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Market Updates

DuPont Rises 3%

Investing.com - DuPont (NYSE:DWDP) rose by 3.10% to trade at $56.28 by 10:44 (15:44 GMT) on Wednesday on the NYSE exchange.

The volume of DuPont shares traded since the start of the session was 2.41M. DuPont has traded in a range of $54.47 to $56.28 on the day.

The stock has traded at $56.2800 at its highest and $51.8000 at its lowest during the past seven days.

Read More

Altria Rises 3%

Investing.com - Altria (NYSE:MO) rose by 3.03% to trade at $50.48 by 10:34 (15:34 GMT) on Wednesday on the NYSE exchange.

The volume of Altria shares traded since the start of the session was 2.36M. Altria has traded in a range of $49.15 to $50.50 on the day.

The stock has traded at $50.4900 at its highest and $48.3400 at its lowest during the past seven days.

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Stocks - Wall Street Mixed After Earnings, Trade Talk Caution

Investing.com - Wall Street was mixed on Wednesday amid downbeat earnings releases and as investors waited for news of trade talks between the U.S. and China.

The S&P 500 fell half a point, or 0.02%, as of 9:44 AM ET (14:44 GMT), while the Dow gained 1 point, or 0.01%, and the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite increased 10 points, or 0.14%.

A fresh round of talks began on Tuesday in Washington, with higher-level discussions scheduled for later this week. U.S. President Donald Trump repeated Tuesday that he would consider extending the March 1 deadline, when tariffs on about $200 billion worth of Chinese imports are set to rise to 25% from the current 10% if a deal is not reached.

"A market-friendly outcome this week will be for both sides to agree on extending the March 1 deadline, which should provide more time for finding a middle ground on trade policy," FXTM analyst Lukman Otunuga wrote in a client note. "Trump stating that the talks are 'very complex' and the current March deadline is not a 'magical date', (means) a breakthrough deal is still some distance away."

US Global Investors (NASDAQ:GROW) was among the top gainers after the morning bell, rising 3%, while Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) gained 0.75% and Alibaba (NYSE:BABA) increased 1.15%.

CVS Health (NYSE:CVS) slumped 8.9% after it missed its full-year profit forecast, while Southwest Airlines (NYSE:LUV) dipped 4.6% after it cuts its first-quarter forecast for revenue per seat mile amid weak passenger demand.

LendingClub (NYSE:LC) fell 10.8% after the online lender said it expected a bigger-than-expected quarterly loss due to economic uncertainty.

On the central banking front, the Federal Reserve will release the minutes from its Jan. 30 policy meeting at 2:00 PM ET (19:00 GMT) Wednesday. Investors will pore over the minutes for further details on the bank’s pause in rate hikes.

In commodities, gold futures rose 0.17% to $1,347.15 a troy ounce, while crude oil fell 0.39% to $56.23 a barrel. The U.S. dollar index, which measures the greenback against a basket of six major currencies, inched up 0.10% to 96.44.

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Crypto - Bitcoin Edges Back Down Below $4k as SEC Countdown Begins

Investing.com -- Bitcoin prices inched back down on Wednesday, after breaching $4,000 for the first time in six weeks on hopes that the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission is getting closer to approving investment vehicles that would broaden the asset\'s appeal.

The SEC confirmed Wednesday that it has received a formal request to approve a Bitcoin exchange-traded fund designed by VanEck/SolidX.

The Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), the exchange applying for the listing, had withdrawn its application for a rule change on the ETF, then resubmitted it at the end of January.

The latest notice means the SEC is now required to make a decision on whether or not to allow the ETF to launch within 90 days. A preliminary decision is foreseen within 45 days. A similar ETF proposal filed by Bitwise Asset Management was published by the SEC last week.

Enthusiasts are hoping that the new proposals can satisfy the concerns expressed by the SEC last year, when it rejected multiple ETF proposals.

Bitcoin slipped 0.4% to $3,953.60 as of 8:50 AM ET (13:50 GMT) on the Investing.com Index.

Cryptocurrencies overall were higher, rising to $135 billion at the time of writing, compared to $133 billion on Tuesday.

Ethereum fell 0.5% to $147.24. XRP slumped 3.8% to $0.3283 while Litecoin was at $50.826, up 4.1%.

In other news, Elon Musk supported digital currencies in an interview on advisory services firm ARK Invest’s podcast.

“Bitcoin’s structure is quite brilliant,” he said, adding that virtual currencies are “a far better way to transfer value than pieces of paper.”

But he also noted that “one of the downsides of crypto is that computationally it is quite energy-intensive.”

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Oil Prices Slip from 2019 Highs, Eyes on Surging U.S. Output

Investing.com - Oil prices pulled back from three-month highs on Wednesday as focus shifted to surging U.S. crude production and the market waited for the latest data on weekly U.S. inventories.

New York-traded West Texas Intermediate crude futures fell 26 cents, or 0.46%, to $56.19 a barrel by 7:36 AM ET (12:36 GMT), after touching $56.77 earlier, its highest level since November of last year.

Meanwhile, Brent crude futures, the benchmark for oil prices outside the U.S., traded down 36 cents, or 0.54%, to $66.09, backing off of $68.83 reached on Monday which was also its highest since November.

U.S. crude output, which soared by more than 2 million barrels per day (bpd) in 2018 to a record 11.9 million bpd, is set to keep rising thanks to booming shale oil production, the Energy Information Administration (EIA) said on Tuesday in a monthly report. It said shale output will rise by some 84,000 bpd in March to a new record of 8.4 million bpd.

“Shale oil is setting new production records, threatening the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries with another showdown that could upend the market as U.S. crude prices cross $55 per barrel,” Investing.com analyst Barani Krishnan warned.

BNP Paribas shared a similar view, predicting a downturn in prices toward the end of the year.

“U.S. oil production growth, driven by shale, will be increasingly exported in greater volumes to international markets while the global economy is expected to witness a synchronized slowdown in growth,” the bank said.

Amid concerns over market rebalancing, attention is set to turn to weekly data on U.S. crude inventories.

The American Petroleum Institute will release its report later on Wednesday with official government data out a day later amid expectations for a build of 3.1 million barrels.

Thursday’s report from the EIA will also include the latest reading on U.S. production.

Both reports come out one day later than normal due to Monday's holiday.

In other energy trading, gasoline futures fell 0.24% to $1.5600 a gallon by 7:38 AM ET (12:38 GMT), while heating oil declined 0.40% to $1.9867 a gallon.

Lastly, natural gas futures rose 0.79% to $2.683 per million British thermal unit.

-- Reuters contributed to this report.

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Henry Schein Earnings beat, Revenue misses In Q4

Investing.com - Henry Schein (NASDAQ:HSIC) reported fourth quarter earnings that beat analysts' expectations on Wednesday and revenue that fell short of forecasts.

The firm reported earnings per share of $1.12 on revenue of $3.38B. Analysts polled by Investing.com anticipated EPS of $0.88 on revenue of $3.46B. That compared to EPS of $0.97 on revenue of $3.32B in the same period a year earlier. The company had reported EPS of $1.03 on revenue of $3.28B in the previous quarter.

Henry Schein follows other major Healthcare sector earnings this month


On January 22, J&J reported fourth quarter EPS of $1.97 on revenue of $20.39B, compared to forecasts of EPS of $1.95 on revenue of $20.2B.

Pfizer earnings beat analyst's expectations on January 29, with fourth quarter EPS of $0.64 on revenue of $13.98B. Investing.com analysts expected EPS of $0.63 on revenue of $13.9B

Stay up-to-date on all of the upcoming earnings reports by visiting Investing.com's earnings calendar

Read More

Stocks - U.S. Futures Dip as Investors Remain Cautious on Trade Talks

Investing.com - U.S. futures pointed to a slightly lower open on Wall Street Wednesday, with investors remaining cautious as trade talks between the U.S. and China continued.

Markets remained wary after U.S. President Donald Trump repeated Tuesday that he would consider extending the March 1 deadline, when tariffs on about $200 billion worth of Chinese imports are set to rise to 25% from the current 10% if a deal is not reached.

A fresh round of talks began on Tuesday in Washington with higher-level discussion scheduled for later this week.

The S&P 500 futures fell 3 points or 0.11% as of 6:58 AM ET (11:58 GMT) while Dow futures slipped 38 points or 0.15% and tech-heavy Nasdaq 100 futures decreased 5 points or 0.07%.

Earnings were also in focus, ahead of results from CVS Health (NYSE:CVS), The Cheesecake Factory (NASDAQ:CAKE), and Avis Budget Group (NASDAQ:CAR).

PG&E Corp (NYSE:PCG) was among the top gainers in premarket trading, rising 3.2% after Citi upgraded its stock, while Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA) inched up 0.4% and Perrigo (NYSE:PRGO) gained 0.7%.

Southwest Airlines (NYSE:LUV) slumped 2.8% after it cancelled hundreds of flights due to mechanical problems. CenturyLink (NYSE:CTL) fell 1.7% while LendingClub (NYSE:LC) decreased 7%.

On the central banking front, the Federal Reserve will release the minutes from its Jan. 30 policy meeting at 2:00 PM ET (19:00 GMT) Wednesday. Investors will pour over the minutes for further details on the bank’s pause in rate hikes.

In commodities, gold futures rose 0.15% to $1,346.75 a troy ounce, while crude oil slipped 0.58% to $56.12 a barrel. The U.S. dollar index, which measures the greenback against a basket of six major currencies, ticked up to 96.42.

Read More

Top 5 Things to Know in the Market on Wednesday

Investing.com - Here are the top five things you need to know in financial markets on Wednesday, Feb. 20:

1. Fed minutes expected to cement dovish about face, U.S. dollar on hold

The Federal Reserve will release the minutes from its Jan. 30 policy meeting at 2:00 PM ET (19:00 GMT) Wednesday. Markets are expecting the details to cement the central bank’s promise to be patient with further interest rate hikes.

More interesting for the market may be what the minutes reveal about the Fed's plans for reducing its balance sheet further.

“Quantitative tightening, which Federal Reserve chair Jerome Powell likes to refer to as ‘balance sheet runoff’, is no longer on autopilot,” Investing.com analyst Darrell Delamaide said.

The minutes are expected to confirm the dovish outlook, and that's keeping a lid on the U.S. dollar ahead of the release. At 5:54 AM ET (11:54 GMT), the U.S. dollar index, which measures the greenback’s strength against a trade-weighted basket of six major currencies, fell ovenight and was largely unchanged 0.03% at 96.38.

2. Global stocks show mixed trade as U.S.-China talks persist

Global stocks were mixed on Wednesday with U.S. futures leaning towards caution as U.S.-China trade talks continued in Washington.

U.S. President Donald Trump said Tuesday that discussions were going well and suggested he was open to pushing off the deadline to complete negotiations, saying March 1 was not a "magical" date.

March 1 is the current deadline for the U.S. to push tariffs on about $200 billion worth of Chinese imports to 25% from the current 10% if a deal is not reached. A renewed round of talks began on Tuesday in Washington with higher-level discussion scheduled for later this week.

“The overall feeling is that it is one step forward, three-quarters of a step back at the moment. So positive momentum but still fragile,” Deutsche Bank (DE:DBKGn)'s chief strategist Jim Reid said.

Trump’s comments, coupled with positive results from retail giant Walmart (NYSE:WMT), were enough to push Wall Street higher on Tuesday and send Asian shares to a four-month high overnight.

European stocks also joined in with the pan-European Stoxx 600 up 0.2%.

After Tuesday’s positive close, Wall Street adopted a more cautious stance with U.S. futures largely flat. At 5:55 AM ET (10:55 GMT), the blue-chip Dow futures slipped 21 points, or 0.08%, S&P 500 futures edged down 2 points, or 0.07%, while the Nasdaq 100 futures were unchanged.

3. Earnings focus on consumers

With nearly 400 of the S&P 500 firms having released earnings for the fourth-quarter reporting period, the focus for Wednesday will shift to consumer-oriented stocks.

Following a strong beat by Walmart a day earlier, some of the companies stepping up to bat are:

CVS Health (NYSE:CVS). The consensus estimate of analysts polled by Investing.com is for a profit of $2.09 a share on revenue of $54.6 billion. Shares fell 21% between their summer peak and December and are up 11% since.

Car-rental company Avis Budget Group (NASDAQ:CAR) is seen reporting earnings of 38 cents a share on revenue of $2.05 billion, according to estimates compiled by Investing.com. The shares lost half their value between March and December. They're up a third from the December bottom.

The Cheesecake Factory (NASDAQ:CAKE). The restaurant chain is expected to report a profit of 62 cents a share on revenue of $592.9 million. The shares fell 31% between a July peak to December and are up 11% since.

4. Oil drops from 2019 highs as U.S. output rears its head

Oil prices dropped on Wednesday, pulling back from 2019 highs, as attention shifted from OPEC-led production cuts to worries over the surge in U.S. output.

U.S. crude oil futures fell 15 cents, or 0.27%, to $56.30 by 5:56 AM ET (10:56 GMT), while Brent oil traded down 29 cents, or 0.44%, to $66.16.

U.S. crude output, which soared by more than 2 million barrels per day (bpd) in 2018 to a record 11.9 million bpd, is set to keep rising thanks to booming shale oil production, the Energy Information Administration said on Tuesday.

After oil hit its highest level since last November this week, traders have taken a breather amid fears that surging shale output could stop the market rebalancing.

Read more: OPEC’s Nemesis, Shale Oil, Is Back, Setting New Production Records - Barani Krishnan

Attention is set to turn to weekly data on U.S. crude inventories. The American Petroleum Institute will release its report later on Wednesday with official government data out a day later amid expectations for a build of 3.1 million barrels. Both reports come out one day later than normal due to Monday's holiday.

Thursday’s report will also include the latest reading on U.S. production.

5. U.K. and EU to meet as Brexit impasse drags on

Not to be forgotten on the other side of the Atlantic, negotiations over the U.K.’s pending departure from the European Union drag on with few hopes for progress amid the current political impasse.

U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May is scheduled to meet with EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker later on Wednesday. Recent talks have yielded little progress since the British Parliament resoundingly defeated a divorce deal she had agreed to with the bloc back in November.

May’s spokesperson dubbed the meeting to be a “significant” part of the process although Juncker remained skeptical when speaking of the planned encounter:

“There is not enough movement for me to be able to assume that it will be a productive discussion,” he told reporters on Tuesday.

At 5:57 AM ET (10:57 GMT), the British pound was down 0.21% at 1.3033.

Read More

MarketPulse Europe - Sainsbury's Asda Deal Crushed by Regulator

By Geoffrey Smith

Investing.com -- The U.K. grocery business retail is tough: the margins are thin and the pressure from discounters such as Germany’s Lidl and Aldi – to say nothing of online disruptors – is relentless.

J Sainsbury (LON:SBRY) had looked to shore up its position by buying Walmart's (NYSE:WMT) U.K. subsidiary Asda, a move that would have combined the second- and third-largest players in the market and overtaken Tesco (LON:TSCO) as the biggest player in the sector, with a market share of over 31%.

However, the deal is in tatters this morning after the Competition and Markets Authority said in a preliminary review that it’s inclined to block the sale.

Normally, if antitrust watchdogs are concerned by mergers, they can order the parties involved to sell a package of assets to competitors, but today the CMA said it’s struggling to find a way to do even this.

Sainsbury’s shares are cratering as a result – they’re down 15% and on course for their worst one-day drop in 11 years. But they’re not the only victims. Rival WM Morrison (LON:MRW) is also down 4.9%, as its chances of snapping up some decent assets cheaply evaporate. Tesco also fell initially but was up 0.3% by 0500 AM ET (1000 GMT). While the CMA wouldn’t have let Tesco buy any of Sainsbury-Asda’s castaways, its might have benefited from consolidation in the sector.

This is, of course, why the CMA blocked it: bureaucrats aren’t going to get any points from their political masters by letting food retailers pad their margins just as a hard Brexit threatens to create shortages of fresh imported food.

For comparison, the broader U.K. FTSE 100 index is up 0.1% after early trading, with big buyback programs from Lloyds (LON:LLOY) Bank and miner Glencore (LON:GLEN) lifting the mood. The benchmark Euro Stoxx 600, meanwhile, is up 0.2% at 369.62.

Curiously, the one company that may not suffer too much is Walmart (NYSE:WMT). Although investors will be disappointed that it won’t after all make a quick, clean exit from a struggling market, they’ll be much more focused on the stellar results that it posted from its core U.S. business on Tuesday.

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Dollar Weakens Ahead of Fed Minutes; Sterling up on Brexit Hopes

Investing.com -- The dollar was lower against the euro and the British pound in early trading in Europe Wednesday as a fall in U.S. Treasury yields reduced its attractiveness amid expectations of dovish news on interest rates from the Federal Reserve.

Bond yields are under pressure from economic data that have tended towards the weak side in recent days. The 10-year benchmark Treasury yield has fallen to 2.64% from 2.80% over the last month, amid uncertainty over how far the Federal Reserve can afford to tighten monetary policy.

Such uncertainty puts a special focus Wednesday on the release of the minutes from the last Federal Open Market Committee meeting, where the U.S. central bank pivoted to a more neutral and data-dependent stance, dropping its previous guidance about the likelihood of further interest rate increases.

Traders will be looking too for hints about how far and how fast the Fed intends to reduce its balance sheet. Loretta Mester, the Cleveland Fed President, said Tuesday that she was in favor of ending the balance sheet wind-down this year, an outcome that would leave a substantial amount of crisis-era liquidity in the system, capping any rise in market interest rates. At the same time, she said official interest rates were still more likely to go up than down.

At 03:20 AM ET (0820 GMT), the dollar index that measures the greenback against a basket of major currencies was at 96.333, down over half a percent from its overnight high. The euro was close to a one-week high at $1.1351 after German producer price inflation data for January came in higher than expected.

The pound was higher against both dollar and the euro after a report that Prime Minister Theresa May would drop efforts to push the so-called “Malthouse Compromise” – an attempt to break the deadlock over the status of the Irish border after Brexit. EU officials had indicated it was unacceptable. May is due to meet European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker later Wednesday in Brussels.

Overnight, the Chinese yuan had rallied around 0.5% against the dollar to 6.7227 after Bloomberg reported that the U.S. would use the ongoing trade talks to seek a commitment from China not to devalue it.

The Aussie and Kiwi were both a touch weaker amid a lack of major news.

Read More

U.S. Dollar Little Changed Before Fed’s Policy Meeting Minutes

Investing.com - The U.S. dollar was little changed on Wednesday in Asia as traders await the minutes from the January U.S. Federal Reserve meeting due later in the day.

The central bank, at its Jan. 30 meeting, held rates steady and said it will be patient on further rate hikes.

“First, (the Fed) effectively ruled out any rate increases this year,” Investing.com’s Darrell Delamaide said. “Now the message coming across is that the Fed won’t be shrinking its balance sheet much more than it has already and will keep it at fairly elevated levels.”

“It may even keep quantitative easing -- purchasing bonds with money created out of thin air -- as a new tool for monetary policy rather than just an emergency measure.”

The U.S. dollar index last traded at 96.393 by 1:37 AM ET (06:37 GMT), up 0.05%.

The USD/JPY pair was up 0.2% at 110.84. The Japanese currency received a lift on Tuesday after Bank of Japan governor Haruhiko Kuroda told the Japanese parliament that the central bank would consider additional easing if a stronger yen threatens to depress prices and activity.

"The BOJ does not really have a lot of options left even if it wanted to act. But the global trend -starting with the United States, Europe and Australia- is moving toward central bank dovishness and the BOJ's stance is in line with the trend," said Koji Fukaya, president of FPG Securities, in a Reuters report.

The USD/CNY pair lost 0.4% at 6.7258. The pair is likely to trade in ranges, Westpac analyst Frances Cheung said in a note that was cited by FXStreet.

“USD/CNY is likely to trade in ranges, with upside risk as we remain cautious towards the development of U.S.-China trade relations," Cheung said.

Another round of trade talks between China and the U.S. began this week in Washington, after the last meeting ended with no deal. Earlier this week, U.S. President Donald Trump said the talks with China are going “very well.”

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Australia stocks lower at close of trade; S&P/ASX 200 down 0.17%

Investing.com – Australia stocks were lower after the close on Wednesday, as losses in the Consumer Staples, Utilities and A-REITs sectors led shares lower.

At the close in Sydney, the S&P/ASX 200 fell 0.17%.

The best performers of the session on the S&P/ASX 200 were Corporate Travel Managment Ltd (AX:CTD), which rose 14.69% or 3.690 points to trade at 28.810 at the close. Meanwhile, Emeco Holdings Ltd (AX:EHL) added 13.62% or 0.290 points to end at 2.420 and Bingo Industries Ltd (AX:BIN) was up 12.35% or 0.150 points to 1.365 in late trade.

The worst performers of the session were Pact Group Holdings Ltd (AX:PGH), which fell 17.04% or 0.530 points to trade at 2.580 at the close. Mcmillan Shakespeare Ltd (AX:MMS) declined 12.77% or 1.860 points to end at 12.700 and Wisetech Global Ltd (AX:WTC) was down 10.09% or 2.360 points to 21.030.

Falling stocks outnumbered advancing ones on the Sydney Stock Exchange by 595 to 547 and 355 ended unchanged.

Shares in Pact Group Holdings Ltd (AX:PGH) fell to all time lows; down 17.04% or 0.530 to 2.580. Shares in Mcmillan Shakespeare Ltd (AX:MMS) fell to 52-week lows; falling 12.77% or 1.860 to 12.700.

The S&P/ASX 200 VIX, which measures the implied volatility of S&P/ASX 200 options, was down 1.72% to 12.413.

Gold Futures for April delivery was up 0.05% or 0.65 to $1345.45 a troy ounce. Elsewhere in commodities trading, Crude oil for delivery in April rose 0.14% or 0.08 to hit $56.53 a barrel, while the April Brent oil contract fell 0.09% or 0.06 to trade at $66.39 a barrel.

AUD/USD was down 0.03% to 0.7160, while AUD/JPY rose 0.20% to 79.39.

The US Dollar Index Futures was up 0.06% at 96.405.

Read More

Day Ahead: Top 3 Things to Watch

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

1. Fed Releasing Meeting Minutes

Tomorrow the Federal Open Market Committee will release the minutes from its last rate-setting meeting.

The minutes arrive at 2:00 PM ET (19:00 GMT), and the market will be looking for more detail on just how patient the Fed intends to be with its rate hike plan.

There will also be interest in any comments on the balance sheet.

The Fed is close to wrapping up its quantitative tightening program, Investing.com’s Darrell Delamaide wrote.

“First, (the Fed) effectively ruled out any rate increases this year,” Delamaide said. “Now the message coming across is that the Fed won’t be shrinking its balance sheet much more than it has already and will keep it at fairly elevated levels.”

“It may even keep quantitative easing -- purchasing bonds with money created out of thin air -- as a new tool for monetary policy rather than just an emergency measure.”

The market is pricing in rates staying on hold this year, according to Investing.com’s Fed Rate Monitor Tool.

2. Theresa May Parlays With the EU

U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May is going to Brussels to try to minimize the pain of the United Kingdom's exit from the European Union.

Her office says it will be a significant meeting. European Union President Jean-Claude Junker was openly skeptical much would come from the meeting, set for Wednesday evening.

Among the biggest concerns is whether the U.K. and EU-member Ireland can avoid a hard border stop, meaning goods won't be able to flow freely between Northern Ireland and Ireland.

The FTSE index was off 0.6% on Tuesday and is off 0.8% this week. That said, the index is up 6.7% this year.

3. The Earnings Parade Carries On

Wednesday's earnings reports will have a consumer-oriented theme, coming after Wal-Mart's (NYSE:WMT) fourth-quarter results beat on top and bottom lines.

Some of the companies reporting include:

CVS Health (NYSE:CVS). The consensus estimate of analysts polled by Investing.com is that the company will report a profit of $2.09 a share on revenue of $54.6 billion. Shares fell 21% between their summer peak and December and are up 11% since.

Car-rental company Avis Budget Group (NASDAQ:CAR) is seen reporting earnings of 38 cents a share on revenue of $2.05 billion, according to estimates compiled by Investing.com. The shares lost half their value between March and December. They're up a third from the December bottom.

The Cheesecake Factory (NASDAQ:CAKE). The restaurant chain is expected to report a profit of 62 cents a share on revenue of $592.9 million. The shares fell 31% between a July peak to December and are up 11% since.

Read More

Canada stocks higher at close of trade; S&P/TSX Composite up 0.63%

Investing.com – Canada stocks were higher after the close on Tuesday, as gains in the Materials, IT and Energy sectors led shares higher.

At the close in Toronto, the S&P/TSX Composite gained 0.63% to hit a new 3-months high.

The best performers of the session on the S&P/TSX Composite were Pretium Resources Inc. (TO:PVG), which rose 11.06% or 1.06 points to trade at 10.64 at the close. Meanwhile, Bombardier Inc (TO:BBDb) added 10.40% or 0.260 points to end at 2.760 and Turquoise Hill Resources Ltd. (TO:TRQ) was up 9.78% or 0.220 points to 2.470 in late trade.

The worst performers of the session were CCL Industries Inc (TO:CCLb), which fell 4.23% or 2.51 points to trade at 56.87 at the close. Superior Plus Corp (TO:SPB) declined 4.18% or 0.49 points to end at 11.23 and Cameco Corp (TO:CCO) was down 4.17% or 0.68 points to 15.64.

Rising stocks outnumbered declining ones on the Toronto Stock Exchange by 762 to 366 and 102 ended unchanged.

The S&P/TSX 60 VIX, which measures the implied volatility of S&P/TSX Composite options, was down 2.15% to 14.10 a new 3-months low.

Gold Futures for April delivery was up 1.66% or 21.95 to $1344.05 a troy ounce. Elsewhere in commodities trading, Crude oil for delivery in April rose 0.79% or 0.44 to hit $56.42 a barrel, while the April Brent oil contract rose 0.03% or 0.02 to trade at $66.49 a barrel.

CAD/USD was down 0.02% to 0.7569, while CAD/EUR rose 0.00% to 0.6674.

The US Dollar Index Futures was down 0.40% at 96.355.

Read More

Trade Deal Hopes Support Oil, Despite Rally Being Stretched

By Barani Krishnan

Investing.com - Hedge funds chasing the upside in oil are watching a potential trade deal and the stock market, despite signs that U.S. crude at closer to $60 a barrel could also bring new shale supply.

New York-traded West Texas Intermediate crude traded at around three-month highs on Tuesday as Wall Street's three main stock indexes stayed in positive territory on hopes that the U.S. and China will hammer out a deal to end their protracted trade war.

U.K. traded Brent, the global oil benchmark, was slightly lower after tanker loadings showed Iran's crude exports were higher than expected in January and at least holding steady this month, as some customers increased purchases on waivers from U.S. sanctions. Iranian oil shipments are averaging 1.25 million barrels per day (bpd) in February, higher than estimated earlier, Reuters reported.

WTI settled up 50 cents, or 0.9%, at $56.09 per barrel.

Brent, the global oil benchmark, was down 14 cents, or 0.2%, at $66.36 per barrel by 3:00 PM ET (20:00 GMT)

"If anything, the price action today leans a bit bearish to me as we have lost the support of products and Brent with weaker products spreads and weaker Brent spreads," said Scott Shelton, energy futures broker at ICAP in Durham, N.C.

"The question is, will the market care about any of this as the flows have switched to buying on the CTA side," Shelton said, referring to Commodity Trading Advisors, the market terminology for hedge funds. Data on Friday showed money managers raising their bullish bets on U.S. oil by 10%, the most since late August.

Year to date, WTI is up about 23%, having risen around $14 a barrel from Christmas Eve lows of under $43. Brent is up 22% on the year, rising some $12 barrel from its Dec. 24 bottom.

Much of the rally in oil is the result of production cuts by Saudi Arabia, which has been slashing output more aggressively than it committed since December to salvage a market that lost 40% of its value in the fourth quarter of last year. In January, Saudi output fell to 10.213 million barrels per day versus a pledged 10.3 million bpd.

Up until now, the Saudis have been targeting their production cuts on the heavier oils they ship to the United States.

But a Reuters report on Tuesday said Saudi Arabia also plans to reduce light crude oil supplies to Asian customers for cargoes loading in March in an attempt to prevent Asian stockpiles of light crude from building. In the past, the Saudis did not limit providing their Asian customers supplies of Arab Extra Light crude above contractual volumes.

The Saudi move to cover more bases with their production cuts could, however, eat into their prized market share in Asia, especially if U.S. producers encroach into that turf.

Boosting the significance of U.S. crude production, Indian Oil Corporation said it has signed a $1.5 billion deal to buy oil from the United States in an effort to reduce dependence on traditional suppliers.

This was the first term contract finalized by an Indian oil company for import of U.S.-origin crude grades, the IOC said in a statement on Monday. Interestingly just a day before Saudi Crown Prince Mohamad bin Salman was to begin his visit of India.

Some traders also point to the likelihood of U.S. shale production ramping again in coming months with WTI nearing $60 per barrel.

Last week, the U.S. oil rig count published by Baker Hughes rose for a second week in a row after falling to a nine-month low of 847 at the end of January.

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Can IBM Shares Continue Their Roll?

Investing.com - It may shock, but IBM (NYSE:IBM) shares are on something of a roll. The question is how long the roll will last.

The stock is up 21% this year, second among the 30 stocks in the Dow. Boeing (NYSE:BA) is tops, in part because Airbus Group (PA:AIR) is struggling and because traders are betting a U.S.-China trade deal will get done.

But IBM? This is a stock that fell 25% in 2018 and 7.6% in 2017 and has struggled to show revenue growth for years.

Maybe IBM has a few things going for it.

Most important is that, for now, investors seem willing to wait to see if CEO Ginni Rometty's bet on building a real cloud business comes to fruition. The business has been growing, but maybe not as quickly as some investors want. Revenue for the business grew 12% in the fourth quarter to $19.2 billion.

But IBM faces intense competition from players like Amazon.com's (NASDAQ:AMZN) Amazon Web Services, Microsoft's (NASDAQ:MSFT) Azure business and Alphabet's (NASDAQ:GOOGL) Google Cloud Platform.

The key is IBM's pending $34 billion acquisition of open-source cloud developer Red Hat (NYSE:RHT), expected in the latter half of the year. It's seen as the big fuel for the cloud business.

Add to that continued investments in analytics and artificial intelligence.

And IBM has real and long-standing relationships with the biggest players in the financial services industry that at least provides stable service revenue.

The stock began the year on the cheap side after hitting a 52-week low of $105.84 during the December market meltdown. Even now, its $1.57-a-share quarterly dividend represents a 4.6% yield, compared with the S&P 500's yield of about 2%. And the dividend doesn't seem to be at risk.

Technical indicators mostly rate the stock a buy. Its relative strength index, a measure of a stock's momentum, is about 60. A reading above 75 suggests it's overbought and vulnerable to a selloff.

But the proof ultimately will be real results, which may explain why the stock's up 2.7% in February, about even with the S&P 500 but trailing the Dow's 3.7% gain.

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Palladium King Again With New Record High Over Gold

By Barani Krishnan

Investing.com - The crown moves over again to the white metal.

Palladium, used as a precious metal in jewelry since 1939 as an alternative to platinum in the alloys called white gold -- and more importantly, in recent years, as an emissions purifier and catalyst in gasoline-powered cars -- hit record highs of nearly $1,500 an ounce on Tuesday.

Gold moved higher as well, hitting 10-month peaks on the back of a weaker dollar and global growth worries. But the yellow metal traded at a discount of nearly $150 an ounce to palladium.

Spot palladium shot up by $24, or 1.6%, to 1,483.70 per ounce by 2:32 PM ET (19:32 GMT), after reaching a peak of $1,490.65 to remain the world's most valuable traded metal.

Spot gold, reflective of trades in physical bullion, rose by $13.52, or 1%, to $1,339.78 per ounce.

Spot platinum climbed rose by $13.55, or 1.7%, to $820 per ounce.

In futures trading, gold's benchmark April contract on the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange settled up $22.70, or 1.7%, at $1,344.80 per ounce.

Palladium also moved further north of platinum, with its ratio to its sister metal rising to 1.7, well above levels at which auto catalyst producers would be willing to switch between the two metals, those who track the industry say. Platinum is an exhaust purifier and catalyst for diesel-powered cars, sales of which have fallen since Volkswagen's (DE:VOWG_p) emissions-rigging scandal in 2015.

Bank of America Merrill Lynch (NYSE:BAC) said in a note that it expected palladium to go even higher but warned investors to "get ready for more volatility".

It added that while substitution toward platinum may happen, "it can be slow to evolve, also because it takes time to re-engineer catalysts".

Inventories of palladium in warehouses in Switzerland, typically the residual palladium market, are well below the highs seen a few years ago. Similarly, stocks at Chicago Mercantile Exchange warehouses have drawn for years and are now depleted.

Tight supplies have led to the remarkable anomaly of falling assets under management at physically backed ETFs at the same time as prices rallied. Sticking with inventories, top palladium producer Norilsk Nickel has also managed its stockpiles diligently, preventing a glut.

Trades in other Comex metals as of 3:23 PM ET (20:23 GMT):

Palladium futures up $51.85, or 3.7%, at $1,459.05 per ounce.

Silver futures up 22 cents, or 1.4%, at $15.97 per ounce.

Platinum futures up $14.90, or 1.9%, at $821.80 per ounce.

Copper futures up 7.4 cents, or 2.7%, at $2.87 per pound.

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Dollar Slides as Sterling Shines on Strong Jobs Data, Brexit Hopes

Investing.com – The U.S. dollar slipped against a basket of major currencies Tuesday, pressured by strength in the pound on strong labor market data and hopes for progress on upcoming Brexit talks.

The U.S. dollar index, which measures the greenback’s strength against a trade-weighted basket of six major currencies, fell 0.45% to 96.30.

GBP/USD rose 1.03% to $1.3054 as the U.K. unemployment rate remained at record lows, while wage growth of 3.4% for December missed economist expectations.

The pound was also propped up by expectations for progress on Brexit talks, even as EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said a lack of signals on the Brexit progress would likely stifle talks with U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May on Wednesday.

"I am meeting Mrs. May tomorrow evening, and there is not enough movement for me to be able to assume that it will be a productive discussion," Juncker said.

EUR/USD rose 0.36% as a German investor confidence improved to its highest level in five months in February, according to survey data from the ZEW - Leibniz Centre for European Economic Research.

USD/JPY fell 0.04% to Y110.56 after Bank of Japan Governor Haruhiko Kuroda told the Japanese parliament that the central bank would consider additional easing if a stronger yen threaten to depress prices and activity.

USD/CAD fell 0.20% to C$1.3213.

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France stocks lower at close of trade; CAC 40 down 0.15%

Investing.com – France stocks were lower after the close on Tuesday, as losses in the Utilities, Oil&Gas and Gas&Water sectors led shares lower.

At the close in Paris, the CAC 40 lost 0.15%, while the SBF 120 index lost 0.17%.

The best performers of the session on the CAC 40 were Valeo SA (PA:VLOF), which rose 1.76% or 0.47 points to trade at 27.16 at the close. Meanwhile, Peugeot SA (PA:PEUP) added 0.94% or 0.20 points to end at 21.57 and Veolia Environnement VE SA (PA:VIE) was up 0.76% or 0.145 points to 19.300 in late trade.

The worst performers of the session were Bouygues SA (PA:BOUY), which fell 1.38% or 0.43 points to trade at 30.82 at the close. WFD Unibail Rodamco NV (AS:URW) declined 1.09% or 1.58 points to end at 143.54 and STMicroelectronics NV (PA:STM) was down 1.03% or 0.150 points to 14.480.

The top performers on the SBF 120 were Genfit (PA:GNFT) which rose 12.36% to 20.540, DBV Technologies (PA:DBV) which was up 3.67% to settle at 13.570 and Trigano (PA:TRIA) which gained 3.04% to close at 88.15.

The worst performers were Vallourec (PA:VLLP) which was down 5.17% to 1.680 in late trade, Maisons du Monde SAS (PA:MDM) which lost 3.36% to settle at 23.620 and Worldline SA (PA:WLN) which was down 3.12% to 52.700 at the close.

Falling stocks outnumbered advancing ones on the Paris Stock Exchange by 312 to 258 and 94 ended unchanged.

The CAC 40 VIX, which measures the implied volatility of CAC 40 options, was down 2.09% to 14.60.

Gold Futures for April delivery was up 1.68% or 22.25 to $1344.35 a troy ounce. Elsewhere in commodities trading, Crude oil for delivery in April rose 0.46% or 0.26 to hit $56.24 a barrel, while the April Brent oil contract fell 0.59% or 0.39 to trade at $66.11 a barrel.

EUR/USD was up 0.36% to 1.1348, while EUR/GBP fell 0.69% to 0.8688.

The US Dollar Index Futures was down 0.45% at 96.308.

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U.K. stocks lower at close of trade; Investing.com United Kingdom 100 down 0.54%

Investing.com – U.K. stocks were lower after the close on Tuesday, as losses in the Banking, Oil Equipment Services&Distribution and Electronic&Electrical Equipment sectors led shares lower.

At the close in London, the Investing.com United Kingdom 100 fell 0.54%.

The best performers of the session on the Investing.com United Kingdom 100 were Micro Focus International PLC (LON:MCRO), which rose 3.63% or 63.50 points to trade at 1812.00 at the close. Meanwhile, Tui AG (LON:TUIT) added 3.25% or 26.80 points to end at 852.80 and Coca Cola HBC AG (LON:CCH) was up 2.69% or 69.0 points to 2633.0 in late trade.

The worst performers of the session were HSBC Holdings PLC (LON:HSBA), which fell 4.01% or 26.60 points to trade at 637.10 at the close. Mediclinic International PLC (LON:MDCM) declined 2.82% or 9.00 points to end at 310.60 and BAE Systems PLC (LON:BAES) was down 2.52% or 13.20 points to 511.60.

Falling stocks outnumbered advancing ones on the London Stock Exchange by 1187 to 855 and 337 ended unchanged.

Gold Futures for April delivery was up 1.64% or 21.65 to $1343.75 a troy ounce. Elsewhere in commodities trading, Crude oil for delivery in April rose 0.71% or 0.40 to hit $56.38 a barrel, while the April Brent oil contract fell 0.47% or 0.31 to trade at $66.19 a barrel.

GBP/USD was up 1.07% to 1.3059, while EUR/GBP fell 0.65% to 0.8691.

The US Dollar Index Futures was down 0.46% at 96.297.

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U.S. Dollar Extends Losses Amid Dovish Remarks from Fed's Mester

Investing.com - The U.S. dollar dropped for a third-consecutive session on Tuesday, as further dovish comments from a Federal Reserve member put downward pressure on the greenback.

At 12:02 PM ET (15:02 GMT), the U.S. dollar index, which measures the greenback’s strength against a trade-weighted basket of six major currencies, dropped 0.22% to 96.52.

Cleveland Fed President Loretta Mester, normally considered to be one of the Fed hawks, stated that she would favor slowing down the balance sheet normalization process.

Mester's remarks joined a wider chorus from the central bank as recent signs of economic weakness, including the largest decline in retail sales in nine years, have forced policymakers to reverse course from a previously more aggressive stance in favor of policy tightening.

“Quantitative tightening, which Federal Reserve chair Jerome Powell likes to refer to as ‘balance sheet runoff’, is no longer on autopilot,” Investing.com analyst Darrell Delamaide said.

In currency pairs, the pound was favored by dollar weakness. Despite little progress on plans for its departure from the European Union -- U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May is scheduled to meet Wednesday with EU commission president Jean-Claude Juncker amid few expectations for any advances -- sterling benefited from a solid employment report released before the U.S. market open. GBP/USD was last up 0.83% at 1.3026.

The euro also gained against the greenback as closely watched indicator of German economic sentiment saw a better-than-expected improvement in the mood of eurozone’s No. 1 economy. EUR/USD advanced 0.13% to 1.1321.

Dollar weakness also limited the yen’s losses despite comments overnight from Bank of Japan governor Haruhiko Kuroda indicating that the central bank was ready to ramp up stimulus if the strength of the Japanese currency hurt the economy. USD/JPY inched up 0.08% to 110.67.

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Papa John’s Stumbles Midday on Price War Worries

Investing.com - Shares of Papa John’s fell midday following an analyst downgrade on concerns the pizza chain is ill-equipped to face a current price war.

Papa John's (NASDAQ:PZZA) stock fell 2.8% in midday trading.

Stifel Nicolaus downgraded the stock to sell from hold and issued a price target of $35 to $38, according to Briefing.com. Shares are currently trading around $44.

The chief reason from the downgrade is that Papa John’s is likely to have to continue discounting and promotions, which will hurt its “already low profitability,” Stifel said.

Also in the sector, Domino’s Pizza (NYSE:DPZ) fell 1%, while Pizza Hut operator Yum! Brands (NYSE:YUM) rose 0.5%.

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Gold Prices Rise to Fresh 9-Month Highs Amid Dovish Fed Remarks

Investing.com - Gold prices moved higher on Tuesday as another member of the Federal Reserve weighed in on slowing down the central bank's tightening of monetary policy.

At 10:37 AM ET (15:37 GMT), gold futures for April delivery on the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange gained $18.25, or 1.38%, to $1,340.25 a troy ounce, its best level since May 14.

Cleveland Fed president Loretta Mester, normally considered to be one of the Fed hawks, stated that she would favor slowing down the balance sheet normalization process.

Mester's remarks joined a wider chorus from the central bank as recent signs of economic weakness, including the largest decline in retail sales in nine years, have forced policymakers to reverse course 180 degrees from a previously more aggressive stance in favor of policy tightening.

“Quantitative tightening, which Federal Reserve chair Jerome Powell likes to refer to as ‘balance sheet runoff’, is no longer on autopilot,” Investing.com analyst Darrell Delamaide said.

The dovish shift in tone to the Fed’s message implies a longer pause in rate hikes, which in turn decreases the opportunity cost of holding non-interest bearing gold.

In other metals trading, palladium futures pressed higher as predictions that demand will rise this year as stricter emissions standards pump demand for the metal used in catalytic converters. At 10:40 AM ET (15:40 GMT), the metal gained 3.24% to $1,452.75 an ounce, a new record high.

“In combination with supply-side issues, the market is going to be in a sizeable deficit this year ... potential for better-than-expected demand from China will exacerbate that tightness,” ANZ analyst Daniel Hynes said.

-- Reuters contributed to this report.

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Oil Prices Retreat from 3-Month Highs, Next Round of Trade Talks in Focus

Investing.com - Oil prices pulled back from three-month highs on Tuesday, as investors awaited news from the latest round of U.S.-China trade talks.

New York-traded West Texas Intermediate crude futures fell 24 cents, or 0.43%, at $55.74 a barrel by 9:30 AM ET (14:30 GMT), after hitting $56.73 a day earlier, its best level since November of last year.

Meanwhile, Brent crude futures, the benchmark for oil prices outside the U.S., traded down 83 cents, or 1.25%, to $65.67. Monday’s peak of $66.83 was also its best level since last November.

A new round of U.S.-Sino trade talks kicked off in Washington on Tuesday with further sessions amid higher level officials expected later in the week.

The trade dispute between the world’s two largest economies has been widely blamed for a lack of business confidence, hindering growth amid the uncertainty and taking its toll on the outlook for oil demand. The World Trade Organization warned on Tuesday that its quarterly leading indicator for global trade had slumped to its lowest reading in nine years and would likely fall further if tensions continued.

But investors were optimistic after comments from officials that last week’s negotiations in Beijing had resulted in progress on major sticking points between the two parties.

“The market is slowly regaining its bullish footing, subject to the perception of economic risks tied to U.S.-China trade talks," Harry Tchilinguirian, global head of commodity markets strategy at BNP Paribas, said.

In other energy trading, gasoline futures fell 0.89% to $1.5589 a gallon by 9:33 AM ET (14:33 GMT), while heating oil declined 1.29% to $1.9942 a gallon.

Lastly, natural gas futures edged forward 0.11% to $2.628 per million British thermal unit.

-- Reuters contributed to this report.

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Walmart Rises 3%

Investing.com - Walmart (NYSE:WMT) rose by 3.42% to trade at $103.41 by 09:32 (14:32 GMT) on Tuesday on the NYSE exchange.

The volume of Walmart shares traded since the start of the session was 2.15M. Walmart has traded in a range of $102.16 to $103.50 on the day.

The stock has traded at $103.5100 at its highest and $95.1400 at its lowest during the past seven days.

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Stellar Climbs 10% As Investors Gain Confidence

Investing.com - Stellar was trading at $0.09054 by 07:51 (12:51 GMT) on the Investing.com Index on Tuesday, up 10.09% on the day. It was the largest one-day percentage gain since December 28, 2018.

The move upwards pushed Stellar's market cap up to $1.69827B, or 1.27% of the total cryptocurrency market cap. At its highest, Stellar's market cap was $12.12000B.

Stellar had traded in a range of $0.08269 to $0.09054 in the previous twenty-four hours.

Over the past seven days, Stellar has seen a rise in value, as it gained 14.37%. The volume of Stellar traded in the twenty-four hours to time of writing was $145.53248M or 0.40% of the total volume of all cryptocurrencies. It has traded in a range of $0.0749 to $0.0905 in the past 7 days.

At its current price, Stellar is still down 90.16% from its all-time high of $0.92 set on January 3, 2018.

Elsewhere in cryptocurrency trading

Bitcoin was last at $3,914.5 on the Investing.com Index, up 3.79% on the day.

Ethereum was trading at $147.27 on the Investing.com Index, a gain of 2.33%.

Bitcoin's market cap was last at $69.06586B or 51.58% of the total cryptocurrency market cap, while Ethereum's market cap totaled $15.52954B or 11.60% of the total cryptocurrency market value.

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EOS Climbs 14% In Rally

Investing.com - EOS was trading at $3.6076 by 07:21 (12:21 GMT) on the Investing.com Index on Tuesday, up 14.05% on the day. It was the largest one-day percentage gain since February 18.

The move upwards pushed EOS's market cap up to $3.2640B, or 2.44% of the total cryptocurrency market cap. At its highest, EOS's market cap was $17.5290B.

EOS had traded in a range of $3.4675 to $3.7990 in the previous twenty-four hours.

Over the past seven days, EOS has seen a rise in value, as it gained 28.82%. The volume of EOS traded in the twenty-four hours to time of writing was $2.3369B or 6.50% of the total volume of all cryptocurrencies. It has traded in a range of $2.7192 to $3.7990 in the past 7 days.

At its current price, EOS is still down 84.30% from its all-time high of $22.98 set on April 29, 2018.

Elsewhere in cryptocurrency trading

Bitcoin was last at $3,914.0 on the Investing.com Index, up 4.39% on the day.

Ethereum was trading at $147.65 on the Investing.com Index, a gain of 4.91%.

Bitcoin's market cap was last at $68.8815B or 51.51% of the total cryptocurrency market cap, while Ethereum's market cap totaled $15.5279B or 11.61% of the total cryptocurrency market value.

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Stocks - U.S. Futures Drift Lower Amid Lull in Trade Talks

Investing.com - U.S. stock futures pointed to a slightly lower open on Tuesday, as traders await fresh developments from the latest round of U.S.- China trade talks due to resume later in the day.

The S&P 500 futures were down around nine points as of 6:55 AM ET (11:45 GMT), while Dow futures were off 91 points and tech-heavy Nasdaq 100 futures pointed to a drop of 20 points.

Markets are set to re-open on Tuesday after Monday’s holiday.

A new session of trade talks between the U.S. and China is to get underway in Washington Tuesday, with follow-up sessions at a higher level due to take place later in the week, the White House said on Monday.

The talks follow a round of negotiations that ended in Beijing last week without a deal but which officials said had resulted in progress.

U.S. tariffs on $200 billion in imports from China are set to rise to 25% from 10% if no deal is reached by March 1.

In earnings, Walmart (NYSE:WMT) is one of the last notable names slated to report quarterly results, as the fourth-quarter earnings season winds down.

The retail giant is expected to post earnings of $1.33 per share on revenue of $138.81 billion for the three months to January 31, according to analysts polled by Investing.com, when it reports before the opening bell.

U.S. same-store sales are expected to rise 3.0% from a year earlier

Other notable companies reporting results include, Advance Auto Parts, Medtronic (NYSE:MDT), and Herbalife (NYSE:HLF)

In economic news, investors will be looking to the National Association of Home Builders housing market index at 10:00 AM ET (15:00 GMT).

In commodities, gold futures advanced 0.72% to $1,331.6 a troy ounce, while crude oil was trading near three-month highs at $56.45 a barrel. The U.S. dollar index, which measures the greenback against a basket of six major currencies, was up 0.18% to 96.91.

- Reuters contributed to this report

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Germany's Pessimism Lightened a Bit in February - ZEW

Investing.com -- A closely-watched measure of Germany’s economic mood improved in February, easing concerns over the health of the euro zone\'s largest economy.

The ZEW Center for Economic Research said that its index of German economic sentiment rose to -13.4 points this month from a reading of -15.0 in January. That\'s a tad better than the -14.1 expected by analysts ahead of time.

However, the Current Conditions Index fell to 15.0 from 27.6, compared to expectations for a reading of 20.0.

An index level above 0.0 notionally indicates optimism, whereas a level below 0.0 indicates pessimism. In reality, the ZEW index is more useful as a gauge of turning points in the economic mood, rather than as a measure of absolute levels.

The forward-looking index has been improving since October, while the Current Conditions index has been trending down since January 2018. Both trends basically continued unchanged in February.

Recent data showed that the German economy only narrowly avoided slipping into a recession at the end of last year, amid global trade conflicts, messy Brexit negotiations and the after-effects of the diesel emissions scandal on its auto sector.

A new threat to the auto sector is now emerging: U.S. President Donald Trump is reviewing a report from Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross that reportedly describes auto imports as a threat to U.S. national security - a classification that could pave the way for import tariffs on German cars.

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Dollar Rises After BoJ's Kuroda Talks Down Yen; ZEW, U.K. Jobs Data Eyed

Investing.com -- The dollar was broadly flat against the euro and sterling in early trade in Europe Tuesday but rose against the yen after Bank of Japan Governor Haruhiko Kuroda said he was willing to take action to stop the currency rising too far.

At 03:00 AM ET (0800 GMT), the dollar was at 110.75 yen, up from an earlier low of 110.45.

Answering questions from lawmakers, Kuroda said the BoJ would ramp up stimulus if a sharp rise in the yen hurt the economy and made it harder to reach the bank’s 2% inflation target.

The yen strengthened sharply at the end of last year as the collapse in risk appetite led traders to unwind carry trades funded in the Japanese currency. It had spent most of 2019 giving up those gains until turning up after last week’s shockingly weak U.S. economic data.

In Europe, the euro has continued its rise back above $1.13 in early trading ahead of a flood of data over the next few days that will show whether the slowdown has bottomed out or is getting worse. Tuesday’s data calendar is dominated by the German ZEW sentiment index, due at 5:00 AM ET (10:00 GMT).

The dollar index, which measures the greenback against a basket of currencies, weakened as the euro rose, and was at 96.672 by 3:40 AM ET (8:40 GMT).

The British pound was little changed at $1.2929, ahead of the monthly monthly jobs report from the Office for National Statistics, due at 4:30 AM (9:30 GMT).

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