30 APRIL 2013: S&P500 INDEX AGAIN APPROACHED ABSOLUTE MAXIMA

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In the first day of the week the index of the wide market S&P500 closely approached recently established historical maxima and now has chance to continue an ascension on new heights. Following the results of the yesterday’s trading session the S&P500 index increased by 0,72%. Quotations stopped at the level of 1593,61 points. To an absolute record there was not enough one point only. As the closest level of resistance which can be reached within an ascending trend, we will allocate a level of 1610.

Bulls also were positive in the light of coming meetings of key central banks – on the 1st of May will be finished the next meeting of FRS, and on May 2 the decision on an interest rate will be made by European Central Bank. From FRS the investment community expects comments on recent deterioration of macroeconomic statistics and, respectively, promises of extension of QE at least until the end of the year; from the European central bank wait fall of an interest rate which ripened owing to lack of any signs of revival of economy of the region. Speculative expectations of cheap money as usual maintain appetite to risk, and Monday didn’t become an exception.

The trading session at Asian stock markets takes place today with mainly positive dynamics, continuing yesterday’s growth over the ocean, but the Japanese market which has come back from days off, looks worse than the colleagues. One of the reasons is dynamics in the currency market where USD/JPY pair continues movement under level 98, after it was once again rolled away from a level of 100 last week.

Also a big block of macro statistics has been issued today in Japan, mainly positive, however this factor is mainly ignored by Japanese investors. In particular unemployment rate decreased in March to 4,1%, expenses of households grew by 5,2% in annual calculation, the production PMI index raised to 51,1, and retails of the largest networks grew by 2,4%. Only an industrial production was worse than expectations and grew for March only by 0,2% at forecasts of growth for 0,4%.

In Australia, meanwhile, continues growth of the banking sector, and yesterday’s leaders of growth – National Australia Bank and Australia and New Zealand Banking Group add today another 2,5% and 4,5% respectively.

Prices of oil and precious metals are weaker this morning. Brent is on a level 103.55$ per barrel – loosing 0.25%. Gold and silver are on a levels 1460.93 and 23.98 respectively.

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29 APRIL 2013: GERMANY’S DAX ADDED 4.8% FOR THE LAST WEEK

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Leading stock indexes of Europe and the USA on Friday generally decreased – the British FTSE-100 decreased for -0,26%, the German DAX lost -0,23%, the French CAC lost -0,79%, the American Dow Jones added just +0,08%, S&P500 decreased for -0,20%, Nasdaq Composite lost -0,33%. Accordingly to the published statistics on Friday, growth rates of gross domestic product of the USA in the first quarter of the current year were accelerated, but were slightly worse than market expectations. At the same time the index of consumer confidence in the USA, counted by Michigan University, decreased, but at a size smaller, than was predicted.

As a whole for the past week the American share indexes added 1,1-1,9%, and European rose by 2,2%-4,8%. The German DAX which has added 4,8%, against improvement by the authorities of Germany of forecasts on growth rates of economy became the favorite of week within the European platforms. Bundesbank (the Central Bank of Germany) in the April’s review predicted growth restoration in economy of Germany in the second quarter against situation improvement on a labor market.
Trading session in Asian stock exchanges started without any uniform dynamics, Chinese and Japanese stock exchanges are closed today in connection with national holidays “Labor Day” and “Showa Day” respectively.

At the same time, Australian ASX where the raw materials companies are the major part of the index, remains to be in a green zone, despite the fact that on Friday evening there was quite sharp depreciation of metals. Mainly support is given by the banking sector. In particular the extracting companies Newcrest Mining and BHP Billiton lose around 0,5% of the capitalization while National Australia Bank and Australia and New Zealand Banking Group banks add 1,3% and 0,8% respectively. Significantly worse than the market looks the Kingsgate Consolidated gold mining company, which is losing -14,5%, because of the statement of intention to decrease expenses in connection with a collapse of prices on precious metals.

Today the statement concerning prospects of development of economy of the Asian-Pacific Region was made by representatives of IMF, having reported about fall in forecast on gross domestic product growth from 5,9% to 5,7%. Also experts noted remaining probability of slowdown of the Chinese economy.

Prices of precious metals continue its positive correction after steep falls we have seen not so long time ago, gold is increasing for 1,07% and is traded on a level of 1469,16. Silver is up for 1,88% on a level of 24,20.

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25 April 2013: Nikkei extends its sharp rally

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The Japanese Nikkei index extended previous session’s sharp rally in early trade on Thursday. USD/JPY is steady on 99,41 and continues to lick at the magic 100 level. Euro/USD is 1.3046 up 50 points from yesterday when the Euro dipped under 1,30. The week picture inside the Euro zone points towards European Central Bank (ECB) interest rate cut next week. Both New York (NYMEX) and Brent crude are up. Brent trades at 102.18. Gold jumps 20 dollars to 1447 an ounce in Asian trading.

The Japanese ally is driven by expectations that yen weakness will spur strong earnings for local firms. Nikkei is up 0,3% to 167,10. The Asian Pacific, MSCI-index is also up 0,3%, basically on the belief that weak global economic data will encourage central banks to keep their monetary easing economic stimulus policies. US durable goods orders for March were disappointing, and weighed in on the strength of the dollar which is weaker towards Euro, Yen and other major currencies.

The growing expectations for an ECB interest rate cut helped offset the growth concerns highlighted by US durable goods. Durable goods orders posted its biggest drop in seven months in March. Together with a survey highlighting increasing pessimism among German business leaders in April, future forecasts are bearish. The sentiment in Europe is somewhat strengthened by falling bond yields in indebted countries like Italy and Spain. A possible end to the two months political deadlock in Italy, has further strengthened. A 37 years old has been appointed new Premier and the tenure for their 87 years old President is prolonged.

The US government will on Friday present its report on gross domestic product, GDP. The report is expected to show that the economy grew at a 3% annual in the first quarter rebounding from a 0,4 % gain in the final three months of 2012. For the current quarter an expansion of 1,5% is expected. Raising oil and copper prices indicate a turn towards more positive market sentiment. Gold which fell to USD 1322 after losing 250 dollars in two days, have recovered strongly to 1447.

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24 April 2013: Apple lifts Asia after false tweet

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Apple climbed 4,9% to USD 425,95 in after closing trade yesterday night after reporting strong second quarter earnings. Apple also unveiled plans to double the amount of capital returned to shareholders after for a long time being heavily criticized for not sharing excessive profits. The Apple quarterly report made stock markets in Asia to rally. Wall Street recovered Tuesday after initial sharp declines sparked by an Associated Press tweet about explosions in the White House.

The false tweet by hackers of two explosions at the White House that injured US President Barack Obama, provoked a steep drop in stocks. The benchmark S&P index fell 16,6 points or close to one percent in 3 minutes. Index values of USD 136 billion were wiped out. Stocks quickly recovered minutes later. The tweet episode illustrates the advantages, but simultaneously the fall outs of an instantaneous pricing technology.

Asian shares advanced on Wednesday on the back of Apple and other solid US quarterly earnings. The Euro came under pressure by soft German data which underscored the fragile state of the euro zone economy. The Asia-Pacific MSCI-index climbed 0,8%. The Australian stock index gained 1.4% along with a firmer Aussie dollar. The positive US numbers also gave a lift to oil and other commodities. Copper is up after several day’s decline. Brent crude trades at USD 100,54 a barrel. Gold (USD 1426) and silver (USD 23,15) prices are up after falling back during yesterday’s trading.

The more positive tone in global equities markets seem to indicate that investors regard continued monetary easing by major central banks as justified. Monetary easing encourages investments in shares. But that also means that stock markets don’t reflect the real economic fundamentals. Equities continue to rally in spite of sluggish manufacturing surveys and weaker economic data from both the US and China, the two major engines in the global economy.

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23 April 2013: Asia falls on weaker Chinese PMI

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Asian shares and other riskier assets lost ground on Tuesday after a preliminary reading showed weaker Chinese manufacturing growth in April. HSBC’s Purchasing Manager’s Index, PMI, fell in April and added to concerns about global growth prospects. HSBC’s report is the first economic indicator for the second quarter of 2013. It follows weaker-than-expected first quarter GDP (Gross Domestic Product) growth and a contraction in export pointing to fragile global demand.

April PMI-numbers fell to 50,5 from 51.6 in March. The numbers are nevertheless higher than February’s 50,4, and in no way disastrous. The April PMI reinforces, however, market concerns about a stagnating and slowing Chinese economy. Stock market rallies especially in the United States have been based on expectations of a stronger US recovery and Chinese growth. The latest PMI takes some of this belief away and is a strong indication that the stock market rally might be over for now.

Both Hong Kong and Shanghai stocks fell. The Shanghai SSE fell 1,4% and the Japanese Nikkei slipped 0,1% after surging up 2,2 percent on Monday; close to a five-years high. After USD/JPY reached 99,95 on April 11, a breakthrough of the 100 mark has been expected. Instead the USD fell back to 98,60 yen after reaching 99,90 in early trade yesterday. Weak US-housing data weighed in on the strength of the dollar. USD firmed against the Euro trading at 1.3043. Comments from the European Central Bank, ECB, suggest the bank might consider lowering interest rates in light of mass unemployment and low inflation.

Gold has recovered strongly from last week’s tumble trading at USD 1427 an ounce. More gold outflows from exchange-traded funds stress, however, a weakened confidence in the precious metal and possible further drops. While gold is slightly up from Monday, silver is losing ground. Copper prices continue to fall with 0,6% on the London metal exchange. Brent crude stays above USD 100 a barrel, but crude futures are pointing down.

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Is a decade-long bull run for gold coming to an end?

Arne Treholt, Vice President, Business Development Director at MAYZUS Investment Company discusses Gold prices

via Is a decade-long bull run for gold coming to an end?.

 

Arne Treholt, Vice President, Business Development Director at MAYZUS Investment Company discusses Gold prices

Gold prices have suffered their sharpest fall in 30 years over the last couple of days, heightening fears among investors that the decade-long bull run for precious metals, especially gold, is about to end. The dramatic development started on 12th of April with 15thof April as the ugly black Monday for gold lovers. Gold has traded steadily between 1550 and 1615 during the first months of 2013, and then suddenly plunged USD 200. Shocked investors took a deep breath after losing confidence in the metal for which many thought that the sky was the limit.

The volatility of market sentiments was demonstrated early Monday morning as investors debarred gold from its safe haven status in just a few short hours. As a result of the lost confidence in gold, the Japanese Yen (JPY), which had been suffering for the last few months due to aggressive Japanese economic stimulus and monetary easing, briefly regained its position as a safe haven candidate.

The safe haven rally was short lived; USD/JPY jumped from a low 96 to above 98 yen to a dollar in just a few hours. Following a technical upward correction after the steep fall, markets continued to be extremely nervous, showing some similarities with market behavior in 2008 prior to the financial crisis that autumn. After a short rebound the selling pressure on gold continues.

Close market followers could have noticed signals that investors were becoming increasingly skeptical about gold. For many years, it has been taken more or less for granted that gold is going to continue to rise and shine. However, if we look back at the gold graph of the last couple of years, we can see that there have been some worrying signals. Gold prices peaked and reached USD 1406 in early January 2011. There was a technical correction down, but between February and September gold prices rose steadily to USD 1920. A breakthrough of the magic psychological 2000 level seemed to be within reach and many investors betted on that opportunity.

Instead, gold started to correct down steadily and moved sidelong before reaching an autumn peak at 1787 on October 1, 2012. It has been falling down since October with minor upwards technical corrections until it reached 1321 and rebounded to 1382. With the existing strong selling pressure and weak market sentiments there is no reason to believe that USD 1350 represents a bottom.

In addition to the charts, which show a steadily falling curve since September 2011, there have been other reasons for concern. Major international banks have recommended selling gold. There might be numerous reasons why Goldman Sachs, Credit Suisse and Societe General are all in favor of liquidating gold reserves.

The erratic and speculative way international banks have operated over the last few years, from manipulation with labor to excessive greed, demonstrated in both trading and investments, makes one ask, whether their recommendations are a new expression of speculative behavior to their own best benefit? Are gold sales boosted up, so certain market players can buy the precious metal back at strongly reduced prices?

When George Soros recommends selling as he did a few weeks ago, when gold prices were USD 1615, there is a stronger reason for an alert.In spite of the fact that Soros operates on behalf of his own institutions, he was first and foremost considered to be an individual investor. Since the 1960’s it is a good idea for the markets to listen to his predictions and advices. Two years ago, Soros recommended to sell silver for USD 45, after its steady climb from USD 17 a troy oz. Silver peaked at 49,67 and has been continuously falling since, reaching a low of 22,65 on Monday, April 15th, 2013.

Where does gold go from here?
In a short-term perspective, the technical upside correction already seems to have subsided. Gold simply seems to have no steam to lift the precious metal beyond the USD 1400 limit. There is no inflationary pressure to strengthen gold. Ever record-high US stocks have seen gold selling in favor of investments in stock markets, which as long as the monetary easing continues will be a far more interesting investment than placing money in the risky precious metal with market sentiments against it.

The opportunity for central banks selling their gold reserves to finance own assets requests from international lenders as the European Central Bank (ECB) and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) added to the selling pressure on gold. This development was spurred by tiny Cyprus, but the idea was picked up by central banks in countries like Italy and Spain that are also under big pressure.
There are, however, more optimistic outlooks pointing to a strong gold recovery at the end of 2013, even if most analysts seem to agree that it may take time before investors‘ confidence returns to the precious metals market. Gold is on the verge of being oversold. An oversold market shall create a tighter supply/demand fundamentals relation.

Even if stock markets continue to raise, these rallies are artificial and are more based on monetary easing than on economic fundamentals. What is going to happen when the bubble bursts? Could gold then be back shining, considering that some central banks in emerging countries are buying gold to strengthen their reserves?

There might be light in the tunnel for gold prices in the medium and long-term perspective.

Having different opinion on future prices for Gold? At MAYZUS you can test your judgments, read more here.

About the Author:
Arne Treholt, Vice President, Business Development Director at MAYZUS Investment Company

Mr. Treholt began his career as a journalist and foreign correspondent of the Oslo-based daily newspaper Arbeiderbladet in Norway. He then joined the Norwegian Royal Ministry of Foreign Affairs, where he was promoted to the position of Political Secretary to the Minister of Shipping and Foreign Trade, followed by his position as Deputy Minister of Law of the Sea. He held the position of Counselor for Economic Development and Social Affairs at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and was member of the Norwegian Mission to the United Nations, New York. Mr. Treholt retired from his diplomatic career and moved to Moscow, where he became CEO of ISMOS Trading, followed by his position of CEO of Rim Investment Management and FMC Securities in Cyprus. Mr. Treholt joined Mayzus Investment Company in June 2009 as Vice President, and he is also in charge of the business development and portfolio asset management of the company. He is the author of five books and numerous articles on economics and politics.

22 April 2013: Gold rebounds; USD/JPY 99,84

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Last week was dominated by an extraordinary fall of USD 250 fall in gold prices and heavy losses in other commodities. Gold demonstrated, however, strong resilience and staged a rebound. Gold is hundred dollar up from the bottom of USD 1322 an ounce last week. Copper is still weak. While Brent crude again trades above USD 100 a barrel. Strong retail buying in Indian and China strengthened gold which was seen as a buying opportunity. Gold reached the USD 1400 mark on Friday and trades at 1422 in Asia. Many investors have kept their strong faith in gold on expectations of high inflation and governments being unable to deal with it, and continues to buy gold.

The G-20 meeting in Washington ended on Friday without any conclusive results. Since 2010 the group has turned from being a cohesive group of the world’s most important economies into a body that spends hours of negotiating the punctuation in a communique. Japan was the focus for attention. In spite of the fact that the Japanese yen, JPY, has depreciated 20% in relation to most currencies since November last year, G-20 accepted Japan’s explanation that its monetary policy is aimed at price stabilization and economic recovery. Its strong monetary easing does not intend to manipulate its exchange rate.

As expected JPY as a result of the meeting, continued to slide in Asia this morning. USD/JPY reached 99,84 and is again licking the symbolic 100 level which most likely is going to be broken during the day encouraged by the Group of 20 endorsing of Japan’s reflationary policies. Following the meeting, players feel comfortable selling the yen further. Asian shares inched higher, but investors remained wary of volatility given the uncertainty of global growth prospects. Global stock markets might be on the verge of a selloff.

The International Monetary Fund, IMF’s forecasts for the G-20 meeting were out of date no sooner than it was presented. Weaker US labor market figures and Chinese economic growth in the first quarter, make it necessary to downgrade growth forecasts for the world economy. The G-20 meeting also given another stark warning that economic forecasts is not any precise science. The Harvard economists Kenneth Rogoff and Carmen Reinhart’s have since 2010 postulated that when debt reaches 90% of Gross Domestic Product, GDP, growth automatically fell. This postulate has been the basis for government’s austerity measures especially in the Euro zone.

An Excel error put serious question marks with the evidence the economist have built their postulate on. For the first time in years it thereby is possible to put questions with postulates presented as science. The austerity measures in Europe are as most other economic theories are based on political attitudes. When such postulates end up in mass unemployment and social misery it might be right time to take a break and ask whether the austerity measures resulting in mass unemployment and social misery are the right prescribed medicine. 

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19 April 2013: Volatility reflects bearish mood

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Wall Street fell further yesterday after disappointing forecasts by eBay and other heavy weight US-companies. Present quarterly results raise increased doubt on the market’s recent strength. eBay dropped 5,9%, and Apple shares extended their slide from Wednesday breaking the USD 400 level. The S&P technology index fell 1,4% after two sharp declines earlier in the week. The volatility index, Wall Street’s fear index, gained 6,4 as a reflex of increased market nervousness. Other decliners included Morgan Stanley. The flagship bank fell 5,4% adding to the bearish mood.

As global policymakers started their G-20 meetings in Washington yesterday there is growing concern about currency fluctuations and volatility. Key central banks are printing money and pumping new liquidity into markets. This tends to create more speculative bubbles than working places. The yen (JPY) fell broadly Friday morning after the Japanese Finance Minister stated that Bank of Japan’s (BOJ) aggressive monetary stimulus is aimed at defeating deflation. USD/JPY trades at 98,53 with the dollar raising 0,4%.

As the G20 meeting ends today there are deep worries on what easily can develop into a currency war. In its semi-annual report on currency practices US put Japan on notice. Japan’s economic policies are watched closely to ensure that Japan is not aiming at devaluing the yen to gain competitive advantage. Competitors in South East Asia as South Korea are especially concerned. A rapid raise in dollar versus Yen at these level, seems, however, not likely. USD/JPY has already depreciated 20% since last November. A strong short term gain in USD/JPY might, however, occur after the G-20 meeting is over. G-20 is expected to confirm the pledge from February to avoid competitive currency devaluations.

Euro/USD recovered to 1.3068 after a sharp drop during yesterday. In a meeting on Thursday the EU agreed to move ahead with a system of winding down banks without changing EU law. This would give the EU bank resolution mechanism a stronger legal basis. The resolution comes after a stormy debate in the European Parliament where both the EU Commission and the European Central bank came under heavy fire for their handling of the Cyprus banking crisis. In an interview the EU Commissioner for Economic and Monetary affairs, Olli Rehn, stated that changes to EU-treaties are more a long term goal than a condition for a banking union to operate.

The recent plunge in gold prices have led to a rally in India and China to buy gold and silver coins and products. Retail buyers see the steep fall in prices as a buying opportunity. Gold trades at USD 1398 up from a bottom level on 1322 earlier in the week. Silver has rebounded from USD 22,76 to 23,46. It is, too, early, to say whether we are witnessing a more firm upward trend; or increasing prices shall be seen as a natural technical correction.

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18 April 2013: Risks assets broadly slips

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Risks assets broadly slipped on Thursday following overnight drop in US and European equities on fears for global growth. Oil prices have dropped substantially. Brent crude fell two dollars trading below USD 98 a barrel. Iran, has asked for an emergency meeting in OPEC, the organization for oil producing states, to discuss the low oil prices as non-OPEC United States is pumping 7,2 million tons a day. This contributes to the imbalance between market demand and supply. Gold dipped further as capital flow out of gold-backed-exchange-traded funds continues.

US-Stocks fell in a broad market sell-off yesterday. The decline in stock prices was led by a sharp drop in Apple which tumbled 5,5% to USD 402,80. Apple has fallen USD 250 since its peak last autumn. A key chip maker, Cirrus, simultaneously presented a disappointing revenue forecast. This together with the slowing demand for Apple products, fueled market worries about a weakening demand for iPhone and iPad. The financial sector was also hard hit by weaker than expected results from Bank of America.

Wednesday’s losses represented the second day of big sell-off during this week. It adds to fears that the market is starting the pullback analysts have been speculating in for months. Expectations have outdistanced economic fundamentals. Monetary easing has additionally injected fresh speculative capital into equities. This development has led to stock rallies without roots in the real economy creating new bubbles.

Investors’ optimism have been based on expectations of a stronger economic growth in China and a recovery in the US. There are positive signs in both markets, but the world economy is still dragged down by an ever deeper recession inside the Euro zone. The plunge in gold and metal prices and a simultaneous sell-off of stocks bear striking similarities with the situation in 2008 where stock markets were running off from realities to end with a hard landing. Bankers’ wild speculations contributed to the misery which led to a financial crisis in the second half of the year where the liberal orientated economic market model was put at serious risk.

Is history in the process of repeating itself?

Nervousness and risk aversion has also plaid into the currency market where the euro come under pressure. Euro/USD fell from Wednesday high on 1.3172 to 1.3043 on talk of more monetary easing by the European Central Bank. USD/JPY trades marginally up at 98,03 indicating a continued slid in the yen and a new test on the symbolic 100 yen a dollar level. The Australian dollar is steady after trimming earlier losses due to the fall in gold and metals and a weaker growth in China.

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17 April 2013: Wall Street lifted by Gold and earnings

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US-stocks jumped more than one percent on Tuesday recovering after the worst fall since November. Gold prices rebounded from bottom level on USD 1351 and trades at 1379, but selling levels still persist. The US stock indexes were lifted by good earnings from Coca-Cola and Johnson & Johnson. The bullish sentiment was also helped by inflation data which reinforced expectations that he Federal Reserve will keep the stimulus. After two falling days, Asian stock markets are back in positive territory.

Gold prices jumped 30 dollar during yesterday’s session after falling 8,8% on record volume on Monday. Gold reached 1382, but is still under strong selling pressure as investors rushed to dump gold. Gold prices suffered their sharpest fall since the 1980’ies heightening fears among investors that precious metal’s decade long Bull Run has ended. Silver also fell 11% and trades at 23,42. Silver was trading above USD 35 just a few months ago, and reached nearly the mark USD 50 just two years ago.

The gold selling fever initiated in Cyprus where the government last week stated readiness to sell its gold reserves to help finance IMF and ECB demands for bail-out assets. Rumors indicated that other pressed Southern European countries would follow suit. Faltering European demand and weaker than expected Chinese economic data depressed oil prices. Brent crude fell to a nine-month low and reached USD 98 a barrel bottom. Brent has also recovered and trades again above USD 100.

The Japanese yen (JPY) eased in Asian trading this morning as it succumbs to new pressure as gold recovered. The historic plunge in gold prices coupled with fresh concern about China’s economic growth, saw some investors plunge back in yen as a safe haven reversing the downward trend sparked by Bank of Japan’s aggressive stimulus program. USD/JPY trades at 98,19. The USD has lost ground against the euro which has gained momentum after breaking through the stiff technical resistance at 1.3110/20. Euro is at 1.3173 as Euro bulls shrugged off a report on sharp April-fall in German investor sentiment.

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