption of other cryptos or cannibalize growth as regulators dig in their heels.

    Lawmakers in the U.S. and Europe have pushed back against Facebook's plan to launch a cryptocurrency, dubbed Libra, to support a worldwide payments systems, citing the social media company's checkred past on privacy concerns.

    "Given the company's troubled past, I am requesting that Facebook agree to a moratorium on any movement forward on developing a cryptocurrency until Congress and regulators have the opportunity to examine these issues and take action," said Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif., chairman of the House Financial Services Committee.

    The increase scrutiny comes at a time when regulators have preferred to play the waiting game when it comes to expanding the reach of cryptos to institutional investors.

    In April and again in May, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) delayed its decision on whether to change the Securities Act to allow bitcoin exchange-traded funds.

    The launch of a bitcoin ETF has long been touted as a game-changer that could fuel a wave of new institutional funds into the market, likely triggering a surge in the popular crypto.

    Still, Facebook’s Libra project will prove more boon than bane, as it validates the mainstream interest in cryptocurrencies and will likely become one of the dominant stablecoins, according to Fundstrat Global Advisors Co-Founder Tom Lee.

    Other cryptos were mostly higher. XRP rose 1.03% to $0.4313, Ethereum added 0.93% to $267.44 and Litecoin gained 3.18% to $138.96.

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  • Federal Reserve Keeps Rates Steady, but Opens Door to Easing

    Investing.com - The Federal Reserve kept interest rates unchanged Wednesday, but signaled it was prepared to lean toward a more dovish stance as uncertainties in its growth outlook have increased.

    The Federal Open Market Committee kept the fed funds rate in a range of 2.25% to 2.5%..

    In a sign that the Fed is laying the groundwork for more accommodative policies, the central bank ditched "patient" from its policy language and said it would "act as appropriate to sustain the expansion."

    "The Committee continues to view sustained expansion of economic activity, strong labor market conditions, and inflation near the Committee's symmetric 2 percent objective as the most likely outcomes, but uncertainties about this outlook have increased," the Fed said.

    At his press conference, Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell conceded there were some significant changes to the Fed's policy statement, but suggested that the central bank was in no rush to cut rates.

    "I don't think the risk of waiting too long (to cut rates) is prominent right now," Powell said.

    Members of the rate-setting committee kept their 2019 median forecast for interest rates at 2.4%. But the interest rate outlook for both 2020 and 2021 was lowered, guiding to at least one rate cut next year.

    The longer-run interest rate was cut to 2.5% from 2.8%.

    For decades the Federal Reserve has operated under a dual mandate seeking to achieve maximum employment while ensuring inflation remains steady. But inflation continues to elude the Fed's 2% target, giving the central bank reason to tilt dovish.

    The economy is expected to grow by 2.1% in 2019, unchanged from previous estimate of 2.1% , and by 1.9% in 2020, down from 1.9% previously, the Fed's Summary of Economic Projections showed.

    The pace of inflation, which has longed lagged the Fed's 2% target, is forecast to cool to a rate of 1.5% this year, down from 1.8%. Core PCE inflation for 2020 was also revised lower to 1.9% from 2.0%.

    The most recent measure of core PCE, the Fed's preferred measure of inflation, stood at 1.6%.

    "The fact core inflation is underperforming the target is suddenly a big problem and only massive easing might do something about proving the 2% goal to be a symmetrical target," Scotiabank said in a note.

    The unemployment rate, which remains at multi-year lows, was revised downward for 2019 to 3.6% from 3.7% previously.

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  • Watch Live: Fed Chairman Jerome Powell's Press Conference

    Investing.com - The Federal Open Market Committee kept interest rates on hold Wednesday, but indicated that it wasn't feeling as patient as it was before with regard to monetary policy, opening the door for rate cuts this year.

    "Uncertainties" about the solid view of the U.S. economy have increased, the FOMC said as it kept its key federal funds rate at 2.25% to 2.5%.

    Powell conceded there were some significant changes to the Fed's policy statement on Wednesday, but suggested that the central bank was in no rush to cut rates.

    "I don't think the risk of waiting too long (to cut rates) is prominent right now," Powell said.

    The central bank ditched "patient" from its policy language and said it would "act as appropriate to sustain the expansion."

    Powell's comments are unlikely to appease some of his most vocal critics, not least of all President Donald Trump.

    "(Powell's) my pick -- and I disagree with him entirely,” Trump said last week in an interview with ABC News. "Frankly, if we had a different person in the Federal Reserve that wouldn’t have raised interest rates so much we would have been at least a point and a half higher."

    Against mounting criticism, however, Powell insisted he "fully" intends to serve out his full four-year term.

    “I think the law is clear that I have a 4-year term, and I fully intend to serve it” Powell said, when asked what he would do if Trump tweets he wants to demote him as Fed chairman.

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  • Netherlands stocks higher at close of trade; AEX up 0.22%

    Investing.com – Netherlands stocks were higher after the close on Wednesday, as gains in the Healthcare, Financials and Consumer Services sectors led shares higher.

    At the close in Amsterdam, the AEX rose 0.22% to hit a new 1-month high.

    The best performers of the session on the AEX were Aegon NV (AS:AEGN), which rose 2.49% or 0.106 points to trade at 4.363 at the close. Meanwhile, ABN AMRO Group NV (AS:ABNd) added 1.87% or 0.35 points to end at 19.34 and ING Groep NV (AS:INGA) was up 1.67% or 0.168 points to 10.238 in late trade.

    The worst performers of the session were Adyen NV (AS:ADYEN), which fell 2.03% or 14.00 points to trade at 675.00 at the close. ASR Nederland NV (AS:ASRNL) declined 1.31% or 0.46 points to end at 34.64 and Koninklijke Ahold Delhaize NV (AS:AD) was down 1.17% or 0.245 points to 20.720.

    Rising stocks outnumbered declining ones on the Amsterdam Stock Exchange by 79 to 49 and 9 ended unchanged.

    The AEX Volatility, which measures the implied volatility of AEX options, was up 1.52% to 12.27.

    Crude oil for August delivery was down 0.43% or 0.23 to $53.88 a barrel. Elsewhere in commodities trading, Brent oil for delivery in August fell 0.53% or 0.33 to hit $61.81 a barrel, while the August Gold Futures contract rose 0.48% or 6.55 to trade at $1357.25 a troy ounce.

    EUR/USD was up 0.45% to 1.1241, while EUR/GBP fell 0.37% to 0.8878.

    The US Dollar Index Futures was down 0.50% at 96.670.

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  • Stockbeat - Jabil Jumps on Earnings Joy, but Warns Outlook to Remain Jaded

    Investing.com - Jabil Circuit soared Wednesday as its fiscal third-quarter revenue beat estimates and drew praise from Wall Street, though the chipmaker warned growth in the sector would continue to stutter.

    Jabil Circuit (NYSE:JBL) said postmarket Tuesday it generated fiscal third-quarter earnings of to $0.57 in Q3, in line with guidance, but revenues of $6.14 billion topped expectations for $6.01 billion, sending its share price more than 10% higher on the day.

    The revenue beat was led by new contract wins in its electronic manufacturing services segment and comes at a time when semiconductor companies continue to face headwinds on multiple fronts, including a slowdown in global smartphone markets.

    Jabil offers design, manufacturing, supply chain and product management services for a wide array of industries.

    CFRA, an independent research firm, raised its target on Jabil to $34 from $31 on expectations that free cash flows in 2020 could be propped up by lower interest expense and improved working capital.

    Looking ahead, however, Jabil warned of continued weakness in semi-capital equipment, automotive and telecom services. The last group counts Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) as a major customer, and Apple contributing nearly 28% to overall company sales.

    Citigroup (NYSE:C) analyst Jim Suva wrote in a note that he is encouraged by the company's efforts, but added that disappointing Apple results or guidance could pressure Jabil.

    The company guided fourth-quarter revenue in the range of $6.3 billion to $6.9 billion and adjusted earnings per share of $0.76 to $0.96, compared with estimates from Investing.com of $0.86 for EPS on revenue of $6.42 billion.

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  • U.K. stocks lower at close of trade; Investing.com United Kingdom 100 down 0.59%

    Investing.com – U.K. stocks were lower after the close on Wednesday, as losses in the Industrial Metals&Mining, Mining and General Retailers sectors led shares lower.

    At the close in London, the Investing.com United Kingdom 100 declined 0.59%.

    The best performers of the session on the Investing.com United Kingdom 100 were Royal Bank of Scotland Group PLC (LON:RBS), which rose 3.49% or 7.50 points to trade at 222.50 at the close. Meanwhile, Capita PLC (LON:CPI) added 2.45% or 2.50 points to end at 104.50 and Lloyds Banking Group PLC (LON:LLOY) was up 1.95% or 1.13 points to 59.20 in late trade.

    The worst performers of the session were Rio Tinto PLC (LON:RIO), which fell 4.68% or 228.50 points to trade at 4649.00 at the close. Marks and Spencer Group PLC (LON:MKS) declined 4.54% or 10.10 points to end at 212.10 and Intu Properties PLC (LON:INTUP) was down 4.16% or 3.58 points to 82.44.

    Falling stocks outnumbered advancing ones on the London Stock Exchange by 1171 to 1026 and 223 ended unchanged.

    Shares in Marks and Spencer Group PLC (LON:MKS) fell to 5-year lows; down 4.54% or 10.10 to 212.10. Shares in Intu Properties PLC (LON:INTUP) fell to all time lows; falling 4.16% or 3.58 to 82.44.

    Gold Futures for August delivery was down 0.10% or 1.35 to $1349.35 a troy ounce. Elsewhere in commodities trading, Crude oil for delivery in August fell 0.43% or 0.23 to hit $53.88 a barrel, while the August Brent oil contract fell 0.19% or 0.12 to trade at $62.02 a barrel.

    GBP/USD was up 0.60% to 1.2631, while EUR/GBP fell 0.37% to 0.8878.

    The US Dollar Index Futures was down 0.23% at 96.928.

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  • Norway stocks lower at close of trade; Oslo OBX down 0.34%

    Investing.com – Norway stocks were lower after the close on Wednesday, as losses in the Healthcare Equipment&Services, Telecoms and Energy sectors led shares lower.

    At the close in Oslo, the Oslo OBX lost 0.34%.

    The best performers of the session on the Oslo OBX were Golden Ocean Group Ltd (OL:GOGLT), which rose 4.99% or 2.12 points to trade at 44.58 at the close. Meanwhile, DnB ASA (OL:DNB) added 2.37% or 3.6 points to end at 153.3 and P/f Bakkafrost (OL:BAKKA) was up 1.62% or 7.60 points to 476.00 in late trade.

    The worst performers of the session were Petroleum Geo - Services ASA (OL:PGS), which fell 15.59% or 2.41 points to trade at 13.02 at the close. Nel ASA (OL:NEL) declined 2.55% or 0.150 points to end at 5.550 and TGS-NOPEC Geophysical Company ASA (OL:TGS) was down 1.81% or 4.2 points to 229.5.

    Rising stocks outnumbered declining ones on the Oslo Stock Exchange by 111 to 95 and 30 ended unchanged.

    Crude oil for August delivery was down 0.37% or 0.20 to $53.91 a barrel. Elsewhere in commodities trading, Brent oil for delivery in August fell 0.19% or 0.12 to hit $62.02 a barrel, while the August Gold Futures contract fell 0.06% or 0.85 to trade at $1349.85 a troy ounce.

    EUR/NOK was up 0.08% to 9.7899, while USD/NOK fell 0.12% to 8.7305.

    The US Dollar Index Futures was down 0.23% at 96.928.

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  • Russia stocks lower at close of trade; MOEX Russia down 0.09%

    Investing.com – Russia stocks were lower after the close on Wednesday, as losses in the Oil&Gas, Manufacturing and Mining sectors led shares lower.

    At the close in Moscow, the MOEX Russia fell 0.09%.

    The best performers of the session on the MOEX Russia were Unipro (MCX:UPRO), which rose 3.40% or 0.0850 points to trade at 2.5850 at the close. Meanwhile, Inter rao ees (MCX:IRAO) added 2.69% or 0.1290 points to end at 4.9215 and ALROSA ao (MCX:ALRS) was up 2.00% or 1.770 points to 90.080 in late trade.

    The worst performers of the session were NOVATEK (MCX:NVTK), which fell 2.63% or 34.40 points to trade at 1275.40 at the close. Polyus OAO (MCX:PLZL) declined 1.52% or 86.0 points to end at 5560.0 and NLMK ao (MCX:NLMK) was down 1.36% or 2.38 points to 173.16.

    Rising stocks outnumbered declining ones on the Moscow Stock Exchange by 112 to 111 and 19 ended unchanged.

    Shares in Inter rao ees (MCX:IRAO) rose to 5-year highs; rising 2.69% or 0.1290 to 4.9215.

    The Russian VIX, which measures the implied volatility of MOEX Russia options, was up 0.04% to 22.320.

    Gold Futures for August delivery was down 0.05% or 0.65 to $1350.05 a troy ounce. Elsewhere in commodities trading, Crude oil for delivery in August fell 0.43% or 0.23 to hit $53.88 a barrel, while the August Brent oil contract fell 0.24% or 0.15 to trade at $61.99 a barrel.

    USD/RUB was down 0.36% to 63.7967, while EUR/RUB fell 0.17% to 71.5575.

    The US Dollar Index Futures was down 0.24% at 96.915.

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  • Israel stocks higher at close of trade; TA 35 up 0.25%

    Investing.com – Israel stocks were higher after the close on Wednesday, as gains in the Insurance, Biomed and Technology sectors led shares higher.

    At the close in Tel Aviv, the TA 35 rose 0.25%.

    The best performers of the session on the TA 35 were Phoenix Holdings Ltd (TASE:PHOE1), which rose 4.24% or 89 points to trade at 2190 at the close. Meanwhile, Harel (TASE:HARL) added 3.22% or 85 points to end at 2726 and Elbit Systems Ltd (TASE:ESLT) was up 2.15% or 1200 points to 57110 in late trade.

    The worst performers of the session were Melisron (TASE:MLSR), which fell 1.32% or 250 points to trade at 18650 at the close. Delek Group (TASE:DLEKG) declined 1.28% or 780 points to end at 60310 and Paz Oil (TASE:PZOL) was down 1.20% or 600 points to 49480.

    Rising stocks outnumbered declining ones on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange by 217 to 148 and 49 ended unchanged.

    Shares in Elbit Systems Ltd (TASE:ESLT) rose to all time highs; up 2.15% or 1200 to 57110.

    Crude oil for August delivery was unchanged 0.00% or 0.00 to $54.11 a barrel. Elsewhere in commodities trading, Brent oil for delivery in August rose 0.05% or 0.03 to hit $62.17 a barrel, while the August Gold Futures contract fell 0.10% or 1.35 to trade at $1349.35 a troy ounce.

    USD/ILS was down 0.14% to 3.5985, while EUR/ILS rose 0.01% to 4.0335.

    The US Dollar Index Futures was down 0.19% at 96.968.

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  • Southwest Falls Midday; Pilots Seek Compensation for Grounded Boeings

    Investing.com - Southwest Airlines was down in midday trade on Wednesday as it lowered its capacity outlook due to the continued grounding of its Boeing 737 Max jets.

    Southwest has 34 of Boeing’s controversial jets, which have been grounded due to safety concerns after two fatal crashes. Southwest said it expects second-quarter capacity to fall 3.5%, compared with previous guidance of a year-over-year drop of 2% to 3%.

    Still, “the company has continued to experience solid demand and strong passenger yield trends year/year during second quarter 2019,” according to Briefing.com.

    Southwest raised it second-quarter unit revenue guidance, expecting revenue per seat mile to rise 6.5% to 7.5% compared to a prior guidance of 5.5% to 7.5%.

    Available seat miles are expected to decline 3.5%.

    Meanwhile a group of Southwest Airlines pilots are seeking compensation from Boeing over the disruption caused by the 737 Max groundings. The pilots’ union said on its website that it will be “seeking compensation and reimbursement from Boeing for every dollar legally available to be challenged, when the Max issues are resolved.”

    Southwest Airlines (NYSE:LUV) fell 1.2%, while Boeing (NYSE:BA) slipped 0.2% and rival American Airlines (NASDAQ:AAL) rose 0.8%.

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  • Oil Prices Turn Higher After Bullish U.S. Inventory Data

    Investing.com - Official government data released Wednesday showed a larger-than-expected fall in U.S. crude inventories, sparking a turnaround in oil prices.

    The Energy Information Administration said in its regular weekly report that crude oil inventories decreased by 3.11 million barrels in the week to June 14.

    That was compared to forecasts for a stockpile draw of 1.08 million barrels after a build of 2.21 million barrels in the previous week.

    The EIA report also showed that gasoline inventories unexpectedly decreased by 1.69 million barrels, compared to expectations for a gain of 0.94 million barrels, while distillate stockpiles dropped by 0.55 million barrels, compared to forecasts for a build of 0.71 million.

    U.S. crude prices turned around and headed higher immediately folllowing the bullish report. They were last up 0.6% at $54.41 a barrel by 10:50 AM ET (14:50 GMT), compared to $53.66 prior to the publication.

    London-traded Brent crude futures rose 0.4% to $62.41 a barrel, compared to $61.63 ahead of the release.

    “After what seemed like an eternity, the bulls have got their first break for the summer run of both crude and products,” Investing.com senior commodity analyst Barani Krishnan commented on the report.

    Krishnan noted, however, that the limited upside reaction to the numbers was due to the fact that stockpiles remain restrained by builds seen in previous weeks and the fact that “the market's waiting for the Fed to see if the other big thing for the day - a rate-cut complementing statement - comes in.”

    “But it’s an all-round encouraging number if you consider that production didn’t go ramping up, Cushing built by just around 700,000 barrels, exports were steady and refinery runs are closing in on the seasonal rate of 95% and above to capacity,” he explained.

    Earlier, oil had traded lower as investors took profits. U.S. crude surged nearly 4% on Tuesday after U.S. President Donald Trump revived hopes that a trade deal could be made with China.

    Trump tweeted that he had a good conversation with Chinese President Xi Jinping and trade negotiations were planned to restart ahead of an “extended meeting” between the two world leaders at the G20 summit next week.

    The more upbeat tone sent a sigh of relief through oil markets as it reduced the danger of an economic fallout that could hamper demand for crude.

    Elsewhere, and at first glance, the fact that OPEC finally managed to reset the dates for its meeting to extend the agreement on production cuts would be seen as a bullish sign.

    After months of bickering, OPEC members finally agreed on Wednesday to push back their official meeting to July 1, followed by a meeting with non-OPEC allies on July 2, switching from previously agreed dates of June 25-26.

    However, OPEC sources told Reuters that the difficulty in obtaining the delay was a sign that future meetings and decisions could be even more difficult.

    Iran was blamed as the wrench in the works as it seeks a bigger say under the pressure of U.S. sanctions.

    “An emboldened Iran could complicate matters for OPEC next month,” Krishnan said.

    “It could use its position as one of the cartel’s original five founding members to block any consensus from easily being reached by the 14-nation grouping, which largely takes its direction from Saudi Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih and his UAE counterpart Suhail al-Mazroui,” he explained.

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  • U.S. Dollar Falls Ahead of Fed Rate Decision

    Investing.com - The U.S. dollar was lower on Wednesday as traders waited for clues on whether or not the Federal Reserve is turning more dovish.

    The U.S. dollar index, which measures the greenback’s strength against a basket of six major currencies, was down 0.2% to 96.968 by 10:49 AM ET (14:49 GMT).

    Ongoing trade tensions between the U.S. and China, which have slowed global growth and put downward pressure on inflation, have increased the case for the Fed cutting rates this year.

    The central bank is expected to keep rates unchanged this week, but markets have priced in an 80% chance of a rate cut in July. Traders will be scanning the Fed's statement for clearer hints about the size and timing of any future moves, as well as poring over the central bank’s economic projections.

    Fed Chairman Jerome Powell will hold a press conference at 2:30 PM ET (17:00 GMT).

    The dollar was flat against the safe-haven Japanese yen, with USD/JPY at 108.42.

    Elsewhere, the euro was stronger on the weak dollar, with EUR/USD up 0.2% to 1.1210, while sterling surged, with GBP/USD up 0.6% to 1.2626. USD/CAD fell 0.1% to 1.3357.

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  • Stocks - Wall Street Mixed Ahead of Fed Decision

    Investing.com – Wall Street was mixed on Wednesday, with traders content to wait out the Federal Reserve’s policy decision later in the day.

    The Dow rose 59 points or 0.2% by 9:40 AM ET (13:40 GMT), while the S&P was flat and tech-heavy Nasdaq composite fell 12 points or 0.2%.

    The central bank is expected to keep rates unchanged this week but, with markets now assuming multiple interest rate cuts by year-end, traders will be scanning the Fed's rhetoric for clearer hints about the size and timing of any future moves.

    Chairman Jerome Powell holds a press conference at 2:30 PM ET (17:00 GMT).

    Markets now see the chance of a rate cut in July at over 80%, amid ongoing trade tensions between the U.S. and China, which have slowed global growth and put downward pressure on inflation. This week alone has witnessed a sharp and unexpected drop in a key gauge of German economic sentiment, and a surprisingly sharp drop in Japanese exports in May - both economies being collateral damage of the U.S.-China spat.

    "Expectations remain elevated over a rate cut in July and investors will be closely scrutinizing the statement for confirmation of a cut next month," said Lukman Otunuga, a research analyst at ForexTime Limited in London.

    "Should the Fed sound less dovish than expected or completely omit any hints about taking action next month, it could send equity markets sliding."

    Adobe (NASDAQ:ADBE) rose 3.6% after its earnings came in better than expected, while American Express (NYSE:AXP) inched up 0.3% after Bank of America/Merrill Lynch reinstated coverage of the company with a buy rating.

    Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX) was up 0.7%, while Uber (NYSE:UBER) jumped 1.5%.

    Elsewhere, Oracle (NYSE:ORCL) fell 0.7% ahead of its earnings report after the market closes, while Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) slid 1.5%, giving up some of the gains it made on the back of its blockchain-based payments project Libra.

    Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA) slipped 1.2% meanwhile.

    In commodities, crude slumped 1% to $53.55 a barrel, gold futures slipped 0.2% to $1,347.55 a troy ounce, while the U.S. dollar index, which measures the greenback against a basket of six major currencies, fell 0.1% to 97.04.

    -Reuters contributed to this report.

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  • Gold Prices Drop Ahead of Fed as U.S.-China Trade Tension Eases

    Investing.com - With markets broadly on hold ahead of the Federal Reserve’s policy decision, gold prices dropped on Wednesday on growing hopes that the U.S.-China can take their trade dispute down a notch or two.

    Gold futures for August delivery on the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange, fell $3.85, or 0.3%, at $1,346.85 a troy ounce by 7:07 AM ET (11:07 GMT).

    U.S. President Donald Trump had tweeted on Tuesday that he had a “very good telephone conversation with President Xi” and said trade negotiators from both sides would meet ahead of an “extended meeting” between the two leaders at the G20 summit next week.

    China’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang provided an upbeat outlook on Wednesday, indicating that history has shown that it was “possible to achieve positive outcomes” from the talks.

    The de-escalation of tensions dampens appetite for the safe-haven precious metal.

    Trade conflict aside, markets are focused on the upcoming Fed policy decision at 2:00 PM (18:00 GMT).

    The Fed is widely expected to leave rates unchanged but also to open the door to further easing in a shift from its prior promise to be “patient” with regard to changes in policy.

    Ongoing trade tensions between the U.S. and China, coupled with muted inflation data and weak business surveys, have increased the pressure for more policy easing. Markets currently put odds above 80% that the Fed will cut rates as soon as July while the chance for a total of three cuts this year is close to 50-50.

    Gold generally benefits from lower interest rates that reduce the opportunity cost of holding the non-yielding bullion and analysts warn that any “surprises” in Wednesday’s message from the Fed could roil markets.

    “Any sign that a Fed policy deluge is on the way could trigger one of the most significant risk revivals in some time,” said Stephen Innes, OANDA head of trading in Singapore.

    In other metals trading, silver futures lost 0.4% at $14.93 a troy ounce by 7:10 AM ET (11:10 GMT).

    Palladium futures traded up 1.0% at $1,488.55 an ounce, while sister metal platinum declined 0.3% to $799.30.

    In base metals, copper fell 0.4% to $2.692 a pound.

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  • Japan stocks higher at close of trade; Nikkei 225 up 1.80%

    Investing.com – Japan stocks were higher after the close on Wednesday, as gains in the Paper&Pulp, Railway&Bus and Real Estate sectors led shares higher.

    At the close in Tokyo, the Nikkei 225 rose 1.80% to hit a new 1-month high.

    The best performers of the session on the Nikkei 225 were Nomura Holdings Inc (T:8604), which rose 10.54% or 36.0 points to trade at 377.5 at the close. Meanwhile, Sumitomo Metal Mining Co., Ltd. (T:5713) added 5.88% or 171.0 points to end at 3081.0 and Idemitsu Kosan Co Ltd (T:5019) was up 5.66% or 170.0 points to 3175.0 in late trade.

    The worst performers of the session were Nichirei Corp. (T:2871), which fell 1.10% or 30.0 points to trade at 2708.0 at the close. Olympus Corp. (T:7733) declined 0.99% or 12.0 points to end at 1195.0 and Fujitsu Ltd. (T:6702) was down 0.84% or 64.0 points to 7558.0.

    Rising stocks outnumbered declining ones on the Tokyo Stock Exchange by 2914 to 607 and 191 ended unchanged.

    The Nikkei Volatility, which measures the implied volatility of Nikkei 225 options, was unchanged 0.00% to 16.92.

    Crude oil for August delivery was up 0.37% or 0.20 to $54.31 a barrel. Elsewhere in commodities trading, Brent oil for delivery in August rose 0.40% or 0.25 to hit $62.39 a barrel, while the August Gold Futures contract fell 0.29% or 3.85 to trade at $1346.85 a troy ounce.

    USD/JPY was down 0.06% to 108.38, while EUR/JPY fell 0.08% to 121.27.

    The US Dollar Index Futures was up 0.04% at 97.188.

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