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Market Updates

India stocks higher at close of trade; Nifty 50 up 0.75%

Investing.com – India stocks were higher after the close on Friday, as gains in the Healthcare, Green Energy and Banking sectors led shares higher.

At the close in NSE, the Nifty 50 gained 0.75%, while the BSE Sensex 30 index added 0.73%.

The best performers of the session on the Nifty 50 were Sun Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. (NS:SUN), which rose 4.43% or 24.55 points to trade at 577.25 at the close. Meanwhile, Bajaj Finance Ltd (NS:BJFN) added 3.75% or 84.55 points to end at 2336.05 and Bajaj Finserv Ltd (NS:BJFS) was up 3.13% or 187.45 points to 6176.50 in late trade.

The worst performers of the session were Reliance Industries Ltd (NS:RELI), which fell 1.97% or 20.30 points to trade at 1012.50 at the close. Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Ltd (NS:HPCL) declined 2.09% or 6.60 points to end at 311.15 and Coal India Ltd (NS:COAL) was down 0.97% or 2.60 points to 264.85.

The top performers on the BSE Sensex 30 were Sun Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. (BO:SUN) which rose 3.91% to 576.30, Mahindra&Mahindra Ltd. (BO:MAHM) which was up 2.87% to settle at 909.00 and Housing Development Finance Corporation Ltd (BO:HDFC) which gained 2.54% to close at 1902.40.

The worst performers were Reliance Industries Ltd (BO:RELI) which was down 1.94% to 1012.30 in late trade, Coal India Ltd (BO:COAL) which lost 0.99% to settle at 265.10 and Tata Consultancy Services Ltd. (BO:TCS) which was down 0.44% to 1811.80 at the close.

Falling stocks outnumbered advancing ones on the India National Stock Exchange by 845 to 736 and 54 ended unchanged; on the Bombay Stock Exchange, 1362 fell and 1122 advanced, while 127 ended unchanged.

Shares in Bajaj Finance Ltd (NS:BJFN) rose to all time highs; gaining 3.75% or 84.55 to 2336.05. Shares in Bajaj Finserv Ltd (NS:BJFS) rose to all time highs; gaining 3.13% or 187.45 to 6176.50.

The India VIX, which measures the implied volatility of Nifty 50 options, was down 3.41% to 12.0225.

Gold Futures for August delivery was up 0.02% or 0.20 to $1270.70 a troy ounce. Elsewhere in commodities trading, Crude oil for delivery in August rose 1.13% or 0.74 to hit $66.28 a barrel, while the August Brent oil contract rose 1.26% or 0.92 to trade at $73.97 a barrel.

USD/INR was up 0.03% to 67.855, while EUR/INR rose 0.09% to 78.9070.

The US Dollar Index Futures was down 0.23% at 94.32.

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Stocks- U.S. Futures Rise as Investors Push Aside Trade War Concerns

Investing.com – U.S. futures were higher on Friday, as investors put aside their trade war fears.

The S&P 500 futures rose 12 points or 0.45% to 2,765.0 as of 6:45 AM ET (10:45 GMT) while Dow futures increased 107 points or 0.44% to 24,579.0. Meanwhile tech heavy Nasdaq 100 futures gained 26 points or 0.37% to 7,264.50.

While equities were higher, they were still on track for their worst weekly loss in three months as trade tensions between the U.S. and its allies lingered. India joined China and the European Union in retaliation against steel and aluminum tariffs, while the EU imposed tariffs on about $3.4 billion of U.S. imports on Friday, including motorcycles, orange juice and cranberry sauce.

Beverage firm Coca-Cola Company (NYSE:KO) was among the top gainers in pre-market trading, rising 1.14% while Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX) rose 1.10% and Intel (NASDAQ:INTC) gained 0.98%.

Meanwhile Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA) fell 0.72% after it announced it was closing a dozen solar facilities in nine U.S. states. General Electric (NYSE:GE) dipped 0.39% while Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) inched down 0.04%.

In economic news, Markit is set to release its manufacturing and services indexes at 9:45 AM ET (13:45 GMT).

In Europe stocks were up. Germany’s DAX rose 36 points or 0.29% while in France the CAC 40 increased 36 points or 0.69% and in London, the FTSE 100 was up 47 points or 0.63%. Meanwhile the pan-European Euro Stoxx 50 gained 21 points or 0.64% while Spain’s IBEX 35 jumped 73 points or 0.76%.

In commodities, gold futures were flat at $1,270.50 a troy ounce while crude oil futures rose 0.99 to $66.19 a barrel. The U.S. dollar index which measures the greenback against a basket of six major currencies, was down 0.25% to 94.30.

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Gold Struggles for Direction as Dollar Slumps

Investing.com - Gold prices struggled for direction on Friday and remained at six-month lows as the dollar fell and trade tensions lingered.

Comex gold futures for August delivery were down 0.02% to $1,270.30 a troy ounce as of 4:41 AM ET (8:41 GMT).

Tensions between the U.S. and its allies continue, as India joined China and the European Union in retaliation against steel and aluminum tariffs. As the biggest buyer of almonds, India raised its tariff on U.S. almonds by 20%. Meanwhile the European Union imposed tariffs on about $3.4 billion of U.S. imports on Friday, including motorcycles, orange juice and cranberry sauce. The expected tariffs have added to tensions as investors fear an outright global trade war between the U.S.and other major countries.

Traders often turn to gold in times of political uncertainty, as the precious metal is often considered a safe haven from the impact of geopolitics but gold has struggled amid the latest political risks due to the strength in the greenback.

Meanwhile the U.S. dollar was lower. Gold normally rises as the dollar falls, as the precious metal is denominated in the U.S. currency and is sensitive to moves in the dollar but was held back despite a fall in greenback.

The U.S. dollar index, which measures the greenback’s strength against a basket of six major currencies, was at 94.24, falling 0.33%.

Bullion becomes more expensive for holders of other currencies when the dollar rises and cheaper when it falls.

Elsewhere on the Comex, silver futures were up 0.51% to $16.410 a troy ounce. Among other precious metals, platinum rose 0.20% to $864.90 while palladium increased 0.60% to $951.30 an ounce. Copper futures gained 0.58% to $3.039 a pound.

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Japan stocks lower at close of trade; Nikkei 225 down 0.78%

Investing.com – Japan stocks were lower after the close on Friday, as losses in the Banking, Paper&Pulp and Power sectors led shares lower.

At the close in Tokyo, the Nikkei 225 lost 0.78%.

The best performers of the session on the Nikkei 225 were Maruha Nichiro Corp (T:1333), which rose 3.42% or 145.0 points to trade at 4385.0 at the close. Meanwhile, Casio Computer Co., Ltd. (T:6952) added 2.97% or 52.0 points to end at 1801.0 and Nippon Light Metal Holdings Co. (T:5703) was up 2.94% or 7.0 points to 245.0 in late trade.

The worst performers of the session were SUMCO Corp. (T:3436), which fell 4.17% or 97.0 points to trade at 2231.0 at the close. The Japan Steel Works, Ltd. (T:5631) declined 3.34% or 98.0 points to end at 2840.0 and Softbank Corp. (T:9984) was down 2.80% or 242.0 points to 8399.0.

Falling stocks outnumbered advancing ones on the Tokyo Stock Exchange by 1937 to 1446 and 184 ended unchanged.

Shares in Maruha Nichiro Corp (T:1333) rose to all time highs; rising 3.42% or 145.0 to 4385.0.

The Nikkei Volatility, which measures the implied volatility of Nikkei 225 options, was down 3.86% to 16.67.

Crude oil for August delivery was up 1.07% or 0.70 to $66.24 a barrel. Elsewhere in commodities trading, Brent oil for delivery in August rose 1.27% or 0.93 to hit $73.98 a barrel, while the August Gold Futures contract fell 0.02% or 0.20 to trade at $1270.30 a troy ounce.

USD/JPY was up 0.16% to 110.17, while EUR/JPY rose 0.63% to 128.44.

The US Dollar Index Futures was down 0.33% at 94.23.

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Philippines stocks lower at close of trade; PSEi Composite down 0.49%

Investing.com – Philippines stocks were lower after the close on Friday, as losses in the Services, Holding Firms and Banking&Financials sectors led shares lower.

At the close in Philippines, the PSEi Composite declined 0.49% to hit a new 52-week low.

The best performers of the session on the PSEi Composite were Universal Robina Corp (PS:URC), which rose 1.95% or 2.20 points to trade at 115.00 at the close. Meanwhile, Ayala Land Inc (PS:ALI) added 1.35% or 0.500 points to end at 37.550 and SM Prime Holdings Inc (PS:SMPH) was up 1.06% or 0.350 points to 33.250 in late trade.

The worst performers of the session were Robinsons Land Corp (PS:RLC), which fell 3.32% or 0.640 points to trade at 18.620 at the close. Aboitiz Equity Ventures Inc (PS:AEV) declined 2.89% or 1.650 points to end at 55.350 and Alliance Global Group Inc (PS:AGI) was down 2.76% or 0.340 points to 12.000.

Falling stocks outnumbered advancing ones on the Philippines Stock Exchange by 128 to 75 and 46 ended unchanged.

Shares in Aboitiz Equity Ventures Inc (PS:AEV) fell to 52-week lows; falling 2.89% or 1.650 to 55.350. Shares in Alliance Global Group Inc (PS:AGI) fell to 5-year lows; losing 2.76% or 0.340 to 12.000.

Gold Futures for August delivery was down 0.04% or 0.50 to $1270.00 a troy ounce. Elsewhere in commodities trading, Crude oil for delivery in August rose 1.17% or 0.77 to hit $66.31 a barrel, while the August Brent oil contract rose 1.34% or 0.98 to trade at $74.03 a barrel.

CNY/PHP was down 0.16% to 8.2059, while USD/PHP fell 0.04% to 53.306.

The US Dollar Index Futures was down 0.29% at 94.27.

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Taiwan stocks lower at close of trade; Taiwan Weighted down 0.38%

Investing.com – Taiwan stocks were lower after the close on Friday, as losses in the , Optoelectronic and Electronic Parts/Components sectors led shares lower.

At the close in Taiwan, the Taiwan Weighted fell 0.38%.

The best performers of the session on the Taiwan Weighted were Loop Telecommunication International Inc (TW:3025), which rose 10.00% or 3.50 points to trade at 38.50 at the close. Meanwhile, King Core Electronics Inc (TW:6155) added 9.99% or 3.80 points to end at 41.85 and Tyntek Corp (TW:2426) was up 9.98% or 2.15 points to 23.70 in late trade.

The worst performers of the session were Ritek Corp (TW:2349), which fell 9.75% or 1.750 points to trade at 16.200 at the close. Young Optics Inc (TW:3504) declined 9.67% or 13.00 points to end at 121.50 and CMC Magnetics Corp (TW:2323) was down 8.99% or 0.980 points to 9.920.

Falling stocks outnumbered advancing ones on the Taiwan Stock Exchange by 566 to 239 and 112 ended unchanged.

Shares in Loop Telecommunication International Inc (TW:3025) rose to all time highs; rising 10.00% or 3.50 to 38.50. Shares in King Core Electronics Inc (TW:6155) rose to 5-year highs; up 9.99% or 3.80 to 41.85. Shares in Tyntek Corp (TW:2426) rose to 5-year highs; gaining 9.98% or 2.15 to 23.70.

Crude oil for August delivery was up 1.25% or 0.82 to $66.36 a barrel. Elsewhere in commodities trading, Brent oil for delivery in August rose 1.34% or 0.98 to hit $74.03 a barrel, while the August Gold Futures contract rose 0.07% or 0.90 to trade at $1271.40 a troy ounce.

USD/TWD was down 0.15% to 30.277, while TWD/CNY rose 0.37% to 0.2157.

The US Dollar Index Futures was down 0.21% at 94.34.

Read More

Bitcoin Prices Fall; Bank of Korea Denies Plans For Launching Crypto

Investing.com – Bitcoin prices fell on Friday, while Ethereum and Litecoin slumped more than 5% as the Bank of Korea denied plans for launching a central bank-backed digital currency.

Bitcoin was trading at $6,663.7 by 12:40AM ET (04:40GMT) on the Bitfinex exchange, down 1.7% over the previous 24 hours.

Ethereum, the world’s second largest cryptocurrency by market cap, was down 5.6% at $513.82 on the Bitfinex exchange.

Ripple’s XRP token fell 3.9% to $0.52519 on the Poloniex exchange.

Meanwhile, Litecoin traded 5.0% lower to to $94.08.

The Bank of Korea said earlier this week that it is opposed to the idea of a central bank-backed digital coin, as it could cause moral hazard for the bank and destabilize the markets.

“It’s desirable that the BOK is the only entity to entirely control issuing money,” the central bank said in a report.

“We reviewed the possible feasibility of digital currencies as currency; however, our thoughts are that digital currencies have been exposed to various categories of risk associated with credit, liquidity and legal management. Digital currencies don’t perform as money.” Kwon Oh-ik, a research at the bank’s economic research institue noted.

Elsewhere, Brian Kelly, founder and CEO of investment firm BKCM LLC, said in an interview with CNBC that he believes the initial coin offerings (ICOs) market is overvalued, and called such way to raise money is “very frothy”.

"People are starting to say, 'I'm going to put the brakes on the ICOs right now. I've got my portfolio. I don't need a seventh or eighth ICO,'" Kelly said. "To me, [ICOs are] not as hot as they used to be."

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Asian Equities Extend Losses as Trade Jitters Persist

Investing.com – Asian stocks extended their losses in morning trade on Friday, tracking losses seen on Wall Street as trade tensions between the U.S. and China continuing to weigh on investor sentiment. 

Overnight, the S&P 500 Index slipped 0.6% and the Dow fell 0.8%.

The European slapped penalties on multiple American products that worth around $3.2 billion on Friday, including bourbon, motorcycles and orange juice as retaliatory measures against Trump administration’s tariffs.

The move added another front to a trade war that triggered a sell-off in global equities since the beginning of the week.

"We did everything we could to avoid this situation, but now we have no choice but to respond," Cecilia Malmstrom, the European commissioner for trade, said in a speech in Wellington, New Zealand. "The E.U. has a responsibility to stand up for open global trade."

On Monday, U.S. President Donald Trump ordered the U.S. Trade Representative to identify $200 billion worth of China goods for additional tariffs. 

China and Mexico have already retaliated with their own tariffs, while Canada, Japan and Turkey are preparing similar measures, according to reports.

In Asia, the Nikkei 225 traded 0.8% lower by 10:10PM ET (02:20 GMT) after data on Friday showed the country’s export orders contracted for the first time in almost two years.

Meanwhile, the Markit/Nikkei Japan Manufacturing Purchasing Managers Index (PMI) rose to a seasonally adjusted 53.1 in June from 52.8 in May.

China’s Shanghai Composite and the Shenzhen Component were both down 0.4%. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index slipped 0.5%.

On Thursday, China’s commerce ministry spokesman Gao Feng accused the U.S. for being temperamental over bilateral trade issues, and that the U.S. government is being too unpredictable. “Beijing has had to respond in a strong way,” Gao said, adding that U.S. unilateralism would ultimately damage the interest of its own workers and farmers as China is “fully prepared” to respond to any new list of U.S. tariffs.  

Down under, Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 climbed 0.1% in morning trade.

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U.S. stocks lower at close of trade; Dow Jones Industrial Average down 0.80%

Investing.com – U.S. stocks were lower after the close on Thursday, as losses in the Oil&Gas, Industrials and Technology sectors led shares lower.

At the close in NYSE, the Dow Jones Industrial Average declined 0.80%, while the S&P 500 index declined 0.63%, and the NASDAQ Composite index declined 0.88%.

The best performers of the session on the Dow Jones Industrial Average were Verizon Communications Inc (NYSE:VZ), which rose 1.12% or 0.54 points to trade at 48.63 at the close. Meanwhile, Procter&Gamble Company (NYSE:PG) added 0.78% or 0.59 points to end at 76.44 and Walmart Inc (NYSE:WMT) was up 0.72% or 0.60 points to 84.21 in late trade.

The worst performers of the session were Caterpillar Inc (NYSE:CAT), which fell 2.52% or 3.60 points to trade at 139.53 at the close. Intel Corporation (NASDAQ:INTC) declined 2.38% or 1.27 points to end at 52.19 and Chevron Corp (NYSE:CVX) was down 2.15% or 2.70 points to 122.59.

The top performers on the S&P 500 were Darden Restaurants Inc (NYSE:DRI) which rose 14.79% to 107.06, Kroger Company (NYSE:KR) which was up 9.74% to settle at 28.73 and Federal Realty Investment Trust (NYSE:FRT) which gained 3.55% to close at 123.69.

The worst performers were Marathon Oil Corporation (NYSE:MRO) which was down 5.41% to 19.92 in late trade, United Rentals Inc (NYSE:URI) which lost 5.26% to settle at 153.18 and Concho Resources Inc (NYSE:CXO) which was down 5.28% to 124.47 at the close.

The top performers on the NASDAQ Composite were Ability Inc (NASDAQ:ABIL) which rose 110.65% to 4.55, Xenetic Biosciences Inc (NASDAQ:XBIO) which was up 50.63% to settle at 3.600 and Ascent Capital Group Inc (NASDAQ:ASCMA) which gained 46.47% to close at 2.49.

The worst performers were InVivo Therapeutics Holdings Corp (NASDAQ:NVIV) which was down 44.51% to 1.87 in late trade, Gevo Inc (NASDAQ:GEVO) which lost 35.91% to settle at 8.0300 and CLPS Inc (NASDAQ:CLPS) which was down 21.96% to 13.11 at the close.

Falling stocks outnumbered advancing ones on the New York Stock Exchange by 2093 to 967 and 109 ended unchanged; on the Nasdaq Stock Exchange, 1839 fell and 739 advanced, while 99 ended unchanged.

Shares in Darden Restaurants Inc (NYSE:DRI) rose to all time highs; up 14.79% or 13.79 to 107.06. Shares in InVivo Therapeutics Holdings Corp (NASDAQ:NVIV) fell to all time lows; losing 44.51% or 1.50 to 1.87. Shares in Xenetic Biosciences Inc (NASDAQ:XBIO) rose to 52-week highs; rising 50.63% or 1.210 to 3.600.

The CBOE Volatility Index, which measures the implied volatility of S&P 500 options, was up 14.46% to 14.64.

Gold Futures for August delivery was down 0.38% or 4.90 to $1269.60 a troy ounce. Elsewhere in commodities trading, Crude oil for delivery in August rose 0.15% or 0.10 to hit $65.81 a barrel, while the August Brent oil contract fell 2.13% or 1.59 to trade at $73.15 a barrel.

EUR/USD was up 0.28% to 1.1606, while USD/JPY fell 0.34% to 109.99.

The US Dollar Index Futures was down 0.28% at 94.51.

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Brazil stocks lower at close of trade; Bovespa down 2.78%

Investing.com – Brazil stocks were lower after the close on Thursday, as losses in the Public Utilities, Financials and Real Estate sectors led shares lower.

At the close in Sao Paulo, the Bovespa lost 2.78%.

The best performers of the session on the Bovespa were Braskem SA (SA:BRKM5), which rose 4.11% or 2.02 points to trade at 51.22 at the close. Meanwhile, JBS SA (SA:JBSS3) added 2.31% or 0.21 points to end at 9.32 and Suzano Papel e Celulose SA (SA:SUZB3) was up 1.60% or 0.69 points to 43.80 in late trade.

The worst performers of the session were Centrais Eletricas Brasileiras SA (SA:ELET3), which fell 8.30% or 1.12 points to trade at 12.38 at the close. B2W Cia Digital (SA:BTOW3) declined 7.74% or 2.15 points to end at 25.64 and Centrais Eletricas Brasileiras SA (SA:ELET6) was down 7.07% or 1.12 points to 14.72.

Falling stocks outnumbered advancing ones on the BM&FBovespa Stock Exchange by 265 to 145 and 27 ended unchanged.

The CBOE Brazil Etf Volatility, which measures the implied volatility of Bovespa options, was up 4.57% to 36.13.

Gold Futures for August delivery was down 0.38% or 4.90 to $1269.60 a troy ounce. Elsewhere in commodities trading, Crude oil for delivery in August rose 0.15% or 0.10 to hit $65.81 a barrel, while the September US coffee C contract fell 0.48% or 0.56 to trade at $116.22 .

USD/BRL was down 0.26% to 3.7625, while EUR/BRL rose 0.04% to 4.3684.

The US Dollar Index Futures was down 0.28% at 94.51.

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Gold Prices Move Off Lows as Dollar Rally Stalls

Investing.com – Gold prices eased from fresh lows for the year as the dollar turned negative on weaker U.S. economic data.

Gold futures for August delivery on the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange fell by $3.10 or 0.24%, to $1,271.10 a troy ounce after spiralling to a fresh 2018 low of $1,263.20.

A sharp retreat in the dollar – from its highest level since last summer – supported a recovery in gold but sentiment remained negative amid expectations a more aggressive Fed rate-hike cycle would continue to spur demand for the greenback.

Following the Fed's rate hike last week, and more hawkish outlook on rate hikes, gold prices have slipped 3%, as traders bet that the divergence between the Fed's hawkish outlook on monetary policy relative to other central banks will drive demand for the greenback.

"The divergence between U.S. and rest of the world monetary policy will support longer and greater USD strength than we had anticipated," Barclays (LON:BARC) said in a note to clients.

Gold is sensitive to moves higher in both bond yields and the U.S. dollar – A stronger dollar makes gold more expensive for holders of foreign currency while a rise in U.S. rates, lift the opportunity cost of holding gold as it pays no interest.

Gold was on course to post a second weekly loss in a row as its vulnerability to dollar strength continued to offset safe-haven demand in the wake of renewed U.S.-China trade tensions.

In other precious metal trade, silver futures rose 0.04% to $16.315 a troy ounce, while platinum futures fell 1.22% to $863.40 an ounce.

Copper prices lost 0.51% to $3.03 to remain at nearly two-month lows amid fears escalating U.S.-China tensions could pressure copper demand from China.

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Nigeria stocks lower at close of trade; NSE 30 down 0.79%

Investing.com – Nigeria stocks were lower after the close on Thursday, as losses in the Oil&Gas, Banking and Food, Beverages&Tobacco sectors led shares lower.

At the close in Lagos, the NSE 30 lost 0.79%.

The best performers of the session on the NSE 30 were Total Nig (LAGOS:TOTAL), which rose 4.97% or 9.60 points to trade at 202.90 at the close. Meanwhile, Fidelitybk (LAGOS:FIDELIT) added 4.59% or 0.100 points to end at 2.280 and Union Bank LG (LAGOS:UBN) was up 3.51% or 0.20 points to 5.80 in late trade.

The worst performers of the session were Unilever Nig (LAGOS:UNILEVE), which fell 5.28% or 2.80 points to trade at 50.20 at the close. Skye Bank (LAGOS:SKYEBAN) declined 4.11% or 0.030 points to end at 0.700 and Wemabank (LAGOS:WEMABAN) was down 4.05% or 0.030 points to 0.710.

Falling stocks outnumbered advancing ones on the Lagos by 59 to 32 and 8 ended unchanged.

Crude oil for August delivery was up 0.02% or 0.01 to $65.72 a barrel. Elsewhere in commodities trading, Brent oil for delivery in August fell 1.35% or 1.01 to hit $73.73 a barrel, while the August Gold Futures contract fell 0.28% or 3.60 to trade at $1270.90 a troy ounce.

EUR/NGN was down 0.19% to 415.390, while USD/NGN fell 0.14% to 361.000.

The US Dollar Index Futures was down 0.30% at 94.50.

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Portugal stocks lower at close of trade; PSI 20 down 1.13%

Investing.com – Portugal stocks were lower after the close on Thursday, as losses in the Basic Materials, Telecoms and Consumer Goods sectors led shares lower.

At the close in Lisbon, the PSI 20 fell 1.13%.

The best performers of the session on the PSI 20 were J. Martins SGPS (LS:JMT), which rose 0.69% or 0.0900 points to trade at 13.0850 at the close. Meanwhile, Altri SGPS (LS:ALSS) added 0.37% or 0.0300 points to end at 8.1900 and Galp Energia Nom (LS:GALP) was up 0.08% or 0.0130 points to 15.6080 in late trade.

The worst performers of the session were Pharol SGPS SA (LS:PHRA), which fell 5.06% or 0.0130 points to trade at 0.2440 at the close. The Navigator Company SA (LS:NVGR) declined 4.72% or 0.2440 points to end at 4.9260 and Mota Engil (LS:MOTA) was down 3.88% or 0.1150 points to 2.8500.

Falling stocks outnumbered advancing ones on the Lisbon Stock Exchange by 24 to 7 and 6 ended unchanged.

Brent oil for August delivery was down 1.36% or 1.02 to $73.72 a barrel. Elsewhere in commodities trading, Crude oil for delivery in August fell 0.06% or 0.04 to hit $65.67 a barrel, while the August Gold Futures contract fell 0.29% or 3.70 to trade at $1270.80 a troy ounce.

EUR/USD was up 0.25% to 1.1603, while EUR/GBP fell 0.30% to 0.8761.

The US Dollar Index Futures was down 0.23% at 94.56.

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Denmark stocks higher at close of trade; OMX Copenhagen 20 up 0.57%

Investing.com – Denmark stocks were higher after the close on Thursday, as gains in the Healthcare, Consumer Goods and Software&Computer Services sectors led shares higher.

At the close in Copenhagen, the OMX Copenhagen 20 gained 0.57%.

The best performers of the session on the OMX Copenhagen 20 were Novo Nordisk A/S B (CO:NOVOb), which rose 3.69% or 10.7 points to trade at 299.2 at the close. Meanwhile, Carlsberg A/S B (CO:CARLb) added 1.48% or 10.8 points to end at 742.2 and GN Store Nord (CO:GN) was up 0.86% or 2.5 points to 293.3 in late trade.

The worst performers of the session were FLSmidth&Co. (CO:FLS), which fell 3.44% or 14.2 points to trade at 398.2 at the close. Genmab (CO:GEN) declined 2.54% or 25.8 points to end at 988.2 and Chr. Hansen Holding A/S (CO:CHRH) was down 2.41% or 15.4 points to 623.0.

Falling stocks outnumbered advancing ones on the Copenhagen Stock Exchange by 76 to 43 and 21 ended unchanged.

Shares in GN Store Nord (CO:GN) rose to all time highs; gaining 0.86% or 2.5 to 293.3.

Crude oil for August delivery was down 0.06% or 0.04 to $65.67 a barrel. Elsewhere in commodities trading, Brent oil for delivery in August fell 1.40% or 1.05 to hit $73.69 a barrel, while the August Gold Futures contract fell 0.33% or 4.20 to trade at $1270.30 a troy ounce.

USD/DKK was down 0.24% to 6.4237, while EUR/DKK fell 0.01% to 7.4518.

The US Dollar Index Futures was down 0.21% at 94.58.

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Netherlands stocks lower at close of trade; AEX down 0.43%

Investing.com – Netherlands stocks were lower after the close on Thursday, as losses in the Financials, Telecoms and Oil&Gas sectors led shares lower.

At the close in Amsterdam, the AEX fell 0.43% to hit a new 1-month low.

The best performers of the session on the AEX were Koninklijke DSM NV (AS:DSMN), which rose 0.98% or 0.84 points to trade at 86.26 at the close. Meanwhile, Koninklijke Ahold Delhaize NV (AS:AD) added 0.73% or 0.150 points to end at 20.565 and Wolters Kluwer (AS:WLSNc) was up 0.40% or 0.19 points to 47.80 in late trade.

The worst performers of the session were Philips Lighting NV (AS:LIGHT), which fell 3.57% or 0.85 points to trade at 22.97 at the close. Aegon NV (AS:AEGN) declined 2.75% or 0.148 points to end at 5.230 and Altice NV (AS:ATCA) was down 1.47% or 0.05 points to 3.42.

Falling stocks outnumbered advancing ones on the Amsterdam Stock Exchange by 89 to 43 and 7 ended unchanged.

Shares in Philips Lighting NV (AS:LIGHT) fell to 52-week lows; losing 3.57% or 0.85 to 22.97.

The AEX Volatility, which measures the implied volatility of AEX options, was up 12.45% to 14.04.

Crude oil for August delivery was down 0.11% or 0.07 to $65.64 a barrel. Elsewhere in commodities trading, Brent oil for delivery in August fell 1.43% or 1.07 to hit $73.67 a barrel, while the August Gold Futures contract fell 0.35% or 4.40 to trade at $1270.10 a troy ounce.

EUR/USD was up 0.20% to 1.1597, while EUR/GBP fell 0.32% to 0.8759.

The US Dollar Index Futures was down 0.20% at 94.59.

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Poland stocks lower at close of trade; WIG30 down 0.32%

Investing.com – Poland stocks were lower after the close on Thursday, as losses in the Information Technology, Banking and Food sectors led shares lower.

At the close in Warsaw, the WIG30 fell 0.32%.

The best performers of the session on the WIG30 were Cyfrowy Polsat SA (WA:CPS), which rose 3.76% or 0.82 points to trade at 22.60 at the close. Meanwhile, Grupa Azoty SA (WA:ATTP) added 2.86% or 1.24 points to end at 44.54 and Powszechny Zaklad Ubezpieczen SA (WA:PZU) was up 2.78% or 1.04 points to 38.44 in late trade.

The worst performers of the session were CCC SA (WA:CCCP), which fell 4.30% or 9.80 points to trade at 218.20 at the close. Bank Zachodni WBK SA (WA:BZW) declined 3.57% or 12.60 points to end at 340.00 and ING Bank Śląski SA (WA:INGP) was down 3.52% or 6.40 points to 175.60.

Falling stocks outnumbered advancing ones on the Warsaw Stock Exchange by 241 to 162 and 183 ended unchanged.

Shares in CCC SA (WA:CCCP) fell to 52-week lows; losing 4.30% or 9.80 to 218.20.

Crude oil for August delivery was down 0.14% or 0.09 to $65.62 a barrel. Elsewhere in commodities trading, Brent oil for delivery in August fell 1.38% or 1.03 to hit $73.71 a barrel, while the August Gold Futures contract fell 0.36% or 4.60 to trade at $1269.90 a troy ounce.

EUR/PLN was up 0.29% to 4.3302, while USD/PLN rose 0.06% to 3.7325.

The US Dollar Index Futures was down 0.23% at 94.56.

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U.K. stocks lower at close of trade; Investing.com United Kingdom 100 down 0.94%

Investing.com – U.K. stocks were lower after the close on Thursday, as losses in the Industrial Metals&Mining, Construction&Materials and Automobiles&Parts sectors led shares lower.

At the close in London, the Investing.com United Kingdom 100 fell 0.94% to hit a new 1-month low.

The best performers of the session on the Investing.com United Kingdom 100 were Dixons Carphone PLC (LON:DC), which rose 2.36% or 4.50 points to trade at 195.25 at the close. Meanwhile, Shire PLC (LON:SHP) added 1.95% or 78.00 points to end at 4088.00 and SKY PLC (LON:SKYB) was up 1.81% or 25.00 points to 1405.00 in late trade.

The worst performers of the session were United Utilities Group PLC (LON:UU), which fell 6.17% or 48.60 points to trade at 739.20 at the close. Barratt Developments PLC (LON:BDEV) declined 3.75% or 20.20 points to end at 517.80 and Persimmon PLC (LON:PSN) was down 3.06% or 80.00 points to 2530.00.

Falling stocks outnumbered advancing ones on the London Stock Exchange by 1355 to 623 and 334 ended unchanged.

Shares in Barratt Developments PLC (LON:BDEV) fell to 52-week lows; down 3.75% or 20.20 to 517.80. Shares in SKY PLC (LON:SKYB) rose to 5-year highs; up 1.81% or 25.00 to 1405.00.

Gold Futures for August delivery was down 0.37% or 4.70 to $1269.80 a troy ounce. Elsewhere in commodities trading, Crude oil for delivery in August fell 0.15% or 0.10 to hit $65.61 a barrel, while the August Brent oil contract fell 1.42% or 1.06 to trade at $73.68 a barrel.

GBP/USD was up 0.56% to 1.3247, while EUR/GBP fell 0.34% to 0.8757.

The US Dollar Index Futures was down 0.22% at 94.57.

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Turkey stocks higher at close of trade; BIST 100 up 0.53%

Investing.com – Turkey stocks were higher after the close on Thursday, as gains in the Metal Products&Machinery, Transport and Non-Metal Mineral Products sectors led shares higher.

At the close in Istanbul, the BIST 100 gained 0.53%.

The best performers of the session on the BIST 100 were Afyon Cimento Sanayi TAS (IS:AFYON), which rose 16.35% or 0.87 points to trade at 6.19 at the close. Meanwhile, Ihlas Holding AS (IS:IHLAS) added 6.06% or 0.020 points to end at 0.350 and Netas Telekomunikasyon AS (IS:NETAS) was up 5.52% or 0.44 points to 8.41 in late trade.

The worst performers of the session were Teknosa Ic ve Dis Ticaret AS (IS:TKNSA), which fell 4.89% or 0.230 points to trade at 4.470 at the close. Yatas Yatak ve Yorgan Sanayi Ticaret AS (IS:YATAS) declined 3.80% or 0.820 points to end at 20.780 and Alarko Holding AS (IS:ALARK) was down 2.89% or 0.140 points to 4.700.

Rising stocks outnumbered declining ones on the Istanbul Stock Exchange by 226 to 123 and 59 ended unchanged.

Gold Futures for August delivery was down 0.41% or 5.20 to $1269.30 a troy ounce. Elsewhere in commodities trading, Crude oil for delivery in August fell 0.11% or 0.07 to hit $65.64 a barrel, while the August Brent oil contract fell 1.50% or 1.12 to trade at $73.62 a barrel.

USD/TRY was down 0.04% to 4.7309, while EUR/TRY rose 0.27% to 5.4947.

The US Dollar Index Futures was down 0.20% at 94.59.

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Sweden stocks lower at close of trade; OMX Stockholm 30 down 1.45%

Investing.com – Sweden stocks were lower after the close on Thursday, as losses in the Technology, Industrials and Basic Materials sectors led shares lower.

At the close in Stockholm, the OMX Stockholm 30 fell 1.45%.

The best performers of the session on the OMX Stockholm 30 were Swedish Match AB (ST:SWMA), which rose 0.56% or 2.4 points to trade at 429.8 at the close. Meanwhile, Fingerprint Cards AB ser. B (ST:FINGb) added 0.14% or 0.01 points to end at 7.21 and Essity AB B (ST:ESSITYb) was unchanged 0.00% or 0.00 points to 217.50 in late trade.

The worst performers of the session were Autoliv Inc . SDB (ST:ALIVsdb), which fell 2.69% or 37.5 points to trade at 1358.0 at the close. Telefonaktiebolaget LM Ericsson Class B (ST:ERICb) declined 2.64% or 1.86 points to end at 68.64 and Sandvik AB (ST:SAND) was down 2.64% or 4.15 points to 152.80.

Falling stocks outnumbered advancing ones on the Stockholm Stock Exchange by 390 to 231 and 58 ended unchanged.

Shares in Swedish Match AB (ST:SWMA) rose to all time highs; up 0.56% or 2.4 to 429.8.

Crude oil for August delivery was down 0.11% or 0.07 to $65.64 a barrel. Elsewhere in commodities trading, Brent oil for delivery in August fell 1.47% or 1.10 to hit $73.64 a barrel, while the August Gold Futures contract fell 0.41% or 5.20 to trade at $1269.30 a troy ounce.

EUR/SEK was up 0.52% to 10.3365, while USD/SEK rose 0.32% to 8.9111.

The US Dollar Index Futures was down 0.20% at 94.59.

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Greece stocks higher at close of trade; Athens General Composite up 0.91%

Investing.com – Greece stocks were higher after the close on Thursday, as gains in the Banking, Financials and Chemicals sectors led shares higher.

At the close in Athens, the Athens General Composite gained 0.91%.

The best performers of the session on the Athens General Composite were Cenergy Holdings SA (AT:CENEr), which rose 6.74% or 0.0840 points to trade at 1.3300 at the close. Meanwhile, Viohalco SA (AT:VIOH) added 5.11% or 0.165 points to end at 3.395 and Lamda Develop (AT:LMDr) was up 4.40% or 0.270 points to 6.400 in late trade.

The worst performers of the session were Nireus Aqua (AT:NIRr), which fell 18.29% or 0.047 points to trade at 0.210 at the close. Selonda Aquaculture SA (AT:SELr) declined 17.42% or 0.0270 points to end at 0.1280 and Ellaktor SA (AT:HELr) was down 8.09% or 0.174 points to 1.976.

Rising stocks outnumbered declining ones on the Athens Stock Exchange by 61 to 42 and 20 ended unchanged.

Gold Futures for August delivery was down 0.38% or 4.90 to $1269.60 a troy ounce. Elsewhere in commodities trading, Crude oil for delivery in August rose 0.02% or 0.01 to hit $65.72 a barrel, while the August Brent oil contract fell 1.32% or 0.99 to trade at $73.75 a barrel.

EUR/USD was up 0.29% to 1.1608, while EUR/GBP fell 0.32% to 0.8759.

The US Dollar Index Futures was down 0.27% at 94.52.

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Gold Holds at Six-Months Low as Trade Tensions Resurface

Investing.com - Gold prices remained at six-month lows on Thursday, as trade tensions between the U.S. and China resurfaced.

Comex gold futures for August delivery were down 0.46% to $1,268.60 a troy ounce as of 10:57 AM ET (14:57 GMT).

Tensions between the U.S. and China continue, as the two largest economies in the world faced a tit-for-tat over trade tariffs. Earlier this week U.S. President Donald Trump threatened to impose tariffs on another $200 billion of Chinese goods. Investors fear China could strike back at blue-chip firms including Caterpillar (NYSE:CAT) and Boeing (NYSE:BA), which rely on China for revenue.

The European Union is also expected to impose tariffs on about $3.4 billion of U.S. imports on Friday, including motorcycles, orange juice and cranberry sauce. The expected tariffs have added to tensions as investors fear an outright global trade war between the U.S., the EU and China.

Traders often turn to gold in times of political uncertainty, as the precious metal is often considered a safe haven from the impact of geopolitics but gold has struggled amid the latest political risks due to the strength in the greenback.

Meanwhile the U.S. dollar was lower. Gold normally rises as the dollar falls, as the precious metal is denominated in the U.S. currency and is sensitive to moves in the dollar but was held back despite a fall in greenback.

The U.S. dollar index, which measures the greenback’s strength against a basket of six major currencies, was at 94.50, falling 0.30%.

Bullion becomes more expensive for holders of other currencies when the dollar rises and cheaper when it falls.

Elsewhere on the Comex, silver futures were down 0.12% to $16.290 a troy ounce. Among other precious metals, Platinum Futures fell 1.03% to $865.10 while Palladium Futures decreased 0.54% to $952.00 an ounce. Copper futures lost 0.25% to $3.033 a pound.

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Oil Prices Under Pressure as Iran Shows Support for Modest Supply Increase

Investing.com - Oil prices traded lower in midmorning trade on Thursday, though the barrel of West Texas was hovering near the unchanged mark, as Iran backed down from complete opposition to an increase in output, paving the way to a possible agreement between the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC).

New York-traded West Texas Intermediate crude futures slipped 4 cents, or about 0.1%, to $65.71 a barrel by 10:44AM ET (14:44GMT).

Meanwhile, Brent crude futures, the benchmark for oil prices outside the U.S., traded down $1.18, or 1.6%, to $73.56.

OPEC is planning a review their current production agreement with non-OPEC producers led by Russia that has held back 1.8 million bpd from the market for the past 18 months.

Saudi Arabia and Russia, both of which have the ability to increase production, had been pushing for increases in output to cover shortfalls seen by Iran and Venezuela. However, OPEC members including Iraq, Iran and Venezuela had shown their prefererence to keep the supply limits in place.

Iranian Oil Minister Bijan Zanganeh said that he was feeling “very good” about OPEC’s production levels and indicated Iran could accept a modest supply hike, suggesting that members may be moving closer to an agreement ahead of their 174th official meeting on Friday in Vienna.

The meeting will kick off Friday at 3:30AM ET (7:30GMT) and a press conference is tentatively scheduled for 7:00AM ET (11:00GMT).

That meeting will be followed by a gathering of OPEC officials with their non-member allies on Saturday.

In other energy trading, gasoline futures lost 0.1% $2.0160 a gallon by 10:45AM ET (14:45GMT), while heating oil slid 1.1% to $2.0831 a gallon.

Lastly, natural gas futures traded up 0.7% to $2.985 per million British thermal units, having trimmed gains after weekly data showed that supplies in storage rose more than forecast last week.

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Natural Gas Futures Trim Gains After Weekly Storage Data

Investing.com - Natural gas futures stayed higher on Thursday, but came off the best levels of the session after data showed that supplies in storage rose more than forecast last week.

Front-month U.S. natural gas futures inched up 1.5 cents, or around 0.5%, to $2.979 per million British thermal units (btu) by 10:36AM ET (1436GMT). Futures were at around $3.002 prior to the release of the supply data.

The U.S. Energy Information Administration said in its weekly report that natural gas storage in the U.S. rose by 91 billion cubic feet (bcf) in the week ended June 15, above forecasts for a gain of 85 bcf.

That compared with a build of 96 bcf in the preceding week, an increase of 61 bcf a year earlier and a five-year average rise of 83 bcf.

Total natural gas in storage currently stands at 2.004 trillion cubic feet (tcf), according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

That figure is 757 bcf, or around 27.4%, lower than levels at this time a year ago, and 499 bcf, or roughly 19.9%, below the five-year average for this time of year.

Meanwhile, updated weather forecasting models pointed to above-average temperatures covering most of the country over the next two weeks.

That should help boost early summer cooling demand for the fuel.

Natural gas prices have closely tracked weather forecasts in recent weeks, as traders try to gauge the impact of shifting outlooks on early summer cooling demand.

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Dollar Dips on Soft U.S. Factory Data, BoE Boosts Pound

Investing.com - The dollar eased after hitting the highest levels of the year on Thursday following the release of soft U.S. manufacturing data, while the pound was higher after the Bank of England laid the groundwork for an August rate hike.

The U.S. dollar index, which measures the greenback’s strength against a basket of six major currencies, dipped 0.12% to 94.67 by 09:40 AM ET (13:40 GMT), after rising to an eleven month high of 95.07 earlier.

The dollar softened slightly after a report showing that manufacturing activity in the Philadelphia region slowed in June after a spike higher in the previous month.

At the same time, the Labor Department reported that initial jobless claims fell unexpectedly last week, pointing to further tightening in the labor market.

Demand for the dollar continued to be underpinned after Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell on Wednesday reiterated that the case for gradual rate hikes remains strong.

Sterling was higher, with GBP/USD advancing 0.62% to 1.3255, bouncing back from the seven month trough of 1.3102 reached earlier in the day.

The pound strengthened after the Bank of England left interest rates on hold, but a surprise vote for a rate hike by the bank’s chief economist shifted the balance of probability for the next hike to the August meeting.

The U.S. currency was a touch lower against the yen, with USD/JPY dipping 0.11% to 110.23, off an earlier high of 110.76.

The dollar pared all of the day’s gains against the yen earlier as Italian bond yields spiked after two Eurosceptic lawmakers were named to head key economic committees in the Italian parliament.

The move bolstered the new government's possible future agenda of leaving the euro area.

Meanwhile, the euro erased early losses against the dollar, with EUR/USD rising 0.17% to 1.1596.

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Wall Street Firm Downgrades Intel Over Server Market

Investing.com - Intel (NASDAQ:INTC)'s share of the booming server market will decline this year, according to one Wall Street firm, which lowered its price target on the stock as a result.
Northland Capital Markets slashed its price forecast 15% and also lowered its rating from perform to underperform.
The firm says Intel will lose business to industry rivals AMD and NVIDIA (NASDAQ:NVDA).
That's because more servers are starting to use GPU and ASIC chips made by AMD and NVIDIA, rather than Intel's CPU chips.
The change is a result of the broader move toward artificial intelligence.
Northland predicts Intel's sales growth will slow dramatically between the second and fourth quarters of this year.
Intel shares have gained about 50% in the past 12 months.

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Saudi Arabia stocks higher at close of trade; Tadawul All Share up 0.49%

Investing.com – Saudi Arabia stocks were higher after the close on Thursday, as gains in the Telecoms&IT, Hotels&Tourism and Financial Services sectors led shares higher.

At the close in Saudi Arabia, the Tadawul All Share gained 0.49%.

The best performers of the session on the Tadawul All Share were Amana Cooperative Insurance Co (SE:8310), which rose 9.93% or 1.44 points to trade at 15.94 at the close. Meanwhile, Al-Rajhi Cooperative Insurance (SE:8230) added 5.77% or 3.20 points to end at 58.70 and Saudi Indian Company Insurance (SE:8110) was up 4.75% or 0.58 points to 12.80 in late trade.

The worst performers of the session were Middle East Paper Co (SE:1202), which fell 2.48% or 0.58 points to trade at 22.82 at the close. Saudi Cable Company (SE:2110) declined 2.36% or 0.21 points to end at 8.70 and Mouwasat Medical Services Company (SE:4002) was down 2.26% or 2.10 points to 90.90.

Rising stocks outnumbered declining ones on the Saudi Arabia Stock Exchange by 122 to 46 and 16 ended unchanged.

Crude oil for August delivery was down 1.00% or 0.66 to $65.05 a barrel. Elsewhere in commodities trading, Brent oil for delivery in August fell 1.77% or 1.32 to hit $73.42 a barrel, while the August Gold Futures contract fell 0.54% or 6.90 to trade at $1267.60 a troy ounce.

EUR/SAR was up 0.12% to 4.3465, while USD/SAR rose 0.03% to 3.7511.

The US Dollar Index Futures was down 0.11% at 94.68.

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Philly Fed Index Unexpectedly Falls in June

Investing.com - The Philadelphia Fed's manufacturing index fell in June, to a reading of 19.9 from 34.4 in May, the Philly Fed reported on Thursday.

The consensus forecast had been for a reading of 28.9.

Any reading above zero indicates improving conditions, below indicates worsening conditions.

With regard to future activity in the sector, new orders fell to 17.9 in June, compared to last month's reading of 40.6.

The employment index advanced to 30.4 in June, compared to a prior reading of 30.2, indicating a faster pace of hiring.

Meanwhile, the prices paid index decreased to 51.80 this month, from 52.60.

The Philly Fed noted that all the broad indicators remained positive, although the indicators for general activity and new orders fell notably.

The report highlighted that firms continued to report higher prices for purchased inputs and their own manufactured goods.

“Looking ahead six months, the firms remain optimistic overall, but the survey’s future indicators continued to moderate,” the Philly Fed concluded.

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Weekly Comic: OPEC Set For Contentious Meeting As Saudis, Iran Collide

Investing.com - Oil ministers from the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), Russia and other major producing countries are currently gathering in Vienna to review their current production agreement.

The 24 OPEC and non-OPEC producing countries in the output accord are scheduled to hold their ninth meeting of the Joint Ministerial Monitoring Committee on Thursday ahead of the main action on Friday.

OPEC and non-OPEC producers have been curbing output by about 1.8 million barrels per day (bpd) since January 2017 to prop up oil prices and reduce high global oil stocks.

The strategy has shrunk a global crude glut, but with oil prices recently hitting 3½-year highs, the producers are trying to reach consensus on easing the output caps to prevent the market from overheating.

Analysts widely expect the producers to reach a deal that would raise production.

Speaking in Vienna ahead of the start of the meeting, Saudi Arabia's influential oil minister, Khalid Al-Falih, said that global consumers were demanding more crude supply and that he was confident a deal could be struck that would satisfy all stakeholders.

Russia has pushed for returning as much as 1.5 million bpd back into the market relatively quickly, while Saudi Arabia would like to try a lower amount of around 600,000-to-800,000 bpd. That could lead to a compromise on a figure close to 1 million bpd.

Not all OPEC members agree, though, with Iran, OPEC's third-largest producer, voicing the loudest opposition to any change to the current production agreement.

However, Iranian oil minister Bijan Zanganeh late on Wednesday indicated he would accept a modest rise in production, backing down from a threat to veto any agreement that would raise output.

That helped ease speculation that this year could see a repeat of OPEC's disastrous June 2011 gathering, which ended without an agreement.

Oil prices were on the backfoot heading into the meeting, with Brent crude futures sliding $1.20, or around 1.6%, to $73.56 per barrel, while WTI crude futures were at $64.77 per barrel, down 94 cents, or about 1.5%.

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

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Bank of England Holds, Leaves Door Open for August Hike

Investing.com - The Bank of England left interest rates on hold on Thursday, in what was a widely expected decision, but left the door open for an August rate hike as policymakers judged that a slowdown in the economy in the first quarter was temporary.

The BoE’s Monetary Policy Committee was split on the decision to keep interest rates unchanged at 0.5% with three out of nine members voting in favor of a quarter point increase.

BoE Chief Economist Andy Haldane joined Michael Saunders and Ian McCafferty to vote in favor of a rate hike. It was the first time a BoE chief economist has dissented since 2011, fueling expectations for an August rate hike.

Officials are now more confident that a slowdown in the first quarter is temporary, the bank said in its rate statement. Household spending and sentiment have bounced back strongly and inflation is expected to pick up slightly more than expected in the near-term.

All MPC members agree that future rate increases are likely to be gradual and limited and that any reduction in quantitative easing will be conducted at a "gradual, predictable pace," the bank said.

The central bank updated its guidance about when it might start unwinding its stimulus program, saying this could come once rates have reached around 1.5%, sooner than previous 2% guidance.

The pound rallied after the announcement, with GBP/USD climbing 0.3% to 1.3210, up from a seven-month low of 1.3102 reached earlier.

The economy is expected to grow by 0.4% in the current quarter after slowing to near stagnation in the first three months of the year.

That slowdown saw the BoE hold off on an expected rate increase last month and prompted investors to rethink their expectations about how fast borrowing costs will rise.

At its May meeting the BoE said it wanted to signs of stronger economic growth before it prepared to raise interest rates, but economic data has been mixed since then.

Inflation has fallen to a one-year low and wage growth has slowed, but retail sales have picked up and the dominant UK services sector is showing signs of bouncing back after a recent slowdown.

BoE Governor Mark Carney was to give what would be a closely watched speech outlining the outlook for the economy and its preparedness for Brexit later Thursday.

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Gold's Slump May Be Far From Over

Investing.com - Gold prices have been hitting new lows for the year, and some analysts say get used to it.
The precious metal staged several modest rallies above the $1,350 an ounce level during the first few months of the year. Since mid-April, however, gold has been on a steady decline, falling below $1,300.
Gold, and silver for that matter, are trapped in a "bear super cycle," according to the Wells Fargo (NYSE:WFC) Investment Institute.
That cycle began in mid 2011, when gold peaked at more than $1,900, and is likely to last another five years, the firms says.
Analysts say the fundamental force driving down prices is excess supply, which can takes a decade to erase.
(graphic: Title: Forces Undermining Gold: Strong Dollar, Higher Interest Rates
Market forces are also playing a role. The strong dollar and rising interest rates have made gold's return less attractive, say analysts, and that's unlikely to change anytime soon.
Gold is now much closer to the high end of Wells Fargo's bear market range than the low end, which means there's more room for pain than there is for gain.

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