Oil's freefall continues as it hits year lows

Heading into the close the FTSE 100 is down 55 points at 6687, as natural resource stocks cause most of the damage.

Oil pump
Source: Bloomberg

Chinese data weighs on commodities

Oil and mining stocks spent the trading session offside as a sudden contraction in Chinese imports left commodity stocks out in the cold. Traders are coming to the realisation that without a new round of monetary easing from Beijing, there is little reason to buy mineral-related companies. There is no sign of the collapse in commodity stocks coming to an end any time soon.

British banks are becoming wary of the developments across the English Channel. Noises out of Greece suggest we could be in for rocky ride, and the UK banks could be in the firing line again.

Shares in SuperGroup are off over 6% ahead of its half-year results this week. The owner of the brand SuperDry has warned on  profits twice this year already, and traders aren’t taking any chances!

McDonald's sales decline

The Dow Jones is down 18 points at 17,940, with the US benchmark running on empty after last Friday’s jobs report. Even though the Dow is in the red it is still popular with traders as the buying on the dips strategy has proved fruitful. As the global equity markets are in a downbeat mood today, I see the Dow refuelling its tanks before another attempt on the 18,000 mark.

McDonald’s served up a greater-than-expected decline in same store sales. The poor performance from its Russia division came as no surprise, but weakness in the US is something traders won’t overlook.

Gold progress hindered by $1200

Gold has taken advantage of the uncertainty in the equity markets but has failed to make a convincing rally. The precious metal is finding it increasingly difficult to hold on to any advances and the $1200 mark is constantly acting as a road block.

Copper is feeling the pain as Chinese imports unexpectedly contracted in November. The record trade surplus by the largest importer of copper in the world hammers home the point that the Asian giant no longer has the appetite for minerals it once had. 

Oil has dropped to a five as the bears show so sign of going into hibernation. The oil market appears to be in free fall as daily losses in excess of 1% are becoming a regular occurrence.

GBP/USD pulls back from 15-month low 

The euro is preparing itself for another volatile week as eurozone ministers begin their meeting. Deep division remains in Brussels over whether the European Central Bank should follow the Federal Reserve down the QE route.

As if the eurozone didn’t have enough on its plate, Greece is back on the agenda. Politicians are scrambling to shore up the country’s finances, and if a deal isn’t reached soon the ECB may not have a choice in adding government bonds to its purchasing scheme.

The pound has pulled back from its 15-month low versus the US dollar as the Bank of England’s final quarterly bulletin of the year revealed an additional 120,000 mortgage holders would run the risk of default if the base rate were to jump by 2%. The stress test for mortgage holders underlines the importance of ‘gradually’ increasing interest rates in the UK when it is eventually called for.

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