25 JUNE 2013: DOLLAR STRENGTHENS WITH SHARES FALLING

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Global stocks continued to fall steeply on Monday after the trading week started with new lack luster sessions in Asia. Shares declined heavily in Europe and Dow Jones Industrial lost 0.94% adding to the 2% fall last week. Materials, industrials and financial stocks led by Bank of America ended in deep red, negative territory.

The technology heavy Nasdaq declined 1.04%. Equity markets regained some ground in the last half of the session, but the onslaught on stocks seems to be by no way over. Most of the gains after the last half years stock rally have been wiped out after the US Federal Reserve, FED, last Wednesday announced an end to the FED bond buying program of USD 85 billion monthly.

This monetary easing program has given stock markets added liquidity and taken them to new record highs. Capital has been pumped into the more risky emerging markets, which also have seen successful bond issues by in weak economies as Rwanda and Honduras. FED’s announcement has created panic like reactions and led to a flow of capital out of emerging markets and big declines in their currencies.

The last four days developments have grossly strengthened the USD. The DXY-index, a basket of currencies weighed against the Dollar, is at its highest level since June last year. A more optimistic business outlook from Germany has kept EUR/USD steady above 1.31. A decline below 1.3072 will, however, imply a strong bearish signal.

USD/JPY has also kept steady over the last 24 hours trading just below 98 Yen to a Dollar. The Australian Dollar has recovered 0.5% from the 33 month low following the bad financial news from China yesterday morning. The Aussie Dollar is extremely volatile to any changes in China. Precious metals continue to be under strong pressure set for new lows. The same goes for oil in spite of the tense situation in the Middle East.

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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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15 April 2013: Chinese GDP unexpectedly slows

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The Chinese economic growth unexpectedly lost momentum in the first quarter of 2013 as gains in factory output and consumption weakened; driving stocks and commodities lower on concern of a slowdown in global expansion. Gross domestic product, GDP, rose 7,7% from a year earlier. The GDP numbers did not meet analyst forecasts of 8,0% growth. March industrial production gained less than estimated. Retail-sales growth are, however, in line with forecasts.

The weaker than estimated forecasts put oil prices under new pressure. Brent crude fell to USD 101 a barrel as gold tumbled to a 21-month low. The steep decline in gold and silver prices started last Thursday and gained momentum during Friday night and early Asian trading. Gold hast lost USD 150 an ounce in less than one week and trades at 1441. The gold prices decline follows a bearish note from Goldman Sachs which foresees continued falls in the precious metals and strongly recommend sales.

The depreciation of the Japanese yen, JPY, has halted as US authorities warned Japan against devaluation. USD/JPY licked on 100 mark several days during last week. It is now trading at 97,67. Euro/USD keeps steady at 1.3074. USD/GBP (British pound sterling) stays at 1.5321. Inside the Euro zone it might be quiet before new storm forecasts. European finance ministers adopted last Thursday a 10 Billion Euro bail-out for Cyprus.

The Cypriot government has simultaneously lifted the forecasts of its own contribution to the banking bail-in from Euro 5,8 to the double amount. This will put private account deposits in the Cypriot banks under new hair-cut pressure. The increase in bail-in demand comes on top of rumors that Cyprus is selling major part of its gold reserves. That has added to the downward pressure on gold prices. The Governor of the Cyprus Central Bank, CBB, has voiced concern that the independence of the CBB is under government pressure.

The weaker growth in China adds to concerns that the global recovery is struggling. Monetary easing by injecting money into economic system has led to new records on the stock exchanges, but no new working places are added. There are fears that new record high stock markets barely represent a new bubble. The International Monetary Fund, IMF, is said to consider to lower its forecast for US growth. The guru investor, George Soros, warns that Germany shall be in recession by end of September. Soros is also forecasting a breakup of the Euro either by a unilateral German exit or by member states exiting following the Cyprus crisis.

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10 April 2013: Dow closing at record high

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US-Stocks advanced on Tuesday with Dow Jones closing at a record high following a rally in cyclical shares and as the earnings season started to heat up. Asian stocks edged higher in Wednesday morning trade. Chinese trade data signaled a recovery in the world’s second largest economy as imports grew 14,1% year on year, much higher than expectations. The yen remained under pressure. USD/JPY stayed on 99; not able to break through the psychological 100 yen a dollar barrier.

The return to record levels indicates that investors again are using market declines as buying opportunities. The two winning groups, technology and energy, are closely tied to the pace of the economic growth. Microsoft jumped 3,6% as the top gainer on Dow Jones which advanced 0,41% to a record high on 14 673. Stocks were given a boost from the earnings session. ¾ of the 5% of the companies hitherto reporting results, have delivered higher than expectations.

In advance of the reports of earnings for the second quarter expectations have deliberately been plaid down. Alcoa, the aluminium producer, which traditionally is first out with its quarterly report, filed its adjusted results late on Monday, setting the tone for the earnings season. Alcoa’s results were slightly better than expectations. The Alcoa stock ended flat. First Solar Inc was the shining star with a surge of 45,5%. Solar’s results lifted the whole solar sector.

The dollar which has jumped 7% against yen since the Bank of Japan (BOJ) last Thursday stated that it will pump USD 1,4 trillion into the Japanese economy, was not able to break through the 100 level. This might easily happen during the week. Australian dollar continues to demonstrate strength after the surge in Chinese import. Euro/USD is steady in the interval between 1.3050 and 1.31.

Oil prices have recovered after the steep fall last week. NYMEX, New York crude, trades at 93,91 and Brent crude is at USD 106,40; up two dollars from the lows yesterday. Precious metals are up with gold trading at USD 1585 an ounce. 

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