Who won the first US presidential debate?

US Presidential Election

Blonde Money CEO and XRay regular Helen Thomas recaps what we learned – or didn’t – from the first debate of the US Presidential Election between President Trump and Joe Biden.

Don’t forget you can catch the latest insight from Helen every week on XRay.

 

Week Ahead: Trump and Biden to face off in first Presidential Debate

Week Ahead

It’s a big week for financial markets, as the first US Presidential Debate kicks off on Tuesday. Donald Trump has spent a long time attacking ‘Sleepy Joe’s’ mental prowess, but has he accidentally set the bar too low for his opponent, or will Biden’s verbal blunders see him put on a poor show? 

After the two candidates have argued about the economy we’ll get another update on the labour market when the nonfarm payrolls report is published on Friday. 

Fireworks likely at first US Presidential Debate

Headline risks surrounding the US Presidential Election will shoot higher this week as President Donald Trump and Democratic nominee Joe Biden get ready for the first Presidential Debate on September 29th. Topics are liable to change in response to the latest new events, but at the time of writing the debate commission had announced the following itinerary: 

  • The Trump and Biden Records 
  • The Supreme Court 
  • Covid-19 
  • The Economy 
  • Race and Violence in our Cities 
  • The Integrity of the Election 

It’s a list of huge controversies, but even with such important topics, can the debates do much to swing the opinion of such a highly-polarized electorate? 

Biden leads Trump by 7.1% in the national polls according to our election poll tracker. Much has been made of his age and his verbal blunders and there’s a risk he’ll find himself flattened by Trump’s aggressive debating style. 

However, thanks to months of the President attacking ‘Sleepy Joe’s’ mental capacity, some Republicans fear that Trump has actually set the bar incredibly low for Biden. 

Nonfarm Payrolls

A few days after Trump and Biden have argued over the state of the economy, we’ll get another look at the health of the labour market. Payrolls growth slightly undershot forecasts in August, coming in at 1.371 million against expectations for 1.4 million. 

Of the more-than 22 million Americans who lost their jobs towards the start of the pandemic, 11.5 million of them are still out of work. There’s still a long way to go until the labour market has recovered and some analysts are expecting the pace of job creation to have softened again. 

Inflation, Caixin and ISM PMIs, finalised growth figures

Other data in focus next week includes Germany and Eurozone flash inflation reports and the China Caixin Manufacturing PMI. Thursday will be a busy day for US data, with core PCE, personal income, personal spending, initial and continuing jobless claims and the ISM Manufacturing PMI all in the docket. 

Finalised quarterly growth figures from the US and UK and finalised manufacturing PMIs from Eurozone member states and the UK could garner some interest if the figures differ notably from initial readings. 

Earnings: McCormick, Micron, PepsiCo, Constellation Brands

Tuesday sees the latest earnings reports from McCormick & Co before the New York open and Micron Technology after the close. 

McCormick has fallen -12% from its September 1st peak, but remains 65% above its March lows. Both hedge funds and company insiders have been selling the stock recently, which is trading -9% below its average price target on Wall Street. 

Micron Technology, on the other hand, has a 27% upside, although it has also experienced heavy selling in the past quarter. 

On Thursday PepsiCo and Constellation Brands both report before the opening bell. After the March recovery PepsiCo has struggled to hold above opening levels and is currently down over -4% on the year. You can download the latest research on the stock by Thompson Reuters in the platform. 

Constellation Brands is virtually flat for the year. Analysts see a 9% upside for the stock. 

Highlights on XRay this Week 

Read the full schedule of financial market analysis and training.

17.00 UTC 28⁠-⁠Sep Blonde Markets
17.00 UTC 29⁠⁠⁠⁠-⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠Sep Webinar: Money Management and Trading Psychology
11.00 UTC 30⁠⁠⁠-⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠Sep Midweek Lunch Wrap
17.00 UTC 01-Oct Election2020 Weekly

Key Events this Week

Watch out for the biggest events on the economic calendar this week. A full economic and corporate events calendar is available in the platform.

23.50 UTC 28-Sep Bank of Japan Summary of Opinions
Pre-Market 29-Sep McCormick & Co – Q3 2020
12.00 UTC 29-Sep German Flash Inflation
14.00 UTC 29-Sep US CB Consumer Confidence
23.50 UTC 29-Sep Japan Preliminary Industrial Production / Retail Sales
After-Market 29-Sep Micron Technology – Q4 2020
01.45 UTC 30-Sep China Caixin Manufacturing PMI
06.00 UTC 30-Sep UK Finalised Quarterly GDP
09.00 UTC 30-Sep Eurozone Flash Inflation Data
12.30 UTC 30-Sep US Finalised Quarterly GDP
14.30 UTC 30-Sep US EIA Crude Oil Inventories
07.15 – 08.00 UTC 01-Oct Eurozone Final Manufacturing PMIs
08.30 UTC 01-Oct UK Final Manufacturing PMI
Pre-Market 01-Oct PepsiCo – Q3 2020
Pre-Market 01-Oct Constellation Brands – Q2 2021
12.30 UTC 01-Oct US Core PCE, Personal Income, Personal Spending, Jobless Claims
14.00 UTC 01-Oct US ISM Manufacturing PMI
14.30 UTC 01-Oct US EIA Natural Gas Storage
01.30 UTC 02-Oct Australia Retail Sales
12.30 UTC 02-Oct US Nonfarm Payrolls Report
14.00 UTC 02-Oct Finalised University of Michigan Sentiment

US Presidential Election: To Vote, or Not to Vote – That is the Question

US Presidential Election

As the 2020 US Presidential Election creeps into view, the United States is a country divided. With polarisation increasingly prominent, and ever-stronger partisan loyalty, the famed ‘floating voter’ is nearing extinction.

Whilst almost 40% of the electorate identify themselves as independents, these figures hide a residual bias which exists in most. Recent research has found that 93% of the electorate have some sort of partisan lean, with only 7% considered truly neutral. This illustrates the desire of many American voters to be considered independent, even if they are almost certainly going to vote for the same party in every instance.

And yet, conventional wisdom tells us that the most successful campaigns are those which reach out the middle ground and win over these floating voters. If the aforementioned research is correct, such a strategy may no longer be effective.

Instead, we suggest that turnout is the key to victory in modern US elections. The most important decision a voter can make is not who to vote for – for the vast majority this is a foregone conclusion. Rather, the voter choice that really matters is whether to vote at all.

One need only look back to 2016 to exemplify this point, where Hillary Clinton lost the election by less than 100,000 key swing state votes. By comparison, 4.4 million people who voted for Obama in 2012 didn’t vote in 2016, more than enough to overturn Trump’s wafer-thin victory.

Some research has even suggested that, had turnout remained at 2012 levels, Clinton would have won 323 electoral college votes – enough to deliver her the White House comfortably. In states such as Michigan, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Florida, and North Carolina, it was a failure to turn out their own voters which scuppered Clinton, not a failure to win over the centre.

Can Democrats recover African American vote?

The challenge for the Democrats in this election year, both at the Presidential and Congressional level, will be to recognise this as the root of their failure, and to take action in response. In particular, rebuilding African American turnout could prove decisive, after the 7% drop which occurred between 2012 and 2016.

Perhaps Biden’s choice of VP is a recognition of the importance of African American turnout. Although Kamala Harris is unlikely to provide an Obama-sized boost to African American enthusiasm, she may go some way to bridging that gap.

This is especially likely in the context of the Black Lives Matter movement, which could also help to increase turnout among minority demographics.

Which campaign will adapt best to mail-in ballots?

The prominence of mail-in ballots could throw a spanner in the works, though, with campaigns having to radically change their Get Out the Vote operations in response to the new circumstances.

Whereas previous elections have seen a focus on last-minute voter outreach, the early registration deadlines will mean that a longer-term strategy is required. The campaign which adapts to these changes most effectively will gain a critical edge come election day.

To vote, or not to vote: that is the question. The answer will decide who resides in 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue come 2021.

US election playbook: navigating the volatility with 40 days to go

US Presidential Election
  • Temporary dislocation
  • Too many variables
  • Bigger risks ahead

Given the once-in-a-lifetime pandemic, the US election is being held in exceptional circumstances. All else being equal though, we can deduce something about how current polling might play out. The market consensus is that a Biden win and Democrat clean sweep will lead to higher taxes and regulatory risk for a large number of corporates, which will hurt equities.

There are however plenty of other ways in which the market might like a Blue-nami, from pragmatic trade policy to combined loose fiscal and monetary policy.

Trade

Could Biden open up trade with China again? The Democrat candidate is taking a hard line on China – which is playing well with both sets of voters – but will he become more emollient once in office?

Tony Blinken, a senior foreign policy adviser to Biden, said fully ‘decoupling’ with China as urged by Donald Trump is ‘unrealistic’ and ‘counter-productive’. Biden will instead reset ties with China while seeking to redress unfair practices on trade and IP. However, it will be difficult for Biden to withdraw Trump’s tariffs immediately, without gaining significant concessions.

Biden has to play the hand Trump dealt, but he might seek to drive greater consensus with China and work out a more pragmatic trade policy.

MMT

Biden may not have expressed much support for Modern Monetary Theory – in fact he was once a fiscal hawk in the old style – but under a Democrat Congress and White House there would be no rush to reduce the deficit.

In fact, Biden’s economic stimulus plans entail more borrowing. Whilst it is a stretch to suggest that Biden is a supporter of MMT, the economic and social backdrop has changed drastically in recent years and it is gaining traction in more corners of the Democrat machine.

Moreover, the Fed’s recent average inflation targeting shift opens up a new front for MMT proponents in explicitly pushing full employment as the primary goal of monetary policy.

The Fed

At Jackson Hole the Fed announced a policy shift that ought to have a material impact on expectations around rates and inflation. The Fed is taking a more practical approach than in the past when it has been guided by theories about maximum employment, the Philips Curve and inflation.

Instead of saying that the economic outcomes need to fit its models – which have always been nothing more than a best guess – it will let the outcomes drive the policy. Some would say this is a step towards fully embracing MMT, even if Powell has been against this approach in the past.

The fact is that the crisis has thrown MMT from economic theory to economic practice without any real debate. Powell has embraced a central tenet of MMT – why should millions of people be thrown on the economic scrapheap and left unemployed as the price to pay for low inflation.

Under a Democrat-led Congress and White House, MMT proponents will gain a louder voice, with implications for federal economic policy.

Overall, whilst Biden’s tax policy might be tougher on Wall Street, trade and monetary policy could be easier. But it is not quite so straightforward as that. With polls close in the key battleground states and huge uncertainty over the potential impact of postal votes, it is currently difficult to put a price on any outcome, which in turn makes it hard to trade the election per se.

Going long or short based on the outcome is far too simplistic and you could just as easily call it wrong as get it right. What we can say is that the pandemic, the economic recovery and the monetary policy response are longer term going to matter much more. And so, all else being equal is far too simplistic a view to take in what’s a very complex situation.

Will the election outcome be contested?

The only thing the market wants is to get the election out of the way – the only real danger would be a long period of legal disputes post-election, but again this ought only to create volatility at the time and would eventually be forgotten once it all shakes out.

Veiled threats by Trump to not accept a Biden win are probably over-analysed. The Supreme Court (and Secret Service) would see to that. It turns out the most antagonistic election in a generation for the people of America might well end up merely a short term ripple when it comes to markets, given everything else they have to contend with in the long term.

With 40 days to go, the race is tight and in the major battlegrounds it is too close to call. Markets will be volatile and dislocations will occur that present opportunities. The best approach is to be agile enough to contend with both outcomes and no clear winner on the morning of November 4th.

You can follow our election coverage here.

Congressional Elections: Why do they matter?

US Presidential Election

While the race for the White House has received outsized attention, developments such as the failure to reach a new coronavirus relief bill and the looming threat of a government shutdown have heightened the stakes in the battle for control of Congress.

The House of Representatives looks firmly in the hands of the Democrats after the inroads they made in the 2018 midterms. Control of the Senate is therefore crucial. It’s currently in Republican hands and the Democrats would need to win four seats of the twenty-three up for grabs in order to gain an overall majority.

With Biden ahead in the Presidential polls, can the Democrats feel confident about the Senate?

With party now trumping candidate, the general momentum towards the Democrats should give them some hope. 2016 was the first year on record where every single state holding Senate elections voted for the same party for Senate as for president.

It’s no longer the case that voters split their ticket when they go to the polls. For example in 1980, despite Republican Ronald Reagan winning the White House, 12 of 31 Senate seats went to the Democrats.

Now though, the electorate is so polarized that party dominates across elections. If you voted Trump, you vote Republican across your ballot paper.

This means state-wide elections have increasingly been nationalized: Senators struggle to separate themselves from their national parties. This has been exacerbated under President Trump, where almost every Republican Senator has embraced him of fear of losing his conservative base – this is especially the case for the Republican Senator in Arizona, Martha McSally, who has pivoted to the right and linked her fate inextricably to Trump’s.

Rare candidates, like Maine Senator Susan Collins, have been able to maintain an identity distinct to the national party’s and keep split-ticket voting alive – but even Collins’ long-time local reputation as an independent, in a centrist state with a history of electing moderate women, is under threat for her polarizing pro-Trump voting record. She backed Brett Kavanaugh for his confirmation to the Supreme Court, in support of her President – and saw her popularity with female voters plummet.

Replacement for Ruth Bader Ginsburg becomes key election issue

With any coronavirus relief unlikely to pass before the election, control of the Senate will be crucial to any alleviation of the recession. This has been exacerbated by the death of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.  Party politics will now be bogged down in finding her replacement, rather than finding a fiscal compromise.

While Trump has made this a key issue, going as far as releasing an unsurprisingly political list of possible appointees, Biden has in turn also made this a focus of his candidacy, promising to nominate a historic first: a black woman. Given the increasing frequency of constitutional hardball around Supreme Court confirmations, control of the Senate will be a prerequisite to a successful nominee.

Given that the states in the Senate up for re-election are very Republican, this development will energise the base, reducing the likelihood of a Democratic majority.

However, on the Presidential level, the blue wall which deserted Hillary Clinton in 2016 looks likely to be rebuilt, given the intensely partisan nature of the battle to come. Mitch McConnell should be pleased by this weekend’s news, Donald Trump should not.

With both sides becoming more entrenched the elections look set to deliver a split between the legislature and the executive. With a more polarized Congress, key platform items promised by both candidates will be tougher to achieve. Expect partisan  investigations and tense hearings to persist no matter who wins.

Blue-nami or Red Wave? How the US election result could impact markets

US Presidential Election

How will the US Presidential Election impact markets? Will there be Democratic sweep of all three houses; the White House and both houses of Congress? Or can Donald Trump defy the pollsters and hold on for four more years?

Whatever the result, there is sure to be an impact on financial markets. We’ve put together all the potential outcomes and how these might impact the US dollar, S&P 500 and Treasury yields in a handy guide – you can find yours today in platform message centre.

Election2020 quick briefing: Trump catches up, markets price for pullback

US Presidential Election
  • Trump catches Biden in betting markets
  • Polls narrow further as race tightens
  • Options markets show concern

September 2nd saw an important development as betting markets turned in favour of Donald Trump being re-elected. The RCP average showed Trump +0.1pt over Biden at 49.8 to 49.7. Whilst clearly too close to call, the speed at which Trump has narrowed the gap shows how quickly things can change.

Betting markets are not, however, the same as polls. They are only market participants’ best guess at what the outcome will be.

US Presidential Election polls tighten as Trump eats into Biden’s lead

But polls also show a tighter race. Our US election poll tracker, which is powered by data from Real Clear Politics, has come in sharply. On a national level Trump is polling better than at any time since May and has eaten into Biden’s clear lead, which remains strong.

However, looking into the key battlegrounds where we know the fight will be bitterest and where it really counts, the lead Biden has is also narrowing and now well within the margin for error area. The latest RCP data shows Biden at +2.6 in the top battlegrounds, having been more than +6pts in July. Trump currently stands on 45.4 vs Biden’s 48.

Vix signals heightened election nerves

The tighter race is being displayed by more implied volatility in options markets for the S&P 500 than the stock market itself is showing. We have talked in the last few days about the Vix moving steadily higher even as the SPX rises – futures again pointing higher today after Tuesday’s record close.

This is the first red flag. The second is the term structure of the Vix futures curve which shows significant increase in expected volatility come Oct and Nov with a sharp 20% contango between the front and back months. Compare for example the CBOE Volatility Index Oct 2020 close at 33.51 vs the front month (Sep) at 28.35. Nov traded at 31.80.

This contango in the Vix is at odds with the general grind higher we are seeing and signals genuine anxiety among investors that the election will create the conditions for pullback.

Our Trump20 Blend – comprised of stocks seen as being most exposed to changes to corporate tax rates – is up but has lagged the broad market in recent days, whilst the dollar has softened despite a decent recovery on Wednesday.

Funnily enough, whilst the implied volatility is elevated around the election, all else being equal Trump’s low-tax, low-regulation agenda ought to be more positive for the stock market than a Democrat clean sweep would be. What this increased volatility may represent more is in fact investor fears about a disputed election result, which would considerably dent risk appetite going into the end of the year.

Trump approval rating holds up as Republican convention draws to close, battlegrounds tighten

US Presidential Election

We know that the Presidential race will come down to a handful of key swing states. But national polls still tell us something about the direction of the campaigns.

As the Republican convention draws to a close this week, the latest polls indicate Donald Trump’s standing remains at least stable. NBC News|SurveyMonkey Weekly Tracking Poll shows that 45% of American adults strongly or somewhat approve Trump’s performance, 54% disapprove.

Meanwhile there has been evidence that the race is tightening. This should not come as a great surprise – national polls showing Biden with a double-digit lead were never going to hold once the campaign proper got underway.

What’s interesting is the direction of travel in Trump’s favour in some key battleground states.

According to a recent CNN poll, the national split was 50% for Biden-Harris and 46% for Trump-Pence. That is within margin-of-error territory.

But drill down to the most important states for the Electoral College and it’s even tighter. In 15 battleground states the poll showed Biden with just a single percentage point lead – with the Democrat on 49% and Trump on 48%. The latest poll for Wisconsin shows Trump edging it for the first time in months.

According to RealClearPolitics, which powers our Election Coverage, Trump trails on 42.4% to Biden’s 50% nationally. But in the battlegrounds the gap is narrowing, and Trump leads in some. 

And as can be seen by the electoral map, it looks like a toss up as to who will win in November.

US Presidential Election: Step Forward, Kamala

US Presidential Election

After months of deliberation and internal conflict, the Biden campaign announced this week that Kamala Harris would join his ticket this November. Praised for her articulate dynamism during the primaries, and famed for her debating acumen, this choice will inject some much-needed energy into the Democratic ticket

In the short term, this announcement will afford the Biden campaign a flurry of positive press coverage, likely leading to a bump in the polls. However, with almost three months to go until election day, this short-term hype is largely irrelevant. She won’t be able to move the dial where it counts: the swing states.

Harris’ well-spoken nature will help to keep the attention away from Biden as much as possible, reducing the risk of a race-ending gaffe. He can stay in his bunker while she takes centre stage. Whilst the presence of such a dynamic running mate will likely make Sleepy Joe look like Even Sleepier Joe, this will not impact the race in a meaningful fashion – voters have already made up their minds one way or the other on Biden: endearingly gaffe-prone or scarily senile.

Senator Harris brings with her two strategic benefits:

  • Law and Order
    • Criticised in the primaries for her overly harsh sentencing decisions as California’s Attorney General, this record will become an asset in winning over the centre, given the current climate of unrest. Although such a record upsets the left wing of the Democratic party, their votes can be relied upon as they are so keen to dispose of Trump
  • Campaign funding
    • Harris has deep roots in California politics – first as Attorney General and then as Senator. Her home state is notorious for its heavyweight fundraising capacity, particularly from Hollywood and Silicon Valley. Having built a decade long relationship with these donors, Senator Harris’ presence on the ticket will open up a huge reservoir of campaign funding. However, this flood of cash comes at a price. The Republicans will be eager to capitalise on this Hollywood connection by levelling accusations of ‘Liberal Elitism’ at the Biden-Harris ticket, which could be potentially damaging in the crucial rust belt states. Luckily for Biden, he has a long-established reputation as ‘middle class Joe’ which can neutralise this line of attack.

So, nationally it would appear that Senator Harris brings with her an injection of energy and a mountain of cash – both extremely useful on the national level. However, as Hillary Clinton discovered in 2016, the national vote means nothing without an electoral college majority. It is the swing states who will decide this election one way or the other, and it is in those states where the Harris pick is likely to resonate least.

Many have predicted that Harris, as a black woman, will help to achieve a surge in minority turnout. However, it should be noted that polling indicates only 6% of African American voters thought race should be a factor in the selection of a VP. And in any case, it was Senator Warren, not Senator Harris, who African Americans preferred for VP prior to this announcement. Therefore, if a surge in minority voting is to occur in November, it will not be as a result of Harris’ VP candidacy.

And a side note, if Biden does win this November, Harris will leave a vacant California Senate seat in her wake – one of the most liberal states in the country. The left vs centre battle that played out in the Presidential primary will be replayed in that race too, reopening old wounds and worsening Democratic divisions.

President Trump will be keen as always to profit from divisions wherever he can find them. He has already attacked Harris as being of the ‘radical left’ and ‘phony’. Being a woman of colour from California, Harris hits all of the Trumpian flash points – a chance for Trump to roll out his favourite electoral strategy of inflaming tensions and forcing the electorate to take sides.

Overall, Senator Harris will provide the Biden campaign with a much-needed sense of energy and a near-limitless supply of campaign cash. This will boost Biden’s chances of winning the popular vote but is likely to be less effective in the crucial rust belt states where she will simply play into Trump’s strategy of provoking disagreement between the haves and have-nots.

UK enters worst recession, European stocks steady after Wall St slips on stimulus doubts

Morning Note

What did I miss? Stimulus measures keep being debated, vaccine hopes are at first raised then more sensibly assessed, and stocks in the US keep going up; the S&P 500 has risen about 5%, whilst European markets are flat over the period. I seem to recall in July a lot of chatter about European equities outperforming, but there has been little to show from that trade so far. Gold has smashed a new all-time high and profits been taken, an easy win for most, whilst oil prices have barely moved.

UK economy posts worst decline since records began

So, what has changed? Britain’s economy is on the ropes, but we knew this already. UK GDP fell by 20.4% in the second quarter, which was largely in line with expectations. Economic activity is bouncing back – the economy grew 8.7% in June but remains well below the levels seen in February. Having been out and about over the last three weeks, I can safely say there will be more recovery recorded in July and August.

But getting back to 2019 levels of activity is going to take a very long time as we see permanent impairment in certain sectors of the economy, as well as behavioural and social changes. Cable recovered off the 1.3020 horizontal support formed by the low on Monday on the update to continue to trade its August range. With the dollar turning around and seemingly finding its near-term support, GBPUSD may struggled to hold its 1.30 level.

Gridlocked US stimulus talks weigh on stocks

The Democrats and Republicans can’t agree anything. Stocks on Wall Street slipped after gridlock in Washington left investors wary of pinning their hopes on a bipartisan stimulus package, but the S&P 500 was at one point just a few points from its all-time high at one point and could still take it out this week. Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell naturally blamed the Democrats for this but revealed the two sides had not spoken since Friday.

The Dow and S&P 500 both snapped a 7-day winning streak, whist European markets rose a touch on Wednesday’s open after a strong run-up on Tuesday. The FTSE 100 continues to trade the narrow range of the June pullback without any signs of breaking out.

Gold tumbles on profit-taking

The lack of fresh stimulus left gold bulls wary and profits were taken but we have seen a big bounce off some important technical support this morning.  Spot dropped under $1900 but found support on the old resistance at $1865 and the 200-period SMA on the 4hr charts may offer some technical support. More important is the trend support offered by the line drawn from the lows made since the March trough.

Gold’s rally has been all about stimulus and inflation and so doubts about whether there will be more stimulus saw investors recast inflation expectations a little and the technical exhaustion of the move needed to be factored in. US real rates rose, with 10yr TIPS back to –0.99%, having struck a low of –1.08% last week. Benchmark 10yr yields rose to 0.66% but whilst real rates are so deeply negative gold will have support.

Chart: Gold recovers $1,927 after finding support at $1,865

Biden picks Harriss as running mate

Joe Biden named Kamala Harris his running mate for the race to the White House. Two points about this really stand out. The duo needs to get the vote out, and Harris should energise many who may not otherwise vote, but they cannot risk losing the centre in the rust belt where the issue is the economy.

But the problem for Trump is that accusations that Biden’s VP pick was too zealous a prosecutor when acting as California attorney general make it difficult for Republicans to say the Democrats won’t be tough on crime. Her appointment will somewhat blunt Republican attacks on law & order.

The key question for investors is who wins in November and whilst details like VP picks are important, they are just a small part of the story. Trump still wins in my opinion whatever the polls are saying.

Kiwi weakens after RBNZ extends QE, opens door to negative interest rates

New Zealand is in full panic mode, locking down Auckland amid a mystery outbreak of Covid. The RBNZ duly announced it would expand the Large Scale Asset Purchase programme to $100bn, which just nudged the kiwi lower. But the real focus is on negative rates – a full four mentions of the committee looking at a negative OCR were in the release. Lower and negative rates is increasingly the path of least resistance for the RBNZ, which makes the NZD open to further downside risk.

Oil prices were up a touch, with WTI (Sep) taking a $42 handle this morning ahead of the inventory figures from the US Energy Information Administration, which are expected to show a draw of 2.9m barrels. API data yesterday showed stockpiles fell 4.4m barrels last week.

Elsewhere in FX land, watch the double top on the EURUSD pair with the rejection of 1.19 looking more convincing we look for neckline support around the 1.17 level to hold for bulls to make a fresh drive higher. However, the pullback in US Treasuries and uptick in yields may offer support for the dollar to push back hard.

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