Top 5 Things to Know in the Market on Thursday

Investing.com - Here are the top five things you need to know in financial markets on Thursday, January 18:

1. Bitcoin Storms Back Above $10,000 After Selloff

The prices of major cryptocurrencies rebounded sharply, with Bitcoin, Ethereum and Ripple all enjoying strong gains after suffering their worst two-day selloff in more than a year.

Bitcoin was up around 11% at $11,155, following a double-digit drop a day earlier that dragged it to its lowest level since late November at $9,231 and sparking chatter of a bursting bubble.

Among other digital currencies, Ethereum, the world’s second largest cryptocurrency by market cap, was up 12% at $991.90.

Meanwhile, Ripple's XRP token was trading at $1.4150, up around 33% for the day.

This week’s selling has been blamed in large part on worries about increased regulatory scrutiny in South Korea and other countries.

2. Global Stock Market Rally Showing No Signs of Slowing

The rally in global stock markets showed no signs of slowing, as optimism for continued strong global growth and improving corporate earnings supported appetite for riskier assets.

Most major indexes in Asia closed higher, aided by strength in regional tech companies. Among notable standouts, Japan's Nikkei reached its strongest level since late 1991 earlier before ending down around 0.4%.

In Europe, the majority of the continent's bourses got off to an upbeat start, as investors monitored the release of fresh corporate earnings.

On Wall Street, U.S. stock futures pointed to a flat open as investors kept an eye on earnings from the likes of Morgan Stanley (NYSE:MS), IBM (NYSE:IBM) and American Express (NYSE:AXP).

U.S. stocks jumped on Wednesday and the Dow closed above 26,000 for the first time as investors' expectations for higher earnings lifted stocks across the board.

3. Dollar Stays on the Backfoot, 10-Year Bond Hits 2.6%

The U.S. dollar failed to see much of a bounce back from recent lows, as investors kept an eye on upcoming U.S. data to gauge if the world's largest economy is strong enough to withstand multiple rate hikes in 2018.

The Commerce Department is to publish a report on building permits and housing starts for December at 8:30AM ET (1330GMT).

Besides the housing-related data, Thursday's calendar also features a survey on manufacturing conditions in the Philadelphia region as well as weekly jobless claims figures.

The dollar index, which gauges the U.S. currency against a basket of six major rivals, was down 0.2% at 90.45, not far from Tuesday's three-year low of 89.98.

Meanwhile, the U.S. 10-year Treasury yield rose above the 2.6%-level for the first time since March, reaching an overnight high of 2.615%.

The majority of economists believe that the Fed will hike rates in March, followed by another hike in June, with a third move higher arriving in December, according to Investing.com’s Fed Rate Monitor Tool.

4. Oil Prices Tread Water Ahead of EIA Weekly Supply Report

Crude prices were largely unchanged as investors looked ahead to weekly data from the U.S. on stockpiles of crude and refined products.

The U.S. Energy Information Administration will release its weekly report on oil supplies at 11:00AM ET (1600GMT), amid analyst expectations for a decline of 3.5 million barrels.

Gasoline inventories are expected to rise by 3.4 million barrels while stocks of distillates, which include heating oil and diesel, are forecast to increase by 8,600 barrels.

The report comes out one day later than usual due to the Martin Luther King Day holiday.

U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude futures was at $6398 per barrel, while Brent futures were at $69.36 per barrel.

5. China GDP Beats Expectations

Data out of Asia's largest economy lent the global growth story more momentum after a report showed that China's GDP grew faster than expected in the fourth quarter, helped by a rebound in the industrial sector, a resilient property market and strong export growth.

Economic growth in the October-to-December period from a year earlier was 6.8%, the National Bureau of Statistics said, unchanged from the third quarter and above analyst expectations for 6.7% growth. Growth for the 2017 full year picked up to 6.9% year-on-year, the first annual acceleration for the economy since 2010.

Sri Lanka stocks lower at close of trade; CSE All-Share down 0.45%

Investing.com – Sri Lanka stocks were lower after the close on Thursday, as losses in the Services, Investment Trust and Telecoms sectors led shares lower.

At the close in Colombo, the CSE All-Share lost 0.45%.

The best performers of the session on the CSE All-Share were PC Pharma PLC (CM:PCPH), which rose 100.00% or 0.1000 points to trade at 0.2000 at the close. Meanwhile, Lighthouse Hotel PLC (CM:LHL) added 16.58% or 6.10 points to end at 42.90 and Talawakelle Tea Estate PLC (CM:TPL) was up 12.23% or 6.20 points to 56.90 in late trade.

The worst performers of the session were Ramboda Falls PLC (CM:RFLL), which fell 16.99% or 3.50 points to trade at 17.10 at the close. SMB Leasing PLC (CM:SEMB) declined 16.67% or 0.1000 points to end at 0.5000 and Property Development PLC (CM:PDL) was down 15.44% or 13.90 points to 76.10.

Falling stocks outnumbered advancing ones on the Colombo Stock Exchange by 82 to 51 and 61 ended unchanged.

Crude oil for February delivery was unchanged 0.00% or 0.00 to $63.97 a barrel. Elsewhere in commodities trading, Brent oil for delivery in March fell 0.07% or 0.05 to hit $69.33 a barrel, while the February Gold Futures contract fell 0.70% or 9.40 to trade at $1329.80 a troy ounce.

GBP/LKR was up 0.26% to 213.025, while USD/LKR rose 0.12% to 153.890.

The US Dollar Index Futures was down 0.21% at 90.46.

India stocks higher at close of trade; Nifty 50 up 0.26%

Investing.com – India stocks were higher after the close on Thursday, as gains in the Fast Moving Consumer Goods, Banking and IT sectors led shares higher.

At the close in NSE, the Nifty 50 rose 0.26% to hit a new all time high, while the BSE Sensex 30 index gained 0.51%.

The best performers of the session on the Nifty 50 were Indiabulls Housing Finance Ltd (NS:INBF), which rose 2.64% or 31.95 points to trade at 1243.70 at the close. Meanwhile, ITC Ltd (NS:ITC) added 2.99% or 7.95 points to end at 273.40 and UPL Ltd (NS:UPLL) was up 2.21% or 17.25 points to 800.50 in late trade.

The worst performers of the session were Bharti Infratel Ltd (NS:BHRI), which fell 6.00% or 21.95 points to trade at 343.80 at the close. Adani Port and Special Economic Zone Ltd (NS:APSE) declined 3.37% or 14.60 points to end at 416.25 and Hindalco Industries Ltd. (NS:HALC) was down 3.44% or 9.05 points to 253.90.

The top performers on the BSE Sensex 30 were ITC Ltd (BO:ITC) which rose 2.61% to 272.85, HDFC Bank Ltd (BO:HDBK) which was up 2.15% to settle at 1931.80 and Housing Development Finance Corporation Ltd (BO:HDFC) which gained 1.99% to close at 1897.00.

The worst performers were Adani Port and Special Economic Zone Ltd (BO:APSE) which was down 4.32% to 414.35 in late trade, Tata Steel Ltd (BO:TISC) which lost 2.89% to settle at 751.85 and Coal India Ltd (BO:COAL) which was down 2.81% to 283.10 at the close.

Falling stocks outnumbered advancing ones on the India National Stock Exchange by 1376 to 248 and 15 ended unchanged; on the Bombay Stock Exchange, 2227 fell and 656 advanced, while 114 ended unchanged.

Shares in HDFC Bank Ltd (BO:HDBK) rose to all time highs; up 2.15% or 40.70 to 1931.80. Shares in Housing Development Finance Corporation Ltd (BO:HDFC) rose to all time highs; rising 1.99% or 37.05 to 1897.00.

The India VIX, which measures the implied volatility of Nifty 50 options, was up 0.72% to 13.9600.

Gold Futures for February delivery was down 0.69% or 9.20 to $1330.00 a troy ounce. Elsewhere in commodities trading, Crude oil for delivery in February rose 0.08% or 0.05 to hit $64.02 a barrel, while the March Brent oil contract rose 0.04% or 0.03 to trade at $69.41 a barrel.

USD/INR was down 0.02% to 63.825, while EUR/INR rose 0.26% to 78.0527.

The US Dollar Index Futures was down 0.22% at 90.45.

Dollar Remains Moderately Lower Vs. Rivals, U.S. Data Ahead

Investing.com - The dollar remained moderately lower against other major currencies on Thursday, as investors remained cautious ahead of a flurry of U.S. economic reports due later in the day.

Market participants were looking ahead to the release of U.S. data on building permits, housing starts, unemployment claims and manufacturing activity in the Philadelphia area.

The dollar has been pressured lower recently by concerns the global economic recovery will outpace U.S. growth and prompt other major central banks, including the European Central Bank to begin unwinding loose monetary policy at a faster pace.

The U.S. dollar index, which measures the greenback’s strength against a trade-weighted basket of six major currencies, was up 0.15% at 90.51 by 05:15 a.m. ET (09:15 GMT), off the previous session's fresh three-year trough of 89.97.

The euro and the pound were higher, with EUR/USD up 0.25% at 1.2215 and with GBP/USD adding 0.08% to 1.3838.

The euro has strengthened broadly since last week's minutes of the ECB’s December meeting boosted expectations that policymakers are preparing to wind down their bond buying stimulus program.

The yen held steady, with USD/JPY at 111.35, while USD/CHF declined 0.42% to 0.9616.

Elsewhere, the Australian and New Zealand dollars were stronger, with AUD/USD up 0.10% at 0.7975 and with NZD/USD gaining 0.25% to 0.7288.

Data earlier showed that China’s economy grew at a faster than expected pace in the fourth quarter, helped by strong export growth and a rebound in the industrial sector.

China is Australia's biggest export partner and New Zealand's second biggest export partner.

Meanwhile, USD/CAD was almost unchanged at 1.2438.

U.S. Oil Prices Dip Ahead of EIA Weekly Supply Report

Investing.com - Crude prices were slightly lower in early dealings on Thursday, amid speculation weekly supply data due later in the day will show a sizable gain in U.S. gasoline and fuel supplies.

The U.S. Energy Information Administration will release its official weekly oil supplies report for the week ended Jan. 12 at 11:00AM ET (1600GMT) Thursday. The report comes out one day later than usual due to the Martin Luther King Day holiday.

After markets closed Wednesday, the American Petroleum Institute said that U.S. oil inventories dropped by nearly 5.1 million barrels last week. That compared with analysts' expectations for a decline of around 3.6 million barrels.

However, the API report also showed a gain of 1.8 million barrels in gasoline stocks, while distillate stocks, which include motor diesel and heating oil, increased by about 609,000 barrels.

There are often sharp divergences between the API estimates and the official figures from EIA.

U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures shed 5 cents to $63.91 a barrel by 3:30AM ET (0830GMT). It rose to its highest since Dec. 2014 at $64.89 on Monday.

Meanwhile, Brent crude futures, the benchmark for oil prices outside the U.S., were at $69.22 a barrel, down 16 cents from their last close. The contract reached $70.37 on Monday, its best level since Dec. 2014.

Oil futures settled with modest gains Wednesday, as WTI ended 0.4% higher and Brent added 0.3%.

Prices have increased around 13% since early December, benefiting from production cut efforts led by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and Russia. The producers agreed in December to extend current oil output cuts until the end of 2018.

The deal to cut oil output by 1.8 million barrels a day (bpd) was adopted last winter by OPEC, Russia and nine other global producers. The agreement was due to end in March 2018, having already been extended once.

Analysts and traders have recently warned that U.S. shale oil producers could ramp up production in the coming weeks as they look to take advantage of higher prices, potentially derailing an OPEC-led effort to curb excess supply.

Oil traders are also looking ahead to a monthly report from the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Counties due later in the session to assess global oil supply and demand levels. The data will give traders a better picture of whether a global rebalancing is taking place in the oil market.

In other energy trading, gasoline futures dipped 0.2% to $1.864 a gallon, while heating oil was down 0.2% at $2.065 a gallon.

Natural gas futures slipped 1.5 cents to $3.218 per million British thermal units, as traders looked ahead to weekly storage data due later in the global day.

Dollar Slips Lower as Euro Regains Ground

Investing.com - The dollar slipped lower against a basket of the other major currencies on Thursday as the euro regained ground after retreating from a three year peak in the previous session.

The U.S. dollar index, which measures the greenback’s strength against a trade-weighted basket of six major currencies, was down 0.15% to 90.51 by 03:24 AM ET (08:24 AM GMT), off an overnight high of 90.77.

EUR/USD was up 0.2% at 1.2209. The euro pulled back from a three year high of 1.2323 on Wednesday after comments by European Bank officials reflected unease over the currency’s recent strong gains.

The euro has strengthened broadly since last week's minutes of the ECB’s December meeting boosted expectations that policymakers are preparing to wind down their bond buying stimulus program.

The dollar has been pressured lower by the view that the global economic recovery will outpace U.S. growth and prompt other major central banks, including the ECB to begin unwinding loose monetary policy at a faster pace.

The dollar edged lower against the yen, with USD/JPY dipping 0.12% to 111.18 after ending the previous session with gains of 0.81% when it bounced from a four month trough of 110.18.

Sterling was steady, with GBP/USD trading at 1.3838, after rising as high as 1.3941 on Wednesday, the highest level since Britain’s vote to exit the European Union in June 2016.

The pound pulled back as investors took profits and awaited the latest Brexit developments.

The Australian and New Zealand dollars were broadly higher against their U.S. counterpart, with AUD/USD up 0.2% to 0.7983 and NZD/USD climbing 0.43% to 0.7299.

The commodity linked Aussie and kiwi were boosted after data overnight showed that China’s economy grew at a faster than expected pace in the fourth quarter, helped by strong export growth and a rebound in the industrial sector.

Aussie Holds Steady After Mixed Data, Kiwi Moves Higher

Investing.com - The Australian dollar was steady against its U.S. counterpart on Thursday, after the release of mixed Australian employment data, while the New Zealand dollar moved higher as the greenback remained under pressure.

AUD/USD was almost unchanged at 0.7970, not far from the previous session's fresh four-month peak of 0.8023.

Earlier Thursday, the Australian Bureau of Statistics said that the number of employed people increased by 34,700 in December, beating expectations for a 9,000 rise. The number of employed people climbed by 63,600 in November, whose figure was revised from a previously estimated 61,600 gain.

The report also showed that the unemployment rate ticked up to 5.5% last month from 5.4% in November. Analysts had expected the rate to remain unchanged.

NZD/USD gained 0.28% to trade at 0.7290, close to Wednesday's four-month high of 0.7332.

Meanwhile, the greenback remained under pressure amid concerns the global economic recovery will outpace U.S. growth and prompt other major central banks, led by the European Central Bank to begin unwinding loose monetary policy at a faster pace than expected.

Expectations that the ECB could soon start to scale back its monetary stimulus program received a boost on Monday after ECB Governing Council member Ardo Hansson said bond purchases could end in one step in September if the economy and inflation develop as expected.

Market participants were also focusing on the risk of a potential U.S. government shutdown on Saturday.

Fresh political tensions in Washington following comments by President Donald Trump on immigration dampened the prospects that a broad spending and immigration deal can be reached by the end of the week, raising the possibility of a government shutdown.

The U.S. dollar index, which measures the greenback’s strength against a trade-weighted basket of six major currencies, was steady at 90.61 by 02:15 a.m. ET (06:15 GMT), after hitting a fresh three-year trough of 89.97 on Wednesday.

Asian Shares Gain On US Showing, Nikeei 225 Up Near 26-Year Highs

Investing.com - Asian shares rose on Thursday with markets awaiting China GDP and industrial production in a day that followed on from sharp Wall Street gains.

In Japan the Nikkei 225 rose 0.43% with energy-related stocks, automakers and banking names trading mixed. Of note, index heavyweight SoftBank Group declined 0.46%. The Nikkei 225 touched a 26-year high earlier this week and has risen more than 3% so far this year.

The S&P/ASX 200 traded higher by 0.07%, with gains driven by the heavily-weighted financials sector. Australia's "Big Four" banks all traded higher on the day: Westpac climbed 1.31% and ANZ rose 0.78%.

Australia said the economy added 34,700 jobs in December, well above an expected gain of 9,000 jobs. The unemployment rate ticked up to 5.5% from a steady 5.4% level expected as the participation rate rose to 65.7% from 65.5%.

China reports fourth quarter GDP on Thursday that is expected to show a 6.7% gain on year and a 1.6% rise on quarter. In the third quarter, GDP rose 6.8% on year and 1.7% on quarter.

The Shanghai Composite rose 0.58%.

As well, in China industrial production is expected to post a 6.0% gain on year in December from 6.1% in November and retail sales are seen up 10.1% on year in December, compared to 10.2% in November.

Overnight, Wall Street rebounded on Wednesday, reversing losses sustained a day earlier, closing at all-time record highs as investors cheered bullish earnings from corporates.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed higher at 26,115.65. The S&P 500 closed 0.94% higher, while the Nasdaq Composite closed at 7298.28, down 1.03%.

Bank of America (NYSE:NYSE:BAC), and US Bancorp (NYSE:NYSE:USB) reported earnings that topped expectations on both the top and bottom lines, while Goldman Sachs (NYSE:GS) posted its first quarterly loss since 2011.

Bullish earnings offset investor concerns over the prospect of a government shutdown amid reports that Democrats and Republicans may not be able to reach a deal on a crucial immigration bill by Friday. The immigration bill has been the main sticking point preventing progress on a spending bill, which needs to be passed by end of Friday to avoid a government shutdown.

A mixed bag of economic reports on industrial production and manufacturing, meanwhile, did little to dampen investor expectations for solid economic growth amid the release of the Fed’s beige book showing that the outlook on economic growth for 2018 remained “optimistic.”

Industrial output surged 0.9% in December last month, beating expectations for a 0.4% rise, while manufacturing output rose just 0.1% in December, falling short of expectations for a 0.3% rise.

In corporate news, Apple Inc (NASDAQ:NASDAQ:AAPL) said it would ramp up capital expenditure and vowed to create 20,000 new jobs as it seeks to take advantage of recent tax reform measures, one of which requires companies to pay a one-time tax on foreign-held earnings whether they intend to bring them back to the United States or not.

Gold Prices Fall In Asia On Profit Taking, Mild Dollar Rebound

Investing.com - Gold prices fell in Asia on Thursday in profit taking and after a mild dollar rebound overnight.

Gold futures for February delivery on the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange fell 0.84% to $1,327.90 a troy ounce. Copper fell 0.03% to $3.191 a pound. The US dollar index rose 0.47% to 90.65.

Overnight, gold prices remained close to four-month highs on Wednesday amid expectations the precious metal would likely ‘shrug off’ rate hike worries while dollar weakness limited downside.

In a rising interest rate environment, investor appetite for gold weakens as the opportunity cost of holding the precious metal increases relative to other interest-nearing assets such as bonds.

Crude Gains In Asia As API Draw Perks Up Views, China GDP Ahead

Investing.com - Oil prices gained in Asia on Thursday as the world's top oil importer gets set to detail fourth quarter growth figures and the market stays upbeat on a larger that expected draw in US crude stocks under industry estimates.

On the New York Mercantile Exchange WTI crude futures for February delivery rose 0.31% to $64.28 a barrel, while on London's Intercontinental Exchange, Brent edged up 0.03% to $69.46 a barrel.

China reports fourth quarter GDP on Thursday that is expected to show a 6.7% gain on year and a 1.6% rise on quarter. In the third quarter, GDP rose 6.8% on year and 1.7% on quarter.

As well, in China industrial production is expected to post a 6.0% gain on year in December from 6.1% in November and retail sales are seen up 10.1% on year in December, compared to 10.2% in November.

US crude oil inventories fell 5.121 million barrels last week, the American Petroleum Institute said Wednesday, a bigger drop than expected.

Gasoline inventories rose 1.782 million barrels and distillate stocks rose by 609,000 barrels. Supplies at the oil storage hub of Cushing, Oklahoma, fell by 3.936 million barrels.

US crude oil inventories were expected down 3.536 million barrels last week. Gasoline stocks were seen up 3.426 million barrels and distillate inventories up by 86,000 barrels.

Official data from the Energy Information Administration is due on Thursday, a day later than normal because of a public holiday on Monday.

Later on Thursday, OPEC releases its montky production figures and on Friday the Paris-based International Energy Agency will detail global supply and deman in its monthly report.

Overnight, crude oil prices settle higher as positive commentary concerning the OPEC-led pact strengthen investor expectations that the oil cartel would continue with output cuts.

Kuwaiti energy minister Bakheet Al-Rashidi said the oil market was “very stable” and vowed that OPEC remains committed to output cuts “no matter the price.”

That eased some investor concerns that OPEC would seek to exit the agreement as the recent surge in prices is expected to lead to a ramp up in non-OPEC output, led by the U.S. shale producers.

Peru stocks lower at close of trade; S&P Lima General down 0.14%

Investing.com – Peru stocks were lower after the close on Wednesday, as losses in the S&P Lima Juniors, Food&Beverages and Mining sectors led shares lower.

At the close in Lima, the S&P Lima General lost 0.14%.

The best performers of the session on the S&P Lima General were Andino Investment Holding SAA (LM:AIH), which rose 1.83% or 0.030 points to trade at 1.670 at the close. Meanwhile, Aceros Arequip (LM:AREi) added 1.39% or 0.010 points to end at 0.730 and Corporacion Aceros Arequipa SA (LM:ARE) was up 1.19% or 0.010 points to 0.850 in late trade.

The worst performers of the session were Minsur (LM:MINi), which fell 4.50% or 0.090 points to trade at 1.910 at the close. Candente Copper (LM:DNT) declined 3.64% or 0.0040 points to end at 0.1060 and Panoro (LM:PML) was down 3.02% or 0.010 points to 0.321.

Falling stocks outnumbered advancing ones on the Lima Stock Exchange by 24 to 10 and 6 ended unchanged.

Crude oil for February delivery was up 0.52% or 0.33 to $64.06 a barrel. Elsewhere in commodities trading, Brent oil for delivery in March rose 0.43% or 0.30 to hit $69.45 a barrel, while the February Gold Futures contract fell 0.65% or 8.70 to trade at $1328.40 a troy ounce.

USD/PEN was up 0.05% to 3.2105, while EUR/PEN fell 0.07% to 3.9278.

The US Dollar Index Futures was up 0.31% at 90.51.

API Reports 5.121 Mln Barrels Weekly Draw In Crude Stocks

Investing.com - US crude oil inventories fell 5.121 million barrels last week, the American Petroleum Institute said Wednesday, a greater drop than expected.

Gasoline inventories rose 1.782 million barrels and distillate stocks rose by 609,000 barrels. Supplies at the oil storage hub of Cushing, Oklahoma, fell by 3.936 million barrels.

US crude oil inventories were expected down 3.536 million barrels last week. Gasoline stocks were seen up 3.426 million barrels and distillate inventories up by 86,000 barrels.

Official data from the Energy Information Administration is due on Thursday, a day later than normal because of a public holiday on Monday.

The Day Ahead: Top 3 Things to Watch

Investing.com - Here’s a preview of the top 3 things that could rock markets tomorrow

US Housing, Manufacturing, Labor Data

The Commerce Department home building activity for December is expected show building permits fell 1% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.290 million units, while housing starts are expected to show a decline to 1.275 million.

The Labor department releases its weekly count of the number of individuals who filed for unemployment insurance for the week ended Jan 13. Economist forecast initial jobless claims to fall by 11,000 to 261,000.

Economists forecast the Philly Fed manufacturing index for January to show a reading of 25, slightly below the 27.9 reading in the previous month.

Ahead of the duo of reports the dollar, rose 0.10% against its rivals to 90.32.

Energy Information Administration Weekly Inventory Report

A fresh batch of inventory data from the Energy Information Administration (EIA) on Thursday is expected to show that U.S. crude stockpiles fell for the ninth-straight week.

Analysts forecast crude inventories fell by about 3.5 million barrels in the week ended Jan 12.

Crude oil futures settle higher on Wednesday amid optimism over ongoing OPEC-led output cuts and oil demand growth.

UK Manufacturing Data

China is expected to show gross domestic product grew 6.7% year on year in the fourth quarter, slightly below the 6.8% growth in the previous period. The slowdown in growth comes amid slowing investment across the economy which has been offset somewhat by solid export growth, which continued to benefit from rising global economic growth.

Economists forecast Chinese Industrial production rose at a 7.1% annual rate through December.

China’s economic growth is closely tracked by commodity such as gold as the far-east nation is the largest commodity consumer.

Brazil stocks higher at close of trade; Bovespa up 1.70%

Investing.com – Brazil stocks were higher after the close on Wednesday, as gains in the Financials, Basic Materials and Consumption sectors led shares higher.

At the close in Sao Paulo, the Bovespa added 1.70% to hit a new all time high.

The best performers of the session on the Bovespa were Cia de Saneamento Basico do Estado (SA:SBSP3), which rose 5.34% or 1.82 points to trade at 35.89 at the close. Meanwhile, Cielo SA (SA:CIEL3) added 4.17% or 1.02 points to end at 25.50 and Petroleo Brasileiro SA PN (SA:PETR4) was up 4.02% or 0.71 points to 18.36 in late trade.

The worst performers of the session were Cia Paranaense de Energia (SA:CPLE6), which fell 2.22% or 0.52 points to trade at 22.91 at the close. Klabin Unt (SA:KLBN11) declined 2.20% or 0.38 points to end at 16.90 and CEMIG - Companhia Energetica Minas Gerais Pref (SA:CMIG4) was down 1.60% or 0.11 points to 6.76.

Rising stocks outnumbered declining ones on the BM&FBovespa Stock Exchange by 232 to 167 and 43 ended unchanged.

Shares in Cia de Saneamento Basico do Estado (SA:SBSP3) rose to 3-years highs; gaining 5.34% or 1.82 to 35.89. Shares in Petroleo Brasileiro SA PN (SA:PETR4) rose to 3-years highs; rising 4.02% or 0.71 to 18.36.

The CBOE Brazil Etf Volatility, which measures the implied volatility of Bovespa options, was down 0.45% to 32.91.

Gold Futures for February delivery was down 0.61% or 8.20 to $1328.90 a troy ounce. Elsewhere in commodities trading, Crude oil for delivery in February rose 0.24% or 0.15 to hit $63.88 a barrel, while the March US coffee C contract rose 2.00% or 2.41 to trade at $123.08 .

USD/BRL was down 0.04% to 3.2239, while EUR/BRL fell 0.32% to 3.9394.

The US Dollar Index Futures was up 0.20% at 90.41.

Colombia stocks lower at close of trade; COLCAP unchanged

Investing.com – Colombia stocks were lower after the close on Wednesday, as in the sectors led shares .

At the close in Colombia, the COLCAP unchanged 0.00%.

The best performers of the session on the COLCAP were Bancolombia Pf (CN:BIC_p1), which rose 3.87% or 1160.0 points to trade at 31160.0 at the close. Meanwhile, Ecopetrol SA (CN:ECO) added 3.64% or 85.0 points to end at 2420.0 and Bcolombia (CN:BIC) was up 3.24% or 980.0 points to 31260.0 in late trade.

The worst performers of the session were Grupoaval (CN:GAA), which fell 3.05% or 40.0 points to trade at 1270.0 at the close. Canacol Energy Ltd (CN:CNE) declined 2.41% or 260.0 points to end at 10520.0 and Corporacion Financiera Colombiana SA (CN:CFV) was down 1.59% or 460.0 points to 28440.0.

Rising stocks outnumbered declining ones on the Colombia Stock Exchange by 1 to 0.

US coffee C for March delivery was up 2.00% or 2.41 to $123.08 . Elsewhere in commodities trading, US cocoa for delivery in March rose 3.42% or 66.00 to hit $1997.50 , while the February Gold Futures contract fell 0.68% or 9.10 to trade at $1328.00 a troy ounce.

USD/COP was down 0.68% to 2844.50, while BRL/COP fell 0.67% to 882.32.

The US Dollar Index Futures was up 0.22% at 90.43.

Beige Book: Economic Growth 'Modest', Outlook For 2018 Optimistic

Investing.com – Economic growth continued to expand at a modest pace in recent months across the U.S. central bank’s regional districts amid moderate wage growth, a Federal Reserve survey showed.

The central bank’s Beige Book economic report, based on anecdotal information collected by the Fed’s 12 reserve banks through the end of the year, showed pricing pressures grew at a moderate pace despite ongoing tighter labor market conditions. This has confounded the Fed's expectations that tighter labor market conditions would spur a rebound inflation.

“The economy continued to expand from late November through the end of the year, with 11 Districts reporting modest to moderate gains ” according to the report, released Wednesday in Washington. “The outlook for 2018 remains optimistic for a majority of contacts across the country"

Despite the lack of pricing pressures reported across the Fed's regional districts, the most recent reading of the consumer price index showed US consumer prices posted their biggest gain in eleven-months raising 1.8% in the 12 months through December.

The uptick inflation is expected to support the Federal Reserve's case to raise rates at least three times this year amid a transitional period at the central bank as Jerome Powell prepares to replace Fed chair Janet Yellen in the coming months.

Portugal stocks higher at close of trade; PSI 20 up 0.09%

Investing.com – Portugal stocks were higher after the close on Wednesday, as gains in the Consumer Services, Utilities and Technology sectors led shares higher.

At the close in Lisbon, the PSI 20 gained 0.09%.

The best performers of the session on the PSI 20 were Banco Comercial Portugues (LS:BCP), which rose 1.14% or 0.0033 points to trade at 0.2924 at the close. Meanwhile, J. Martins SGPS (LS:JMT) added 0.43% or 0.0750 points to end at 17.4000 and EDP Renovaveis (LS:EDPR) was up 0.42% or 0.0300 points to 7.1000 in late trade.

The worst performers of the session were The Navigator Company SA (LS:NVGR), which fell 0.96% or 0.0440 points to trade at 4.5500 at the close. Mota Engil (LS:MOTA) declined 0.87% or 0.0350 points to end at 3.9850 and CTT Correios de Portugal SA (LS:CTT) was down 0.85% or 0.0300 points to 3.4900.

Falling stocks outnumbered advancing ones on the Lisbon Stock Exchange by 19 to 13 and 7 ended unchanged.

Brent oil for March delivery was up 0.27% or 0.19 to $69.34 a barrel. Elsewhere in commodities trading, Crude oil for delivery in February rose 0.39% or 0.25 to hit $63.98 a barrel, while the February Gold Futures contract fell 0.15% or 2.00 to trade at $1335.10 a troy ounce.

EUR/USD was down 0.19% to 1.2238, while EUR/GBP fell 0.47% to 0.8846.

The US Dollar Index Futures was up 0.09% at 90.31.

Finland stocks higher at close of trade; OMX Helsinki 25 up 0.22%

Investing.com – Finland stocks were higher after the close on Wednesday, as gains in the Healthcare, Financials and Oil&Gas sectors led shares higher.

At the close in Helsinki, the OMX Helsinki 25 rose 0.22%.

The best performers of the session on the OMX Helsinki 25 were Orion Oyj B (HE:ORNBV), which rose 3.50% or 1.10 points to trade at 32.50 at the close. Meanwhile, Sampo Oyj A (HE:SAMPO) added 1.89% or 0.88 points to end at 47.55 and Wartsila Oyj Abp (HE:WRT1V) was up 1.41% or 0.76 points to 54.58 in late trade.

The worst performers of the session were UPM-Kymmene Oyj (HE:UPM), which fell 1.44% or 0.39 points to trade at 26.72 at the close. KONE Oyj (HE:KNEBV) declined 1.31% or 0.59 points to end at 44.30 and Metsa Board Oyj B (HE:METSB) was down 1.17% or 0.090 points to 7.580.

Falling stocks outnumbered advancing ones on the Helsinki Stock Exchange by 90 to 57 and 10 ended unchanged.

Shares in Sampo Oyj A (HE:SAMPO) rose to 52-week highs; up 1.89% or 0.88 to 47.55.

Brent oil for March delivery was up 0.01% or 0.01 to $69.16 a barrel. Elsewhere in commodities trading, Crude oil for delivery in February rose 0.20% or 0.13 to hit $63.86 a barrel, while the February Gold Futures contract fell 0.14% or 1.90 to trade at $1335.20 a troy ounce.

EUR/USD was down 0.21% to 1.2235, while EUR/GBP fell 0.46% to 0.8847.

The US Dollar Index Futures was up 0.11% at 90.33.

France stocks lower at close of trade; CAC 40 down 0.36%

Investing.com – France stocks were lower after the close on Wednesday, as losses in the Consumer Services, Oil&Gas and Healthcare sectors led shares lower.

At the close in Paris, the CAC 40 lost 0.36%, while the SBF 120 index lost 0.27%.

The best performers of the session on the CAC 40 were Veolia Environnement VE SA (PA:VIE), which rose 0.81% or 0.170 points to trade at 21.090 at the close. Meanwhile, Peugeot SA (PA:PEUP) added 0.58% or 0.10 points to end at 18.27 and Danone SA (PA:DANO) was up 0.54% or 0.37 points to 69.12 in late trade.

The worst performers of the session were Publicis Groupe SA (PA:PUBP), which fell 2.29% or 1.34 points to trade at 57.14 at the close. Carrefour SA (PA:CARR) declined 1.75% or 0.32 points to end at 17.68 and Societe Generale (PA:SOGN) was down 1.74% or 0.80 points to 45.28.

The top performers on the SBF 120 were Europcar Groupe SA (PA:EUCAR) which rose 4.05% to 10.40, Alstom SA (PA:ALSO) which was up 2.54% to settle at 36.72 and Eramet (PA:ERMT) which gained 2.19% to close at 121.30.

The worst performers were Groupe FNAC (PA:FNAC) which was down 5.52% to 94.950 in late trade, Casino Guichard (PA:CASP) which lost 5.20% to settle at 48.10 and Technicolor (PA:TCH) which was down 4.45% to 3.138 at the close.

Falling stocks outnumbered advancing ones on the Paris Stock Exchange by 332 to 268 and 91 ended unchanged.

Shares in Alstom SA (PA:ALSO) rose to 5-year highs; up 2.54% or 0.91 to 36.72. Shares in Eramet (PA:ERMT) rose to 5-year highs; up 2.19% or 2.60 to 121.30.

The CAC 40 VIX, which measures the implied volatility of CAC 40 options, was up 6.76% to 11.25.

Gold Futures for February delivery was down 0.13% or 1.70 to $1335.40 a troy ounce. Elsewhere in commodities trading, Crude oil for delivery in February rose 0.22% or 0.14 to hit $63.87 a barrel, while the March Brent oil contract rose 0.03% or 0.02 to trade at $69.17 a barrel.

EUR/USD was down 0.21% to 1.2235, while EUR/GBP fell 0.46% to 0.8847.

The US Dollar Index Futures was up 0.11% at 90.33.

Belgium stocks lower at close of trade; BEL 20 down 0.37%

Investing.com – Belgium stocks were lower after the close on Wednesday, as losses in the Basic Materials, Telecoms and Utilities sectors led shares lower.

At the close in Brussels, the BEL 20 declined 0.37%.

The best performers of the session on the BEL 20 were UCB (BR:UCB), which rose 1.17% or 0.80 points to trade at 69.10 at the close. Meanwhile, bpost NV (BR:BPOST) added 0.74% or 0.20 points to end at 27.40 and Ackermans V.Haaren (BR:ACKB) was up 0.53% or 0.80 points to 151.50 in late trade.

The worst performers of the session were Ontex Group (BR:ONTEX), which fell 1.86% or 0.50 points to trade at 26.38 at the close. Galapagos NV (AS:GLPG) declined 1.85% or 1.700 points to end at 90.020 and Umicore SA (BR:UMI) was down 1.76% or 0.77 points to 43.20.

Falling stocks outnumbered advancing ones on the Brussels Stock Exchange by 70 to 45 and 14 ended unchanged.

Shares in Ontex Group (BR:ONTEX) fell to 52-week lows; losing 1.86% or 0.50 to 26.38. Shares in bpost NV (BR:BPOST) rose to 52-week highs; gaining 0.74% or 0.20 to 27.40.

Gold Futures for February delivery was down 0.13% or 1.70 to $1335.40 a troy ounce. Elsewhere in commodities trading, Crude oil for delivery in February rose 0.35% or 0.22 to hit $63.95 a barrel, while the March Brent oil contract rose 0.19% or 0.13 to trade at $69.28 a barrel.

EUR/USD was down 0.19% to 1.2238, while EUR/GBP fell 0.47% to 0.8846.

The US Dollar Index Futures was up 0.10% at 90.32.

Poland stocks higher at close of trade; WIG30 up 0.58%

Investing.com – Poland stocks were higher after the close on Wednesday, as gains in the Chemicals, Food and Energy sectors led shares higher.

At the close in Warsaw, the WIG30 rose 0.58% to hit a new all time high.

The best performers of the session on the WIG30 were CD Projekt SA (WA:CDR), which rose 7.11% or 7.90 points to trade at 119.00 at the close. Meanwhile, Alior Bank SA (WA:ALRR) added 5.38% or 4.30 points to end at 84.30 and Kruk SA (WA:KRU) was up 2.80% or 6.00 points to 220.00 in late trade.

The worst performers of the session were Asseco Poland SA (WA:ACPP), which fell 3.81% or 1.82 points to trade at 46.00 at the close. Grupa Lotos SA (WA:LTSP) declined 1.95% or 1.12 points to end at 56.38 and Jastrzebska Spotka Weglowa SA (WA:JSW) was down 1.85% or 2.00 points to 106.00.

Falling stocks outnumbered advancing ones on the Warsaw Stock Exchange by 272 to 199 and 208 ended unchanged.

Shares in Alior Bank SA (WA:ALRR) rose to 3-years highs; rising 5.38% or 4.30 to 84.30.

Crude oil for February delivery was up 0.30% or 0.19 to $63.92 a barrel. Elsewhere in commodities trading, Brent oil for delivery in March rose 0.22% or 0.15 to hit $69.30 a barrel, while the February Gold Futures contract fell 0.15% or 2.00 to trade at $1335.10 a troy ounce.

EUR/PLN was down 0.03% to 4.1700, while USD/PLN rose 0.21% to 3.4092.

The US Dollar Index Futures was up 0.13% at 90.35.

Norway stocks lower at close of trade; Oslo OBX down 0.52%

Investing.com – Norway stocks were lower after the close on Wednesday, as losses in the Pharma Biotech&Life Sciences, Food, Beverages&Tobacco and Materials sectors led shares lower.

At the close in Oslo, the Oslo OBX fell 0.52%.

The best performers of the session on the Oslo OBX were TGS-NOPEC Geophysical Company ASA (OL:TGS), which rose 0.82% or 1.7 points to trade at 209.5 at the close. Meanwhile, Telenor ASA (OL:TEL) added 0.79% or 1.5 points to end at 191.0 and Norsk Hydro ASA (OL:NHY) was up 0.46% or 0.28 points to 60.94 in late trade.

The worst performers of the session were Marine Harvest ASA (OL:MHG), which fell 3.73% or 5.15 points to trade at 132.80 at the close. Grieg Seafood (OL:GSFO) declined 3.46% or 2.45 points to end at 68.30 and Yara International ASA (OL:YAR) was down 2.99% or 11.6 points to 376.5.

Falling stocks outnumbered advancing ones on the Oslo Stock Exchange by 122 to 55 and 24 ended unchanged.

Shares in TGS-NOPEC Geophysical Company ASA (OL:TGS) rose to 3-years highs; up 0.82% or 1.7 to 209.5. Shares in Telenor ASA (OL:TEL) rose to all time highs; up 0.79% or 1.5 to 191.0.

Crude oil for February delivery was up 0.35% or 0.22 to $63.95 a barrel. Elsewhere in commodities trading, Brent oil for delivery in March rose 0.25% or 0.17 to hit $69.32 a barrel, while the February Gold Futures contract fell 0.21% or 2.80 to trade at $1334.30 a troy ounce.

EUR/NOK was down 0.44% to 9.6123, while USD/NOK fell 0.21% to 7.8581.

The US Dollar Index Futures was up 0.14% at 90.36.

Crypto-crash Triggers Panic among Investors

Investing.com - Cryptocurrencies continued to selloff on Wednesday amid one of the most severe routs of recent years sparked by fears of a regulatory crackdown.
Bitcoin was down as much as 12% at $10,000 on Wednesday. It had traded as high as $14,394 on Monday.
Ethereum plummeted from a high of $1,401 on Sunday to $977.53 on Wednesday.
Ripple dropped from $2.02 to $1.17 over the same period.
The painful declines in prices sparked concern amid investors.
The mood across online boards where enthusiasts discuss cryptocurrencies was a mixture of resilience and despair.
To be in bitcoin and cryptocurrency, is to be in the wild wild west. Only the strong survive. Don’t think in the short term, always think long term,” said one user on Reddit.
Other users posted to the Bitconnect subreddit that they had invested large sums and had taken a heavy financial blow due to the steep price declines.
Cryptocurrency prices have come under pressure following reports that South Korea may be preparing to ban trading of virtual currencies on domestic exchanges. The country is one is one of the largest markets for major coins like bitcoin and ethereum.

Turkey stocks higher at close of trade; BIST 100 up 1.90%

Investing.com – Turkey stocks were higher after the close on Wednesday, as gains in the Telecoms, Banking and Leasing&Factoring sectors led shares higher.

At the close in Istanbul, the BIST 100 rose 1.90%.

The best performers of the session on the BIST 100 were Gozde Girisim Sermayesi Yatirim Ortakligi AS (IS:GOZDE), which rose 8.91% or 0.480 points to trade at 5.870 at the close. Meanwhile, Turkcell Iletisim Hizmetleri AS ORD (IS:TCELL) added 4.81% or 0.69 points to end at 15.05 and Turkiye Garanti Bankasi (IS:GARAN) was up 4.52% or 0.49 points to 11.32 in late trade.

The worst performers of the session were Anadolu Cam Sanayi AS (IS:ANACM), which fell 2.76% or 0.090 points to trade at 3.170 at the close. Karsan Otomotiv Sanayi ve Ticaret AS (IS:KARSN) declined 2.69% or 0.060 points to end at 2.170 and Tesco Kipa Kitle Pazarlama Ticaret Lojistik ve Gida Sanayi AS (IS:KIPA) was down 2.17% or 0.060 points to 2.710.

Rising stocks outnumbered declining ones on the Istanbul Stock Exchange by 217 to 125 and 63 ended unchanged.

Shares in Gozde Girisim Sermayesi Yatirim Ortakligi AS (IS:GOZDE) rose to all time highs; rising 8.91% or 0.480 to 5.870. Shares in Turkiye Garanti Bankasi (IS:GARAN) rose to all time highs; up 4.52% or 0.49 to 11.32.

Gold Futures for February delivery was down 0.09% or 1.20 to $1335.90 a troy ounce. Elsewhere in commodities trading, Crude oil for delivery in February fell 0.05% or 0.03 to hit $63.70 a barrel, while the March Brent oil contract fell 0.09% or 0.06 to trade at $69.09 a barrel.

USD/TRY was up 0.20% to 3.8038, while EUR/TRY rose 0.05% to 4.6563.

The US Dollar Index Futures was up 0.13% at 90.35.

Canadian Dollar Falls after Dovish BoC Rate Hike

Investing.com - The Canadian dollar fell against its U.S. counterpart on Wednesday after the Bank of Canada hiked interest rates, but cautioned that uncertainty over the North American Free Trade Agreement is clouding the economic outlook.

USD/CAD was up 0.42% to 1.2486 by 10:09 AM ET (15:10 GMT) from around 1.2412 earlier.

The BoC hiked its overnight cash rate to 1.25% from 1.0%, in a widely anticipated decision.

The bank said recent economic data has been strong, inflation is close to target, and the economy is operating roughly at capacity, but warned that uncertainty over the future of NAFTA is clouding the economic outlook.

The bank gave an upbeat outlook of the global economy, forecasting growth of 3.5% on average and indicated that there were particularly signs of increasing momentum in the U.S. economy, which it expects to be boosted by recent tax reforms.

“While the economic outlook is expected to warrant higher interest rates over time, some continued monetary policy accommodation will likely be needed to keep the economy operating close to potential and inflation on target,” the bank’s statement said.

The bank reiterated that it would remain cautious in considering future policy adjustments and would be guided by incoming economic data.

Natural Gas Futures Bounce Back on Bets for Hefty Storage Withdrawal

Investing.com - Natural gas futures bounced back on Wednesday, re-approaching their highest level in around two months as investors speculated this week’s supply report will show another hefty drop as cold weather boosts demand.

Front-month U.S. natural gas futures rose 3.7 cents, or around 1.2%, to $3.164 per million British thermal units (btu) by 10:10AM ET (1510GMT). It touched its best level since Nov. 15 at $3.224 last Friday.

U.S. gas futures lost 2.2% on Tuesday as updated weather forecasts showed a return to seasonal temperatures after an extreme cold spell in the eastern U.S.

Below freezing temperatures will continue to linger across most parts of the Northeast through Jan. 20, with light snow expected throughout the region.

However, Northeast temperatures were expected to return to seasonal levels from Jan. 21-to-28, with mild conditions dominating during the period, according to updated weather forecasting models.

Market participants looked ahead to this week's storage data due on Thursday, which is expected to show a draw of 201 billion cubic feet (bcf) in the week ended Jan. 12.

That compares with a whopping decline of 359 bcf in the preceding week, which was the highest on record, a fall of 243 bcf a year earlier and a five-year average drop of 203 bcf.

Total natural gas in storage currently stands at 2.767 trillion cubic feet (tcf), according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. That figure is 415 bcf, or around 13.0%, lower than levels at this time a year ago and 382 bcf, or roughly 12.1%, below the five-year average for this time of year.

Bank of Canada Hikes Rates as Expected to 1.25%, Despite NAFTA concerns

Investing.com – The Bank of Canada (BoC) decided on Wednesday to raise its benchmark interest rate.

As expected, the BoC said it was increasing its overnight cash rate by 25 basis points to 1.25%.

The Canadian monetary authority also noted that the Bank Rate is correspondingly 1.5% and the deposit rate is 1%.

“Recent data have been strong, inflation is close to target, and the economy is operating roughly at capacity,” the BOC said in the statement.

“However, uncertainty surrounding the future of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) is clouding the economic outlook,” the Bank of Canada warned.

Furthermore, the BoC gave an upbeat outlook of the global economy, forecasting growth of 3.5% on average and indicated that there were particularly signs of increasing momentum in the U.S. economy which it expects to be boosted by the recent U.S. tax reform.

“While the economic outlook is expected to warrant higher interest rates over time, some continued monetary policy accommodation will likely be needed to keep the economy operating close to potential and inflation on target,” the BoC concluded.

BoC governor Stephen Poloz will comment on the decision at a press conference at 11:15AM ET (16:15GMT).

Following the press release, the loonie strengthened. USD/CAD was trading at 1.2483 from around 1.2412 ahead of the announcement, while EUR/CAD moved at 1.5261, compared to 1.5169 prior to the news.

Crude Oil Prices Remain Under Pressure Ahead of U.S. Supply Data

Investing.com - Crude oil prices remained under pressure on Wednesday, although they were still hovering within close distance of recent multi-year highs, as investors remained cautious ahead of the weekly U.S. supply report due on Thursday.

The U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude February contract was down 15 cents or about 0.27% at $63.56 a barrel by 10:00 a.m. ET (14:00 GMT), close to the previous session's three-year peak of $64.89.

Elsewhere, Brent oil for March delivery on the ICE Futures Exchange in London lost 21 cents or about 0.30% to $68.93 a barrel, not far from Monday's three-year peak of $70.37.

The American Petroleum Institute was set to release its weekly report at 4:30 p.m. ET (21:30 GMT). Official data from the Energy Information Administration will be released Thursday, amid forecasts for an oil-stock drop of around 3.6 million barrels, which would mark the ninth-straight fall.

The reports come out one day later than usual due to the Martin Luther King Day holiday on Monday.

Oil prices slipped at the beginning of the week as the market contended with rising U.S. drilling activity against ongoing efforts by major producers to cut output to reduce a global glut.

Analysts and traders have recently warned that U.S. shale oil producers could ramp up production in the coming weeks as they look to take advantage of higher prices, potentially derailing an OPEC-led effort to curb excess supply.

The deal to cut oil output by 1.8 million barrels a day (bpd) was adopted last winter by OPEC, Russia and nine other global producers. The agreement was due to end in March 2018, having already been extended once.

Market participants are also looking ahead to monthly reports from the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Counties and the International Energy Agency due later this week to assess global oil supply and demand levels.

Elsewhere, gasoline futures climbed 0.52% to $1.852 a gallon, while natural gas futures advanced 1.21% to $3.167 per million British thermal units.

Euro Pulls Back after Hitting Three-Year Highs

Investing.com - The euro slid lower on Wednesday after rallying to a three-year high above the 1.23 level earlier amid growing expectations that the European Central Bank will start to unwind its massive monetary stimulus program this year.

EUR/USD was down 0.46% to 1.2207 by 08:30 AM ET (13:30 GMT) after rising as high as 1.2323 overnight, which was the strongest level since December 2014.

The single currency has strengthened broadly since last week's minutes of the ECB’s December meeting showed that officials were considering a gradual shift in policy guidance from early this year.

Any changes to the bank's guidance would likely been seen by investors as an indication that policymakers are preparing to winding down their bond buying stimulus program.

The euro declined after policymaker Ewald Nowotny that the euro's recent strength against the U.S. dollar is "not helpful," reflecting unease among officials over the currency’s strong gains.

The weaker euro lent support to the dollar, sending the U.S. dollar index, which measures the greenback’s strength against a trade-weighted basket of six major currencies, up 0.24% to 90.44 after plumbing a three year low of 89.98 overnight.

The dollar has been pressured lower by the view that the global economic recovery will outpace U.S. growth and prompt other major central banks, including the ECB to begin unwinding loose monetary policy at a faster pace.

The dollar moved higher against the yen, with USD/JPY rising 0.22% to 110.69, pulling away from the four-month low of 110.18 reached overnight.

Sterling was little changed against the firmer dollar, with GBP/USD last at 1.3793 after rising as high as 1.3835 overnight, the highest level since Britain’s vote to exit the European Union in June 2016.

The Canadian dollar was steady against the greenback, with USD/CAD at 1.2429 ahead of the Bank of Canada’s monetary policy decision later in the day.

The BoC was widely expected to raise rates to 1.25% from 1.0% in what analysts expected to be the first of three rate hikes this year.

Bank of America Reports Beat on Earnings, Excluding Tax Charge

Investing.com - Bank of America reported fourth quarter earnings that beat analysts’ expectations ahead of the opening bell on Wednesday.

The firm reported adjusted fourth quarter earnings per share of $0.47 on adjusted revenue of $21.4 billion.

This compares to the year-ago quarter when the bank earned 40 cents per share on $20.22 billion in revenue.

Analysts had expected EPS of $0.44 on revenue of $21.53 billion.

The bank posted a charge of $2.9 billion related to the new tax law, meaning that revenue fell short of expectations.

The bank reported fixed income trading revenues fell 13% in the fourth quarter.

Bank of America shares slid 0.13% in premarket trade following the report.

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