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Top content from across the community, hand-picked by us.

Dividend Adjustments 31 Dec - 7 Jan
Please see the expected dividend adjustment figures for a number of our major indices for the week commencing 31 Dec 2018. If you have any queries or questions on this please let us know in the comments section below. For further information regarding dividend adjustments, and how they affect  your positions, please take a look at the video.
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Not so Happy New year; China manufacturing slowdown - EMEA Brief 2 Jan
Asian equities began the new year in the red as Chinese manufacturing had a worse December than expectations, PMI dropped to 49.7 from 50.2 in November. Hong Kong's Hang Seng fell by 2.4% and the Shanghai Composite declined by 1.2%, while the ASX 200 dropped by 1.6%.
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Will 2018's turbulence continue into the New Year? - EMEA Brief 31 Dec
China's stock market leads 2018 losses with both major indexes, the Shanghai composite and the Shenzhen component each facing annual declines of over 24%.
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Friday’s trade: APAC brief - 31 Dec
Friday’s trade: Activity in global markets was more settled on Friday. There isn’t a consensus yet whether the trading witnessed last week was a dead-cat bounce, or a true bottom. Nevertheless, perhaps the lack of substantial news flow was enough to keep the bulls and bears from clashing heads for one day. The ASX200 impressed the bullishly inclined, albeit once again on thin trade, to add 1 per cent during the Asian session. The index managed to chop through the cluster of resistance between 5600 and 5630, to end the week at 5654. The rest of the Asian region put in a mixed performance, with China’s market finishing 0.44 per cent higher and Japan’s Nikkei ending 0.31 per cent. Europe fared well, ending its week in a sea of green, while US indices were also mixed.


Final day of 2018: Today is quite obviously the last trading day of 2018 and it caps off an extraordinary month – and an extraordinary year, at that. A reliance on the calendar as a way of defining and measuring market success is shallow. But for purely rhetorical purposes: who would have thought that a year that would contain two all-time highs for Wall Street would culminate in a negative year for global equities? In a similar vein: what about the gang buster earnings, and white-hot economic growth – does this seem like the end of a year that contained both those things? It’s reductive to distil the year’s market action to those two points, however it does highlight how unconventional and sometimes strange this year has been in global markets.
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Post in US 500 - Potential Shorting Opportunity
What are your thoughts? "Some extreme volatility at the moment. Some of the most I have seen over the past few days on the S&P 500. I think this Christmas period will be very volatile with less volume. This seems like it is a massive short covering rally which is likely to be bigger than normal due to sharp and large recent drop downwards."
End of year FX swap rates - significant moves currently likely
Please be aware that due to year end market factors we are seeing significant moves in the funding rates for most FX pairs. This has been observed across the market, although some pairs are looking to be worse affected than others (most notably if you are short US dollars). These factors include financial institutions balancing their books before the end of the year, putting a strain on certain currencies.
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US markets close higher in volatile session - EMEA Brief 28 Dec
US equities rallied late on Thursday to close higher in a wild session which saw the Dow finishing 1.1% up, after initially falling over 500 points earlier in the day. The S&P and Nasdaq also fell 2.8% and 3.3% respectively, but both ended in positive territory after the late surge.
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Pull back - APAC brief 28 Dec
A pull-back amid interesting activity: Markets received their slingshot higher and continue to swing about in both directions. That’s the key takeaway from last night’s trade; of course, that’s all too general, though – akin to explaining a rally in the market to their being more buyers-than-sellers. Yes, it’s self-evidently true, however it does little to answer the question of “why?”. Overall, market activity in the last 24-hours has provided a much greater and more nuance picture than what we got from the one-way rally in US markets on Boxing Day. There are now burgeoning answers to some of the questions traders have been asking; like any complex phenomenon though, the answers only lead to more questions. As a trader, this is daunting, but reason for excitement: risk is everywhere, so volatility is higher – but opportunities abound.


The real versus paper economy: It could be a far too grand a notion: the push and pull in financial markets at present is being driven by confusion regarding the current relationship between the “paper (or financial) economy”, and the “real economy”. The fact that such a distinction exists feels absurd. Shouldn’t proper functioning financial markets be the vessel to allocate capital efficiently throughout a (“real”) economy? In principle, that ought to be so. In this world, that axiom seems far from true. The battle being waged within markets at present – and this unfolded in a significant way overnight – is between economic policy makers (a la the US Federal Reserve) on one hand, and financial market participants on the other: the former says things are alright, while the latter is indicating everywhere that things are not okay.
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The FT's year in review
The FT have recently posted a great article which I tried to share to friends but you needed to have subscription. Given its the last hour of work and it's quiet as hell I thought I may as well give a synopsis of the major events which have happened this year. Which ones do you remember?
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Dow Pares Losses Following Worst Christmas Eve Ever - EMEA Brief 27 Dec
The three main American indices: the Dow, the S&P and the NASDAQ all rose over 4% on boxing day following the Dow’s worst Christmas eve ever.
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Wall Street momentum - APAC brief 27 Dec
A big bounce, but a bottom? There’s little shortage of folks calling a bottom in the market this morning, but in truth it’s too early to tell if we are there yet. Sentiment indicators and other market internals suggest that the market could be oversold right now, however a short squeeze here-and-there and a shake-out of a few opportunistic bears doesn’t necessarily mark a change of trend. It’ll be returned to towards the end of this note, but in the interest of providing context, Wall Street is registering a solid day of activity, with its three major indices up over 2-and-a-half per sent so far in the session. It’s setting up a solid day’s trading for the Asian region, and likely Europe when it re-opens tonight, on what poses as a thin albeit positive day for stocks.

Wall Street momentum to lift ASX: After a two-day hiatus, Australian equity markets reopen this morning. The last price on SPI Futures is indicating a 35-point pop for the ASX200 at today’s open, though that price, it must be remarked, comes from its closing price on December 24th. A lot has transpired in the 48 hours-or-so during the Christmas public holiday period: immense sell-offs in certain markets, more political chaos and uncertainty in the US, and now an ample bounce in US stocks. Considering the time of year, the Australian share market is more than likely to experience another session of thin trade today. Monday’s session, for example, saw volume 63.40 per cent below the 30-day average. In saying this, though unsubstantial, Wall Street’s momentum looks likely to carry our market higher.
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Late Dec ‘18 crypto rally
"Has anyone been in this recent rally?" That's the question Community users have been asking. Get involved with the discussion and see the fundamental reasons behind the recent rally. What's your strategy? Which cryptos are you trading? Discuss and get the most out of your strategy and planning.
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How to use Commitments of Traders data
"Recently we have touched on an interesting and oft little know resource that technical and fundamentals traders alike leverage.  The US Commodity and Futures Trading Commission issues the positions "commitments" of traders on the exchanges covering a wide range of markets (see link below)."
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What are IG's Christmas 2018 dealing hours?
You can find some details on our trading hours below (all times GMT), or for the UK more info is available here. For areas outside of the UK you can find relevant hours on your local IG.com H&S (visit IG.com and use the Help and Support link in the top black navigation strip).  

 
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U.S. Government Shutdown set to continue - EMEA Brief 24 Dec
The U.S. Government has seen turmoil over the weekend after "Trump's Wall" disagreement on Friday resulted in a government shutdown.


Trump will be bringing in the new year with new Defence Secretary. Patrick Shanahan will replace James Mattis on 1st January, earlier than expected. 
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Wall Street rout - APAC brief 24 Dec
Wall Street rout: Wall Street capped-off last week with another day of considerable losses, even despite Europe posting an okay day. Come the end of the trading session, the Dow Jones had lost 1.81 per cent, the S&P500 had lost 2.06 per cent and the NASDAQ had lost 2.99 per cent. The fact markets are entering the thin holiday period doesn’t help. One assumes that many-a investor would be rather reluctant to be sitting at Christmas lunch this year holding open-positions in equities given this market. Friday’s volume was extraordinarily high, especially in the Dow Jones, which saw activity 140% of its 30-day average. That statistic is particularly remarkable when considering that the past 30 days have seen volumes at levels very elevated by broader historical standards.

A down day, week, month, quarter: Looking at the S&P500 as the natural benchmark, US equities have shed 12.5 per cent so far in December, and 17.1 per cent in the fourth quarter. The 14-day RSI is flashing signs of an oversold market presently, however historical trading patterns suggest the S&P can dive lower, and momentum indicators are showing bearish-momentum is still building. A technical bear market, defined as a 20 per cent drop from previous highs, looks reasonably imminent given the current context. The NASDAQ, for one, is already there. Perhaps another concerning signal, IG’s sentiment measure is indicating traders are 70 per cent net long the S&P, implying that many traders may be trying “catch a falling knife”. If big-money keeps selling, the unwinding of these long positions could hasten the market’s tumble.




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Facebook to create a Cryptocurrency for Whatsapp- EMEA Brief 21 Dec
Facebook Inc. works on its plans to create a cryptocurrency allowing money to be transferred on Whatsapp, focusing on the remittances market in India first
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Is an edge important?
"I read somewhere that it is important to have an edge in trading. An edge over other traders. I didn’t really understand why. If I shared my trading strategy and enough people copied it exactly, then would it become more successful in that it will become a self fulfilling prophecy?  Or would it become less successful because I no longer had an edge?"
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Markets Decline on Fed Rate Hike - EMEA Brief 20 Dec
Markets fall as Fed raised US interest rate from 2.25% to 2.5%At its lowest the Dow fell over 4% following the announcement (its lowest point in over a year) of which it has now seen a small retracement.
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Fed on tap - APAC brief 20 Dec
Fed on tap: It’s a commentary written on the fly this morning, as developments out of this morning’s US Federal Reserve meeting are being digested by markets. The Fed has hiked rates just as they were expected to do, with market participants now trawling through the fine print in the Fed’s commentary. We were expecting a “dovish hike”; what we got looks like a “less-dovish than-expected-hike”. The dot plots were revised as presumed: the Fed has told the markets that it expects interest rates to be lifted twice in 2019, rather than the three-times implied in the September dot-plots. It also downgraded its growth expectations and hinted unemployment is likely to pick up in the medium term. Overall, though, at first glance this looks like a Fed reasonably content with their policy position, as well as the position of the US economy.


First responders: Price action in markets have been interesting. The message being delivered by the Fed is somewhat curious. Initial judgements are that they’ve struck quite an effective tone, albeit one that was probably different to that which was implied in market pricing prior to the event. US stocks are paring their gains for the day; volume has returned to Wall Street, after being below its average for most of the session last night. The NASDAQ is in the red presently: momentum stocks (read: information technology firms) are being hurt by the “less-dovish” Fed. Investors don’t want to buy into growth, it would seem. The intraday trend is pointing to a down day for Wall Street, though naturally that could turn in the next hour-and-a-half.
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Could Bitcoin have finally found stability? - EMEA Brief 19 Dec
Bitcoin could have bottomed as its priced stabilized after the big disappointment it gave earlier this year.
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US Fed watch: APAC brief 19 Dec
US Fed watch: The US Fed meeting has been kickstarted and the markets are shuffling around in anticipation. US equities at time of writing are putting in a mixed performance, though al major Wall Street indices remain trading below key technical levels. It comes following a day in which Asian and European markets sold-off in sympathy with Monday night’s rout in North American shares. A desire for safety has supported a bid in US Treasuries: they are higher across the board. Interest rates traders are also grinding away, pricing out point-by-point interest rates hikes from the Fed in 2019. The US Dollar has dipped as traders take safety in other haven currencies: the US Dollar Index is below 97, mostly courtesy of a play into the EUR and the Japanese Yen. The weaker greenback has provided a lift in gold prices, with the yellow metal trading just below support at $US1250 per ounce.


The Fed’s biggest critic: Everyone has an opinion on what the Fed ought to do, it seems. The most powerful voice of all, US President Donald Trump, has certainly weighed in on the subject, Tweeting: “I hope the people over at the Fed will read today’s Wall Street Journal Editorial before they make yet another mistake. Also, don’t let the market become any more illiquid than it already is. Stop with the 50 B’s. Feel the market, don’t just go by meaningless numbers. Good luck!” Never mind that President Trump’s policies, from major tax cuts and his trade war have contributed to the Fed’s invidious position. The President clearly is noting his concern about one of his hitherto favourite measures of personal success: the health of the US stock market. Whether rightly or wrongly, market participants, as contained within the price action in global markets, appear to agree with President Trump.
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Indicator update: Customising RSI levels
On the back of client feedback we now offer the possibility to customise the RSI levels on desktop and mobile devices. To do so, click on the RSI label once you have enable the indicator on your chart. This will open a dialog box that will allow you to change the levels (which are set at the default levels of 30/70), as well as customise the period and the colour of the lines.
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FOMC - Wednesday 19th Dec - 1900 GMT
Trend of boring FOMC meetings likely ending tomorrow, expect significant USD and index moves through the rate decision. 25 bps rise expected but by no means certain, Trump already on the warpath.
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Concerns over Rate Hikes and Economic Slowdown - EMEA Brief 18 Dec
The FOMC will begin its 2 day meeting today, with the markets expecting a 25 basis points interest rate increase upon its announcement on Wednesday, which would make this its fourth hike this year. 


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