Equity markets quiet in the US, higher in Europe, absence of an oil price bounce a good thing for equities, ASX futures 15 points higher

While there's little doubt that the broad, month-long up-trend of the ASX 200 has begun to plateau and move sideways outside of its recent trend channel (see the first chart), it is certainly notable that investors are not seeing financial markets as a particularly scary place at present. This lack of volatility may have a lot to do with what's happening in today's second chart, which shows a range-bound WTI oil price that is no longer spooking investors. I had a conversation with an economic strategist yesterday and we both agreed that oil doesn't have to be a directional trade. There are so many in this market who are waiting for a big bounce or a crash lower in oil markets; however, as recently discussed, the oil price at this level is doing a fine job of allowing the world to make some assumptions on medium-term energy input costs and this likely explains a lot about the way equity markets seem to be quite freely moving higher without the usual corrective retracements that one might certainly expect when looking at the ASX 200.

The environment for commodities in general (ex gold) may also be improving. Commitment of trader data out last week shows that money managers remain buyers in oil trades, copper has ticked up a little and long US dollar bets have come off. We're not seeing any decent directional trends in important base metal markets like iron ore and copper yet, but the continuation of the sideways movement in the US dollar is likely bringing some confidence to commodity markets in general.

Gold is one commodity that is having a rough time. As today's last chart shows, gold certainly is trending - downward. It should start hitting some buying support between US$1,170 and US$1,200; however, easy money in equity markets and the ongoing lack of demand for inflation insurance will see both gold and silver struggle in this environment.

Quite a big day for Australian reporting today - BHP tops the list of some other decent names who will report interim and full year earnings today:

  • AHY    Asaleo Care
  • BHP    BHP Billiton
  • BRG    Breville Group
  • CVN    Carnarvon Petroleum
  • FLT    Flight Centre Travel Group
  • GNE    Genesis Energy
  • HSO    Healthscope
  • MCS    McAleese Group
  • MRP    Mighty River Power
  • ORA     Orora
  • OSH     Oil Search
  • QBE     QBE Insurance
  • QUB     Qube Holdings
  • SCG    Scentre Group
  • SFH    Specialty Fashion Group
  • SLM    Salmat
  • SPO    Spotless Group Holdings
  • SUM    Summerset Group
  • TOX    Tox Free Solutions
  • TRY    Troy Resources
  • VED    Veda Group
  • VRL    Village Roadshow
  • VRT    Virtus Health

Today‚Äôs charts are taken from the Rivkin Trader platform. 30,000 global instruments available to trade including FX, commodities, index, ETFs and international shares. Trade Australian share CFDs from just $8 or 0.10%. Click here or phone 1300 748 546 to get your free $100,000 demo account.

Upcoming economic announcements: German GDP out at 6pm, Eurozone CPI at 9pm third-party US PMI at 1:45am, US consumer confidence at 2am followed by Janet Yellen's testimony to the Senate, all Sydney time.

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