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IFX Gertrude
post Apr 17 2018, 06:06 AM
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China Makes Biggest Treasury Purchase in Six Months in February



China increased its Treasury holdings in February by $5.8 billion, its biggest purchase in six months. On the other hand, Japan's Treasury holdings fell.

According to the Treasury, China's Treasury holdings increased to just under $1.18 trillion. Foreign net buying of Treasurys was $43.2 billion for the month.

As trade tensions between the U.S. and China escalates, so has rumors that the Chinese government could reduce purchases of Treasuries or even sell some of its holdings. The Trump administration on March 1 announced tariffs on aluminum and steel, which affect China. The U.S. also announced its intention to put tariffs on $50 billion in Chinese goods, and Trump has since threatened to add tariffs to another $100 billion of goods.

In December, China's holdings of Treasuries stood at $1.18 trillion before falling to $1.17 trillion in January.

China is the biggest holder of U.S. Treasuries, with Japan coming in at second place. Japan's holdings declined by $3.6 billion, to a total of $1.06 trillion.

Buyers abroad also purchased $11.8 billion in agency debt and $4.1 billion of corporate debt. They reduced equity holdings by $1.2 billion

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IFX Gertrude
post Apr 18 2018, 03:04 AM
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Twitter Shares Jump After Morgan Stanley Upgrade



Shares of Twitter Inc. soared almost 11 percent on Tuesday and were bound for their best session in two months after Wall Street firm Morgan Stanley raised its recommendation on the social network company to “equal-weight” from “underweight”.

In a report, Morgan Stanley analyst Brian Nowak said that investors are likely to continue to pay a premium for the company's stock due to projections of accelerated revenue growth in 2018 and indications of progress in the firm's turnaround.

The analyst raised his target price for Twitter from $28 to $29. At midday trading, Twitter traded at $31.69 on the New York Stock Exchange.

Nowak cited the company's constructive advertiser conversations, improving user growth and positive revisions for the upgrade.

An unexpected swing to revenue growth caused the stock of the company to rise 12 percent following its last quarter report on February 8 and to date, the stock is up 32 percent.

Despite the increasing popularity of the social network, it has struggled to book a profit and consistently grow its revenue.

In general, analysts are cautions. Nine has a 'sell' recommendation on the stock, 21 have neutral ratings and seven recommend buying, according to data from Thomson Reuters. Overall, they anticipate Twitter's stock to fall to $27.58.

The stock is trading at 45 times projected ratings, against Facebook's valuation of 21 times earnings, Thomson Reuters data showed.

On average, Twitter is expected by analysts to report a 10 percent increase in revenue to $605 million and non-GAAP EPS of 12 cents when it reports its March quarter results on April 25.

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IFX Gertrude
post Apr 19 2018, 05:45 AM
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UK Inflation Drops to 2.5%, its Lowest in a Year



UK inflation dropped in March to its lowest level in a year, raising questions over whether the Bank of England will raise interest rates in May.

The consumer price index (CPI) dropped to 2.5 percent in March from 2.7 percent in February, according to the Office for National Statistics. Economists had expected the annual rate of growth in prices to remain unchanged at 2.7 percent.

A smaller increase than is usual in the price of women's clothing was mainly responsible for the sharp decline, as well as the abolition of the Spring Budget, which meant there was no increase in alcohol and tobacco duty.

The decline in the headline inflation rate came from a fall in the rate of goods inflation from three percent in February to 2.4 percent in March. Goods prices are thought to be more sensitive to the exchange rate.

The sudden drop in inflation will lead investors to question whether the BoE will hike interest rates at its May meeting. However, many economists still expect the Bank of England, which had been forecasting CPI to average 2.9 percent over the first three months of 2018, to raise rates in May.

According to the most recent figures, UK wages increased by 2.8 percent in February.

Inflation has dropped in recent months as the impact of the sudden fall in the value of the pound after the EU referendum begins to fade. Having pushed up the cost of imported goods, the slide for sterling damaged the economy as squeezed consumers reined in their spending.

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IFX Gertrude
post Apr 20 2018, 03:38 AM
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Australia Unemployment Rate Steady in March



Australian employment barely increased in March while a sharp downward revision to February stopped a record-breaking run of gains, a disappointing outcome that hurt the local dollar and reinforced the case against a rate hike.

The country's jobless rate stood at 5.5 percent in seasonally adjusted terms in March, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, from a revised figure of 5.5 percent for February (previously 5.6 percent).

Data showed only 4,900 net new jobs were added in March, short of forecasts for 21,000. February was revised to show a 6,300 drop instead of the initial 17,500 increase, ruining what had been 17 consecutive month of growth.

The Australian economy shed 19,900 full-time jobs in March, from 20,100 increase in February (previously 64,900) while 24,800 part time roles were added. March was significantly worse with full-time positions dropping 19,900.

The news was not all bad with annual job growth of 3.0 percent still twice the pace of U.S. job creation.

The participation rate fell to 65.5 percent, having peaked at 65.7 percent in January as more women entered the labour force.

The strength of employment has been one of the brightest parts of economy, so the recent report would likely cause some unease at the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA). Growth in the resource-rich economy slowed in the fourth quarter of last year as bad weather hit exports.

The RBA noted in its April policy meeting minutes released that monthly increases in employment had moderated in the first few months of 2018. It said levels of underemployment remained “at relatively high levels”, adding that “leading indicators continued to point to above-average growth in employment in the period ahead”.

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IFX Gertrude
post Apr 23 2018, 05:16 AM
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Protectionism, Debt are Huge Threats to World Economy - EU



The largest threats to global economic expansion are government debt and protectionist tendencies, according to European Union economy commissioner Pierre Moscovici.

“The two main risks for growth, which is now very solid all over the world, are on the one hand protectionism and trade tensions, and on the other hand debt,” Moscovici said. “There is no trade war for the time being, so that's good.”

The IMF recently cautioned that the world's debt has swelled to a record $164 trillion, a trend that could make it more difficult for countries to respond to the next recession. Global public and private debt increased to 225 percent of worldwide economic output in 2016, the fund said on Wednesday in its semi-annual Fiscal Monitor report. The fund also cautioned that the global commercial order risked being “torn apart” by trade wars.

The global debt burden clouded the IMF's otherwise upbeat outlook of the world economy, which is in its strongest upswing since 2011. The fund expects growth of 3.9 percent in 2018 and 2019.

U.S. President Donald Trump is pushing for a crackdown on China and has announced tariffs on imports of steel and aluminum. The EU is seeking a permanent exemption from the metals levies after Trump granted a waiver to the bloc until May 1 and left open the possibility of a longer exclusion. The European Commission, the EU's executive branch in Brussels, has said that failure to gain a longer exemption from the U.S. metal-import duties would lead to a tit-for-tat response by the bloc.

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IFX Gertrude
post Apr 24 2018, 05:09 AM
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Australia Inflation Gains 0.4% In Q1



Consumer prices in Australia were up 0.4 percent on quarter in the first quarter of 2018, the Australian Bureau of Statistics said on Tuesday.

That was shy of expectations for 0.5 percent and down from 0.6 percent in the three months prior.

On a yearly basis, inflation advanced 1.9 percent - unchanged from Q4 but beneath forecasts for 2.0 percent.

The Reserve Bank of Australia's weighted median was up 0.5 percent on quarter and 1.9 percent on year, while the trimmed mean added 0.5 percent on quarter and 1.8 percent on year.

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IFX Gertrude
post Apr 24 2018, 05:50 AM
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Odds of Fourth Interest Rate Hike in 2018 Surges to Almost 50 Percent



Chances of the Federal Reserve raising interest rates this year four times rose to almost 50 percent on the CME's FedWatch tracking tool, indicating that the market is finally coming around to the idea that the central bank will be raising interest at a faster pace than initially expected.

While some big forecasting Wall Street firms for months have been forecasting that the Fed will step up the pace of its monetary policy tightening, traders had been expecting three moves this year. The first increase has been approved in March, plus two more, potentially in June and September.

But fed fund futures market on Monday gave almost a 50 percent chance that the U.S. central bank would move one more time in December.

The CME's FedWatch tool, considered to be a reliable gauge of Federal Open Market Committee's actions, indicated 48.2 percent change of four rate hikes in early trade. The shift towards a more aggressive Fed came as the 10-year Treasury note yield hovered around 3 percent, which bond analysts have estimated would be a psychologically important level.

The odds had had been just 33 percent a month ago and less than 40 percent as of late last week.

In their latest forecast in March, FOMC members still indicated that there would be three increases in the funds rate this year. But with increasing indications of inflations accelerating and as the market starts to price in more moves, the committee could start to set its target higher.

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IFX Gertrude
post Apr 25 2018, 03:32 AM
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German Business Sentiment Drops - Ifo



Sentiment among German businesses fell in April, according to a closely watched survey, with economists raising questions whether the eurozone's biggest economy is slowing down.

The Ifo Institute's business climate gauge slipped to 102.1 in April from 103.3 in March, recording the fifth straight month of declines.

Economists said the results pointed to a mixed picture for the German economy, a key pillar of the euro zone's economic health.

Deteriorating sentiment was seen in both the manufacturing and services sectors, with the index integrating the latter sector for the first time this month.

Clemens Fuest, president of the Ifo Institute, said that the numbers were disappointing and pointed to a number of challenges for the German economy. Fuest said that the index showed a "cooling down" rather than a "slowing down" in the economy and a degree of "normalization." "It's possible we've seen the peak of the upswing," he added.

Ifo's gauge underwent a significant revamp in April. The large German services sector was added to the main index, which previously focused on industries like manufacturing and construction, and the base year was swapped from 2005 to 2015.

The changes in methodology affect the levels of the index. The March reading, for instance, was changed from 114.7. Ifo noted when it announced its decision that the lower reading “is purely a base-year effect and not a plunge in the business cycle.”

Still, the decline in April highlights how the eurozone's biggest economy has got off to a bumpy start this year after a sharp acceleration in 2017.

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IFX Gertrude
post Apr 25 2018, 05:46 AM
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South Korea Consumer Confidence Weakens Further



South Korea's consumer confidence weakened for the fifth successive month in April, survey data from Bank of Korea showed Wednesday.

The consumer sentiment index fell to 107.1 in April from 108.1 in March.

Consumer sentiments regarding current living standards and their future outlook remained the same as in March, at 95 and 102 respectively. Consumer sentiment as to future household income and spending were dropped marginally in April.

The expected inflation rate over the following year was 2.6 percent.

The survey was conducted among 2,200 households between April 10 and 17.

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IFX Gertrude
post Yesterday, 03:25 AM
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Wall Street Closed Mostly Higher as Boeing Lifts Dow



U.S. stocks advanced on Wednesday as the Dow Jones industrial average ended higher for the first time in six sessions, rebounding from sharp losses seen earlier in the day, as Boeing jumped on solid earnings.

Boeing climbed 4.2 percent after posting quarterly results that easily surpassed analyst expectations. The stock's rise helped the Dow rebound from a 201.05-point deficit and snap a five-day losing streak. The Dow closed at 24,083.83, up 59.70 points.

The S&P 500 also pared earlier losses, closing 0.2 percent higher at 2,639.40. The Nasdaq composite fell 0.1 percent to 7,003.74.

All three major U.S. indexes fluctuated in choppy trading and the Dow flirted with its sixth consecutive decline during much of the session, which would continue its longest losing streak since an 8-day slide in March 2017.

Twitter posted stronger-than-forecast earnings on Wednesday, but the stock dropped 2.4 percent. Comcast, NBCUniversal's parent company, also released better-than-expected earnings Wednesday.

Facebook was up slightly ahead of its earnings, expected after the bell. The social media company has recently come under fire over its use of consumer data.

Comcast was up 2.1 percent after the largest U.S.cable company confirmed its $31 billion bid for Sky on the heels of its better-than-expected earnings report.

So far, 31 percent of S&P 500 companies have posted earnings, 81.2 percent of which came in above consensus estimates. Analysts now expect first-quarter earnings growth of 22 percent, according to Thomson Reuters data.

Of the 11 major S&P 500 sector indexes, 7 were in negative territory, led by Real Estate, Technology and Financials.

The CBOE Volatility index .VIX , an indicator of short-term stock market volatility, jumped to 18.67 points, its highest level in more than a week.

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IFX Gertrude
post Yesterday, 05:41 AM
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Australia Q1 Import Prices Rise More Than Expected



Australia's import prices increased at a faster-than-expected pace in the three months ended March, figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics showed Thursday.

The import price index climbed 2.1 percent sequentially in the first quarter, following a 2.0 percent slight rise in the fourth quarter of 2017. It was the second consecutive quarterly increase.

That was above the 1.2 percent rise economists had forecast. The increase was driven by higher prices paid for petroleum, petroleum products and related materials, road vehicles, inorganic chemicals and plastics in primary forms.

On a yearly basis, imports prices grew at a faster rate of 2.3 percent in the March quarter, after a 1.4 percent gain in the December quarter.

Data also revealed that export prices rose 4.9 percent quarterly in the first quarter, following a 2.8 increase in the prior month. As compared to the corresponding period last year, the index dropped by 1.4 percent.

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IFX Gertrude
post Today, 03:38 AM
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Japan Industrial Production Jumps 1.2% In March



Industrial output in Japan gained 1.2 percent on month in March, the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry said on Friday.

That topped forecasts for an increase of 0.5 percent following the 2.0 percent gain in February.

On a yearly basis, industrial production jumped 2.2 percent - exceeding forecasts for 2.0 percent and up from 1.6 percent in the previous month.

Upon the release of the data, the METI maintained its assessment of industrial production, saying that it is picking up slowly. Also on Friday: .

Retail sales in Japan were down a seasonally adjusted 0.7 percent on month in March, the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry said.

That was shy of forecasts for a flat reading following the 0.5 percent increase in February.

On a yearly basis, retail sales gained 1.0 percent - also missing forecasts for 1.5 percent and down from 1.7 percent in the previous month.

Large retailer sales added 0.1 percent on year, missing expectations for 0.8 percent and down from 0.6 percent a month earlier. .

The unemployment rate in Japan came in at a seasonally adjusted 2.5 percent in March, the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications said - in line with expectations and unchanged from the previous month.

The job-to-applicant ratio was 1.59 - also matching forecasts and up from 1.58 in February. The participation rate was 61.2 percent.

The number of employed persons in March was 66.20 million, an increase of 1.87 million or 2.9 percent on year. .

Consumer prices in Tokyo were up 0.5 percent on year in April, the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications said. That was well shy of forecasts for 0.8 percent and down from 1.0 percent in March.

Core CPI, which excludes volatile food prices, was up an annual 0.6 percent. That also missed forecasts for 0.8 percent, which would have been unchanged.

On a monthly basis, overall Tokyo CPI fell 0.4 percent and core inflation eased 0.1 percent.

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IFX Gertrude
post Today, 04:56 AM
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U.S. Business Investment Cools; Labor Market Remains Strong



New orders for key U.S.-made capital goods dropped in March, pulled down by the biggest decline in demand for machinery in almost two years, and a fall in shipments implies that business spending on equipment cooled in the first quarter.

Separate data recently showed that the economy remains strong. The number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits dropped to the lowest level in over 48 years last week and the goods trade deficit narrowed sharply in March amid strong export growth.

According to the Commerce Department, orders for nondefense capital goods excluding aircraft, a closely watched proxy for business spending plans, fell 0.1 percent in March. Data for February was revised to show these so-called core capital goods rising 0.9 percent instead of the initially posted 1.4 percent jump.

In March, orders for machinery dropped 1.7 percent, the biggest decline since April 2016, after a gain of 0.3 percent in February. There were, however, increases in orders of primary metals, computers and electronic products, fabricated metals and electrical equipment, appliances and components.

Overall orders for durable goods, items ranging from toasters to aircraft that are meant to last three years or more, rose 2.6 percent in March as demand for transportation equipment rose 7.6 percent. That followed a 3.5 percent surge in durable goods orders in February.

Business spending on equipment likely cooled in the first quarter after double-digit growth in the second half of 2017. The moderation in investment in equipment is expected to have combined with a sharp slowdown in consumer spending to restrain economic growth in the first quarter.

Gross domestic product is likely to come in at 2 percent or less in the first quarter.

Nonetheless, signs are emerging that growth is likely to speed up in the spring, with GDP perhaps returns close to 3%. Companies are raising production and hiring at a rapid clip despite the lowest jobless rate since 2000. The rate of layoffs in April fell to the lowest level since 1969.

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