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

    December 14, 2017, 05:52

    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%

    December 14, 2017, 05:35

    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.

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

    December 14, 2017, 05:35

    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.

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

    December 14, 2017, 05:35

    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%

    December 14, 2017, 05:35

    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.

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

    December 14, 2017, 05:20

    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.

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

    December 14, 2017, 05:15

    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.

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

    December 14, 2017, 05:15

    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.

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

    December 14, 2017, 05:10

    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.

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

    December 14, 2017, 05:05

    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.

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

    December 14, 2017, 05:05

    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.

    Read More
  • Forex- U.S. Dollar Recovers After Positive Economic Data

    December 14, 2017, 04:29

    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.

    Read More
  • Crude Oil Prices Mixed, U.S. Production Worries Persist

    December 14, 2017, 02:59

    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.

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

    December 14, 2017, 02:49

    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

    December 14, 2017, 02:28

    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.

    Read More
  • Gold Prices Trim Gains but Remain Supported

    December 14, 2017, 01:43

    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

    December 14, 2017, 01:38

    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

    December 14, 2017, 12:45

    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

    December 14, 2017, 12:00

    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

    December 14, 2017, 11:44

    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%

    December 14, 2017, 11:15

    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

    December 14, 2017, 10:59

    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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  • India stocks higher at close of trade; Nifty 50 up 0.58%

    December 14, 2017, 10:45

    Investing.com – India stocks were higher after the close on Thursday, as gains in the Oil&Gas, Fast Moving Consumer Goods and Banking sectors led shares higher.

    At the close in NSE, the Nifty 50 gained 0.58%, while the BSE Sensex 30 index added 0.59%.

    The best performers of the session on the Nifty 50 were Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Ltd (NS:HPCL), which rose 3.26% or 13.80 points to trade at 437.25 at the close. Meanwhile, Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories Ltd (NS:REDY) added 2.35% or 53.05 points to end at 2310.65 and Cipla Ltd. (NS:CIPL) was up 2.40% or 13.85 points to 590.45 in late trade.

    The worst performers of the session were Tata Consultancy Services Ltd. (NS:TCS), which fell 2.67% or 70.20 points to trade at 2557.80 at the close. GAIL Ltd (NS:GAIL) declined 0.77% or 3.80 points to end at 487.10 and UPL Ltd (NS:UPLL) was down 0.82% or 5.95 points to 719.60.

    The top performers on the BSE Sensex 30 were Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories Ltd (BO:REDY) which rose 2.34% to 2313.70, Cipla Ltd. (BO:CIPL) which was up 2.22% to settle at 591.00 and ITC Ltd (BO:ITC) which gained 1.87% to close at 263.90.

    The worst performers were Tata Consultancy Services Ltd. (BO:TCS) which was down 2.62% to 2558.55 in late trade, Gail (India) Ltd. (BO:GAIL) which lost 0.93% to settle at 486.95 and Sun Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. (BO:SUN) which was down 0.48% to 514.30 at the close.

    Falling stocks outnumbered advancing ones on the India National Stock Exchange by 1010 to 563 and 32 ended unchanged; on the Bombay Stock Exchange, 1506 fell and 1056 advanced, while 164 ended unchanged.

    The India VIX, which measures the implied volatility of Nifty 50 options, was up 2.90% to 16.4075 a new 6-months high.

    Gold Futures for February delivery was up 0.76% or 9.50 to $1258.10 a troy ounce. Elsewhere in commodities trading, Crude oil for delivery in January rose 0.04% or 0.02 to hit $56.62 a barrel, while the February Brent oil contract rose 0.29% or 0.18 to trade at $62.62 a barrel.

    USD/INR was up 0.00% to 64.332, while EUR/INR fell 0.28% to 76.0190.

    The US Dollar Index Futures was up 0.11% at 93.50.

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  • South Korea Eyes Measures to Curtail Cryptocurrency Frenzy

    December 14, 2017, 10:40

    Investing.com - South Korea's government said on Wednesday that it is planning to implement new regulations to curtail speculation on cryptocurrencies.
    The proposed measures range from levying capital-gain taxes on trading cryptocurrencies, to restricting financial firms from holding, acquiring and investing in them.
    Exchanges that want to operate business would need to meet certain conditions including depositing customer funds separately and disclosing bid-ask price and trading volumes.
    No timeline has been set for when the measures would be implemented.
    Monthly cryptocurrency trading volume on South Korea’s largest exchange Bithumb surged to 56 trillion won or $51 billion in November from 305 billion won in January, according to the exchange, which has around 1.5 million users.
    At one point last week, the country accounted for as much as a quarter of global bitcoin trading activity, outstripping that of the U.S., according to Coinhills, a data firm that tracks digital currencies.

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  • Crude Oil Prices Waver as Investors Weigh OPEC Curb Against. U.S. Shale Output

    December 14, 2017, 10:38

    Investing.com – Oil prices showed mixed trade on Thursday after two-straight sessions of declines as market participants continued to weigh the battle between the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries’ (OPEC) attempts to curb global supply while U.S. shale producers continued to ramp up output.

    The U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude January contract fell 5 cents, or 0.09%, to $56.55 a barrel by 5:37AM ET (10:37GMT) Friday.

    Elsewhere, Brent oil for February delivery on the ICE Futures Exchange in London gained 11 cents, or 0.18%, to $62.55 a barrel.

    Crude oil prices settled lower on Wednesday 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.

    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.

    Supporting bulls, reports out on Thursday pointed to the rumors that OPEC along with other non-OPEC producers led by Russia may be considering output cuts beyond the current timeframe which sees curbs until the end of 2018. The group agreed on the nine-month extension to the end of next year in a decision only just made in a gathering at the end of November.

    However, concern remains that current prices will give U.S. shale companies sufficient reason to ramp up production to fill in the gaps, offsetting attempts to rebalance markets. OPEC’s monthly report highlighted that production outside the cartel is “associated with considerable uncertainties”. U.S. oil supply is now expected to grow by 1.1 million bpd in 2018, an upward revision of 180,000 barrels, according to the report.

    In the same line of thinking the International Energy Agency warned Thursday that there were signs that the ongoing rise in U.S. crude oil production was likely to continue into 2018 and upset rivals who are cutting back.

    "We see that 2018 might not be quite so happy for OPEC producers," the Paris-based organization said in its latest monthly report released on Thursday.

    The IEA forecast that non-OPEC supply, which includes the U.S., was set to rise by 600,000 barrels per day (bpd) in 2017, and 1.6 million bpd in 2018. It also noted that global oil supply rose 200,000 bpd in November to 97.8 million bpd, adding that this was "the highest in a year, on the back of rising U.S. production."

    To also take into consideration for Thursday’s session, a weaker-than-expected reading on Chinese industrial production dampened sentiment overnight, although a strong refinery throughput helped keep hopes on the rise.

    China's November crude runs reach 49.4 million metric tons, up 8.1% on year with January to November crude runs up 5.2% to 518.66 million metric tons even as domestic crude oil production fell 2.5% on year to 15.7 million metric tons with year-to-date output at 175.64 million metric tons, down 4.1%.

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  • Indonesia stocks higher at close of trade; IDX Composite Index up 0.98%

    December 14, 2017, 10:15

    Investing.com – Indonesia stocks were higher after the close on Thursday, as gains in the Basic Industry, Miscellaneous Industry and Property sectors led shares higher.

    At the close in Jakarta, the IDX Composite Index added 0.98% to hit a new all time high.

    The best performers of the session on the IDX Composite Index were Voksel Electric Tbk (JK:VOKS), which rose 24.30% or 52 points to trade at 266 at the close. Meanwhile, Pelat Timah Nusantara Tbk (JK:NIKL) added 16.80% or 630 points to end at 4380 and Alfa Energi Investama Tbk PT (JK:FIRE) was up 16.52% or 190 points to 1340 in late trade.

    The worst performers of the session were Tambang Batubara Bukit Asam (JK:PTBA), which fell 80.00% or 8960 points to trade at 2240 at the close. Perdana Bangun Pusaka Tbk PT (JK:KONI) declined 20.26% or 62 points to end at 244 and Visi Telekomunikasi Infrastruktur Tbk PT (JK:GOLD) was down 19.84% or 125 points to 505.

    Rising stocks outnumbered declining ones on the Jakarta Stock Exchange by 186 to 135 and 135 ended unchanged.

    Shares in Perdana Bangun Pusaka Tbk PT (JK:KONI) fell to 52-week lows; down 20.26% or 62 to 244.

    Crude oil for January delivery was down 0.02% or 0.01 to $56.59 a barrel. Elsewhere in commodities trading, Brent oil for delivery in February rose 0.22% or 0.14 to hit $62.58 a barrel, while the February Gold Futures contract rose 0.70% or 8.80 to trade at $1257.40 a troy ounce.

    USD/IDR was up 0.21% to 13575.0, while AUD/IDR rose 0.56% to 10338.00.

    The US Dollar Index Futures was up 0.06% at 93.46.

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  • Dollar Holds Steady as Markets Digest Fed Statement

    December 14, 2017, 10:15

    Investing.com - The dollar held steady against other major currencies on Thursday, as markets were still digesting the Federal Reserve's latest policy statement, while looking ahead to a string of U.S. economic reports due later in the day.

    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.

    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 little changed at 93.4 by 05:15 a.m. ET (09:15 GMT), just off a one-week low of 93.33 hit overnight.

    The euro was steady, with EUR/USD at 1.1821, while GBP/USD rose 0.22% to 1.3447.

    Earlier Thursday, official data showed that UK retail sales rose more than expected in November.

    Meanwhile, the euro zone registered its fastest growth in business activity in almost seven years this month.

    Elsewhere, the yen and the Swiss franc were lower, with USD/JPY up 0.20% at 112.76 and with USD/CHF gaining 0.30% to 0.9884.

    The Swiss National Bank left its benchmark interest rate unchanged at record-low -0.75%, in line with expectations.

    The Australian dollar was stronger, with AUD/USD up 0.34% at 0.7662, while NZD/USD dropped 0.36% to 0.6999.

    In Australia, data earlier showed that the number of employed people increased by 61,600 in November, beating expectations for a 19,200 rise. The unemployment rate remained unchaned at 5.4%, in line with expectations.

    Meanwhile, USD/CAD added 0.17% to trade at 1.2838.

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  • Sterling near Day’s Highs after UK Retail Data; BoE Ahead

    December 14, 2017, 10:10

    Investing.com - The pound was near the day’s highs on Thursday after data showing that UK retail sales rose at a far faster pace than expected last month as investors awaited the outcome of the Bank of England’s monetary policy meeting later in the day.

    GBP/USD was up 0.25% to 1.3452 by 03:40 AM ET (08:40 AM GMT) from around 1.3447 earlier.

    Retail sales jumped 1.1% in November, up from 0.5% in October and well ahead of economists' forecasts of a 0.4% rise, the Office for National Statistics reported.

    Retail sales volumes were 1.6% higher than a year earlier, up from a flat reading in October.

    Sales were boosted as shoppers took advantage of Black Friday bargains but the report also indicated that the underlying trend was weaker.

    Sales in the three months to November grew by just 1.0% compared with a year earlier, the weakest since May 2013.

    The report also pointed to rising inflation pressures, with average shop prices up 3.1% in November from a year earlier.

    The fall in the pound since last year’s Brexit vote has fueled inflation by pushing up the cost of imported goods. With inflation outstripping wage growth pressure on household spending is likely to worsen which could dampen growth.

    Investors were looking ahead to the BoE announcement later Thursday, with no change expected after a rate hike last month. Instead investors will be focusing on the meeting minutes for hints of further action in 2018 and the bank’s view on Brexit.

    The Federal Reserve raised interest rates as expected at its meeting on Wednesday and left its interest rate projections for 2018 unchanged.

    Meanwhile, sterling was higher against the euro, with EUR/GBP down 0.31% at 0.8789.

    In the euro zone, data on Thursday showed that the economy picked up further momentum in at the end of 2017, with December seeing the fastest growth in business activity in almost seven years.

    The European Central Bank was expected to keep rates on hold following its meeting later Thursday, with investors awaiting any fresh forward guidance from ECB chief Mario Draghi on the bank's bond buying program.

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  • Gold Rises to One Week High After Fed Rate Hike

    December 14, 2017, 10:01

    Investing.com - Gold rose to a one-week high on Thursday as the Federal Reserve raised interest rates amid growing concern that inflation is stagnating.

    Comex gold futures rose 0.74% to $1,257.80 a troy ounce as of 4:57 AM ET (09:57 AM GMT).

    The Federal Open Market Committee on Wednesday raised rates for the third time in 2017 as expected, forecasting further rate hikes despite concerns over the slowing pace of inflation. Gold is sensitive to rising rates, which increase the opportunity cost of holding non-yielding assets such as bullion, while boosting the dollar, in which it is priced.

    Fed officials also hiked their projection for economic growth in 2017 to 2.5%, while growth in 2018 was expected to rise to 2.5%, a 0.4% increase from the Fed’s September projection.

    Gold was also bolstered by comments from U.S. President Donald Trump, who said he hopes to sign the tax reform bill “in a very short period of time." The highly anticipated bill will cut corporate taxes from 20% from 35%, which investors believe would help companies invest more and boost the economy.

    Meanwhile the U.S. dollar index, which measures the greenback against a basket of six major currencies, inched forward 0.06% to 93.46.

    Tepid inflation data has put pressure on the greenback, as investors lower their expectations for a faster pace of rate hikes next year.

    The Labor Department said on Wednesday its Consumer Price index rose 0.4% in November. However, year-over-year core inflation was below expectations, rising just 1.7%.

    Elsewhere on the Comex, silver futures surged 1.24% to $16.065 a troy ounce. Among other precious metals, platinum rose 0.97% to $883.85, while palladium were down 0.21% to $1,001.92 an ounce.

    Meanwhile, copper futures rallied 0.28% to $3.062 a pound.

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  • Top 5 Things to Know in the Market on Thursday

    December 14, 2017, 09:59

    Investing.com - Here are the top five things you need to know in financial markets on Thursday, December 14:

    1. Dollar Stabilizes After Post-Fed Slide

    The dollar stabilized against a basket of the other major currencies, having slid after the Federal Reserve raised interest rates as expected, but left its rate-hike projection for 2018 unchanged due to concerns over the sluggish inflation outlook.

    The U.S. dollar index, which measures the greenback’s strength against a trade-weighted basket of six major currencies, was little changed at 93.42, after falling 0.7% from a one-month high on Wednesday.

    The Fed raised interest rates for a third time this year and indicated that it would stay on a similar path next year, disappointing some dollar bulls who had speculated the U.S. central bank could raise its interest rate projection for next year to four rate hikes.

    The central bank also said it expected inflation to remain below its target for another year, tempering expectations for an accelerated pace of rate hikes.

    Looking ahead, the Commerce Department will publish data on retail sales for November at 8:30AM ET (1330GMT). The consensus forecast is that the report will show retail sales increased 0.3% last month. Core sales are forecast to gain 0.7%.

    2. Global Stocks Mixed as Markets Brace For 'Central Bank-A-Palooza'

    Global stock markets were mixed, as investors reacted to the Federal Reserve's decision to raise interest rates, while awaiting policy decisions from the European Central Bank and Bank of England.

    Most Asian-Pacific markets closed slightly lower, as a decline in the region's financial stocks weighed.

    In Europe, the majority of the continent's bourses were in negative territory in mid-morning trade, as financial sectors caught the cold from U.S. and Asian trading.

    On Wall Street, U.S. stock futures pointed to a slightly higher open. The Dow and the Nasdaq ended higher on Wednesday, but the S&P could not sustain gains in choppy trading following the release of the Fed's statement.

    3. European Central Bank Policy Meeting

    The European Central Bank's latest interest rate decision is due at 1245GMT (7:45AM ET), with no major policy changes expected.

    Most of the focus will be on President Mario Draghi's press conference 45 minutes after the announcement, where he is most likely to reiterate his pledge to support the economy and maintain super-low borrowing costs in the months ahead.

    The ECB will also unveil initial 2020 inflation projections, which will likely show price growth at or just below target, rising only gradually over the coming three years, lending support to the bank's decision to withdraw monetary stimulus only slowly.

    The euro was little changed against the dollar, with EUR/USD at 1.1830, having advanced 0.7% the previous day.

    4. Bank of England Policy Announcement

    The Bank of England will announce its rate decision at 1200GMT (7:00AM ET), with analysts expecting no major change in policy, as policymakers grapple with uncertainty over Brexit, low wage growth and weak productivity, which are all weighing on the economy.

    Last month, the BoE added back the 25 basis points it took off borrowing costs in the aftermath of the Brexit vote, taking interest rates back to 0.50%, but said it sees only gradual rises ahead as Britain prepares to leave the European Union.

    In addition to the BoE, politics is likely to be at the back of investors' minds, as they keep an ear out for any news regarding the Brexit negotiations. British Prime Minister Theresa May will urge European Union leaders to approve an agreement to move Brexit talks on to a second phase in an EU leaders' summit in Brussels on Thursday.

    Sterling edged higher, with GBP/USD rising 0.2% to 1.3445.

    5. IEA Warns on Surging U.S. Shale Production

    The International Energy Agency warned that there were signs that the ongoing rise in U.S. crude oil production was likely to continue into 2018 and upset rivals who are cutting back.

    "We see that 2018 might not be quite so happy for OPEC producers, " the Paris-based organization said in its latest monthly report Thursday.

    The IEA forecast that non-OPEC supply, which includes the U.S., was set to rise by 600,000 barrels per day (bpd) in 2017, and 1.6 million bpd in 2018. It also noted that global oil supply rose 200,000 bpd in November to 97.8 million bpd, adding that this was "the highest in a year, on the back of rising U.S. production."

    U.S. crude oil production rose by 73,000 bpd last week to 9.78 million bpd, according to government data, bringing output close to levels of top producers Russia and Saudi Arabia.

    U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude futures traded at $56.59 per barrel, little changed on the day. Meanwhile, Brent inched up 0.2% to $62.60.

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