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  1. #431
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    Market Review – Fundamental Perspective February 11 , 2016

    The Federal Reserve is unlikely to reverse its plan to raise interest rates further this year, but tighter credit markets, volatile financial markets, and uncertainty over Chinese economic growth have raised risks to the U.S. economy, Fed Chair Janet Yellen told U.S. lawmakers on Wednesday. Yellen said she expected continued U.S. economic growth would allow the Fed to pursue its plan of "gradual" rate hikes, but her comments kept the central bank's options open. Stock indexes worldwide recovered some ground before ending little changed on Wednesday after Yellen's comments eased concerns about the likely path of U.S. interest rates. Worries about Chinese economic growth, poor U.S. fourth quarter corporate earnings, and the impact on capital spending and employment in the energy sector of the slump in oil prices, have roiled global markets in the past month. The dollar was broadly lower early on Thursday after comments from Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen gave investors no reason to change their minds that the next rate hike will be a long time coming. That gave currency investors the green light to continue the current trading theme; buy the safe-haven yen. As a result, the dollar came within a whisker of 113.00 yen, reaching a low not see since November 2014. It was last at 113.49. The euro also weakened against its Japanese peer, sliding to a near three-week low of 127.74 yen. It has since edged back to 128.00. Against the dollar, the common currency held near $1.1300 and stayed within reach of a three-month high of $1.13385 set earlier in the week.



  2. #432
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    Market Review – Fundamental Perspective February 15 , 2016

    The mood inside the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) is shifting from mistrust to a growing consensus that a decision must be reached on how to end the global oil price rout. Oil prices have slumped by more than 70 percent to near $30 a barrel over the past 18 months as OPEC, led by top producer Saudi Arabia, sought to drive higher-cost producers out of the market by refusing to cut production despite a supply glut. The price crash has crippled some economies that depend heavily on oil sales for income, such as Nigeria and Venezuela, and even Saudi Arabia is shoring up its resources to withstand the painful revenue drop.
    Now markets have delivered their verdict on inflation - it's not picking up any time soon - economic data due next week will show whether price pressures are rising meaningfully or falling back in some of the world's major economies. A global rout in stock markets, currencies, commodities and bond yields has so far defined 2016 as investors have seemingly lost faith in central banks' abilities to boost inflation, with signs the world economy is stalling. The Bank of Japan surprised markets late last month by cutting its deposit rate to negative. But the impact seems limited to some knee-jerk weakening in the Japanese yen. Sweden's Riksbank also slashed its repo rate to -0.50 percent on Thursday, partly as insurance against expectations that the European Central Bank would ease policy in March. Inflation data from Britain, Canada, China and the United States next week may set the tone for the global economy. Federal
    Reserve Chair Janet Yellen hinted this week the path to higher interest rates in the United States may be less steep than previously thought, given the broad market sell-off.



  3. #433
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    Market Review – Fundamental Perspective February 16 , 2016

    The euro and yen weakened 1 percent against the dollar on Monday, with investors reversing the past week's search for traditional safe locations for capital as officials signaled they could do even more to spur the global economy. With U.S. markets closed for a domestic holiday, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe led the way by warning Tokyo would take action against "excessive currency volatility" - read universally as a threat to intervene against the yen. Chinese central bank chief Zhou Xiaochuan also played down concerns over falls in its currency reserves, helping drive the biggest daily rise in onshore rates for the yuan since China dropped an official peg to the dollar in 2005. His euro zone opposite number, Mario Draghi, knocked another half a percent off the euro and yen in afternoon trade, pointing to more steps the bank can take to support credit and get the economy moving again. A stock market sell-off since the start of February has driven a wave of capital to seek the traditional safety of Japan, driving the yen 7 percent higher and prompting speculation Tokyo would intervene. The dollar was up 1 percent at 114.45 yen. The euro has been a slightly shakier choice as a haven for investors' money in the past week but both it and the yen were down by a full percentage point against the dollar as Draghi spoke in the European parliament. It was down at $1.1145. Abe also said he hoped the Group of 20 finance leaders would take appropriate measures to address global economic problems when they meet in Shanghai next week.



  4. #434
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    Market Review – Fundamental Perspective February 17 , 2016

    The fate of the first global oil deal in 15 years could be decided on Wednesday when OPEC members travel to Iran to persuade the country to participate in a deal to freeze output levels, possibly by offering Tehran special terms. Dominant OPEC power Saudi Arabia and non-OPEC Russia, the world's top two producers and exporters, agreed on Tuesday to freeze production levels but said the deal was contingent on others joining in - a major sticking point with Iran absent from the talks and determined to raise production. OPEC members Qatar, Venezuela and Kuwait said they were also ready to freeze output and oil sources in Iraq - the world's fastestgrowing producer in the past year - said Baghdad would abide by a global deal aimed at tackling a growing oversupply and helping prices recover from their lowest in over a decade. Benchmark Brent oil prices fell 2 percent on Tuesday to below $33 per barrel on concerns that Iran may reject the deal and that even if Tehran agreed it would not help ease the growing global glut.
    Wall Street minted its second straight session of solid gains on Tuesday, as investors snatched up beaten-down consumer discretionary, industrial and tech shares. Building on Friday's rally, the S&P 500 tallied its biggest two-day percentage gain since August. Slumping oil prices, fears of a China-led slowdown in global growth and uncertainty over central bank monetary policies
    have roiled the markets this year. The S&P 500 remains down 7.3 percent in 2016. The dollar rose 1.02 percent against a basket of major currencies while the euro edged lower at $1.1136, down from last week's four-month high of $1.1377.



  5. #435
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    Market Review – Fundamental Perspective February 19 , 2016

    The yen was broadly firmer early on Friday, having hit a fresh 2-1/2 year high on the euro thanks in part to renewed demand for the safe-haven Japanese currency as Wall Street snapped a three-day rally. The euro fell as far as 125.595 yen, bringing into view the June 2013 low of 124.940. It last stood at 125.870. The dollar slid towards 113.00 yen, but was still some way off a 15-month low near 111.00 set last week. Traders said a fresh fall in oil prices had unsettled equity markets, prompting the flight to safety flow. The euro also lost ground on the dollar, slipping to a two-week low of $1.1071. It has since drifted back above$1.1100. Not helping the common currency, minutes of the European Central Bank's January meeting showed some policymakers advocated the need to act pre-emptively in the face of new threats to growth. In contrast, San Francisco Fed President John Williams said the U.S. central bank should stick with its plan to raise interest rates gradually, adding his outlook has changed little since December. U.S. oil futures fell in early Asian trade on Friday as record crude stocks renewed concerns about global oversupply, outweighing moves by oil producers including Saudi Arabia and Russia to cap oil output. U.S. crude had slipped 30 cents to $30.47 a barrel by 0016 GMT, after settling up 11 cents in the previous session. The benchmark had this week risen more than 14 percent up to Thursday after Saudi Arabia and Russia announced plans to freeze oil output at January's levels.



  6. #436
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    Market Review – Fundamental Perspective February 23 , 2016

    EUR/USD fell sharply on Monday, slipping to its lowest level in nearly three weeks as currency traders kept a close eye on soft manufacturing data throughout the euro zone, as well as fresh indications that the U.K. could leave the European Union if a historic referendum passes in June. The currency pair ended down 0.0104 or 0.93% on the session.
    Investors on Monday continued to react to geopolitical news involving Britain's possible departure from the EU in the first full day of trading since U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron reached a deal with EU lawmakers on Friday night, which grants the nation special status with the European bloc. Over the weekend, London mayor Boris Johnson shockingly backed the socalled "Brexit," declaring the June 23 referendum a "vote for real change." As a result, GBP/USD plunged more than 1.8%, falling to its lowest level since March, 2009. A potential Brexit also weighs on the euro, as a departure by the UK from the EU exacerbates fears that other top nations in the euro zone will look to apply for special considerations. Monday, a report in France showed that private sector activity fell into contraction territory last month, while business activity in Germany expanded at the slowest rate in seven months. The dollar pared some of its early rally after Markit said its Flash U.S. PMI Manufacturing Index fell from 52.4 in January to 51.0 in February, its lowest rate since late-2012. The greenback, though, held onto its gains, as investors digested solid inflation data from Friday's session. In January, the U.S. Department of Labor said its Core Consumer Price Index (CPI), surged by 1.4% from the prior 12 months last month, increasing 0.7% from already strong gains in December. The strong reading may bolster the odds that the Federal Reserve could approve multiple interest rate hikes before the end of the year.



  7. #437
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    Market Review – Fundamental Perspective February 24 , 2016

    EUR/USD fell mildly on Tuesday, briefly dropping below 1.10 for the first time since early-February, as Bank of England Governor Mark Carney admitted the risks of a potential Brexit from the European bloc have weighed on the pound since last week's agreement between the UK and the European Union paved the way for a referendum in June. The euro has closed lower against its American counterpart in seven of the last eight sessions losing 2.4% in this period. One day after the pound plummeted almost 2% against the dollar, the sterling remained at sixyear lows on Tuesday as investors continue to gauge the uncertainty related to Britain's historic decision on June 23. If economic conditions in the UK weaken as a result of fears related to Britain's possible departure from the bloc, Carney said the BOE would not hesitate to lowering interest rates even further. A UK departure is also expected to weigh on the euro if other top nations in the euro zone follow suit by applying for special status from the EU.
    In the U.S., further gains in the dollar were restrained by a flurry of soft economic data. On Tuesday morning, The Conference Board said its Consumer Confidence Index for February fell sharply to 92.2 from a revised 97.8 a month earlier. With the considerable declines, consumer confidence in the U.S. fell to its lowest level since last July. Analysts expected the index to dip mildly by 0.6 to 97.2. Within the report, though, there were only signs of slight erosion in consumer confidence. Elsewhere, the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond said its Manufacturing Index fell to minus 4 in February, sliding to its lowest level since September. The subdued readings could compel analysts to scrutinize next week's U.S. February jobs report more closely.



  8. #438
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    Market Review – Fundamental Perspective February 25 , 2016

    Wednesday was an incredibly active day in the foreign-exchange market with many major currencies experiencing big moves. The focus was on the British pound, Japanese yen and Canadian dollar as there was zero consistency in the performance of the greenback. The U.S. dollar strengthened versus the GBP, AUD and NZD but weakened against JPY, CAD and CHF. The latest economic reports show the U.S. recovery is losing momentum but there are more pressing problems abroad. New Home Sales may have fallen more than expected as servicesector activity contracted for the first time in 28 months according to Markit Economics but the impact on the dollar was limited by the data’s influence on Fed policy. According to the latest comments from U.S. policymakers, the Fed is far more worried about market volatility than the direction of the economy. Most Fed Presidents still feel confident that the recovery will gain momentum, but market developments tightened financial conditions making it increasingly difficult for the Fed to justify raising interest rates next month. For the Fed to move forward with tightening, it's not data but the markets that need to stabilize. So don’t expect much reaction to Thursday’s jobless claims and durable goods reports. The British pound dropped to its weakest level in nearly 7 years on Wednesday against the U.S. dollar. EUR/GBP climbed to a 1-year high while GBP/JPY dropped to a 2-year low. Growing concerns about Brexit pressed sterling lower for the third consecutive trading day. Although the latest polls still point to marginally more people in favor of staying in the European Union, U.K. corporates and investors are planning for the worst by hedging the downside in sterling through spot, forwards and options -- especially now that 1.40 has been broken. When it comes to panic selling around an event with significant impact on U.K. businesses, the economy and the country’s legacy, the currency could fall more quickly and aggressively than most of us could imagine.



  9. #439
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    Market Review – Fundamental Perspective February 29 , 2016

    The dollar rallied the most in two months after a series of better-than-forecast economic reports boosted the outlook for U.S. growth. The greenback rose for a third day versus the yen, its longest winning streak in almost a month, as a revised reading of gross domestic product last quarter showed the economy grew at a 1 percent annualized rate, compared with an initial estimate of 0.7 percent. Consumer purchases climbed in January by the most in eight months and a measure of inflation advanced the most since October 2014. The reports helped offset a rising clamor of concern that U.S. growth risks being dragged down by China’s slowdown and stagnant inflation in the euro area and Japan. Traders have pushed out expectations for interest-rate increases from the Federal Reserve as a result, and a Bloomberg gauge of the dollar remains poised for its biggest monthly loss since April 2015. Hedge funds cut their bets on the dollar to the least since July 2014 in the week through Feb. 23.
    The Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index, which tracks the U.S. currency versus 10 peers, rose 0.7 percent to 1,231.01 as of 5 p.m. in New York, the biggest gain since Dec. 17. The dollar advanced 0.9 percent to 114 yen, capping its best week since the period ending Jan. 29. The greenback added 0.8 percent to $1.0934 per euro. The Fed is scrutinizing incoming data for signs the economy can withstand another interest-rate increase after policy makers hiked rates for the first time in almost a decade in December. Traders are pricing in a 53 percent likelihood of an increase by year-end, down from 93 percent on Dec. 31, based on the assumption that the effective fed funds rate will trade at the middle of the new FOMC target range after the next increase.



  10. #440
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    Market Review – Fundamental Perspective March 02 , 2016

    The yen fell from its strongest level in almost three years against the euro as monetary stimulus in China brightened prospects for the world’s second-largest economy, damping refuge demand. Japan’s currency declined versus all of its 31 major peers a day after China’s central bank cut the amount of cash lenders must hold in reserve. Demand for the yen as a haven from turmoil in global markets saw it jump 7.1 percent versus the euro in February and post a 7.5 percent advance against the dollar, its biggest gain since October 2008. The yen depreciated 1.1 percent to 123.90 per euro at 5 p.m. New York time after climbing to 122.09, its strongest level since April 2013. It weakened 1.2 percent to 114.01 per dollar, having gained as much as 0.5 percent. The world-beating advance in the yen this year has fueled concern the stronger exchange rate will hurt Japan’s exporters and weigh on growth. While that’s prompted officials to try to stabilize the currency by hinting at measures to curb its gains, the government said Monday that it didn’t intervene in the foreign-exchange market between Jan. 28 and Feb. 25. The yen has climbed more than 5 percent against both the dollar and euro in 2016. The PBOC’s decision to cut its reserve requirement ratio marked the first time in four months that it’s used one of its traditional monetary-easing tools amid growing signs the economy is weakening. The pound strengthened for a fourth day versus the euro, its longest run of gains since November, as investors questioned the extent of declines driven by concern over a possible British exit from the European Union. Sterling advanced 0.2 percent to 77.97 pence per euro as of 4:05 p.m. London time. Sterling’s four-day rally is its longest since the period ended Nov. 11. The U.K. currency was at $1.3922, having climbed 0.3 percent Monday.



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