A series of articles that examine the stock market, the forex markets and political policy.
Regular topics include the FTSE 100 index, EUR/USD and the impact of the UK Government on the financial markets.
For the latest view see: Spread Betting and CFD Trading News
A Flat-Lining Economy is Better than the Alternative
Single, double or triple dip really doesn't matter in terms of the bigger picture, because the UK economy is flat-lining. The word recession is almost irrelevant as we are neither growing nor contracting, but it makes a good...read article » A Flat-Lining Economy is Better than the Alternative
The Cyprus Banking and Bailout Crisis
A look at how the stock markets reacted as the Cypriot banking crisis and bailout progressed...read article » The Cyprus Banking and Bailout Crisis
King Stops GBP/USD Decline but for How Long?
The UK currency did receive a boost from Sir Mervyn as he mentioned that he thought the pound had reached a fair value following months of declines. The result? the GBP/USD spread betting market dragged itself back above the...read article » King Stops GBP/USD Decline but for How Long?
Investors Brush Eurozone Crisis Aside
There will always be lots for European leaders to discuss, but investors will pay less attention to them this time as the Eurozone crisis has been brushed to one side for now. But therein lies the danger; complacency and...read article » Investors Brush Eurozone Crisis Aside
Investors Still Concerned by Italy
Even though the current stability of equity markets may not suggest that the Eurozone debt crisis is coming back to the fore, there still remains lots of political uncertainty and worry surrounding Italy. They have yet...read article » Investors Still Concerned by Italy
Dow Jones Index Hits Highest Ever Level
Whilst some may believe that 'irrational exuberance' is already upon us, the majority are basking in the glory of easy money, expecting equities to head higher and higher. The flow of easing has provided...read article » Dow Jones Index Hits Highest Ever Level
Markets Remain Supported by the Central Banks
A 'false market' is being created as economies limp on with the assistance of new cash creation rather than going through the necessary reforms to become more efficient. As long as central banks continue with...read article » Markets Remain Supported by the Central Banks
Italian Elections Cause Panic Amongst Spread Betting Investors
There is a sea of red across trading screens this morning as the lack of a clear victor in the Italian elections is causing panic amongst spread betting investors. The uncertainty that this causes is enough to make anyone nervous and we are likely to see an...read article » Italian Elections Cause Panic Amongst Spread Betting Investors
Moody's Downgrades the UK Credit Rating
The markets have been holding onto the premise that the UK is getting to grips with its debts and bringing down the deficit. However, on Friday, the Chancellor got his first official slap on the wrist as the UK was credit rating downgraded....read article » Moody's Downgrades the UK Credit Rating
US Federal Reserve May Look to End Quantitative Easing
The US Fed dropped a bombshell on investors as it became clear from the minutes that they are just as split as the BoE. Whilst the Bank of England could ramp up quantitative easing, the Fed could be looking ahead to the exit. The minutes also...read article » US Federal Reserve May Look to End Quantitative Easing
Dow Jones Hits 5 Year High
Yesterday, the Dow Jones rejoined us in fine form by rising to the highest level in more than five years, gaining 53 points to reach 14,035. US investors rushed into shares, encouraged by the good news on...read article » Dow Jones Hits 5 Year High
US and Italian Politics Could Mean Fireworks for Investors
We have seen the usual deadlock between the Democrats and Republicans. Of course, the other looming political risk comes from Italy. As more and more people talk up the possibility of Silvio Berlusconi returning to power, investors are...read article » US and Italian Politics Could Mean Fireworks for Investors
A Transaction Tax will Make Investing, Trading and Pensions More Expensive
By pushing for a transaction tax, they are in serious danger of making investing, trading and financial transacting vastly more expensive. This would have serious ramifications across the financial markets and you can guess...read article » A Transaction Tax will Make Investing, Trading and Pensions More Expensive
German and French Growth is Worse Than Expected
The real worry is that the contractions are deeper than expected, so economists and politicians may be deluding themselves as to the current performance of the economy and the shape of the 'recovery'. In addition, Germany is leading by...read article » German and French Growth is Worse Than Expected
Are We Seeing an Escalation of Currency War?
Whilst the comments did worry US investors a little, initially sending the Dow more than 100 points lower, it was not enough to cause mass selling and the...read article » Are We Seeing an Escalation of Currency War?
UK to Remain Susceptible to High Inflation
The incoming Governor, set to become one of the most powerful unelected figures in the country, has made it clear that he is...read article » UK to Remain Susceptible to High Inflation
European Stock Markets Fall on Spanish PM Corruption Claims
The re-emergence of Eurozone worries sent shivers down investors' spines yesterday as the sellers cascaded into equity markets, driving them lower following a spike in...read article » European Stock Markets Fall on Spanish PM Corruption Claims
Bank Shares Remain Unaffected Despite Potential Ring Fencing
Gorgeous George is to bash the banks today as he sets out his plans to ring fence their operations. What we need right now is for the banking industry to...read article » Bank Shares Remain Unaffected Despite Potential Ring Fencing
Spread Betting Markets Remain Firm Despite Poor US GDP Figures
Yesterday's US GDP data showed that not even the world's biggest economy is immune to the odd contraction. Hurricane Sandy, the fiscal cliff and an unexpected decline in defence spending sent the US spiralling downwards for...read article » Spread Betting Markets Remain Firm Despite Poor US GDP Figures
Eurozone Markets Start to Look More Resilient
Even talk of relaxing attitudes towards Eurozone members that are imposing strict austerity is not ruffling investors' feathers, who seem to be becoming more accepting of a...read article » Eurozone Markets Start to Look More Resilient
Is the UK in a Japanese Style Lost Decade?
The UK seems to be suffering from a Japanese style lost decade in terms of consumer spending. You only have to see the recent high street casualties to understand that we are simply not reaching for...read article » Is the UK in a Japanese Style Lost Decade?
UK GDP: UK Creates Unproductive Jobs
Whilst we might very well see a contraction in today's Q4 figure, earlier in the week we saw once again that UK employment reached a record high and jobs are being created. Interestingly, however, these jobs don't seem to be...read article » UK GDP: UK Creates Unproductive Jobs
The UK Won't Get a Real Vote on Europe
The financial markets were largely unaffected by the speech since any referendum, if it does materialise, is dependent on an unlikely Tory majority at the next election. In addition, even if they do win, the referendum ...read article » The UK Won't Get a Real Vote on Europe
Financial Spreads Clients Look at Selling the Yen
Since 2007, the USD/JPY market has seen a 40% range, outdoing even sterling's recent collapse. And this has been against a backdrop of virtually no growth, a drift into huge trade deficits and...read article » Financial Spreads Clients Look at Selling the Yen
UK Referendum on Europe: Chances of Pulling Out are Virtually Zero
In the case of the UK, we have now moved onto a kind of phoney war over Europe and whether we will have a 'referendum' on Britain's membership. Here, we already know the answer. Much of the...read article » UK Referendum on Europe: Chances of Pulling Out are Virtually Zero
Inflation Pressure Could Cause a 'Mega' Stock Market Crash
Interestingly, his view was that it would be a considerable spike in inflation. He argued that central bank stimulus will drive asset prices higher and fuel inflationary pressures to such a degree that it...read article » Inflation Pressure Could Cause a 'Mega' Stock Market Crash
Fund Managers Remain Optimistic About 2013
Only a few weeks ago, we had the Capital Perspectives survey, which polls 200 fund managers. The survey showed that general optimism about our economic prospects were...read article » Fund Managers Remain Optimistic About 2013
Is the Investment Community is Getting Overly Bullish?
The risk-on rally for equities continues after another show of strength from US stocks which saw the Dow press on to a fresh 2 month high. Chinese exports surprised investors by rising almost triple the estimates and signalling that...read article » Is the Investment Community is Getting Overly Bullish?
Time to Sell UK Retail Shares?
The household name was once massive, with almost every customer spending far more than they'd originally planned. It used to be one of the ultimate browsing venues, but many of those shoppers will probably not even remember the last time they went into an...read article » Time to Sell UK Retail Shares?
Hawkish FOMC Minutes Hint at an End to Quantitative Easing
Surprisingly hawkish minutes from the latest FOMC meeting indicated the likelihood that US will end the $85bn asset purchasing program sometime this year. Such language has not been heard from...read article » Hawkish FOMC Minutes Hint at an End to Quantitative Easing
Spread Betting Buying Frenzy as US Avoids the Fiscal Cliff
Many will be relieved that the US economy will not suffer from the sharp tax rises and deep spending cuts that were due to be imposed. The threat of recession to be brushed aside for...read article » Spread Betting Buying Frenzy as US Avoids the Fiscal Cliff
UBS Fined for its Part in the Libor Rigging Scandal
Another whopping banking fine has been dished out and Swiss giant UBS are once again paying the price for malpractice. This time we are talking about the...read article » UBS Fined for its Part in the Libor Rigging Scandal
Investors Look Unlikely to Push the Stock Market
Financial Spreads' clients have once again decided that discretion is the better part of valour and, as with every other move above 5875, have decided to sell heavily. So far, we have had seven or eight moves above...read article » Investors Look Unlikely to Push the Stock Market
2012 was a Good Year for the Stock Markets
For all the apocalyptic news, the stock markets have done rather nicely. The FTSE 100 is up around 6%. Players of the DAX are smiling even more widely, the German stock market index is up by...read article » 2012 was a Good Year for the Stock Markets
The Chancellors Autumn Statement and the Financial Markets
The Chancellor didn't pull anything magical out of his hat and the admission that he was not going to hit his original fiscal targets has put our AAA credit rating under the spotlight. Despite all his...read article » The Chancellors Autumn Statement and the Financial Markets
The US Could Be Hit Hard When Deleveraging its Debt Mountain
The consensus is that the US will have to jump off a cliff of some sort but market reaction will depend on just how high it is and what sort of landing the economy has. If nothing is done then a deep...read article » The US Could Be Hit Hard When Deleveraging its Debt Mountain
A New Greek Deal but Bonds Remain at a Precarious Level
What happens after then is anyone's guess. With the expected growth trajectory for Greece's economy, there's still a good chance that they will never meet the...read article » A New Greek Deal but Bonds Remain at a Precarious Level
Another Greek Debt Write-Down Could be on the Cards
No matter what happens, something has to be agreed next week or Greece will default and that certainly won't do much to improve sentiment. Once again this puts the focus on...read article » Another Greek Debt Write-Down Could be on the Cards
French Credit Rating Downgrade Has Little Impact on EUR/USD
We did see some initial weakness from the euro in the aftermath of Moody's overnight announcement and the FTSE did fall at the open this morning. However, France's borrowing costs have...read article » French Credit Rating Downgrade Has Little Impact on EUR/USD
FTSE 100, Germany 30 and Dow Looking Bearish
The downward trend still looks to be intact and the charts are looking fairly bearish, with some key moving averages starting to show some ominous signals. The FTSE has bounced off...read article » FTSE 100, Germany 30 and Dow Looking Bearish
The US Fiscal Cliff
Rather like the Eurozone crisis has been the topic of conversation for the past few years, we can expect the US fiscal cliff to be the discussion point for at least...read article » The US Fiscal Cliff
US Likely to Remain Deeply Indebted for 4 Years
After Obama's first four years, we can now attempt to guess what the US will look like at the end of his second term in office. It seems likely that the country will remain as deeply in debt as it is today, if not...read article » US Likely to Remain Deeply Indebted for 4 Years
How Much Will the UK Retail Model Change?
Another high street casualty could possibly take with it around 6000 jobs as electrical store Comet goes to the wall. It is a sorry sign of the times and reminds us that...read article » How Much Will the UK Retail Model Change?
Conservatives Rebel Against Rising EU Budget
At least the better-than-expected GDP numbers are something good to talk about but, considering his track record, there is bound to be some sort of...read article » Conservatives Rebel Against Rising EU Budget
UK GDP Trading Update
The latest look at UK GDP and what it might mean for the financial markets. Despite the latest positive news, the situation in the UK is still not much better than it was a year or even two years ago. The debt mountain...read article » UK GDP Trading Update
A Time for Greater European Fiscal Integration?
Today sees another EU summit get underway. However, just this once, the discussions will not be focused on how to prevent a member state of the Eurozone from exiting; rather how greater fiscal integration can be...read article » A Time for Greater European Fiscal Integration?
Scottish Independence and the Markets
Whilst a small proportion of Scotland would love independence, it seems that the majority are content with the status quo because, on the whole, people simply don't like change. Much of the tax generated within the Union is...read article » Scottish Independence and the Markets
The US Presidential Election and the Financial Markets
The latest look at the US Presidential Election and how it might impact the financial markets. A new President would throw up all sorts of questions but, most importantly, what would Romney do to...read article » The US Presidential Election and the Financial Markets
IMF Growth Forecasts Cause More Doom and Gloom
The IMF's forecasts act as a sharp reminder that all is not well, not only in terms of the UK's growth prospects, but also for everyone else. As stated by the ECB President yesterday, it's going to be a long, hard road and there...read article » IMF Growth Forecasts Cause More Doom and Gloom
European Manufacturing and Services Data Looks Dire
Here in Europe, however, things are less rosy. The manufacturing and services data has been dire to say the least. Only the UK's PMI services survey is above the 50 mark, with even Germany reporting a surprise...read article » European Manufacturing and Services Data Looks Dire
Time for a Spanish Bailout?
For now, it looks as though the German paymasters, who are naturally opposed to a Spanish bailout, have been able to assert enough pressure to prevent it from happening. The problem is that...read article » Time for a Spanish Bailout?
Glimmers of Hope for UK GDP
UK GDP figures were revised upwards yesterday, rising by a whopping 0.1% to -0.4%, so the double dip recession isn't quite as bad as previously thought. This is certainly nothing to get excited about, but given that...read article » Glimmers of Hope for UK GDP
If Greece is the Fuse then Spain is the Bomb
Even if Spain resists now, the chances are that they will have to accept a bailout sooner or later and, if they do, equities will probably rally....read article » If Greece is the Fuse then Spain is the Bomb
New UK State Bank to Leverage Itself Nine Times?
Plans for a state bank have been batted around for a while now. However, as with most things that politicians suggest and implement, it is unlikely to make a big difference in practice. It is yet another...read article » New UK State Bank to Leverage Itself Nine Times?
Central Banks Continuing to Rewrite Economic Common Sense
The central banks are continuing to rewrite every piece of economic common sense. Each country is announcing more and more stimulus. Even Japan has re-entered the game. Their experience as a serial issuer must surely, by now, have told them that...read article » Central Banks Continuing to Rewrite Economic Common Sense
Financial Spread Betting and More US Stimulus
The other big question is how will the financial spread betting markets react? If investors get more than they anticipated, then we could see a squeeze higher. However, we could just as easily...read article » Financial Spread Betting and More US Stimulus
Burberry Shares Drop 18% and the Chinese Stock Market Continues to Suffer
Chinese stock market indices have been really suffering and we have seen some worrying corporate news this morning, as Burberry issues a profit warning that has seen its stock tumble 17% on the open. The main concern is that...read article » Burberry Shares Drop 18% and the Chinese Stock Market Continues to Suffer
Super Mario's Bond Buying Proposal Gave Investors What They Wanted
Super Mario can almost lay claim to his name after announcing his plans to 'do whatever it takes' to save the euro. He will have appeased the Germans to some extent, but more than anything he gave the markets a significant boost. A buying frenzy...read article » Super Mario's Bond Buying Proposal Gave Investors What They Wanted
Investors Have Very Low Expectations of ECB MOT
The leaks suggest that the ECB will carry out unlimited bond purchases for the longest maturities they claim to be within their mandate. Unfortunately for them, however, apart from a rally in the euro, the...read article » Investors Have Very Low Expectations of ECB MOT
US Fed Still Expected to Announce New Stimulus
As indicated by the Dow's three digit fall last night, investors' expectations of any radical announcement have been quashed. The central banker has got his hands tied as he...read article » US Fed Still Expected to Announce New Stimulus
FinancialSpreads Clients Remain Heavily Short of the FTSE 100
FinancialSpreads clients have been massively short throughout the autumn and have had rather a nice time of it. In general, they remain heavily short and so the expectation is obviously that ...read article » FinancialSpreads Clients Remain Heavily Short of the FTSE 100
European Situation is Now Well Beyond Economic Reasoning
The current market activity is seeing volumes and direction remain tantalizingly out of reach. News from the Greek/German talks is likely to surface throughout the session, and it would be nice to be...read article » European Situation is Now Well Beyond Economic Reasoning
UK Closer to Losing AAA Rating
Yesterday's UK borrowing numbers pretty much confirmed what everyone suspected. Whilst the rest of the economy struggles, cuts costs and makes sacrifices, the public sector continues along as though...read article » UK Closer to Losing AAA Rating
Courageous Government Needed for Big Infrastructure Projects
At the moment, we have a bunch of politicians whose main remit appears to be ensuring that they get re-elected. As Boris Johnson has clearly stated, it is time for government to stop pussy footing around and...read article » Courageous Government Needed for Big Infrastructure Projects
Italian Deficit Chart is Terrifying
The total Italian deficit chart is, frankly, terrifying. Whilst nothing much appears to be happening in the way of solutions, the problem is silently getting worse. Eventually one of...read article » Italian Deficit Chart is Terrifying
There are Still Strong Reasons to Consider Equities
With the UK and US stock markets at the top end of their 2012 ranges, the overriding question is whether these prices actually sensible, or are we in Cloud Cuckoo Land?...read article » There are Still Strong Reasons to Consider Equities
UK Inflation Should Make for Grim Reading
Where only a few months ago the Bank had expected growth to be just under 1% for the whole of 2012, the likelihood is that they will now revise this to flat-lining at best. This gloomy picture shouldn't...read article » UK Inflation Should Make for Grim Reading
Standard Chartered Shares Down Nearly 20% on Money Laundering Allegations
We are seeing bad news for banks once again and the daggers are out for Standard Chartered, with US regulators flexing their muscles. The Standard Chartered shares are being absolutely smashed, down nearly 20%, as investors...read article » Standard Chartered Shares Down Nearly 20% on Money Laundering Allegations
Those Predicting a Eurozone Breakup Could Be Vindicated
Well we didn't get anything new from the Fed yesterday, but the markets hadn't been expecting too much. Ben Bernanke has been less vocal than his European counterpart about the...read article » Those Predicting a Eurozone Breakup Could Be Vindicated
The ECB and Federal Reserve Play Stimulus Chess
All eyes will be on the US Federal Reserve tonight as they announce their latest interest rate decision. There is an expectation in the markets that if they don't start another round of stimulus now they will give a...read article » The ECB and Federal Reserve Play Stimulus Chess
The Problem with a Ban on Short Selling
The panic of trading sessions was been compounded by short selling bans from both the Spanish and Italian regulators. Not only are such bans counterproductive by reducing liquidity but they...read article » The Problem with a Ban on Short Selling
UK Unemployment Figures Do Not Tally with UK GDP
Yesterday's UK unemployment figures are the first piece of good news that the coalition has had regarding the economy for quite some time. However, regrettably, it may only be...read article » UK Unemployment Figures Do Not Tally with UK GDP
Another Libor Scandal
Banking certainly needs a good clean up, but our major industries ought to be encouraged rather than continually berated. Another week and another Libor scandal. This time, it's the usually squeaky clean...read article » Another Libor Scandal
Will China Implement More Stimulus?
Concerns over the Chinese economy have been rumbling on for months now and the overnight release, that showed growth slowing to its worst level in three years, is certainly...read article » Will China Implement More Stimulus?
Libor Scandal: Barclays Just One of Sixteen Banks
The fines from the regulators can be assumed to be much more than the actual benefit to Barclays. In fact, by reinforcing the appearance of stability in 2007/08, Barclays and others probably did rather more to save...read article » Libor Scandal: Barclays Just One of Sixteen Banks
Trading the Markets After Greek Election Number 2
So the Greeks went for the painful austerity rather than risk the unknown. For all of the horror stories, it must be pointed out that quite a few countries manage to exist without being a part of the single currency. Our clients are initially...read article » Trading the Markets After Greek Election Number 2
Forex Trading Before Greek Election Number 2
It is tempting to say that the markets are likely to go bananas on Monday no matter which way the electorate jumps. However, in my 30 years of market watching it has been generally true that...read article » Forex Trading Before Greek Election Number 2
EUR/USD Spread Betting Market Surges on Extra European Funding
Driving the cost of borrowing down for these countries is assisting in repairing a very broken Eurozone, certainly over the short-term. In the long-term many European countries will remain hugely...read article » EUR/USD Spread Betting Market Surges on Extra European Funding
Spread Betting: FTSE 100 Rises as the Final Greek Deadline Approaches
Risk continues to remain attractive to investors who seem happy to add to their equity portfolios as they feel that a deal on Greek debt is imminent. It comes as little wonder that negotiations have taken so long given that...read article » Spread Betting: FTSE 100 Rises as the Final Greek Deadline Approaches
Financial Spread Betting During the Credit Crunch
In such volatile times there will always be opportunities to make a profit and plenty of opportunities to lose more. As a private customer you are subject to the protection afforded by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme. Your funds are kept in a segregated...read article » Financial Spread Betting During the Credit Crunch
A series of articles that examine the stock market, the forex market and political policy. Regular topics include the FTSE 100 index, EUR/USD and the impact of the UK Government on the...read article » Trading Features