US Stocks Clock New All Time Records As Energy Stocks Rally

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Geopolitics is the overnight catchword. Here's IG strategist Chris Weston's take:

US equities have shrugged off reports that China has deployed 150,000 troops on the border with North Korea, although as a far as I can see this is coming from a Twitter source (@DEFCONWSALERTS). There is chatter that this was spurned out of an article from a Korean news article, either way, this in itself shows h

ow technology is shaping first mover advantage, or what some will feel is actually a disadvantage.

If we look at moves in S&P sub-sectors by way of a guide for Asia,

the lead really comes from energy, which won't surprise when US crude has put on a further 1.4%. Real estate has performed fairly well, while financials and materials stocks have closed on a flat note. Volumes through the S&P 500 have been poor and some 22% below the 30-day average.

On the theme of crude strength, most have put this down to

Libya temporarily shutting an export terminal, although there is already real momentum in the rate of change in price. A 12.6% rally in the barrel since 27 March suggests a certain caution around chasing the market here, as we are

approaching a potential point of exhaustion and a pullback of sorts becoming a higher probability. Shorting oil seems a high risk strategy here though.

One other interesting issue to point out has been the

moves behind the scenes in various European financial markets. If we look at the CAC index, a 0.5% sell-off is hardly concerning, neither is the moves in EUR/USD which is eyeing a move back into $US1.0600, although to be fair has come off 300 pips from late March, driven by the European Central Bank. What we can see though is

French two-year bonds trading on a yield premium of 51 basis points to that of German bunds, with a punchy nine basis point increase of the session, taking it to the biggest differential since May 2012. This spread stood at one basis point in November.

We can also see EUR/USD one-month implied volatility at 12.43%, the highest since June 2016 and traders will be watching for a break of June 2015 highs of 14.25%, where we start getting into levels not seen since the Greek debt drama – Grexit.

We can also see EUR/USD risk reversals trading at -3.225, which is now actually at the lowest levels since 2011 and this shows a huge demand from traders to hedge portfolios, with the skew of implied volatility in EUR/USD out-of- money puts far outweighing that of out-of- the money calls.

There are strange things at play here, but one thing seems for sure,

traders learnt some valuable lessons from the UK referendum and the US elections and while there doesn't seem to be much stress in equities traders are protecting themselves against a doomsday scenario, which of course means a showdown on 7 May between Marine Le Pen and Jean-Luc Melenchon. Things are getting very interesting indeed.

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Source : http://www.smh.com.au/business/markets-live/markets-live-thin-air-above-5900-20170410-gvi8vf.html

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