US equities gave back early gains to finish flat to negative after geopolitical factors along with bullish rhetoric from several FED members dragged the equities lower. The geopolitical factors came from North Koreas insistence on testing missiles and developing their nuclear capabilities, which saw South Korea imply the need for negotiations with the US and China over THAAD deterrence to protect itself. In addition, the bullish rhetoric form several Fed members have markets more bullish as they call for a rate hikes sooner rather than later, with at least another expected after that, along with talk of reducing the FED`s balance sheet. Asian equities bucked the trend form Wall Street and traded in the green with the ASX 200 gaining 0.4%, recovering in late trade after a dovish Budget announcement by the Australian government. The Nikkei 225 managed a gain of 0.2% as it benefited from a weaker JPY. The Shanghai Comp gained 0.3% after additional cash injections by the PBOC.
In FX, the USD remained bid across the spectrum with only the GBP bucking the trend as the pound is snapped up in anticipation of a bullish BOE meeting tomorrow. The EURUSD reclaimed the 1.0900 level while the USDJPY tested 114.50 before falling back to consolidate. The USD will remain bullish so long as data and speeches out of the region remains positive.
In commodities, gold continues to get hammered lower as bears retook the 1225 support level to test as deep as the 1214 support level before bulls resurfaced to retest 1225 amid the geopolitical tensions. Currently bears will look to keep prices below 1225 with an eye on 1200. An increase in geopolitical tensions or a decrease in the strength of the USD could reverse this fate as we see the 1250 resistance level up for grabs. Crude oil remained range bound between 46 and 47 USD per barrel as markets await further clarity regarding supply curbs by oil producers. Today’s US Crude Oil inventories could give cause for a breakout of the stalemate, with a lower than expected print expected to see the black gold push higher and vice versa if the inventories print higher than expected.