Futures market

S&P Nears All Time High, Global Stocks Rally As Dovish Yellen Unleashes Animal Spirits

Stock whisperer Yellen said all the right things yesterday, when she sounded more optimistic than pessimistic on the economy but while the economy is "strong" it is most likely not strong enough to weather a rate hike in the immediate future. As a result, the S&P 500 climbed toward a record on Monday (and continued rising overnight) after Yellen said she expects to raise interest rates only gradually and held off from specifying any timeframe, a shift from her May 27 stance that a move was probable “in the coming months.” This was interpreted that both a June and July rate hike are now off the table, with September odds rising modestly.

Liquidity Panic? A $90 Million Sell Order Crashed China's Futures Market

Seemingly missed by the mainstream media on Monday, Chinese equity futures crashed over 12.5% - the biggest drop since 1995 - only to soar back to unchanged within seconds. This was not a 'fat-finger' trade, and as one trader noted, "liquidity in the market is really thin right now," which is borne out by the evidence. Thanks to government rules disabling "hedging" accounts from holding more than 10 contracts a day, volume (and liquidity) has become practically non-existent since September and so the 12.5% flash crash was driven by just 3 trades totalling just 646 contracts which means a mere $92 million sell order collapsed Chinese equity markets by the most on record.

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US Gold Market Infographic

The US Gold Market is best known as the home of gold futures trading on the COMEX in New York. The COMEX has a literal monopoly on gold futures trading volumes worldwide, but very little physical gold is actually exchanged between COMEX trading participants.

The Limits Of Oil's Rebound

Now that all of the main oil producers are unequivocally committed to maximizing production, regardless of the impact prices, oil will continue to trade just like any other commodity (for example, iron ore) that is in oversupply in a competitive market. Prices will be determined as described in any standard economics textbook: by the marginal costs of the last supplier whose production is needed to meet global demand. In the 20-year period of competitive pricing from 1985 to 2004, the oil price frequently doubled or halved in the course of a few months. So the near-doubling of oil prices since mid-January’s $28 low is not surprising. But now that the $50 ceiling is being tested, we can expect the next major move in the trading range to be downward.

All Eyes On Yellen: Global Markets Flat On Dreadful Volumes, Oil Slides

In a world where fundamentals don't matter, everyone's attention will be on Janet Yellen who speaks at 1:15pm today in Harvard, hoping to glean some more hints about the Fed's intentionas and next steps, including a possible rate hike in June or July. And with a long holiday in both the US and UK (US bond market closes at 2pm today), it is no surprise overnight trading volumes have been dreadful, helping keep global equities poised for the highest close in three weeks; this won't change unless Yellen says something that would disrupt the calm that’s settled over financial markets.