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Market Updates

Australia stocks lower at close of trade; S&P/ASX 200 down 0.24%

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

At the close in Sydney, the S&P/ASX 200 fell 0.24%.

The best performers of the session on the S&P/ASX 200 were Mayne Pharma Group Ltd (AX:MYX), which rose 3.94% or 0.025 points to trade at 0.660 at the close. Meanwhile, Transurban Group (AX:TCL) added 3.66% or 0.450 points to end at 12.730 and Crown Ltd (AX:CWN) was up 3.21% or 0.400 points to 12.850 in late trade.

The worst performers of the session were HT&E Ltd (AX:HT1), which fell 7.04% or 0.140 points to trade at 1.850 at the close. Retail Food Group Ltd (AX:RFG) declined 4.68% or 0.140 points to end at 2.850 and Macquarie Atlas Roads Group (AX:MQA) was down 3.77% or 0.240 points to 6.120.

Falling stocks outnumbered advancing ones on the Sydney Stock Exchange by 631 to 576 and 343 ended unchanged.

Shares in Retail Food Group Ltd (AX:RFG) fell to 5-year lows; down 4.68% or 0.140 to 2.850.

The S&P/ASX 200 VIX, which measures the implied volatility of S&P/ASX 200 options, was down 3.59% to 11.016.

Gold Futures for February delivery was down 0.04% or 0.50 to $1256.60 a troy ounce. Elsewhere in commodities trading, Crude oil for delivery in January rose 0.21% or 0.12 to hit $57.16 a barrel, while the February Brent oil contract rose 0.03% or 0.02 to trade at $63.33 a barrel.

AUD/USD was up 0.04% to 0.7670, while AUD/JPY unchanged 0.00% to 86.17.

The US Dollar Index Futures was down 0.04% at 93.60.

Read More

Asian Shares Mixed With Nikkei 225 Down A Tad As Central Bank Views Eyed

Investing.com - Asian shares were mixed on Friday in cautious trade with central bank reviews this week still pointing to easier conditions in the short-term, but doubts growing about the path ahead in 2018.

Japan's Nikkei 225 edged up 0.02%, while the S&P/ASX 200 eased 0.09%. Japan's most recent tankan survey released on Friday showed large manufacturers' sentiment had improved for a fifth consecutive quarter, Reuters reported. The score of plus 25 recorded was the highest in 11 years, according to Reuters.

Australian miners were mixed with Rio Tinto (LON:RIO) down 0.19% and BHP up 0.14%.

In Greater China, the Shanghai Composite fell 0.85%, while the Hang Seng index dropped 1.14%.

Overnight, US stocks fell on Thursday as reports that tax reform could be losing crucial Senate votes weighed on financials, pressuring the broader indexes lower.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed higher at 24,510. The S&P 500 closed 0.41% lower, while the Nasdaq Composite closed at 6856.53, down 0.28%.

Republican Senator Mike Lee was said to be undecided on the tax bill in its current form, CNN reported, citing a statement from spokesman Conn Carroll. Sen. Bob Corker, who voted no on the Senate bill said he would reconsider the final version of the bill.

With the Republican Senate majority recent cut to 51-49 following a senate election defeat of former Alabama Senator Roy Moore earlier this week, investors optimism on tax reform eased slightly amid reports that Sen. Marco Rubio could vote against the bill.

Rubio, said he won't approve the GOP tax plan unless it raises the refundable portion of the child tax credit currently at $1,100.

Republicans can afford to only lose two votes to pass it through the Senate. In the event of a tie, Vice President Pence would have the deciding vote.

Uncertainty on the tax reform front, weighed on banks – one the main beneficiaries of tax reform – offsetting earlier optimism following the release of upbeat retail sales data suggesting the consumer spending remained robust to support ongoing US economic growth.

The Commerce Department said on Thursday that retail sales rose 0.8% last month. that was above economists’ forecast of a 0.3%.

In corporate earnings news, Costco (NASDAQ:NASDAQ:COST) is expected to reveal earnings after US markets close today amid bullish sentiment in the retail sector following solid earnings from Wal-mart in November.

Read More

Gold Prices Edge Higher In Asia As Easy Liquidity Views In Place

Investing.com - Gold price rose slightly in Asia on Friday as investors digested a triple load of central bank view from the Fed, ECB and Bank of England that pointed to continued easy liquidity.

Gold futures for February delivery on the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange edged up 0.02% to $1,257.40 a troy ounce.

Overnight, gold prices traded close to session highs on Thursday, shrugging off a rebound in the dollar as the European Central Bank said it would continue its ultra-accommodative monetary policy measures.


The European Central Bank left its benchmark rate unchanged on Thursday, reiterating its commitment to running an asset-purchase stimulus programme until at least next September.

"Domestic price pressures remain muted overall and have yet to show convincing signs of a sustained upward trend,” European Central bank president Mario Draghi said in a press conference on Thursday, adding that an “ample degree” of stimulus is still needed.

Gold prices reversed a two-day slide on Wednesday against the backdrop of a widely expected Federal Reserve rate hike, and an unchanged outlook on the path of monetary policy tightening with three rate hikes expected in 2018.

In a sign of confidence, the Federal Reserve revised upward its projection for economic growth in 2017 to 2.5%, while forecasting growth for 2018 at 2.5%.

Also supporting sentiment on gold prices were reports of renewed brexit uncertainty after UK Prime Minister Theresa May's government was defeated on Wednesday, when lawmakers forced through changes to its Brexit plan that ministers said could threaten Britain's departure from the European Union.

In other precious metal trade, silver futures rose 0.45% to $15.94 a troy ounce, while platinum futures gained 0.80% to $882.40.

Copper traded at $3.07, up 0.67%, while natural gas fell by 1.22% to $2.68 despite data showing natural gas storage fell more than expected last week.

Read More

PBOC Sets Yuan Parity At 6.6113 Against The Dollar

Investing.com - The People's Bank of China set the yuan parity rate against the dollar at 6.6113 on Friday, compared to the previous close of 6.6095.

The China Foreign Exchange Trade System sets the weighted average of prices given by market makers. The highest and lowest offers are excluded from the calculation. The central bank allows the dollar/yuan rate to move no more than 2% above or below the central parity rate.

Market watchers see a yuan level of 7 against the dollar, USD/CNY, as a key touchstone for sentiment in the near term.

Read More

Dow Snaps Six-Day Winning Streak on Tax Reform Jitters

Investing.com – US stocks fell on Thursday as reports that tax reform could be losing crucial Senate votes weighed on financials, pressuring the broader indexes lower.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed lower at 24,510. The S&P 500 closed 0.41% lower, while the Nasdaq Composite closed at 6856.53, down 0.28%.

Republican Senator Mike Lee was said to be undecided on the tax bill in its current form, CNN reported, citing a statement from spokesman Conn Carroll. Sen. Bob Corker, who voted no on the Senate bill said he would reconsider the final version of the bill.

With the Republican Senate majority recently cut to 51-49 following a senate election defeat of Roy Moore earlier this week, investors optimism on tax reform eased slightly amid reports that Sen. Marco Rubio could vote against the bill.

Rubio, said he won't approve the GOP tax plan unless it raises the refundable portion of the child tax credit currently at $1,100.

Republicans can afford to only lose two votes to pass it through the Senate. In the event of a tie, Vice President Pence would have the deciding vote.

Uncertainty on the tax reform front, weighed on banks – one the main beneficiaries of tax reform – offsetting earlier optimism following the release of upbeat retail sales data suggesting consumer spending remained robust to support ongoing US economic growth.

The Commerce Department said on Thursday that retail sales rose 0.8% last month. that was above economists’ forecast of a 0.3%.

In corporate earnings news, Costco (NASDAQ:COST) is expected to reveal earnings after US markets close today amid bullish sentiment in the retail sector following solid earnings from Walmart (NYSE:WMT) in November.

'Bulls and Bears' on Wall Street

The top Dow gainers for the session: Walt Disney Company (NYSE:DIS) up 2.8%, Boeing Co (NYSE:BA) up 0.7% and Nike Inc (NYSE:NKE) up 0.4%

Caterpillar Inc (NYSE:CAT) down 1.5%, UnitedHealth Group Incorporated (NYSE:UNH) down 1.4% and Verizon Communications Inc (NYSE:VZ) down 1%, were among the worst Dow performers of the session.

Read More

Brazil stocks lower at close of trade; Bovespa down 0.67%

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

At the close in Sao Paulo, the Bovespa declined 0.67%.

The best performers of the session on the Bovespa were Metalurgica Gerdau SA (SA:GOAU4), which rose 2.98% or 0.16 points to trade at 5.53 at the close. Meanwhile, Hypermarcas SA (SA:HYPE3) added 2.47% or 0.84 points to end at 34.85 and Fibria Celulose SA (SA:FIBR3) was up 2.09% or 0.99 points to 48.37 in late trade.

The worst performers of the session were Centrais Eletricas Brasileiras SA (SA:ELET3), which fell 3.80% or 0.69 points to trade at 17.45 at the close. Natura Cosmeticos SA (SA:NATU3) declined 3.32% or 1.01 points to end at 29.41 and Centrais Eletricas Brasileiras SA (SA:ELET6) was down 2.80% or 0.58 points to 20.12.

Falling stocks outnumbered advancing ones on the BM&FBovespa Stock Exchange by 248 to 152 and 20 ended unchanged.

The CBOE Brazil Etf Volatility, which measures the implied volatility of Bovespa options, was down 2.38% to 28.26 a new 1-month low.

Gold Futures for February delivery was up 0.67% or 8.40 to $1257.00 a troy ounce. Elsewhere in commodities trading, Crude oil for delivery in January rose 0.85% or 0.48 to hit $57.08 a barrel, while the March US coffee C contract rose 0.12% or 0.14 to trade at $120.22 .

USD/BRL was up 0.96% to 3.3419, while EUR/BRL rose 0.64% to 3.9397.

The US Dollar Index Futures was up 0.13% at 93.52.

Read More

U.S. stocks lower at close of trade; Dow Jones Industrial Average down 0.22%

Investing.com – U.S. stocks were lower after the close on Thursday, as losses in the Healthcare, Basic Materials and Telecoms sectors led shares lower.

At the close in NYSE, the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.22%, while the S&P 500 index declined 0.34%, and the NASDAQ Composite index lost 0.25%.

The best performers of the session on the Dow Jones Industrial Average were Walt Disney Company (NYSE:DIS), which rose 3.28% or 3.53 points to trade at 111.14 at the close. Meanwhile, Boeing Co (NYSE:BA) added 0.66% or 1.92 points to end at 293.76 and Coca-Cola Company (NYSE:KO) was up 0.40% or 0.18 points to 46.08 in late trade.

The worst performers of the session were UnitedHealth Group Incorporated (NYSE:UNH), which fell 1.36% or 3.06 points to trade at 221.29 at the close. Caterpillar Inc (NYSE:CAT) declined 1.36% or 2.02 points to end at 146.56 and Verizon Communications Inc (NYSE:VZ) was down 1.03% or 0.55 points to 52.34.

The top performers on the S&P 500 were Twenty-First Century Fox Inc A (NASDAQ:FOXA) which rose 6.93% to 35.02, Twenty-First Century Fox Inc (NASDAQ:FOX) which was up 5.88% to settle at 34.24 and Mattel Inc (NASDAQ:MAT) which gained 5.04% to close at 16.38.

The worst performers were Acuity Brands Inc (NYSE:AYI) which was down 3.64% to 161.34 in late trade, Perrigo Co (NYSE:PRGO) which lost 3.26% to settle at 83.22 and Gap Inc (NYSE:GPS) which was down 3.40% to 33.09 at the close.

The top performers on the NASDAQ Composite were One Horizon Group Inc (NASDAQ:OHGI) which rose 180.00% to 2.9960, Siebert Financial Corp (NASDAQ:SIEB) which was up 62.48% to settle at 8.400 and Concordia International Corp (NASDAQ:CXRX) which gained 57.91% to close at 0.84.

The worst performers were Criteo Sa (NASDAQ:CRTO) which was down 25.85% to 23.44 in late trade, Ameri Holdings Inc (NASDAQ:AMRH) which lost 22.53% to settle at 1.41 and CounterPath Corp (NASDAQ:CPAH) which was down 17.98% to 2.871 at the close.

Falling stocks outnumbered advancing ones on the New York Stock Exchange by 2071 to 1066 and 39 ended unchanged; on the Nasdaq Stock Exchange, 1725 fell and 817 advanced, while 77 ended unchanged.

Shares in Twenty-First Century Fox Inc A (NASDAQ:FOXA) rose to 52-week highs; rising 6.93% or 2.27 to 35.02. Shares in Twenty-First Century Fox Inc (NASDAQ:FOX) rose to 52-week highs; up 5.88% or 1.90 to 34.24. Shares in Boeing Co (NYSE:BA) rose to all time highs; up 0.66% or 1.92 to 293.76. Shares in One Horizon Group Inc (NASDAQ:OHGI) rose to 52-week highs; gaining 180.00% or 1.9260 to 2.9960. Shares in Criteo Sa (NASDAQ:CRTO) fell to all time lows; falling 25.85% or 8.17 to 23.44. Shares in Siebert Financial Corp (NASDAQ:SIEB) rose to 5-year highs; up 62.48% or 3.230 to 8.400. Shares in Ameri Holdings Inc (NASDAQ:AMRH) fell to all time lows; losing 22.53% or 0.41 to 1.41.

The CBOE Volatility Index, which measures the implied volatility of S&P 500 options, was up 0.59% to 10.24.

Gold Futures for February delivery was up 0.70% or 8.80 to $1257.40 a troy ounce. Elsewhere in commodities trading, Crude oil for delivery in January rose 0.87% or 0.49 to hit $57.09 a barrel, while the February Brent oil contract rose 1.44% or 0.90 to trade at $63.34 a barrel.

EUR/USD was down 0.30% to 1.1790, while USD/JPY fell 0.31% to 112.19.

The US Dollar Index Futures was up 0.12% at 93.51.

Read More

Crude Oil Prices Settle Higher Despite Bearish IEA Report

Investing.com – Crude oil prices settled higher on Thursday, shrugging off data forecasting a faster than expected rise in US shale oil production next year, while an ongoing pipeline shutdown supported Brent crude prices.

On the New York Mercantile Exchange crude futures for January delivery rose 44 cents to settle at $57.04 a barrel, while on London's Intercontinental Exchange, Brent gained 87 cents to trade at $63.31 a barrel.

The International Energy Agency (IEA) in its monthly oil market report, published on Thursday, revised upward its projection for US oil production, warning that total supply growth could exceed demand growth in the months ahead.

The IEA raised US crude oil growth to 390,000 barrels per day (bpd) this year and 870,000 bpd for 2018. Non-OPEC output, led by the US, will rise by 630,000 bpd in 2017, followed by an increase of 1.6 million bpd during 2018.

That supports a similar view from OPEC, who said in its monthly report, published on Wednesday, that non-OPEC production would rise faster than expected by 120,000 barrels per day (bpd) to 990,000 bpd in 2018.

Rising non-OPEC output has weighed on the efforts of OPEC as the oil cartel attempts to rid the global market of excess oil supplies. OPEC compliance with the deal to curb output reached its highest this year, rising to 115%.

Sentiment on Brent crude oil prices, meanwhile, remained positive amid the ongoing Forties pipeline shutdown earlier this week. The Forties pipeline carries 40% of North Sea oil and gas, and repairs could take weeks.

Andrew Gardner, chief executive of the Ineos Forties Pipeline System said “We’re estimating just now between two and three weeks,” when asked how long the system was likely to be down.

Read More

EUR/USD Weakness on 'Dovish' ECB Remarks Boosts Dollar

Investing.com – The dollar rose on Thursday against a basket of major currencies, buoyed by a slump in the euro on dovish European Central Bank remarks, while bullish retail sales data pointing to stronger US economic growth lifted sentiment.

The U.S. dollar index, which measures the greenback’s strength against a trade-weighted basket of six major currencies, fell 0.25% to 93.62.

The Commerce Department said on Thursday that retail sales rose 0.8% last month. that was above economists’ forecast of a 0.3%.

The upbeat retail sales data suggested that consumer spending would continue to be robust, lifting expectation for a solid fourth quarter of US economic growth.

"Consumer spending is expected to play a larger role in driving fourth quarter growth," CIBC said. “Our 2.7% forecast might be low as growth looks more like 3%."

The upbeat data came as the euro weakness provided additional support for the greenback after the European Central Bank (ECB) left rates unchanged, while ECB president Mario Draghi’s remarks were interpreted as “dovish”, easing monetary policy tightening expectations.

"Domestic price pressures remain muted overall and have yet to show convincing signs of a sustained upward trend,” Draghi said in a press conference on Thursday, adding that an “ample degree” of stimulus is still needed.

EUR/USD rose fell 0.34% to $1.1786, while EUR/GBP fell 0.51% to £0.8770.

GBP/USD rose 0.18% to $1.13441 after the Bank of England policymakers voted to leave interest rates unchanged, warning that Brexit remained a challenge for monetary policy.

USD/JPY fell 0.12% to Y112.41, while USD/CAD fell 0.25% to $1.2783 after rebound in crude prices supported an uptick in the loonie.

Read More

Denmark stocks higher at close of trade; OMX Copenhagen 20 up 0.23%

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

At the close in Copenhagen, the OMX Copenhagen 20 rose 0.23%.

The best performers of the session on the OMX Copenhagen 20 were Vestas Wind Systems A/S (CO:VWS), which rose 7.06% or 28.0 points to trade at 424.4 at the close. Meanwhile, Coloplast A/S (CO:COLOb) added 1.14% or 5.5 points to end at 490.0 and Chr. Hansen Holding A/S (CO:CHRH) was up 0.90% or 5.0 points to 558.5 in late trade.

The worst performers of the session were Genmab (CO:GEN), which fell 1.71% or 18.0 points to trade at 1034.0 at the close. AP Moeller - Maersk A/S B (CO:MAERSKb) declined 0.85% or 90 points to end at 10550 and FLSmidth&Co. (CO:FLS) was down 0.82% or 2.8 points to 340.2.

Falling stocks outnumbered advancing ones on the Copenhagen Stock Exchange by 63 to 62 and 16 ended unchanged.

Shares in Genmab (CO:GEN) fell to 52-week lows; falling 1.71% or 18.0 to 1034.0.

Crude oil for January delivery was up 0.35% or 0.20 to $56.80 a barrel. Elsewhere in commodities trading, Brent oil for delivery in February rose 0.58% or 0.36 to hit $62.80 a barrel, while the February Gold Futures contract rose 0.66% or 8.20 to trade at $1256.80 a troy ounce.

USD/DKK was up 0.37% to 6.3178, while EUR/DKK rose 0.02% to 7.4450.

The US Dollar Index Futures was up 0.21% at 93.60.

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Netherlands stocks lower at close of trade; AEX down 0.56%

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

At the close in Amsterdam, the AEX lost 0.56%.

The best performers of the session on the AEX were Koninklijke Vopak NV (AS:VOPA), which rose 1.27% or 0.46 points to trade at 36.74 at the close. Meanwhile, ABN AMRO Group NV (AS:ABNd) added 0.86% or 0.23 points to end at 26.83 and NN Group NV (AS:NN) was up 0.33% or 0.12 points to 37.49 in late trade.

The worst performers of the session were Galapagos NV (AS:GLPG), which fell 1.91% or 1.390 points to trade at 71.320 at the close. Unibail Rodamco SE (AS:UNBP) declined 1.56% or 3.35 points to end at 211.10 and Koninklijke Philips NV (AS:PHG) was down 1.09% or 0.36 points to 32.53.

Falling stocks outnumbered advancing ones on the Amsterdam Stock Exchange by 79 to 43 and 8 ended unchanged.

Shares in ABN AMRO Group NV (AS:ABNd) rose to all time highs; gaining 0.86% or 0.23 to 26.83. Shares in NN Group NV (AS:NN) rose to all time highs; rising 0.33% or 0.12 to 37.49.

The AEX Volatility, which measures the implied volatility of AEX options, was up 2.30% to 10.83.

Crude oil for January delivery was up 0.46% or 0.26 to $56.86 a barrel. Elsewhere in commodities trading, Brent oil for delivery in February rose 0.64% or 0.40 to hit $62.84 a barrel, while the February Gold Futures contract rose 0.65% or 8.10 to trade at $1256.70 a troy ounce.

EUR/USD was down 0.36% to 1.1783, while EUR/GBP fell 0.50% to 0.8771.

The US Dollar Index Futures was up 0.24% at 93.62.

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France stocks lower at close of trade; CAC 40 down 0.78%

Investing.com – France stocks were lower after the close on Thursday, as losses in the Utilities, Financials and Healthcare sectors led shares lower.

At the close in Paris, the CAC 40 declined 0.78%, while the SBF 120 index fell 0.71%.

The best performers of the session on the CAC 40 were Peugeot SA (PA:PEUP), which rose 1.71% or 0.29 points to trade at 17.27 at the close. Meanwhile, Essilor International Compagnie Generale d’Optique SA (PA:ESSI) added 1.38% or 1.55 points to end at 113.70 and Kering SA (PA:PRTP) was up 0.39% or 1.50 points to 388.65 in late trade.

The worst performers of the session were Atos SE (PA:ATOS), which fell 2.65% or 3.55 points to trade at 130.20 at the close. Safran SA (PA:SAF) declined 2.03% or 1.78 points to end at 85.83 and Vivendi SA (PA:VIV) was down 1.76% or 0.40 points to 22.30.

The top performers on the SBF 120 were Worldline SA (PA:WLN) which rose 2.76% to 39.045, Technicolor (PA:TCH) which was up 2.69% to settle at 3.240 and DBV Technologies (PA:DBV) which gained 1.85% to close at 36.415.

The worst performers were Nexans (PA:NEXS) which was down 6.37% to 48.54 in late trade, Electricite de France SA (PA:EDF) which lost 4.77% to settle at 10.47 and Vallourec (PA:VLLP) which was down 4.60% to 4.455 at the close.

Falling stocks outnumbered advancing ones on the Paris Stock Exchange by 341 to 245 and 97 ended unchanged.

The CAC 40 VIX, which measures the implied volatility of CAC 40 options, was up 2.46% to 10.73.

Gold Futures for February delivery was up 0.64% or 8.00 to $1256.60 a troy ounce. Elsewhere in commodities trading, Crude oil for delivery in January rose 0.46% or 0.26 to hit $56.86 a barrel, while the February Brent oil contract rose 0.64% or 0.40 to trade at $62.84 a barrel.

EUR/USD was down 0.37% to 1.1782, while EUR/GBP fell 0.50% to 0.8771.

The US Dollar Index Futures was up 0.24% at 93.62.

Read More

Spain stocks lower at close of trade; IBEX 35 down 0.82%

Investing.com – Spain stocks were lower after the close on Thursday, as losses in the Consumer Goods, Chemical, Petroleum&Plastic and Financial Services&Real Estate sectors led shares lower.

At the close in Madrid, the IBEX 35 declined 0.82%.

The best performers of the session on the IBEX 35 were Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy SA (MC:GAM), which rose 3.50% or 0.390 points to trade at 11.540 at the close. Meanwhile, Viscofan (MC:VIS) added 3.33% or 1.780 points to end at 55.240 and Cellnex Telecom SA (MC:CLNX) was up 0.77% or 0.17 points to 21.60 in late trade.

The worst performers of the session were Distribuidora Intl de Aliment (MC:DIDA), which fell 1.90% or 0.080 points to trade at 4.141 at the close. Acerinox (MC:ACX) declined 1.87% or 0.220 points to end at 11.530 and Inditex (MC:ITX) was down 1.84% or 0.575 points to 30.720.

Falling stocks outnumbered advancing ones on the Madrid Stock Exchange by 107 to 68 and 22 ended unchanged.

Gold Futures for February delivery was up 0.66% or 8.30 to $1256.90 a troy ounce. Elsewhere in commodities trading, Crude oil for delivery in January rose 0.48% or 0.27 to hit $56.87 a barrel, while the February Brent oil contract rose 0.64% or 0.40 to trade at $62.84 a barrel.

EUR/USD was down 0.36% to 1.1783, while EUR/GBP fell 0.50% to 0.8771.

The US Dollar Index Futures was up 0.22% at 93.61.

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Belgium stocks lower at close of trade; BEL 20 down 0.43%

Investing.com – Belgium stocks were lower after the close on Thursday, as losses in the Utilities, Telecoms and Financials sectors led shares lower.

At the close in Brussels, the BEL 20 lost 0.43%.

The best performers of the session on the BEL 20 were Etablissementen Fr Colruyt NV (BR:COLR), which rose 3.03% or 1.25 points to trade at 42.65 at the close. Meanwhile, NV Bekaert SA (BR:BEKB) added 1.58% or 0.56 points to end at 36.25 and Umicore SA (BR:UMI) was up 0.63% or 0.25 points to 39.38 in late trade.

The worst performers of the session were Galapagos NV (AS:GLPG), which fell 1.91% or 1.390 points to trade at 71.320 at the close. Engie SA (PA:ENGIE) declined 1.56% or 0.23 points to end at 14.47 and Ontex Group (BR:ONTEX) was down 1.52% or 0.43 points to 27.80.

Falling stocks outnumbered advancing ones on the Brussels Stock Exchange by 79 to 40 and 9 ended unchanged.

Gold Futures for February delivery was up 0.55% or 6.90 to $1255.50 a troy ounce. Elsewhere in commodities trading, Crude oil for delivery in January rose 0.41% or 0.23 to hit $56.83 a barrel, while the February Brent oil contract rose 0.62% or 0.39 to trade at $62.83 a barrel.

EUR/USD was down 0.40% to 1.1779, while EUR/GBP fell 0.50% to 0.8771.

The US Dollar Index Futures was up 0.29% at 93.67.

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Germany stocks lower at close of trade; DAX down 0.44%

Investing.com – Germany stocks were lower after the close on Thursday, as losses in the Utilities, Pharmaceuticals&Healthcare and Technology sectors led shares lower.

At the close in Frankfurt, the DAX fell 0.44%, while the MDAX index declined 0.43%, and the TecDAX index fell 0.01%.

The best performers of the session on the DAX were SAP SE (DE:SAPG), which rose 0.74% or 0.710 points to trade at 96.770 at the close. Meanwhile, Bayerische Motoren Werke AG (DE:BMWG) added 0.55% or 0.470 points to end at 86.180 and Prosiebensat 1 Media AG (DE:PSMGn) was up 0.38% or 0.110 points to 29.030 in late trade.

The worst performers of the session were RWE AG ST O.N. (DE:RWEG), which fell 4.43% or 0.800 points to trade at 17.270 at the close. Fresenius SE&Co KGAA O.N. (DE:FREG) declined 2.93% or 1.950 points to end at 64.580 and Deutsche Boerse AG (DE:DB1Gn) was down 1.89% or 1.880 points to 97.650.

The top performers on the MDAX were Aurubis AG (DE:NAFG) which rose 3.29% to 71.920, MTU Aero Engines NA O.N. (DE:MTXGn) which was up 2.12% to settle at 151.40 and Fraport AG (DE:FRAG) which gained 1.86% to close at 89.080.

The worst performers were Steinhoff International Holdings NV (DE:SNHG) which was down 13.29% to 0.57 in late trade, Innogy SE (DE:IGY) which lost 5.72% to settle at 32.195 and Kion Group AG (DE:KGX) which was down 1.53% to 69.32 at the close.

The top performers on the TecDAX were RIB Software AG Na (DE:RIB) which rose 5.40% to 22.530, Aixtron SE (DE:AIXGn) which was up 4.07% to settle at 12.520 and SMA Solar Technology AG (DE:S92G) which gained 2.67% to close at 35.730.

The worst performers were Evotec AG O.N. (DE:EVTG) which was down 5.85% to 14.095 in late trade, Dialog Semiconductor (DE:DLGS) which lost 1.89% to settle at 23.390 and Medigene NA O.N. (DE:MDG1k) which was down 1.86% to 12.430 at the close.

Falling stocks outnumbered advancing ones on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange by 476 to 318 and 41 ended unchanged.

Shares in Fraport AG (DE:FRAG) rose to all time highs; rising 1.86% or 1.630 to 89.080. Shares in RIB Software AG Na (DE:RIB) rose to all time highs; gaining 5.40% or 1.155 to 22.530.

The DAX volatility index, which measures the implied volatility of DAX options, was down 1.98% to 13.18.

Gold Futures for February delivery was up 0.50% or 6.20 to $1254.80 a troy ounce. Elsewhere in commodities trading, Crude oil for delivery in January rose 0.28% or 0.16 to hit $56.76 a barrel, while the February Brent oil contract rose 0.53% or 0.33 to trade at $62.77 a barrel.

EUR/USD was down 0.45% to 1.1773, while EUR/GBP fell 0.52% to 0.8769.

The US Dollar Index Futures was up 0.33% at 93.71.

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Nigeria stocks lower at close of trade; NSE 30 down 1.13%

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

At the close in Lagos, the NSE 30 declined 1.13%.

The best performers of the session on the NSE 30 were Unilever Nig (LAGOS:UNILEVE), which rose 0.99% or 0.40 points to trade at 40.21 at the close. Meanwhile, Guaranty Bnk (LAGOS:GUARANT) added 0.25% or 0.10 points to end at 39.99 and Nestle Nig (LAGOS:NESTLE) was up 0.11% or 1.55 points to 1450.00 in late trade.

The worst performers of the session were Union Bank LG (LAGOS:UBN), which fell 5.00% or 0.40 points to trade at 7.60 at the close. Access Bank (LAGOS:ACCESS) declined 3.77% or 0.42 points to end at 10.73 and Fbn Holdings (LAGOS:FBNH) was down 3.41% or 0.310 points to 8.770.

Falling stocks outnumbered advancing ones on the Lagos by 45 to 19 and 23 ended unchanged.

Crude oil for January delivery was up 0.28% or 0.16 to $56.76 a barrel. Elsewhere in commodities trading, Brent oil for delivery in February rose 0.53% or 0.33 to hit $62.77 a barrel, while the February Gold Futures contract rose 0.53% or 6.60 to trade at $1255.20 a troy ounce.

EUR/NGN was up 0.73% to 425.120, while USD/NGN fell 0.14% to 360.000.

The US Dollar Index Futures was up 0.32% at 93.70.

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Poland stocks higher at close of trade; WIG30 up 0.69%

Investing.com – Poland stocks were higher after the close on Thursday, as gains in the Banking, Basic Materials and Media sectors led shares higher.

At the close in Warsaw, the WIG30 added 0.69%.

The best performers of the session on the WIG30 were Bank Zachodni WBK SA (WA:BZW), which rose 6.87% or 25.30 points to trade at 393.65 at the close. Meanwhile, LPP SA (WA:LPPP) added 4.47% or 378.00 points to end at 8838.00 and Jastrzebska Spotka Weglowa SA (WA:JSW) was up 3.99% or 3.70 points to 96.50 in late trade.

The worst performers of the session were Enea SA (WA:ENAE), which fell 6.72% or 0.84 points to trade at 11.66 at the close. PGE Polska Grupa Energetyczna SA (WA:PGE) declined 4.65% or 0.59 points to end at 12.09 and Grupa Azoty SA (WA:ATTP) was down 4.26% or 2.95 points to 66.30.

Falling stocks outnumbered advancing ones on the Warsaw Stock Exchange by 255 to 236 and 188 ended unchanged.

Shares in Bank Zachodni WBK SA (WA:BZW) rose to 3-years highs; rising 6.87% or 25.30 to 393.65.

Crude oil for January delivery was up 0.37% or 0.21 to $56.81 a barrel. Elsewhere in commodities trading, Brent oil for delivery in February rose 0.62% or 0.39 to hit $62.83 a barrel, while the February Gold Futures contract rose 0.50% or 6.20 to trade at $1254.80 a troy ounce.

EUR/PLN was up 0.18% to 4.2247, while USD/PLN rose 0.62% to 3.5880.

The US Dollar Index Futures was up 0.32% at 93.70.

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Morocco stocks higher at close of trade; Moroccan All Shares up 0.22%

Investing.com – Morocco stocks were higher after the close on Thursday, as gains in the Insurance, Forestry&Paper and Banking sectors led shares higher.

At the close in Casablanca, the Moroccan All Shares added 0.22%.

The best performers of the session on the Moroccan All Shares were Saham Assurance (CS:SAH), which rose 3.92% or 60 points to trade at 1590 at the close. Meanwhile, Wafa Assurance (CS:WASS) added 3.70% or 182 points to end at 5097 and Auto Hall (CS:AUTO) was up 2.57% or 2.40 points to 95.90 in late trade.

The worst performers of the session were Sothema (CS:SOT), which fell 5.91% or 89 points to trade at 1416 at the close. BMCI (CS:BMCI) declined 2.30% or 20 points to end at 850 and Sonasid (CS:SOND) was down 2.01% or 14 points to 706.

Falling stocks outnumbered advancing ones on the Casablanca Stock Exchange by 18 to 17 and 6 ended unchanged.

Crude oil for January delivery was up 0.25% or 0.14 to $56.74 a barrel. Elsewhere in commodities trading, Brent oil for delivery in February rose 0.58% or 0.36 to hit $62.80 a barrel, while the February Gold Futures contract rose 0.46% or 5.80 to trade at $1254.40 a troy ounce.

EUR/MAD was down 0.15% to 11.1430, while USD/MAD rose 0.23% to 9.4574.

The US Dollar Index Futures was up 0.33% at 93.71.

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Sweden stocks lower at close of trade; OMX Stockholm 30 down 0.63%

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

At the close in Stockholm, the OMX Stockholm 30 lost 0.63%.

The best performers of the session on the OMX Stockholm 30 were Svenska Cellulosa SCA AB B (ST:SCAb), which rose 1.70% or 1.4 points to trade at 83.6 at the close. Meanwhile, Boliden AB (ST:BOL) added 0.75% or 2.00 points to end at 268.40 and Sandvik AB (ST:SAND) was up 0.56% or 0.80 points to 142.40 in late trade.

The worst performers of the session were Getinge AB ser. B (ST:GETIb), which fell 2.42% or 3.0 points to trade at 120.8 at the close. Essity AB B (ST:ESSITYb) declined 2.29% or 5.70 points to end at 243.20 and Fingerprint Cards AB ser. B (ST:FINGb) was down 1.90% or 0.34 points to 17.59.

Falling stocks outnumbered advancing ones on the Stockholm Stock Exchange by 365 to 244 and 69 ended unchanged.

Shares in Getinge AB ser. B (ST:GETIb) fell to 5-year lows; falling 2.42% or 3.0 to 120.8.

Crude oil for January delivery was up 0.28% or 0.16 to $56.76 a barrel. Elsewhere in commodities trading, Brent oil for delivery in February rose 0.59% or 0.37 to hit $62.81 a barrel, while the February Gold Futures contract rose 0.46% or 5.70 to trade at $1254.30 a troy ounce.

EUR/SEK was down 0.23% to 9.9318, while USD/SEK rose 0.26% to 8.4358.

The US Dollar Index Futures was up 0.33% at 93.71.

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Forex- U.S. Dollar Recovers After Positive Economic Data

Investing.com - The U.S. dollar rallied on Thursday as economic data from the U.S. shown signs of an expanding economy.

U.S. retail sales surged more than expected in November while jobless claims fell unexpectedly, pointing to sustained growth and a strengthening economy. Meanwhile the Federal Reserve increased interest rates on December, as expected.

The dollar was also bolstered by news that the tax bill could be voted on as early as next week. The GOP agreed to a tax-reform bill on Wednesday with a corporate tax rate would be decreased to 21%, higher than the original 20% proposed and would be implemented in 2018. Investors believe the tax cuts would help companies invest more and boost the economy.

The U.S dollar index, which measures the greenback against a basket of six major currencies, railled 0.32% to 93.70 as of 11:27 AM ET (16:27 GMT).

The dollar inched forward against the Japanese yen, with USD/JPY rising 0.02% to 112.56.

Meanwhile the euro pulled back from gains against the dollar, after the European Central Bank kept monetary policy on hold and revised up its forecast for growth and inflation, but added that underlying inflation remains subdued.

EUR/USD was trading at 1.1776, down 0.42%.

Sterling pared back losses after the Bank of England left bank rates on hold, just one month after raising the interest rate in more than a decade.

The pound was also held up by comments from the BOE that there had been some progress in Brexit negotiations between the UK and Brussels, reducing the risk of a disorderly exit.

GBP/USD jumped 0.10% to 1.3429.

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Crude Oil Prices Mixed, U.S. Production Worries Persist

Investing.com - Crude oil prices were mixed on Thursday, as concerns over rising U.S. shale production persisted despite ongoing supply cut efforts by global oil producers.

The U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude January contract was down 11 cents or about 0.21% at $56.48 a barrel by 10:00 a.m. ET (14:00 GMT), the lowest since December 12.

Elsewhere, Brent oil for February delivery on the ICE Futures Exchange in London was up 16 cents or about 0.26% at $62.59 a barrel, the lowest since December 8.

Prices came under pressure after a larger-than-expected surge in U.S. gasoline stockpiles outweighed a larger-than-expected decline in U.S. crude inventories.

Also weighing on crude prices was a rise in production to record highs as data showed weekly U.S. crude production jumped by 73,000 barrels a day to 9.78 million barrels per day (bpd), bringing output close to levels of top producers Russia and Saudi Arabia.

Separately, the International Energy Agency on Thursday warned that there were signs the ongoing rise in U.S. crude oil production could continue into 2018.

The U.S. report came after OPEC revealed in its monthly report that production in November, fell by 133,000 bpd to 32.5 million bpd but revised upward its 2018 forecast for non-OPEC output.

Fears that rising U.S. output would dampen OPEC’s efforts to rid the market of excess supplies have been recently weighing on sentiment, according to market participants.

The producer group, along with some non-OPEC members led by Russia, agreed last week to extend current oil output cuts for a further nine months until the end of 2018.

The deal to cut oil output by 1.8 million barrels a day (bpd) was adopted last winter by OPEC, Russia and nine other global producers. The agreement was due to end in March 2018, having already been extended once.

Elsewhere, gasoline futures were up 0.53% at $1.663 a gallon, while natural gas futures declined 0.74% to $2.695 per million British thermal units.

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U.S. Business Activity Hits 9-Month Low in December – Markit

Investing.com – Business activity in the U.S. private sector hit a nine-month low in December, as a slowdown in services offset better performance in manufacturing, according to preliminary data released on Thursday.

In a report, market research group IHS Markit said that its composite purchasing managers’ index (PMI), covering both the manufacturing and services sectors, fell to to 53.0 in December, from the prior reading of 54.5.

On the indices, a reading above 50.0 indicates expansion, below indicates contraction.

By sectors, the research group said that its flash services purchasing managers’ index (PMI) unexpectedly decreased to 52.4 in December, from the prior month’s reading of 54.5.

Analysts had expected the reading to rise to 54.6.

Services make up approximately 80% of the U.S. economy which makes the data key for interpreting growth.

To the contrary, IHS Markit said that its flash manufacturing purchasing managers’ index (PMI) increased to 55.0 in December from the prior month’s final reading of 53.9.

Economists had estimated that it would rise to just 54.2.

IHS Markit chief economist Chris Williamson said the data was a “mixed bag of news”.

“While manufacturing is ending 2017 with the wind it its sails, the service sector is struggling in the doldrums by comparison,” he said.

According to his calculations, the readings suggested GDP growth of about 2% in the fourth quarter.

“With services representing a far greater portion of the economy than manufacturing, the overall picture is therefore one of the manufacturing sector’s exuberance being overshadowed by the gloomier service sector,” Williamson explained.

After the report, EUR/USD was trading at 1.1799 from around 1.1807 ahead of the release of the data, GBP/USD was unchanged at 1.3410, while USD/JPY also remained at 112.66.

The US dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of six major rivals, traded at 93.61 compared to 93.59 before the report.

Meanwhile, U.S. stocks were trading higher after the open. The Dow 30 gained 57 points or 0.23%, the S&P 500 rose 2 points, or 0.09%, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite traded up 11 points, or 0.16%.

Elsewhere, in the commodities market, gold futures traded at $1,254.40 a troy ounce, compared to $1,254.00 ahead of the data, while U.S. crude oil changed hands at $56.48, compared to $56.30 earlier.

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USD/CAD Edges Higher as Oil Prices Slide

Investing.com - The U.S. dollar edged higher against its Canadian counterpart on Thursday, even after the Federal Reserve's latest policy statement sent the greenback broadly lower, as declining oil prices dented demand for the commodity-related Canadian currency.

USD/CAD was up 0.20% at 1.2842 by 09:30 a.m. ET (13:30 GMT).

Data on Thursday showed that U.S. retail sales rose for the third-straight month in November, while a separate report showed that U.S. initial jobless claims fell unexpectedly last week.

In a widely expected move, the Fed raised interest rates by 0.25 basis points to 1.50% at the conclusion of its policy meeting on Wednesday.

However, the central bank did not change its projections for 2018, which include three more interest rate hikes in both 2018 and 2019, disappointing expectations for four rate hikes next year.

In other news, Congressional Republicans reached a deal on final tax legislation on Wednesday, clearing the way for final votes next week.

But sentiment on the Canadian dollar was vulnerable amid declining oil prices on Thursday, amid sustained concerns over rising U.S. shale production.

The loonie was steady against the euro, with EUR/CAD at 1.5164.

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Gold Prices Trim Gains but Remain Supported

Investing.com - Gold prices trimmed gains on Thursday, after the release of upbeat U.S. data but the precious metal remained supported near one-week highs as the Federal Reserve's latest policy statement continued to weigh on the U.S. dollar.

Comex gold futures were up $7.40 or about 0.59% at $1,256.00 a troy ounce by 08:40 a.m. ET (12:40 GMT), just off a one-week high of $1,261.50 hit earlier in the day.

Data on Thursday showed that U.S. retail sales rose for the third-straight month in November, while a separate report showed that U.S. initial jobless claims fell unexpectedly last week.

In a widely expected move, the Fed raised interest rates by 0.25 basis points to 1.50% at the conclusion of its policy meeting on Wednesday.

However, the central bank did not change its projections for 2018, which include three more interest rate hikes in both 2018 and 2019, disappointing expectations for four rate hikes next year.

In other news, Congressional Republicans reached a deal on final tax legislation on Wednesday, clearing the way for final votes next week.

The U.S. dollar index, which measures the greenback’s strength against a trade-weighted basket of six major currencies, was down 0.11% at 93.32, its lowest since December 6.

Gold is sensitive to moves in both U.S. rates and the dollar. A weaker dollar makes gold less expensive for holders of foreign currency, while a rise in U.S. rates lifts the opportunity cost of holding non-yielding assets such as bullion.

Elsewhere on the Comex, silver futures were up 0.73% at $15.98 a troy ounce.

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U.S. Jobless Claims Falls by 11,000

Investing.com - The number of people who filed for unemployment assistance in the U.S. last week unexpectedly fell, at the labor market continues to strengthen, official data showed on Thursday.

The number of individuals filing for initial jobless benefits in the week ending Dec. 8 fell by 11,000 to a seasonally adjusted 225,000 from the previous week’s total of 236,000, the Department of Labor said.

Analysts had expected jobless claims to rise to 239,000 last week.

The four-week moving average was 234,750, down 6,750 from the previous week. The monthly average is seen as a more accurate gauge of labor trends because it reduces volatility in the week-to-week data.

Continuing jobless claims declined to 1.886 million from 1.913 million in the preceding week, which was revised up from 1.908 million.

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ECB Holds Rates Steady and Leaves Tapering Plans Unchanged

Investing.com – The European Central Bank acted as expected on Thursday by keeping interest rates unchanged.

Specifically, the ECB left its benchmark interest rate unchanged at 0.0%.

Furthermore, the central bank also coincided with forecasts by holding its deposit facility rate steady at -0.4% and leaving its marginal lending rate at 0.25%.

“The Governing Council expects the key ECB interest rates to remain at their present levels for an extended period of time, and well past the horizon of the net asset purchases.,” the statement repeated.

The ECB also reiterated that its plans to begin tapering its asset purchase program (APP) in January remain unchanged. Specifically, the ECB repeated that it will reduce monthly purchases from the current €60 billion ($71 billion) to €30 billion ($35.5 billion) and will extend those purchases to “the end of September 2018, or beyond, if necessary, and in any case until the Governing Council sees a sustained adjustment in the path of inflation consistent with its inflation aim”.

In yet another repeat of the last decision, the statement confirmed that, "if the outlook becomes less favorable, or if financial conditions become inconsistent with further progress towards a sustained adjustment in the path of inflation, the Governing Council stands ready to increase the APP in terms of size and/or duration".

Traders now look ahead to ECB president Mario Draghi’s press conference at 8:30AM ET (13:30GMT) to see he will offer further clues on monetary policy for the euro zone in the coming year.

After the announcement and ahead of Draghi, EUR/USD was trading at 1.1831 from around 1.1832 ahead of the release, while EUR/GBP was unchanged at 0.8811.

Meanwhile, European stock markets traded mostly lower. The benchmark Euro Stoxx 50 fell 0.47%, France's CAC 40 lost 0.26%, Germany's DAX shed 0.68%, while London’s FTSE 100 traded down 0.24%.

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Bank of England Keeps Interest Rates on Hold

Investing.com – As expected, the Bank of England (BoE) decided on Thursday to leave interest rates on hold.

Specifically, the BoE left the benchmark interest rate at 0.50%.

The decision to hike interest rates was unanimous with all nine members voting in favor.

Last month, the vote was split as seven policymakers voted to hike to 0.5%, but two deputy governors -Jon Cunliffe and Sir Dave Ramsden- wanted to leave rates on hold at just 0.25%.

Furthermore, all MPC members agreed unanimously to leave its asset purchase program unchanged as expected at £435 billion ($583.6 billion) as well as to maintain the stock of sterling non-financial investment-grade corporate bond purchases, financed by the issuance of central bank reserves, at £10 billion ($13.4 billion).

The minutes from the meeting showed commented that recent news in the macroeconomic data has been mixed and relatively limited.

While global growth has remained strong, the BoE noted that, “domestically, some activity indicators suggest GDP growth in Q4 might be slightly softer than in Q3.”

The minutes also suggested that the labor market remains tight and the BoE expects that will continue.

“Although it is too early to arrive at a comprehensive view of the effect of November’s rise in Bank Rate on the economy, the impact on interest rates faced by households and firms has been consistent with previous experience,” the minutes explained.

After recent data showed inflation increased to 3.1% in November, the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) stated that “inflation is likely to be close to its peak, and will decline towards the 2% target in the medium term”.

Commenting on the UK’s withdrawal from the European Union (EU), the BoE noted that Brexit “remains the most significant influence on, and source of uncertainty about, the economic outlook”.

The minutes further showed that the Committee remains of the view that, were the economy to follow the path expected in the November Inflation Report, "further modest increases in Bank Rate would be warranted over the next few years, in order to return inflation sustainably to the target".

"Any future increases in Bank Rate are expected to be at a gradual pace and to a limited extent," the minutes clarified.

Following the announcement, the pound weakened. GBP/USD traded at 1.3423 from around 1.3449 ahead of the publication, EUR/GBP was at 0.8814 from 0.8797 earlier, while GBP/JPY traded at 151.24 compared to 151.51 before the announcement.

Meanwhile, European stock markets traded mostly lower, paring losses seen ahead of the release. London’s FTSE 100 traded down 0.16%. The benchmark Euro Stoxx 50 lost 0.22%, France's CAC 40 slipped 0.07%, while Germany's DAX fell 0.50%.

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Weekly Comic: Crypto-Mania Reaches New Peaks as Bitcoin, Alt-Coins Surge

Investing.com - Arguably the biggest craze in global financial markets in 2017 was the cryptocurrency takeover, which coincided with declining interest in more traditional financial assets, such as stocks and commodity futures.

Back in June, the combined market capitalization of all cryptocurrencies hit a notable milestone when the industry surpassed the $100-billion-mark for the first time in history. Since then, that number has ballooned by almost 500% to $510 billion.

The lion’s share of that interest is focused on Bitcoin, possibly the world's most popular cryptocurrency. It started 2017 at $966.60 before soaring to an all-time high of $17,500 on December 12, marking a year-to-date gain of approximately 1,600%.

Besides Bitcoin, there are plenty of other lesser known alternative digital currencies that have enjoyed a remarkable run-up in prices so far this year, such as Ethereum, Litecoin, Ripple, NEM, DASH and IOTA.

The massive gains have helped give cryptocurrencies legitimacy in the eyes of some traders, but analysts have warned that an asset bubble is building.

The question on everybody's mind is when will the bubble finally pop.

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

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United Arab Emirates stocks lower at close of trade; DFM General down 1.43%

Investing.com – United Arab Emirates stocks were lower after the close on Thursday, as losses in the Transport, Real Estate&Construction and Consumer Staples sectors led shares lower.

At the close in Dubai, the DFM General fell 1.43% to hit a new 6-months low, while the ADX General index fell 1.03%.

The best performers of the session on the DFM General were Amanat Holdings PJSC (DU:AMANT), which rose 2.29% or 0.030 points to trade at 1.340 at the close. Meanwhile, Gulf Navigation Holding PJSC (DU:GNAV) added 1.50% or 0.020 points to end at 1.350 and Emirate Integrated Telecom Co PJSC (DU:DU) was up 1.22% or 0.060 points to 4.990 in late trade.

The worst performers of the session were Takaful Emarat PSC (DU:TKFE), which fell 7.00% or 0.140 points to trade at 1.860 at the close. ARAMEX PJSC (DU:ARMX) declined 5.31% or 0.250 points to end at 4.460 and Emaar Properties PJSC (DU:EMAR) was down 3.74% or 0.270 points to 6.950.

The top performers on the ADX General were Gulf Medical Projects Co PSC (AD:GMPC) which rose 14.68% to 2.50, Rak Cement Co (AD:RKCC) which was up 7.94% to settle at 0.680 and Abu Dhabi National Hotels Co (AD:ADNH) which gained 7.41% to close at 2.90.

The worst performers were Nat Bk Qaiwain (AD:NBQ) which was down 6.67% to 2.80 in late trade, Ad Natl Ins Co (AD:ADNI) which lost 5.26% to settle at 3.600 and Ad Natl Energy (AD:TAQA) which was down 5.00% to 0.570 at the close.

Falling stocks outnumbered advancing ones on the Dubai Stock Exchange by 25 to 10 and 4 ended unchanged; on the Abu Dhabi, 20 fell and 7 advanced, while 7 ended unchanged.

Shares in Amanat Holdings PJSC (DU:AMANT) rose to all time highs; gaining 2.29% or 0.030 to 1.340. Shares in Takaful Emarat PSC (DU:TKFE) fell to 52-week lows; falling 7.00% or 0.140 to 1.860. Shares in Emaar Properties PJSC (DU:EMAR) fell to 52-week lows; down 3.74% or 0.270 to 6.950.

Crude oil for January delivery was down 0.09% or 0.05 to $56.55 a barrel. Elsewhere in commodities trading, Brent oil for delivery in February rose 0.02% or 0.01 to hit $62.45 a barrel, while the February Gold Futures contract rose 0.78% or 9.70 to trade at $1258.30 a troy ounce.

USD/AED was unchanged 0.00% to 3.6730, while EUR/AED rose 0.03% to 4.3455.

The US Dollar Index Futures was up 0.02% at 93.42.

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Bitcoin Pushes Higher, Ethereum Hits Fresh Record

Investing.com - Virtual currency bitcoin pushed higher on Thursday after ending the previous session lower, while bitcoin futures were slightly higher in thin trade on the Cboe Futures Exchange.

On the U.S.-based Bitfinex exchange, Bitcoin was at $16,510 by 05:45 AM ET (10:45 GMT), after sliding 4.6% to $16,181 late Wednesday.

Prices hit a record high of $17,500 on the exchange on Tuesday after starting 2017 at around $1,000. Prices have surged more than 1,600% this year, fueling warnings over an asset bubble.

Cboe bitcoin futures traded up around 0.7% at $17,220. On Wednesday, the futures, which expire in January, settled down 5.7% at $17,055.

Larger exchange CME Group (NASDAQ:CME) is to begin initial listings of bitcoin futures contracts on December 18.

Bitcoin enthusiasts hope the launch of bitcoin derivatives will allow institutional investors to buy into the digital currency trend, helping establish bitcoin as a legitimate asset class and pave the way for an exchange-traded fund.

Elsewhere in cryptocurrency trading, Bitcoin Cash was last at $1,856.70, while Bitcoin Gold was at $344.17.

Ethereum, the second most valuable cryptocurrency by market cap after bitcoin, was at $720 after hitting a fresh record high of $756.21 earlier.

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