CFDs are complex instruments and come with a high risk of losing money rapidly due to leverage. Please ensure you fully understand the risks involved. CFDs are complex instruments and come with a high risk of losing money rapidly due to leverage. Please ensure you fully understand the risks involved.

Trader thoughts - the long and short of it

Global politics dominate the minds of traders and investors on the open this morning, and it will do, going into US trade as well, with expectations that we could get colour on the Republican blueprint on tax reform.

Market data
Source: Bloomberg

That said, there has been talk that the announcement is to be pushed back to Wednesday, which makes sense, given Donald Trump is scheduled to speak in Indiana.

Amid a strong step-up in the rhetorical war between Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un (and other NK officials), and a growing divide between Trump and various US sport codes, US tax reform should be a clear dominant catalyst for sentiment this week in my opinion.

That said, Janet Yellen’s speech tomorrow (amid a raft of Fed speakers due this week) could give clarity on her stance around a December rate hike and markets will pay focus to this event risk. In the immediate short-term though, markets are focusing on the results of the German and New Zealand elections, where both have resulted in a prolonged period of negotiations ahead to form coalition governments.

Certainly the New Zealand election initially seems to be causing some angst in NZDNZD, with NZ First leader Winston Peters refusing to commit either-way and traders are still not ruling out the prospect of a coalition between NZ First and Labour.  Most still sense that the probability trade is for a National led coalition with NZ First, but the broad-based selling in the NZD suggests there is no conviction to trade this view.  Markets obviously dislike uncertainty.

There is more a pronounced offer in the EUR this morning, with EUR/USD trading into $1.1894 at one stage, with EUR/GBP into £0.8816, although liquidity is poor, so let’s see how price fares when we get into the latter stages of Asian and early European trade. Certainly, Asia hasn’t been overly concerned about holding GBP’s despite the Moody’s one-notch downgrade to the UK’s credit rating late Friday and it will be interesting to see if there is any selling in the UK bond market on open; one suspects it will also be limited.

Angela Merkel has the job now to form a coalition, after securing another term as chancellor, although her polling was worse than expected. The right-wing AFD party polled far better than expected, with 13.5% of the votes (a gain of some 8.5ppt) and have secured representation in the Bundestag. The water is starting to settle here and there are a lot of questions that markets are asking. This is before we have seen a coalition formed, which in itself may not happen this calendar year. All the talk seems to be around a ‘Jamaica coalition’, with representation between the CDU/CSU-FDP and Greens. What will be the impact on EU integration, reforms and Brexit?

With FX markets open and underway, it’s all eyes on the 8:00am (AEST) futures open, where the wash-up of the weekend political news shouldn’t impact risk too greatly. USD/JPY is a good guide here and that pair is trading a touch higher at ¥112.15, suggesting S&P 500 futures should have a quiet open. US crude closed +0.2% on Friday, but should find support this morning with the weekly US Baker-Hughes Rig count falling a further five rigs to 744 rigs, while Brent crude looks quite bullish here, with future contract in clear backwardation.

FTSE 100 futures open at 10:00am AEST and this may provide a guide around sentiment into the broader Euro region. However, I would be paying closer attention to Eurostoxx and DAX futures open at 4:00pm AEST, which I would expect clients to be active in trading and one suspects modest net selling should be seen.

Our open of the ASX 200 currently sits at 5693, so we should see the market build on Friday’s gain. Materials stocks still look vulnerable, with spot iron ore closing -3.8% on Friday and taking the losses from the 22 August highs to 20.8%. Dalian iron ore futures closed -1.7%, while steel and coking coal futures fell 0.8% and 3.7% respectively.

The bulks, along with moves in copper, which despite finding small buyers on Friday closed lower for a third consecutive week. BHP’s ADR closed up 0.8%, however, one suspects BHP’s variability to petroleum should support on open. Financials were the driver last week, which won’t surprise, although we are seeing the sector move inversely. Aussie government bonds, which is interesting, because for some long if bond yields move higher, so did the banks.

What is clear though is the 5800 to 5670 range the ASX 200 has been in since late May. It’s being respected and I would continue to define the strategy this week.

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