Middle East Tension Rises

US stock markets opened lower and continued trading down for the rest of the session. The Dow Jones closed down 0.9% while the S&P 500 and Nasdaq 100 were down approximately 0.5%. The ASX 200 was down 0.5% yesterday and futures are 10 points lower this morning.

Oil prices rose as the threat of American missiles being launched against Syria increases. Russia responded with threats of repercussions if the US was to start military action in Syria, thus significantly increasing tensions in the middle east. WTI oil rose to a new three year high at US$66.79 despite weekly inventory data indicating an unexpected build in US crude inventories last week. Gold prices rose by 0.81% to US$1,352 per ounce and from a technical point of view, a hold above $1,350 would be a bullish signal.   

The minutes of the most recent FOMC meeting were released overnight with the market generally interpreting them as slightly hawkish. The path of interest rate increases may be increased slightly as growth and inflation targets are being hit. The next rate hike is anticipated for June although this wasn’t specifically signalled by the FOMC. Some of the concerns flagged by members included the negative impacts of a trade war as well as the increased turbulence in financial markets this year. 

Data Releases:

-    Euro ECB Policy Meeting Minutes 9:30pm AEST

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This article was written by William O'Loughlin - Investment Analyst, Rivkin Securities Pty Ltd. Enquiries can be made via william.oloughlin@rivkin.com.au or by phoning +612 8302 3633.

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This article contains information about foreign exchange contracts, which are considered complex financial products. Please click here to read ASIC's foreign exchange trading article before considering an investment in foreign exchange contracts. 

This article contains information about CFDs, which are considered complex financial products. Please click here to read ASIC's "Thinking of trading contracts for difference?" document before considering an investment in CFDs.
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