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FOREX-Dollar firm on strong U.S. data, outlook hopes hoist yuan to 6-month high

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The dollar began the week on a firm note on Monday as economic data pointed to strength right across the U.S. economy, while optimism on the outlook for China supported Asian currencies.

The greenback held steady near a one-week high against the euro EUR= , at $1.1095, and just below an eight-month peak on the Japanese yen, at 110.17 yen per dollar JPY= . Against a basket of currencies it was flat .DXY .

China's yuan edged 0.2% higher to a fresh six-month top, while the Australian and New Zealand dollars also edged ahead.

Moves were slight and volumes thin as Chinese New Year approaches in Asia and with U.S markets closed for Martin Luther King day on Monday.

Figures on Friday showed U.S. homebuilding surged to a 13-year high in December, with retail sales also on the rise and a gauge of manufacturing activity rebounding to its highest in eight months. pricing suggests nobody thinks the U.S. Federal Reserve will cut rates when it meets at the end of the month.The strength in the United States comes as European economic data points in the opposite direction, though with possible signs of bottoming out both there and in China.

"We're seeing consistently strong data, still, from the United States, and that's on the back of a boost that it will probably get from this U.S.-China trade agreement," said Jeffrey Halley, senior market analyst for Asia Pacific at broker OANDA.

"I think the U.S. dollar will continue to outperform against the major currencies," he said, adding he counted the chance of a Fed rate cut soon at zero. "I think the bar for a rate cut is quite high at the moment."

China on Friday posted its slowest annual growth figure in almost 30 years, although December data showed revived business confidence and quickening factory output. helped the yuan to a six-month high of 6.8457 per dollar CNY= after the country's benchmark lending rate was held steady on Monday, leading gains across Asia. CNY/

The Australian AUD=D3 and New Zealand dollars NZD=D3 rose about 0.2%, with emerging markets currencies also nudging ahead. EMRG/FRX AUD/

"They are catching a big tailwind from this trade deal," said Halley. "It does imply better times ahead on the resource side and that's why we're seeing some strength in the Aussie."

However caution remained as investors look to Australian jobs data due on Thursday for a crucial clue to the next move for Australian interest rates.

The Reserve Bank of Australia meets next month with widespread bushfires, and their depressing effect on already weak consumer sentiment, adding to the case for further stimulus following three rate cuts last year.

Futures are pricing a 46% chance of a rate cut when the RBA meets on Feb. 4, but that will likely shift higher if Thursday's read on unemployment puts it higher than market expectations of 5.2%. 0#YIB

Similarly, the British pound GBP= sat at a week-low of $1.3000, with markets apprehensive that the Bank of England may cut rates at the month's end - especially if business surveys this week seem sour.

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Currencies mark time before trade deal; UK data eyed

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Major currencies were closeted within tight ranges on Wednesday as investors awaited the signing of a U.S.-China trade deal, with the greenback holding above a one-week low against its rivals.

Though the formal agreement, due in early U.S. hours, is aimed at drawing a line under 18 months of tit-for-tat tariff hikes that have hurt global growth, it will not end the trade dispute between the world's two largest economies.

"I don't think the market is fully convinced about a closure on the trade conflict front as the issue has caused a lot of damage to the world economy," said Neil Mellor, a senior FX strategist at BNY Mellon in London.

U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said existing tariffs on Chinese goods would stay, pending further talks.

Against a basket of its rivals (DXY), the dollar was steady at 97.4, just shy of a one-week low of 97.29. The Chinese currency in the offshore market was broadly steady.

The Australian dollar , a relatively volatile barometer of trade tensions, was a shade weaker at $0.6893.

U.S. President Donald Trump is slated to sign the Phase 1 trade agreement with Chinese Vice Premier Liu He at the White House at 1630 GMT.

Washington has already agreed to suspend tariffs on $160 billion of some Chinese-made electronics, and to halve existing tariffs on $120 billion of other goods to 7.5%.

But it will leave in place 25% tariffs on a vast, $250 billion array of Chinese industrial goods and components used by U.S. manufacturers.

A source told Reuters that China has pledged to buy almost $80 billion of additional manufactured goods from the United States over the next two years under the deal, although some U.S. trade experts called that unrealistic.

Elsewhere, the British pound was broadly steady at $1.3014 after sustaining some losses in recent sessions thanks to a chorus of dovish comments from central bank policymakers.

The only major data in the European session is U.K. price data due at 0930 GMT where inflation is expected to grow 1.5% in December from a year-ago period.

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Forex - Markets Calm; Sterling Awaits Inflation Data

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 A tone of caution prevails in the foreign exchange markets Wednesday, ahead of the signing of the much-awaited trade deal between U.S. and China.

At 03:25 ET (0825 GMT), the safe-haven yen was slightly firmer against the U.S. dollar, with USD/JPY trading at 109.91, down 0.1%, while the euro was marginally lower against the dollar, with EUR/USD at $1.1120, down less than 0.1%. A preliminary reading of 2019 German GDP due at 4 AM ET (0900 GMT) may have some impact on that pair.

The formal agreement is aimed at drawing a line under 18 months of tit-for-tat tariff hikes that have hurt global growth, but it will not end the trade dispute between the world's two largest economies. This was made clear overnight when U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said existing tariffs on Chinese goods would stay, pending further talks.

Elsewhere,sterling has climbed back above the $1.30 level, helped by comments from Prime Minister Boris Johnson who said late Tuesday that he considers “very likely” the U.K. will get a “comprehensive trade deal with the EU by year-end.”

It’s debatable how long this pair can remain above this level given the recent comments from a number of members of the Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Committee, suggesting the bank may be edging towards a rate cut.

In a speech earlier, Bank of England policymaker Michael Saunders repeated his support for a rate cut to support an economy weakened by Brexit and other uncertainties.

"It probably will be appropriate to maintain an expansionary monetary policy stance and possibly to cut rates further, in order to reduce risks of a sustained undershoot of the 2% inflation target," Reuters quoted Saunders as saying.

"With limited monetary policy space, risk management considerations favor a relatively prompt and aggressive response to downside risks at present."

“News that the BoE is turning a little more dovish, plus no signs of a serious U.S. slow-down, suggests GBP/USD may be spending more time at the lower end of its 1.29-1.35 trading range, “ according to an ING research note.

The release of inflation data later Wednesday, at 04:30 ET (0930 GMT), could have some impact. The headline CPI inflation is expected to arrive at +0.2% on the month in December while the annualized figure is seen steady at +1.5%.

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Weak German Industrial Production Leaves Pound Euro (GBP/EUR) Exchange Rate Flat

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Pound Sterling Euro (GBP/EUR) Exchange Rate Muted as German Industrial Production Stumbles

The Pound Sterling Euro (GBP/EUR) exchange rate remained largely flat on Friday, giving up some previous losses. The pairing is currently trading at around €1.1830.

The single currency remained under pressure as data revealed the slump in German factory output could drag on the wider economy.Industrial production in the bloc’s largest economy disappointed at the start of the fourth quarter. Month-on-month, production plummeted by -1.7% after September’s fall of -0.6%.

‘Today’s data suggests that the German economy is continuing to flirt with stagnation and contraction in the final quarter of the year.

‘Looking ahead, both soft and hard indicators bode ill for industrial activity in the months ahead […] Trade conflicts, global uncertainty and disruption in the automotive industry have put the entire German industry in a headlock, from which it is hard to escape.’

Sterling (GBP) Edges Lower After Three-Day Rally

On Friday, after a three-day rally, the Pound edged lower against a handful of currencies.

While the currency edged lower at the end of the week, GBP was still headed for its best week since mid-October.

The Pound Euro (GBP/EUR) exchange rate hit a two-and-a-half year high on Thursday as Brexit optimism sparked a rally.

This week opinion polls have revealed support for the Conservatives has grown, increasing the likelihood the party will win an outright majority in next week’s election.

If Boris Johnson’s party secures a majority it will allow the PM to take the UK out of the EU by the January deadline.

‘It’s a small move and no fundamental change [in terms of what opinion polls show].

‘From a risk-reward perspective most people are too optimistic but if you look at option markets you can see some people positioning for Sterling weakness.’

Markets remained optimistic that a Tory win would see more than three years of Brexit uncertainty come to an end.

However, even if the Conservatives win a majority, some analysts have argued that any further GBP gains will be limited.

Pound Euro Outlook: Will Election Optimism Buoy GBP?

Looking ahead to next week, the Pound (GBP) could edge higher against the Euro (EUR) if there are further polls suggesting the Conservatives will win Thursday’s election.

If markets continue to remain optimistic that Boris Johnson will secure a majority, Sterling sentiment will increase.

Meanwhile, the single currency could slide if Germany’s trade balance disappoints, and October’s exports slump.

If both imports and exports fall in October, the Pound Euro (GBP/EUR) exchanger rate could edge higher.


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Gold Prices Fall as Uncertainty Over Sino-U.S. Trade Progress Continues

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 Prices of the safe-haven gold fell on Friday in Asia as traders continued to monitor Sino-U.S. trade news.


The U.S. Gold Futures fell 0.4% to $1,477.45 by 1:42 AM ET (05:42 GMT).

On Thursday, U.S. President Donald Trump said trade talks were "moving right along", pushing global equities higher.

Uncertainties over a deal remained, as the president’s comments this week sent mixed signals regarding the trade talk progress.

Trump said overnight that negotiations with China are going "very well” overnight, just one day after he dented hopes for a trade deal by saying that an agreement to end the trade dispute may have to be delayed until after the American presidential election in November 2020.

Meanwhile, U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin told reporters that negotiations between Washington and Beijing were progressing, without a deadline for conclusion.

On the data front, the latest U.S. job report due later in the day is expected to generate some attention.

Gold traders are also awaiting the upcoming U.S. Federal Reserve meeting...


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U.S. dollar Unchanged Ahead of Job Report

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The U.S. dollar was unchanged on Friday in Asia as traders awaited the release of the latest U.S. job report, which is due at 8:30 AM ET (13:30 GMT).

The U.S. dollar index that tracks the greenback against a basket of other currencies was unchanged at 97.380 by 1:30 AM ET (05:30 GMT).

Analysts tracked by Investing.com expect the job report to show the economy added 186,000 jobs in November, up from 128,000 jobs in October and 155,00 jobs in November 2018. The unemployment rate is projected to hold steady at 3.6%, unchanged from October and down slightly from December 2018.

Traders also kept an eye out for the latest development on the Sino-U.S. trade front as U.S. President Donald Trump said "something could happen" on whether the Washington will impose new tariffs on Chinese goods starting Dec. 15.

Trump said on Thursday that negotiations with China are going "very well," just one day after he said an agreement to end the trade dispute may have to be delayed until after the American presidential election in November 2020.

The USD/CNY pair traded 0.1% lower to 7.0417.

The EUR/USD pair was little changed at 1.1102 as data on Thursday showed that German factory orders unexpectedly declined in October.

The GBP/USD pair was also near flat at 1.3156. Reports this week suggested that U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson could win a majority at next week's election, paving the way for Britain to leave the European Union on Jan. 31.

The USD/JPY pair slipped 0.1% to 108.68.

Meanwhile, the AUD/USD pair and the NZD/USD pair both gained 0.2%.

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Yen Inches Up, Dollar Flat as Trump Signs Hong Kong Bill

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Prices of the safe-haven rose, while the U.S. dollar stayed near flat on Thursday in Asia amid worries of rising Sino-U.S. tensions.

The USD/JPY pair inched down 0.1% to 109.45 by 1:20 AM ET (05:20 GMT). Overnight, U.S. President Donald Trump signed two bills that supports Hong Kong protestors into law, potentially complicating trade talks progress with Beijing.

In response to the U.S. move, China's foreign ministry said it resolutely opposed the law and threatened to take firm counter-measures, calling any attempts to interfere in Hong Kong are “doomed to fail.”

Chinese and Hong Kong stocks fell today following the news, while the yen traded modestly higher.

Meanwhile, data showed Japan’s retail sales plunged 14.4% in October from a month earlier, which was more than the expected 10.4% decline.

"The yen is being bought because of the news about Trump signing the Hong Kong bill," said Yukio Ishizuki, foreign exchange strategist at Daiwa Securities, in a Reuters report.

"Algorithmic trading could push the yen up further, but the dollar's losses will be limited because we've had positive U.S. economic data, which has lifted sentiment."

The U.S. Dollar Index last traded at 98.248, little changed from yesterday’s close.

The Commerce Department reported that gross domestic product increased at a 2.1% annualized rate, compared to 1.9% in the first reading. In a separate report, durable goods gained 0.6% after falling 1.4% in the prior month.

The AUD/USD pair slipped 0.1%, while the NZD/USD pair inched up 0.1%.

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Forex - Dollar Holding Steady Amid Encouraging Signs on Trade

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The U.S. dollar was holding steady against the Japanese yen on Tuesday amid encouraging signs that the U.S. and China will soon agree an interim deal to halt their trade war.

Market sentiment was boosted by reports that China's Vice Premier and chief trade negotiator Liu He held a phone call with his U.S. counterparts and that both sides reached consensus on how to move forward in their dispute.

That came after the Chinese state-backed Global Times newspaper on its Twitter feed on Monday the two countries are very close to a "phase one" trade deal, discounting "negative" media reports.

The dollar initially rose to two-week highs of 109.19 against the yen, before settling back to 108.9 by 04:04 AM ET (09:04 GMT), unchanged for the day. It sat at 98.19 against a basket of currencies, just below a one-week high.

"The broad trend is the markets are looking for a deal because trade has been the biggest factor weighing on global growth and holding back confidence," said Shane Oliver, head of investment strategy and chief economist at AMP Capital Investors in Sydney.

The euro was little changed against the greenback at 1.1014, holding above the one-week low of 1.1003 reached on Monday.

The British pound was lower, down 0.2% at 1.2871 after an opinion poll in the U.K. showed that the opposition Labor Party has narrowed the governing Conservatives lead ahead of a Dec. 12 election, fueling uncertainty over Brexit.

Investors were looking ahead to U.S. trade data, house price figures and consumer confidence data later in the trading day, but overall, currency trading is slowing down ahead of U.S. Thanksgiving holiday on Thursday.


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Forex - Dollar Falls after Fed Rate Cut, APEC Summit Cancellation

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The dollar fell against a currency basket on Thursday after the third Federal Reserve rate cut this year, as investors took indications of a potential pause in the easing cycle with a pinch of salt.

In lowering its key overnight lending rate by a quarter of a percentage point to a target range of between 1.50% and 1.75% the U.S. central bank dropped a previous reference in its policy statement that it "will act as appropriate" to sustain the economic expansion - language that was considered a sign for future cuts.

The lack of a clear indication from the Fed that it is done with easing for now was seen as less hawkish than expected, sending the dollar lower.

"The new, slightly shorter, statement tries to keep their options open and puts them back into a data-dependent mode, but circumstances could mean that they have less optionality than they think," said Tim Foster, portfolio manager at Fidelity International in London.

The U.S. dollar index was down 0.3% at 97.11 by 04:33 AM ET (08:33 GMT), its lowest level in a week.

The euro was up 0.14% to 1.1164, while the greenback last traded at 108.61 yen, 0.2% lower on the day.

The dollar was pressured lower against the safe-haven yen by the news that Chile has withdrawn as host of an APEC summit in November where the U.S. and China had been expected to take major steps towards resolving their protracted trade war.

Hopes that the world's largest economies would soon agree on a partial deal has boosted risk appetite this week.

“The fact that Chile has cancelled the mid-November APEC Summit should not be a deal breaker for the U.S. and China to reach a truce," said Tai Hui, Asia chief market strategist at JPMogan Asset Management in Hong Kong.

"If the two sides were genuinely willing to reach an interim deal before mid-December, when the next scheduled hike in tariff on Chinese exports is due to take place, they will find a venue to get the deal done."

The Bank of Japan kept its monetary policy steady on Thursday but introduced new forward guidance to more clearly signal the future chance of a rate cut, underlining its concern over global economic risks.

The British pound pushed higher after Prime Minister Boris Johnson won parliamentary approval on Wednesday to hold a general election



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Forex - U.S. Dollar Slips After Fed Policy Decision

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The U.S. dollar slipped on Thursday in Asia after the Federal Reserve slashed its benchmark funds rate by 25 basis points to a range of 1.5% to 1.75% as expected, but altered language in its post-meeting statements and indicated that it may pause rate cuts from here.

The Fed removed a key clause that said the Fed was committed to “act as appropriate to sustain the expansion.”

Fed Chair Jerome Powell said in a news conference that central bank officials “see the current stance of monetary policy as likely to remain appropriate.”

“We see the current stance of policy as likely to remain appropriate as long as incoming information about the economy remains broadly consistent with our outlook.”

The U.S. Dollar Index that tracks the greenback against a basket of other currencies was down 0.3% to 97.127 by 1:10 AM ET (05:10 GMT).

Trade tensions between China and the U.S. remained uncertain after Chile said it is canceling the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit next month due to ongoing protests. U.S. President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping were expected to meet on the sidelines and possibly sign phase one of a trade deal.

The GBP/USD pair gained 0.2% to 1.2927 after the U.K. Parliament voted this week to hold an early general election on Dec. 12.

The USD/JPY pair slipped 0.2% to 108.66. As expected, the Bank of Japan maintained its short-term interest rate target at -0.1% and a pledge to guide 10-year government bond yields around 0%.

The AUD/USD pair and the NZD/USD pair jumped 0.4% and 0.6%.


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