There's more to life than Brexit  --  Oh God, we hope so ...... ref :- "Sterling's rol

There's more to life than Brexit -- Oh God, we hope so ...... ref :- "Sterling's role as Brexit barometer reduced", The Financial Times, Markets and Investing PLEASE, PLEASE tell us that it's not going to be like this every day for the next two years ..... blanket media coverage (in the UK, at least) and jittery market (over)reactions every time a negotiating official sneezes. To be perfectly honest, we were pretty nonplussed yesterday morning when sterling's weakness was being attributed in some quarters to it being the day when Article 50 was finally triggered. Yes, you could say that the Brexit process is now OFFICIALLY underway, but it's not as if this was some sort of surprise event.

Wobbles in the Trump Trades affect more than the Dollar ......

re :- "The Biggest Risk From the Dollar's Drop May Not Be What You Would Guess" , Bloomberg Markets Confidence that the Trump administration is on course to deliver on its electoral promises has been wearing a bit thin for a while now. If anyone on the President's team was unaware of the difficulties of passing bold (brash ?) campaign promises into law, the failure to get enough Congressional support for Mr Trump's healthcare reforms must have illuminated even the most blinkered of them. Well, perhaps ..... although the official line is that frustrating though the setback is, we'll just move on to other key issues such as slashing cuts in personal and corporate taxation and boosting infrastr

1987 and all that ... a lesson from history ignored ? ref :- "Momentum surfers revive painful

1987 and all that ... a lesson from history ignored ? ref :- "Momentum surfers revive painful memories" , the Financial Times, Markets and Investing 1987 will seem like an awful long time ago to younger readers ..... not for all of us, sadly. But whatever your age or level of experience, only a fool ignores the lessons of the past. You might conclude then that foolishness must be an intrinsic component of the human condition, so often do we repeat the mistakes of previous generations. But we're not here to discuss weighty philosophical issues, and all will relieved to hear that. Rather, we'll stick to the much lower-brow subject of markets ..... and in particular the stock market crash of 19

Doesn't sound like a hot story, but it's getting there .... the Fed, its balance sheet, and

Doesn't sound like a hot story, but it's getting there .... the Fed, its balance sheet, and what to do with it. ref :- "Federal Reserve Ponders How to Do The Big Unwind : Quick Q&A" Bloomberg 14/3 It's not as though we haven't discussed the subject, but the issue of how and when the US central bank is going to set about reducing its swollen balance sheet is becoming the focus of more and more attention. Since the process would effectively represent a form of monetary tightening, investors want to know how it will play alongside the more obvious tightening measure -- that of raising short-term interest rates. Last week Bloomberg put out a useful little Q&A guide to the topic, and since red

FCI -- an index you definitely need to keep an eye on ..... yes, another one.titled

FCI -- an index you definitely need to keep an eye on ..... yes, another one. ref :- "The Market Is Acting Like the Fed Cut Rates" , Bloomberg Markets Imagine that oft-quoted visitor from Mars had landed just as the Fed were hiking rates by 25 basis points on Wednesday night. Having no context in which to judge the move he or she might have assumed that it would provoke an upward reaction in the dollar and bond yields, and the opposite in stocks and bond prices -- fortunately these space-travelling extraterrestrials are always equipped with some basic economic theory. In reality of course the rate increase had the opposite effects, and it's simple enough to explain why. By the time the F

Reminders of the bloomin' obvious ......

Reminders of the bloomin' obvious ...... Time is a little short so, in the unlikely event that anyone might have forgotten what to look out for today, we offer a couple of brief reminders. Apologies to those already waiting with baited breath ..... After the close of European markets (18.00hrs GMT), the US Federal Reserve will give us its much anticipated decision on interest rates, its policy statement and its economic projections, to be followed 30 mins later by the usual press conference. Not much more than a couple of weeks ago, the chances of a rate hike were little more than 30%. We know now that a hike of 25 basis is nigh-on guaranteed -- and consequently already priced into the ma

Contango not a happy sign for oil bulls .....

Contango not a happy sign for oil bulls ..... ref :- "OPEC's Best Signal of Success No Longer Looks So Promising" , Bloomberg Markets We know about Contangos and Backwardations, right ? Just in case, a very basic refresher ...... The terms originated in the mid-19th century on the London Stock Exchange, and although they still apply across a range of markets it's commodities where they are referred to most often. Which is just as well really, as we're looking at Oil and the implications that those two conditions represent for that particular market. So in commodity markets : A CONTANGO is a situation whereby the Spot (or Cash, or Immediate, call it what you will) price of a commodity is LOWE

It's Monday, so it must be : Central Banks, Politics, Oil, Stocks and China ..... just like any

ref :- "Five Things You Need to Know to Start Your Day" , Bloomberg Another busy week in store for central banks, and naturally most attention is focused on the US Federal Reserve who make their policy decision on Wednesday. Mind you, it's not one of those "Will they ? Won't they ?" situations. As we've discussing for some time, a 25bp rate hike is near enough guaranteed, especially after Friday's strong employment data for February : Non-farm payrolls +235,000, Unemployment rate 4.7% (from 4.8%), Ave. Hourly Income +2.8% year-on-year. A hike being fully expected, of greater interest will be the Fed's thoughts on future policy, and how many increases we are likely to see this year -- three

ECB decision ..... No action mustn't look like inaction

ECB decision ..... No action mustn't look like inaction ref :- "Draghi poised to temper optimism with caution" , The Financial Times, Markets and Investing We were only musing the other day about how there was no such thing in markets as a "sure thing". The European Central Bank announce their decision on rates at 12.45 GMT today and ECB president Mario Draghi gives his statement 45 minutes later. We may have to avoid saying that anything is certain but a "no change" decision on rates is as close to a foregone conclusion as you're going to find. Quite what Mr Draghi will say in response to changing conditions in the Eurozone ..... well, that's another matter. The rising rate of economic grow

What's Marshal Foch got to do with the value of Sterling ?

What's Marshal Foch got to do with the value of Sterling ? ref :- "Morgan Stanley sees brighter outlook for sterling, UK midcaps" , Reuters 7/3/17 Call it what you will : countertrend, contratrend, contrarian ? Anyway, whichever you prefer some of the most spectacular market coups have been pulled off by those prepared to buck the prevailing wisdom of the time and put on positions in the market that seem to defy conventional logic. Of course, such plans often backfire and timing is everything but you can't help admiring the guts required even if you can't always agree with the rationale. Whilst you could easily compare such a trading strategy with standing in front of runaway trains, or perh

Blurring the boundaries of risk .......

Tuesday 7th March 2017 ref :- "Eurozone road map needs an urgent update" , The Financial Times, Analysis / Capital Markets Ah yes, risk ..... an investor might legitimately argue that, when all's said and done, it's what markets are all about. How to control risk as far as is possible and still make a nice return, that's the challenge. The problem facing the modern investor is that at the "macro" end of the scale judgement of risk, and therefore a valid assessment of what constitutes good value, has become a lot more difficult. In the Eurozone, the old order of things regarding the creditworthiness of nation states has been shaken up. In terms of how their debt should be treated, countries h

Trump upstaged ?? The Fed grabs the limelight ......

Trump upstaged ?? The Fed grabs the limelight ...... ref :- "Market odds of March rise in interest rates hit 80%" , The Financial Times First of all, let's put this in some perspective. We do fully understand that for most people, what Donald Trump says and does is of a lot more interest than what a bunch of slightly bookish central bankers might get up to. Whatever one's view, no one could deny that Mr Trump is always interesting. But for markets, what various senior members of the Federal Reserve have had to say over the last couple of days has been more influential than Mr. Trump's speech to Congress last night, important though that was. There were quite a few nerves evident in the lead-

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