Australia – 2 people evacuated to Darwin from the Diamond Princess cruise ship have coronavirus

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U.S. Dollar Nears a Critical Level That May Trigger a  Buying Spree

© Reuters.  U.S. Dollar Nears a Critical Level That May Trigger a  Buying Spree © Reuters. U.S. Dollar Nears a Critical Level That May Trigger a  Buying Spree

(Bloomberg) — The dollar is heading toward a key psychological threshold that could supercharge its ongoing rally.

The U.S. Dollar Index, a widely-watched measure of the currency versus its peers, is close to breaching 100 for the first time since 2017, as the currency proves a haven of choice for investors confronting risks from the spread of the coronavirus.

“I would say the 100 level is a big deal,” said Neil Jones, head of foreign-exchange sales to financial institutions at Mizuho Bank Ltd. “A number of buy signals will kick into play, it will set the alarm bells off.”

The greenback has easily outperformed all of its major peers this year, confounding expectations that it would weaken following the U.S.-China trade deal. The coronavirus has boosted fears of a global economic slowdown, with South Korea reporting its first fatality and Japan confirming two deaths from a quarantined cruise ship.

Other haven assets also rallied Thursday, including U.S. Treasuries and the , with gold prices touching the highest since 2013. The and the , forming the bulk of the gauge, have both slid more than 3% this year.

Disclaimer: Fusion Media would like to remind you that the data contained in this website is not necessarily real-time nor accurate. All CFDs (stocks, indexes, futures) and Forex prices are not provided by exchanges but rather by market makers, and so prices may not be accurate and may differ from the actual market price, meaning prices are indicative and not appropriate for trading purposes. Therefore Fusion Media doesn`t bear any responsibility for any trading losses you might incur as a result of using this data.

Fusion Media or anyone involved with Fusion Media will not accept any liability for loss or damage as a result of reliance on the information including data, quotes, charts and buy/sell signals contained within this website. Please be fully informed regarding the risks and costs associated with trading the financial markets, it is one of the riskiest investment forms possible.

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Exclusive: France’s Engie eyes U.S. energy services firm Ameresco – sources

(Reuters) – French power utility Engie SA (PA:) has approached Ameresco Inc (N:), a U.S. provider of energy efficiency solutions and developer of renewable energy plants, to express interest in acquiring it, according to people familiar with the matter.

The approach will test the appetite of Ameresco’s 72-year-old chairman and chief executive George Sakellaris to cash out. Sakellaris founded the Framingham, Massachusetts-based company in 2000 and remains its controlling shareholder.

The sources cautioned that there is no certainty that Engie’s interest will lead to deal negotiations and an agreement with Ameresco. They asked not to be identified because the matter is confidential.

Engie and Ameresco did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Disclaimer: Fusion Media would like to remind you that the data contained in this website is not necessarily real-time nor accurate. All CFDs (stocks, indexes, futures) and Forex prices are not provided by exchanges but rather by market makers, and so prices may not be accurate and may differ from the actual market price, meaning prices are indicative and not appropriate for trading purposes. Therefore Fusion Media doesn`t bear any responsibility for any trading losses you might incur as a result of using this data.

Fusion Media or anyone involved with Fusion Media will not accept any liability for loss or damage as a result of reliance on the information including data, quotes, charts and buy/sell signals contained within this website. Please be fully informed regarding the risks and costs associated with trading the financial markets, it is one of the riskiest investment forms possible.

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Yen’s safe-haven status under siege as Japan’s economy sputters

By Stanley White and Tom Westbrook

TOKYO/SINGAPORE (Reuters) – The yen’s status as a safe haven is coming under pressure as unease grows about the rising number of coronavirus cases in Japan, against the backdrop of a stuttering domestic economy.

Japan’s currency tumbled to a nine-month low against the dollar and faced a barrage of selling against other currencies on Wednesday, in what traders and analysts say points to a flight of large portfolio investors from yen markets.

That runs counter to the long-standing assumption that Japanese funds would repatriate their money during a true global crisis, pushing the yen higher.

“You see any potential concern about the virus situation playing out in gold…and you’re not seeing the same moves in the yen,” said Shafali Sachdev, head of FX for Asia at BNP Paribas (PA:) Wealth Management in Singapore.

“Nearness to China and dependence on China in this current situation have not helped the yen as a risk-off,” she said, adding that Japan’s exposure to the virus outbreak and recent weak economic data had exacerbated the concerns.

The yen was quoted at 111.36 to the dollar on Thursday following Wednesday’ decline of 1.3%, its biggest daily drop in five months.

Japan’s currency also nursed big losses against the euro, the pound and the Australian dollar. At the same time, gold, which normally moves in concert with the yen, rose 0.6%.

Analysts were quick to pin the move to large portfolio shifts out of yen-denominated assets – most likely by Japan’s giant government pension funds – amid worries about its economy and the spread of the coronavirus.

The outbreak started in China, but its spread through a cruise ship moored in Tokyo means Japan now has well over half of the known cases outside China.

There are already fears it will cast a pall over the Olympic Games in Tokyo, due to begin late in July and bring a hoped-for boost to the national economy and morale.

Should it start to spread through Japan’s population, however, the fallout would almost certainly be enough to tip the world’s third largest economy, which shrank unexpectedly hard last quarter, into recession.

Some 3 trillion yen ($ 27 billion) in net foreign bond purchases by Japanese investors in the first two weeks of February seems to underscore the lack of confidence in domestic investments.

The move lower in global interest rates has undermined the yen’s attractiveness as a “funding currency,” or one cheap to borrow for use in buying riskier investments.

That weakens another string of the yen’s safe-haven bow because the reversal of such trades in times of trouble was thought to be another factor to support its value.

“If nobody is using yen as a funder anymore, maybe there is no reason for the yen to trade as a safe haven,” said Donnelly, spot FX Trader at HSBC.

“Price action in the past year or two has raised the question,” he said, pointing out the yen’s muted response in recent months to tension on the Korean peninsula, trade-war spats and January’s U.S.-Iran flashpoint in the Middle East.

“The price action overnight adds some urgency to the idea that we have crossed over into a new yen regime.”

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Saudi oil minister comments on coronavirus indicate his concern is rising

Saudi Energy Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman comments reported via Bloomberg, citing  ‘people who heard the comments’

In January he said he saw ‘very little impact’ but he appears to have ramped up the urgency.

Was asked about the impact of the coronavirus on oil

  • equated it with a burning house
  • can either treat it with a garden hose and risk losing the building, or call the fire brigade … calling the fire brigade would simply be acting responsibly, and you would save the house

Sounds like he will be quite keen to promote further production cuts at the next OPEC meeting (March 5 and 6) .

Saudi Energy Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman comments reported via Bloomberg, citing  'people who heard the comments'

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Robbery suspect stopped by married couple who are off-duty cops

Chase and Nicole McKeown’s dinner date was a bit out of the ordinary last week, but some are calling the married couple’s outing “date night goals.”

The McKeowns were eating at Raising Cane’s Chicken Fingers in Louisville, Kentucky, on Saturday night when another man entered the restaurant. That man wasn’t a patron – he was there to rob the place, Louisville’s police department said on Facebook.

Business Robbery at Canes.

You never know who’s minding their own business but ready to put in work. This is the Raising Cane’s Chicken Fingers at #MidCityMall Saturday night. Shout out to the two Elizabethtown Police Department officers that went from enjoying them delish chicken fingie’s to full-blown #Sheepdogs real quick. They chased the suspect in the Highlands and made the arrest with our 5th Division officers. Great work, EPD! #LMPD #Etown #BusinessRobbery #RaisinCanes #ChickenBaskets #ChickenFingies #ThatSauceIsOnPoint #OneLove #ThatSweetTeaTho #Chicken #AlwaysFreshNeverFrozen #LikeOurHashtags #EtownStaysDown #EPD #OffDutyResponse #WolfHunters #FormulateAplan #DivideAndConquer #StrongWerk

Posted by Louisville Metro Police Department on Tuesday, February 18, 2020

Surveillance video from Raising Cane’s shows the suspect, wearing a hood and a white mask, approaching a cashier and pulling out what appears to be a gun. Little did he know the two people dining in the back of the restaurant were also armed.

Trending News

The McKeowns aren’t just a married couple – they’re both police officers. The husband and wife met on the job at the police department in Elizabethtown, Kentucky, the department confirmed to CBS News.

The surveillance video shows Detective Chase McKeown and Officer Nicole McKeown springing into action, whipping out their guns and approaching the suspect before he flees the scene. They were off duty at the time, but the couple helped nearby Louisville police officers catch the suspect, according to Louisville police.

The department shared the surveillance video and praised the McKeowns on Facebook, their story going viral. “#DateNightGoals,” the police department said, sharing a photo of the pair.

Louisville's police department shared surveillance video of two off-duty officers stopping an attempted robbery. The officers were later revealed to be a married couple out for dinner.
Louisville’s police department shared surveillance video of two off-duty officers stopping an attempted robbery. The officers were later revealed to be a married couple out for dinner. Louisville Metro Police Department

The Elizabethtown Police Department told CBS News the couple has only been married for six months. They’re probably still in the honeymoon phase of their marriage, but the McKeowns are already shaking up date night.

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Us – CBSNews.com

Man arrested after allegedly tracking U.S. source for Russia

A Mexican man residing in Singapore was arrested in the U.S. on Tuesday, after he allegedly tracked a U.S. government source for Russia in order to obtain the source’s license plate number. Hector Alejandro Cabrera Fuentes has been charged with acting in the U.S. on behalf of a foreign government without notifying the attorney general, and conspiracy to do the same.

Court documents allege that a Russian government official recruited Fuentes in 2019 and tasked him with renting a specific property in Miami-Dade County, Florida, according to a press release from the Department of Justice. He was allegedly told not to use his own name when renting the property.

Fuentes later allegedly met the official in Russia, where the person approved of his arrangements. During a subsequent trip, which allegedly occurred this month, the official gave Fuentes “a physical description of a U.S. Government source’s vehicle” and told him to find the vehicle, get its license plate number, and note its location, according to documents cited in the press release.

Trending News

The official also allegedly told Fuentes to meet him again in the coming months to share his results.

A U.S. official told CBS News that the government source targeted in the operation is someone who has provided information on Russian intelligence services.

On February 13, Fuentes traveled to Miami from Mexico City and rented a car, according to documents cited in the release. The following day, he allegedly caught the attention of a security guard when he tailgated another vehicle to gain access to the site where the government source resided.

When the security guard approached, Fuentes’ wife left the car and took a picture of the source’s license plate, documents say. When asked why he was on the premises, Fuentes allegedly gave the name of a person the pair was visiting — but when security did not recognize that person’s name, Fuentes was told to leave.

Two days later, Fuentes and his wife went to Miami International Airport en route to Mexico City, according to the release. U.S. officials found an image of the source’s license plate in the “recently deleted” folder of her phone — and when asked, Fuentes allegedly said he’d asked her to photograph the license plate. When Customs and Border Patrol agents searched Fuentes’ phone, they allegedly found a WhatsApp message from her containing the same photo.

Fuentes allegedly admitted to law enforcement officials that he was told by a Russian official to carry out the operation. Court documents cited by the press release allegedly show a Russian official initiating and guiding the meetings.

A pretrial detention hearing is scheduled for February 21, and Fuentes’ arraignment has been set for March 3, according to the Department of Justice.

Clare Hymes and Jeff Pegues contributed to this report.

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World – CBSNews.com

Stocks Reach Record Highs After China’s Moves, Fed: Markets Wrap

(Bloomberg) — Equities advanced on signs that China may be planning further measures to support its economy as it reels from a virus-induced slowdown and after Federal Reserve officials signaled they aren’t anxious to raise interest rates anytime soon.

Gains for chipmakers and banks led the S&P 500 Index and toward records after Bloomberg News reported that China’s latest moves to aid growth include possible bailouts for hard-hit industries. The dollar climbed to a four-month high after data on housing starts and building permits exceeded analysts’ estimates. Treasuries held steady after minutes showed Federal Reserve officials viewed monetary policy as appropriate “for a time.”

The Index reached new highs, and shares rose in Tokyo, Hong Kong and Sydney. The yen fell to a nine-month low on concern Japan’s economy may slip into a recession. Oil gained as U.S. sanctions on Russia’s largest producer and conflict in Libya put the focus on supply threats.

Investors appear relatively confident in the ability of policy makers to contain fallout from the deadly coronavirus, even after Apple Inc (NASDAQ:). spooked markets earlier this week by warning of a slowdown in sales. Data released Wednesday showed the the housing market remains a bright spot for the U.S. economy amid sluggish business investment.

“Housing is an economic bellwether and seeing data like this gives investors a lot of reasons to be optimistic, at least for the U.S. market,” said Mike Loewengart, vice president of investment strategy at E*Trade Financial.

Elsewhere, gold traded near its highest level since 2013, while palladium extended its record-breaking rally on forecasts for a widening supply deficit.

Here are some key events coming up:

  • Earnings season rolls on, with results from Deere & Co. set for Friday.
  • Minutes of the most recent Federal Reserve meeting are published on Wednesday.
  • Indonesia is expected to cut interest rates on Thursday, following emerging-market peers that have already moved.
  • Group of 20 finance ministers and central bank chiefs are scheduled to meet Feb. 22-23 in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, and are expected to discuss efforts to support growth amid the coronavirus threat.

These are the main moves in markets:

Stocks

  • The S&P 500 Index advanced 0.6% as of 3:03 p.m. New York time.
  • The Stoxx Europe 600 Index jumped 0.8%.
  • The MSCI Asia Pacific Index fell 0.1%.
  • The MSCI Emerging Market Index advanced 0.7%.

Currencies

  • The Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index rose 0.3%.
  • The euro rose 0.1% to $ 1.0798.
  • The British pound fell 0.6% to $ 1.2922.
  • The Japanese yen weakened 1.5% to 111.52 per dollar.

Bonds

  • The yield on 10-year Treasuries rose less than 1 basis point to 1.57%.
  • Germany’s 10-year yield fell one basis point to -0.42%.
  • Britain’s 10-year yield fell one basis point to 0.6%.
  • Japan’s 10-year yield rose one basis point to -0.05%.

Commodities

  • West Texas Intermediate crude advanced 2.7% to $ 53.46 a barrel.
  • Gold strengthened 0.3% to $ 1,607.05 an ounce.
Disclaimer: Fusion Media would like to remind you that the data contained in this website is not necessarily real-time nor accurate. All CFDs (stocks, indexes, futures) and Forex prices are not provided by exchanges but rather by market makers, and so prices may not be accurate and may differ from the actual market price, meaning prices are indicative and not appropriate for trading purposes. Therefore Fusion Media doesn`t bear any responsibility for any trading losses you might incur as a result of using this data.

Fusion Media or anyone involved with Fusion Media will not accept any liability for loss or damage as a result of reliance on the information including data, quotes, charts and buy/sell signals contained within this website. Please be fully informed regarding the risks and costs associated with trading the financial markets, it is one of the riskiest investment forms possible.

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Ransomware-hit US gas pipeline shut for two days

A ransomware attack on a US natural gas facility meant a pipeline had to be shut down for two days, the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has said.

However, it did not name the facility or say when the attack happened.

A malicious link sent to staff at the facility eventually caused the shutdown “of the entire pipeline asset”.

It was so severe in part because the organisation was not prepared for such an attack, the DHS statement said.

The incident was detailed in a security alert., which revealed it to be a “spear-phishing” attack, in which individuals are sent fraudulent but believable scam messages.

That let the attacker into the company’s IT network.

How did that shut down a pipeline?

Often, the “operational network” which runs computers in the factory is separated from the office IT – but not in this case, meaning the ransomware infection was allowed to spread.

Ransomware typically encrypts files on a victim’s computer and demands payment before offering to unlock them again – although there is no guarantee that the cyber-criminals who develop such software will be true to their word.

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A spate of ransomware attacks has troubled various US organisations recently – from local authorities to hospitals to a maritime base.

In the case of the natural gas facility, only one office was targeted, but others in different geographic locations were forced to close down, too.

The DHS said the affected organisation had not properly prepared for a cyber-attack of this kind – with its emergency plans being focused on all sorts of physical attacks instead.

“Consequently, emergency response exercises also failed to provide employees with decision-making experience in dealing with cyber-attacks,” the department added.

All organisations, regardless of what sector they are in, should prepare for the possibility of a ransomware attack, said Carl Wearn, head of e-crime at cloud email firm Mimecast.

Businesses could do this “by implementing offline back-ups with a fall-back email and archiving facility, as a minimum” he said.

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Pound Climbs After Inflation Tempers Risk of a Rate Cut

(Bloomberg) — Sign up to our Brexit Bulletin, follow us @Brexit and subscribe to our podcast.

The pound rose after inflation accelerated, fueling expectation that the Bank of England will hold off lowering interest rates for the foreseeable future.

Sterling cemented its position above $ 1.30, snapping two days of declines versus the dollar after annual inflation picked up for the first time in six months. The currency has also been given a boost by the prospect of greater public spending in a budget next month.

The strengthened 0.2% to $ 1.3018 as of 9:36 a.m. in London. Gilts were little changed at 0.61%, as were money markets, which are pricing in a 76% chance of an interest rate cut this this year.

Disclaimer: Fusion Media would like to remind you that the data contained in this website is not necessarily real-time nor accurate. All CFDs (stocks, indexes, futures) and Forex prices are not provided by exchanges but rather by market makers, and so prices may not be accurate and may differ from the actual market price, meaning prices are indicative and not appropriate for trading purposes. Therefore Fusion Media doesn`t bear any responsibility for any trading losses you might incur as a result of using this data.

Fusion Media or anyone involved with Fusion Media will not accept any liability for loss or damage as a result of reliance on the information including data, quotes, charts and buy/sell signals contained within this website. Please be fully informed regarding the risks and costs associated with trading the financial markets, it is one of the riskiest investment forms possible.

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