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  • Our picks

    • A (relatively) settled session - APAC brief 12 Dec
      A (relatively) settled session: It’s been a soft day for global equities. With almost exactly two-hours to go in the US session at time of writing, another modest rally has apparently been faded by traders. Indications are that Wall Street will close lower. If proven true, this will punctuate a mixed day for Europe, and quite a solid day for the Asian region. The former found little impetus to be bid higher, while the Asian session showed the ebullience of diminishing trade tensions. Scanning the major indices, volumes were up compared to their 100-day average, however were slightly down when compared to their 10-day and 20-day average. It reveals a market that is more settled than what it has otherwise been seen during the global share-market correction – but remains vigilant and prepared to turn at the sight of bad-news.

      Global growth: Given price action in last night’s trade was relatively more subdued, traders and analysts seemed able to take the clearer air to reflect on current market drivers. The theme that’s popped up consistently in the last 24 hours can be crudely articulated as “downside risks to growth”. It was a theme adopted by ECB President Mario Draghi during his press conference following last night’s ECB Meeting; and it was also referenced by PBOC last night in relation to China’s economic fortunes. It bears repeating: October, November and December in markets have been characterizes by bearishness, of course. However, the causes throughout this period have shifted. What was initially a sell-off catalysed by fears regarding higher US interest rates has transformed into one driven by fears about slower global economic growth.
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    • Theresa May survives, Second Canadian diplomat apprehended in China - EMEA Brief 13 Dec
      Prime Minister Theresa May won a vote of no confidence in her leadership of the Conservative party last night. The results showed that Mrs May won the vote by 200 to 117, securing 63% of the total votes, she is now immune from any further vote's of no confidence for a year.
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    • What’s making headlines - APAC brief 13 Dec
      What’s making headlines: There’s an hour and a half to go in the US session and global equities are up. Let’s assume they finish that way – there is plenty of room for clarification (and rationalization) late-on, if need be. Traders have taken the new green shoots in the trade-war and spun them into a positive narrative. Sure, the old green shots lay trampled below the new ones, but perhaps this time around the positivity will be given a chance to thrive. The other story hogging headlines in the financial press is the vote motion UK Prime Minister May’s leadership of the Tories. Market confidence has been shaken by that development, but as we wake-up this morning, the balance of opinion seems to be suggesting that May will win the day.

      The data side-show: Politics is driving markets still, which is always dangerous – it’s often a distortionary influence on prices rather than a revealer of fundamental facts. However, the fundamental economic data that was handed to traders overnight supported their optimism. Arguably the most significant release for the week, US CPI figures delivered a bang-on forecast number. If you’re a bull, locked in an environment where there exists fear of a global economic slowdown on one side, and fears about higher global interest rates on the other, a moderate outcome to any data-release is welcomed. Fundamental data last night was light otherwise, with US crude oil inventories the next most important release. It overshot forecasts, but still showed shrinking supplies, which boosted oil prices and (at the very least) didn’t detract from the bullish sentiment.
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    • China to cut US car tariffs from 40% to 15%- EMEA Brief 12 Dec
      Asia stocks were higher Wednesday morning; Nikkei 225 rising over 2%, ASX 200 up by 1.25% and Hang Seng Index around 1.36%. This was followed by the news of China to cut US car tariffs from the planned 40% to 15%, the same tax charge on car imports from other countries
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    • The pattern continues - APAC brief 12 Dec
      The pattern continues: Wall Street indices have been swinging about madly again. The pattern continues: an open, a rally or fall, then a retracement or recovery. Today we’ve had an open, a rally, then retracement, then a recovery again. There were stories behind this price-action. Everything that happened overnight appeared perfectly explicable. One wonders though if the swings in trading activity are being overly attributed to headlines. Or perhaps it’s the case that higher volatility and sensitive nerves are leading to accentuated moves. Whatever the cause, fundamentally, the bears still have control of the equity market. There is a softer intensity to the selling on Wall Street this week. However, with the extremeness of last week’s moves having not been unwound yet, what we are seeing is sellers piling in on top of sellers, bit by bit.

      ASX200: SPI futures have turned positive, after oscillating wildly during the overnight session. That contract is indicating a 17-point jump for the ASX200 at time of writing. Yesterday was a tepid but respectable day for Australian shares, managing to muster a 0.4 per cent gain for the day. Volume was slightly above the 100-day average and breadth was okay. Growth stocks led the charge, following US tech’s gains the night prior, with the health care sector up 1.7 per cent, courtesy of a strong bid for CSL and ResMed. The materials space was the biggest points score for the index, adding 8 to the overall index’s performance. The trend is still down for the ASX200, as it is with global equity indices presently. However, yesterday’s daily candle, combined with a bullish divergence on the RSI, suggests some buyers are re-entering the market in the short-term, potentially offering temporary upside to ~5700.
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    • Trading in Asia was mixed as US shares stabilized overnight. In the meanwhile, the ongoing discussions between China and the US adds uncertainty.
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    • Brexit pains - APAC brief 11 Dec
      Day 1 of 5: Monday looks like it may be one of those days where Wall Street hesitantly pulls itself up out of the dirt in the final hours of trade. There is just under two-hours to go in the US session, and at a high level, things appear not-too-bad. Let's return to America a little later. Whichever way we happen to end the first 24 hours of trade for the week, heightened risk, growth fears and bearishness is still driving sentiment. There has been no shift in market behaviour to indicate a market turnaround is upon us yet. If anything, the headlines regarding the macro-landscape added to the negativity. The data traders received was mixed; rather it was the numerous developments in the politico-economic sphere that inflamed trader's trepidation.

      The Brexit tragicomedy: The big story overnight must be Brexit. This week ought to be about the state of Europe, and at its outset, it has been. If the potential consequences weren't so dire, the situation would appear comical – akin to some absurd, but all-too real life Waiting for Godot re-boot. First-up, the European Court of Justice released a ruling that the UK could unilaterally cancel Brexit and revoke its action of Article 50. UK Prime Minister Theresa May has dutifully shut down that notion. But things did get sticky when Prime Minister May announced she would delay a vote in Parliament of her Brexit bill, on the understanding she lacked anywhere near the required votes to get it passed lawmakers.
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