European Update – Markets, U.K., Gold, Oil, Bitcoin

July 18, 2019

London (July 18)  We’re facing another day of negative stock markets on Thursday, as earnings season gets off to the tough start that many anticipated.

Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX) became the latest company on Thursday to face an investor backlash as subscribers rose at a slower rate than expected and significantly disappointed in its home market. While the company attributed this to price hikes, the increasing competition in the area is a major cause for concern for investors who have fled in numbers as the first excuse, it seems.

There’s plenty more companies reporting second quarter earnings today, including Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) and Morgan Stanley (NYSE:MS) and it’s only going to get busier over the coming weeks. The bar has been set low for this earnings season but it could still be a rough ride.

Is sterling bottoming out?

The pound is spending a second day in the green as it recovers from fresh two-year lows suffered earlier in the week. The gains this morning came ahead of the open, front-running the U.K. data in much the same way that we’ve seen over the last couple of days. Once again it seems the move was ahead of the curve, with retail sales in June easily exceeding expectations, a month after wage growth was also higher than the consensus estimate, so perhaps not altogether surprising.

The sell-offs are still struggling to gather any real momentum, despite hitting multi-year lows which suggests the trend has significantly weakened. While this may be a sign of bottoming, Brexit headlines keep weighing on the currency and in such a news-driven market, it would be silly to dismiss the prospect of further declines.

Gold remains bullish despite consolidation

Goldis paring Wednesday’s gains early in the session and remains in consolidation mode, despite once again finding itself towards the upper end of its range. Softness in the dollar, driven primarily by a more accommodative Fed and in part by the prospects of the US actively devaluing the greenback, has provided a dovish case for the yellow metal. It’s been consolidating recently following a very strong run higher but continues to look bullish as it once again pressures the highs.

Possible consolidation in oil

Oil has been looking a little toppy recently, following its strong rally off its June lows, with the result being that traders are starting to jump on bearish headlines. Reports of the U.S. and Iran becoming more open to negotiations are positive, albeit not for crude prices, but they may also be a little premature because both sides are still attaching conditions that the other finds unacceptable. Until that changes, it’s hard to see anything substantial changing and in fact, the situation could get much worse before it gets better.

A break below $56 and $62 in WTI and Brent, respectively, could bring further downside pressure for oil prices, although we are already running into support around these levels so it’s highly possible that instead, we consolidate in this range.

Bitcoin struggling to break back above $10,000

Bitcoin has stabilized after a rough week in which it repeatedly became a hot topic in various Congressional hearings as well as the latest victim of a Trump tweet attack. It’s found temporary support around $9,000 but having broken below $10,000 earlier in the week and failed to break back above here over the last 24 hours, further declines could be on the cards. Although, as ever, bitcoin is very unpredictable in its nature and another rally back towards $13,000 wouldn’t surprise anyone. Being in the news has been its friend in the past, maybe it will be again despite this temporary blip.

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