U.S. Dollar Slips, Pound Rises as May Asks for Brexit Extension
The U.S. dollar slipped while the British pound edged up on Wednesday in Asia after U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May said she would ask the EU for an extension to the Brexit deadline.
The GBP/USD pair edged up 0.2% to 1.3136 by 11:50 PM ET (03:50 GMT).
Worries over a no-deal Brexit eased somewhat after May offered cross-party talks with the leader of opposition, Jeremy Corbyn, to break the Brexit logjam.
May stressed the extension would be “as short as possible,” likely before May 22, to avoid the U.K. having to participate in European elections.
Meanwhile, the U.S. dollar index that tracks the greenback against a basket of other currencies slipped 0.2% to 96.768 amid a slowdown in durable goods spending.
Durable goods orders fell for the first time in three months, data on Tuesday showed, adding to signs that the slowdown in the U.S. economy at the end of last year could extend.
The AUD/USD pair rose 0.4% to 0.7097. The Reserve Bank of Australia held interest rates at 1.5% as expected on Tuesday. In a statement, the central bank continued to describe the outlook for household spending as an area of uncertainty for the economy.
Earlier today, the Australian Bureau of Statistics reported that Australia’s retail sales rose by a 0.8% month-on-month in February, the fastest pace since November 2017, easily beating expectations for a smaller increase of 0.3%.
Data also showed that trade surplus increased to an all-time high.
The USD/CNY pair was down 0.2%. A private survey showed that the Caixin/Markit services purchasing managers’ index (PMI) rose to 54.4, the highest since January 2018 and up from February’s 51.1, a four-month low.
Meanwhile, the safe-haven Japanese yen fell against the dollar as investor sentiment improved today following reports that China and the U.S. are moving closer to a trade deal.
EUR/USD bid above 1.1200 on trade, looks to US data
- Risk-on sentiment pushes spot beyond 1.1200.
- US-China positive news sustains the upbeat mood.
- US ADP, Non-farm Payrolls coming up next on the docket.
EUR/USD has managed to regain the 1.1200 handle and above on the back of renewed optimism surrounding the risk-associated space.
EUR/USD looks to data, risk
After six consecutive daily pullbacks, the pair has now recovered the smile and attempts to extend the rebound further north of the key barrier at 1.1200 the figure.
Auspicious news from the US-China trade front noted both parties have apparently left behind key issues and will now move on ways to enforce an eventual trade agreement.
In the meantime, weakness around the shared currency following recent disappointing results from fundamentals in Euroland looks somewhat mitigated for the time being, all helped by the better mood in riskier assets.
In the data space, Retail Sales in Euroland are coming up next followed by the US labour market report from ADP and the ISM Non-manufacturing for the month of March.
What to look for around EUR
EUR remains under heavy pressure following poor results in Euroland, somehow confirming that the slowdown in the region could stay for longer as well as the patient stance from the ECB. Against the backdrop of souring risk-appetite trend, the greenback should emerge stronger and is expected to keep weighing on spot for the time being. On the political front, headwinds are expected to emerge in light of the upcoming EU parliamentary elections, where the focus of attention will be on the potential increase of the populist option among voters.
EUR/USD levels to watch
At the moment, the pair is gaining 0.15% at 1.1221 and a break above 1.1250 (high Apr.1) would target 1.1280 (21-day SMA) en route to 1.1338 (200-week SMA). On the other hand, immediate contention emerges at 1.1183 (low Apr.2) followed by 1.1176 (low Mar.7) and finally 1.1118 (monthly low Jun.20 2017).
Stock Market News
U.S. stocks mixed at close of trade; Dow Jones Industrial Average down 0.30%
U.S. stocks were mixed after the close on Tuesday, as gains in the Technology, Basic Materials and Financials sectors led shares higher while losses in the Telecoms, Oil & Gas and Consumer Goods sectors led shares lower.
At the close in NYSE, the Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 0.30%, while the S&P 500 index added 0.00%, and the NASDAQ Composite index added 0.25%.
The best performers of the session on the Dow Jones Industrial Average were Apple Inc (NASDAQ:AAPL), which rose 1.45% or 2.78 points to trade at 194.02 at the close. Meanwhile, Cisco Systems Inc (NASDAQ:CSCO) added 0.56% or 0.31 points to end at 55.29 and JPMorgan Chase & Co (NYSE:JPM) was up 0.48% or 0.50 points to 105.14 in late trade.
The worst performers of the session were Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc (NASDAQ:WBA), which fell 12.81% or 8.13 points to trade at 55.36 at the close. Nike Inc (NYSE:NKE) declined 1.01% or 0.86 points to end at 84.37 and United Technologies Corporation (NYSE:UTX) was down 0.97% or 1.29 points to 131.90.
The top performers on the S&P 500 were Delta Air Lines Inc (NYSE:DAL) which rose 6.04% to 55.33, Wynn Resorts Limited (NASDAQ:WYNN) which was up 4.40% to settle at 135.03 and Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) which gained 3.26% to close at 174.20.
The worst performers were Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc (NASDAQ:WBA) which was down 12.81% to 55.36 in late trade, AmerisourceBergen (NYSE:ABC) which lost 5.82% to settle at 74.49 and Cardinal Health Inc (NYSE:CAH) which was down 3.99% to 47.16 at the close.
The top performers on the NASDAQ Composite were AVEO Pharmaceuticals Inc (NASDAQ:AVEO) which rose 42.34% to 1.5800, EDAP TMS SA (NASDAQ:EDAP) which was up 42.14% to settle at 4.250 and Sangamo Therapeutics Inc (NASDAQ:SGMO) which gained 28.96% to close at 12.29.
The worst performers were Energy Focu (NASDAQ:EFOI) which was down 55.65% to 0.51 in late trade, Evoke Pharma Inc (NASDAQ:EVOK) which lost 47.06% to settle at 0.90 and Five Star Quality Care Inc (NASDAQ:FVE) which was down 37.98% to 0.599 at the close.
Falling stocks outnumbered advancing ones on the New York Stock Exchange by 1635 to 1347 and 114 ended unchanged; on the Nasdaq Stock Exchange, 1337 rose and 1298 declined, while 86 ended unchanged.
Shares in Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc (NASDAQ:WBA) fell to 5-year lows; down 12.81% or 8.13 to 55.36. Shares in Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc (NASDAQ:WBA) fell to 5-year lows; losing 12.81% or 8.13 to 55.36. Shares in Cisco Systems Inc (NASDAQ:CSCO) rose to 5-year highs; up 0.56% or 0.31 to 55.29. Shares in Energy Focu (NASDAQ:EFOI) fell to all time lows; losing 55.65% or 0.64 to 0.51. Shares in EDAP TMS SA (NASDAQ:EDAP) rose to 52-week highs; up 42.14% or 1.260 to 4.250. Shares in Evoke Pharma Inc (NASDAQ:EVOK) fell to all time lows; losing 47.06% or 0.80 to 0.90.
Ghosn tweets about telling the truth as report says prosecutors readying new case
Ousted Nissan boss Carlos Ghosn promised to “tell the truth” at a news conference next week, taking to Twitter to announce his first briefing since being released on bail and hours after a report that prosecutors were preparing a fresh case against him.
Ghosn, widely lauded for rescuing Nissan Motor Co from the brink of bankruptcy two decades ago, has experienced a dramatic fall from grace that shook the global auto industry and raised questions about the future of Nissan’s alliance with France’s Renault SA (PA:RENA).
He was arrested in Tokyo in November and faces charges of financial misconduct and aggravated breach of trust over allegedly failing to report around $82 million in salary and temporarily transferring personal financial losses onto Nissan’s books during the financial crisis.
Released on $9 million bail last month, Ghosn has denied the charges, calling them “meritless” and saying he was the victim of a boardroom coup.
“I’m getting ready to tell the truth about what’s happening. Press conference on Thursday, April 11,” Ghosn tweeted from the @carlosghosn account on Twitter, which displayed the blue tick mark indicating it had been verified by the social media site.
The account was created this month. It was the sole tweet, posted in Japanese and English.
Under the terms of Ghosn’s bail he is not allowed to use the internet, although the tweet may have been made on his behalf, as is common with celebrities and other high-profile figures.
Representatives for Ghosn could not be reached for comment about the tweet.
Earlier, Japan’s Yomiuri newspaper reported that Tokyo prosecutors are preparing to build a fresh case against him over suspect payments the automaker made to a business partner in Oman.
Prosecutors are in discussions with the Supreme Public Prosecutors Office and others and plan to make a decision soon on whether to prosecute Ghosn on further charges of aggravated breach of trust, the newspaper said, citing sources involved in the case.
A spokesman for the Tokyo prosecutors office said he was not aware of any new investigation when contacted by Reuters.
Ghosn’s spokesman has previously said payments of $32 million made over nine years were rewards for the Oman firm being a top Nissan dealer. Such dealer incentives were not directed by Ghosn and the funds were not used to pay any personal debt, the spokesman said.
Sources told Reuters earlier this week that Renault SA had alerted French prosecutors after uncovering suspect payments to a Renault-Nissan business partner in Oman while Ghosn was chief executive of the French automaker.
Nissan had previously established that its own regional subsidiary had made questionable payments of more than $30 million to the Oman distributor, Suhail Bahwan Automobiles (SBA).
Evidence sent to French prosecutors late last week showed that much of the cash was subsequently channeled to a Lebanese company controlled by Ghosn associates, the sources said.
Crypto Market Rally Continues With Bitcoin Above $4,900, Tech Stocks Bounce Back
The leading cryptocurrency Bitcoin (BTC) is holding its gains following a rally last night, with other major cryptocurrency markets registering solid growth as well.
BTC is trading at around $4,904 at press time, holding ground on the day after it broke the $4,500 price mark for the first time this year. The coin has gained 17.66 percent on the day, while its weekly gains are over 22 percent.
Today, cryptocurrency bull Brian Kelly suggested that the next Bitcoin target is going to be $6,000, and that cryptocurrency market is finding its bottom.
The second largest cryptocurrency by market capitalization, Ethereum (ETH), is also seeing significant daily gains, up by over 16 percent at press time. The altcoin is now trading at $164.76, while its highest price point on the day was $163.63.
Ripple (XRP) is also up by around 13 percent over the past 24 hours and is trading at $0.3523 at press time. After peaking to as high as $0.348 in the middle of the day, XRP dipped slightly and has nonetheless sustained a gradual upturn to its current price.
As reported earlier today, Switzerland’s principal stock exchange, SIX, listed an XRP-based Exchange Traded Product, claiming that this is the first such product on the market.
On the top-20 cryptocurrency list on CoinMarketCap, all the coins are in the green zone, reporting gains between 0.53 and 44 percent over the past 24 hours at press time.
Among the top gainers, Bitcoin Cash (BCH) is seeing the most gains on the day, up over 44 percent to trade around $242.70. Bitcoin SV is reporting the second most growth, up over 32 percent and trading at around $87.56, while Litecoin (LTC) has seen an increase by over 25 percent on the day to trade at $76.17.
Total market capitalization of all cryptocurrencies is around $172.39 billion as of press time, up from the intraweek low of $137.90 on March 27.
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