Dollar Edges Higher as Virus Fears Ease; Euro Weakens By Investing.com



Investing.com – The U.S. dollar is showing some strength against the safe haven Japanese yen Friday as a degree of calmness returns to traders who have fretted all week over the new pneumonia-like virus in China.

By 02:50 ET (0750 GMT), the dollar had climbed 0.1% against the yen, with trading at 109.54. The Futures, which tracks the greenback against a basket of other currencies, edged up 0.1% to 97.53.

Elsewhere, the euro has shown weakness after the European Central Bank indicated no immediate movement from its current monetary policy stance at Thursday’s meeting. President Christine Lagarde told Bloomberg Friday insisted that the bank is not on “autopilot” but others were skeptical.

“As long as the economy rebounds as expected, with a stimulus already in the pipeline, the ECB will likely hold off any major policy adjustments until it has completed its policy review,” Berenberg Bank chief economist Holger Schmieding said in a research note.

“The ECB will still closely monitor inflation, highly accommodative monetary policy is still needed, and the ECB stands ready to use all instruments. In other words, the easing bias remains in place,” said analysts at Nordea in a research note.

“The EUR is not about to receive support from the ECB policy any time soon,” they added.

At 02:50 ET (0750 GMT), traded 0.1% lower at 1.1048 and down 0.1% at 0.8417.

Overnight, The number of cases of patients infected with the new virus as of January 23 has gone up to 830 in China, while the death toll from the virus has risen to 25, the National Health Commission announced on Friday.

Late Thursday, the World Health Organization stopped short of calling the virus a global health emergency, even as the number of cases of patients infected with the new virus topped 800 in China, with the death toll rising to 25.

“Make no mistake, this is an emergency in China, but it has not yet become a global health emergency,” Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the WHO’s director-general, said at a briefing in Geneva Thursday.

President Christine Lagarde’s comments did not imply any increased reservations towards using any of the tools at the ECB’s disposal, the note said. “If downside growth risks increase again in the coming months, as we expect, the market should not have any problems pricing in a higher risk of further stimulus measures.”

With the outlook for growth being so important in the ECB’s eyes, traders will focus on the various PMI data due for release Friday, and in particular the German number, due at 3:30 AM ET (0830 GMT).

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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Walmart testing higher minimum wage for some employees


FILE PHOTO: Employees work at the checkout counters of a Walmart store in Secaucus, New Jersey, November 11, 2015. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson/File Photo

(Reuters) – Walmart Inc is testing a higher starting wage for certain newly created jobs in about 500 U.S. stores, as it looks to improve in-store experience for customers amid intense competition.

The company would offer team associates, a role it recently created, a starting wage of $12 an hour, Walmart spokeswoman Jami Lamontagne said.

That compares with Walmart’s minimum wage of $11 at its more than 5,000 stores across the United States.

The team associates would be cross-trained in several functions and will have more responsibility, Lamontagne said.

The big-box retailer last raised its entry-level wages for U.S. hourly employees to $11 in early 2018 and trails rivals, including Costco Wholesale Corp, Amazon Inc and Target Corp on the minimum wage front.

Reporting by Praveen Paramasivam in Bengaluru and Nandita Bose in Washington; Editing by Arun Koyyur and Shounak Dasgupta



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Canadian retail sales jump 0.9% on higher auto sales By Reuters



By Kelsey Johnson

OTTAWA (Reuters) – Canadian retail sales rose a higher-than-expected 0.9% in November, largely offsetting October’s decline, Statistics Canada said on Friday, as sales picked up at motor vehicle and parts dealers as well as food and beverage stores.

Analysts in a Reuters poll had forecast a gain of 0.4% for overall sales. Statistics Canada revised October’s decline down slightly to 1.1% from an initial 1.2%.

Sales excluding autos rose 0.2% in November, the agency noted, lower than the 0.4% gain predicted by analysts.

“November’s retail sales figures did nothing to lift the fog of uncertainty surrounding the health of the Canadian consumer,” said Andrew Grantham, a senior economist with CIBC Capital Markets, in a note.

“With other elements of discretionary spending largely weaker on the month, we still think there’s enough concern regarding the consumer outlook to warrant an interest rate cut by April, particularly if the unemployment rate starts to nudge higher,” he added.

Earlier this week, the Bank of Canada, which has held its overnight interest rate steady for more than a year, opened the door to a possible rate cut if a recent slowdown in domestic growth persisted.

Recent economic data, the bank said, had been mixed, adding it would pay particular attention to developments in consumer spending, the housing market and business investment going forward. Money markets now see about a 24% chance of a rate cut in March. [BOCWATCH]

While the uptick reported in Friday’s sales data breaks a string of lackluster economic figures for November, including disappointing manufacturing and wholesale trade numbers, RBC Senior Economist Nathan Janzen said the data likely won’t change the Bank of Canada’s thinking just yet.

“The central bank will rightly be more focused on economic data releases until it becomes clear whether recent faltering is a sign of underlying fundamental deterioration, or yet another statistical blip in what is often volatile Canadian economic data,” he said in a note.

Statscan said motor vehicle and parts dealer sales rose 3.0%, led primarily by new car dealers, who saw a 2.8% increase in sales.

Meanwhile, food and beverage store receipts increased by 0.9% in November, largely thanks to increased sales at grocery stores, which jumped 1.3%.

Six of the 11 subsectors tracked by Statistics Canada saw an increase, accounting for 70% of all retail trade. In volume terms, retail sales grew by 0.7%.

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.



Ericsson hit by higher 5G costs and weaker U.S. market


STOCKHOLM (Reuters) – Sweden’s Ericsson (ERICb.ST) reported a smaller-than-expected rise in fourth-quarter core earnings on Friday and said higher costs would spill over into 2020 as the telecoms equipment maker looks to exploit its leading position in super-fast 5G networks.

FILE PHOTO: The Ericsson logo is seen at the Ericsson’s headquarters in Stockholm, Sweden June 14, 2018. REUTERS/Olof Swahnberg

Its shares fell more than 6% in early trading.

After a number of lean years, Ericsson has been boosted by the roll-out of 5G, particularly in the United States.

But while 5G has helped sales, it has increased costs. Ericsson has also opted to take on strategically important clients to gain market share, betting a hit on margins in the short term will help to deliver longer-term profitability.

The company recently bought the antenna and filter business of Germany’s Kathrein to boost its 5G portfolio and said costs and investments related to the deal would weigh on margins through 2020.

Increased investments in digitalization and more spending on compliance – after a $1 billion payment to resolve probes by U.S. authorities into corruption – are also expected to mean somewhat higher operating costs in 2020.

Ericsson shares were down 6.1 percent to 79.44 Swedish crowns at 0840 GMT, underpeforming the STOXX Europe 600 Technology Index .SX8P, which was up 1.2%.

Nevertheless, CEO Borje Ekholm said Ericsson was on track to deliver on its 2020 targets of an adjusted operating margin of more than 10% and sales of 230 to 240 billion Swedish crowns.

5G

Ericsson is fighting rivals Nokia (NOKIA.HE) and Huawei [HWT.UL] to take the lead in the roll out of 5G networks, which are expected to host critical functions from driverless vehicles to smart electric grids and military communications.

That has led the United States to blacklist Huawei and launch a worldwide campaign to try to persuade allies to ban the Chinese firm from their 5G networks, alleging its equipment could be used by Beijing for spying – which Huawei denies.

Britain is expected soon to make a final decision on whether to allow Huawei equipment in its 5G mobile networks, while Germany may also rule on the matter during the spring.

North America has been the biggest market for 5G so far, boosting Ericsson’s sales, but the company said demand slowed in the fourth quarter as the proposed merger between Sprint (S.N) and T-Mobile hit their spending.

“It was a significant impact in a small part of the market which means the quarter came out negative in North America,” Ekholm said. “But in general demand is very strong there.”

While the United States is an early 5G adopter, China is expected to start its roll out this year and Western Europe after that.

By 2025, the GSMA telecoms industry lobby group estimates operators globally will have spent $1 trillion building up 5G networks, offering a huge jackpot for the leading suppliers.

Ericsson’s adjusted quarterly operating earnings rose to 5.7 billion crowns ($600.2 million) from 2.6 billion a year earlier, but were down from 7.4 billion the previous quarter. Analysts in a Refinitiv poll had forecast 6.9 billion crowns.

(For a graphic on 5G networks, click on: here)

Reporting by Johannes Hellstrom; Writing by Simon Johnson; Editing by Mark Potter



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Yen Pushes Higher; Euro in Focus as ECB Meets By Investing.com


© Reuters.

Investing.com – The safe haven Japanese yen gained against the U.S. dollar Thursday on a sharp bout of risk aversion, as battles to contain the new pneumonia-like virus in China intensified, although volatility remained limited.

By 03:30 ET (0830 GMT), the yen had climbed 0.2% against the dollar, with trading at 109.56. The Chinese yuan dropped 0.4% against the greenback, with trading at 6.9313. The Futures, which tracks the greenback against a basket of other currencies, was essentially flat at 97.30.

Earlier Thursday, China issued a travel suspension in Wuhan, a city of 11 million at the center of the outbreak of the coronavirus, as its latest attempt to stop the spread of the disease. The virus has killed at least 17 people so far and infected hundreds of people in China, and as far afield as the U.S., Thailand, Taiwan, Japan and the Republic of Korea.

Elsewhere, the pair inched down 0.1% to 1.1087 as traders awaited the European Central Bank (ECB) policy meeting due later in the day. The meeting will be followed by a press conference with President Christine Lagarde.

Economists expect no changes in any of the monetary policy instruments, and the focus will be on the central bank’s outlook and information on its the strategic review.

“In this environment, markets could pay most attention to the comments talking about a tentative stabilization of economic data and some removal of downside risks,” said analysts at Nordea, in a research note, “which in other words would mean less need for immediate easing.”

That said, Nordea doesn’t expect the euro to receive much lasting support from the central bank, “as the bar for the market to price in any notable ECB tightening remains high.”

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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Dollar Edges Higher on Bullish Housing Data By Investing.com


© Reuters.

Invesing.com – The dollar edged higher against its rivals Wednesday, as bullish housing data strengthened expectations that the U.S. economy will remain on solid footing.

The , which measures the greenback against a trade-weighted basket of six major currencies, rose by 0.06% 97.58.

The National Association of Realtors said rose 3.6% to a 5.54 million annual rate. That was the strongest pace of growth since February 2018.

Lawrence Yun, chief economist at the National Association of Realtors, attributed the higher level of housing activity to strong job creation, high consumer confidence and low mortgage rates.

A sharp uptick in the pound, meanwhile, kept the dollar on the backfoot as positive U.K. economy data cooled expectations that the Bank of England will cut rates at the end of the month.

rose 0.59% to $1.312.

But some analysts see limited upside for cable, arguing that seasonal factors will likely weigh on the sterling.

“There is little evidence so far of a broad based rebound in sentiment following the general election plus seasonal factors tend to weigh on GBP through February and March,” Bank of America said.

With just a day ago until the European Central Bank meeting, the euro was largely flat against the dollar at $1.109.

rose 0.62% to C$1.315 after the Bank of Canada kept its benchmark rate on hold, but left the door open to a future rate cut, saying that it will monitor data to gauge whether the recent slowdown in domestic growth has accelerated.

“Today’s statement makes us more comfortable with our call for a rate cut in April, and market odds of a move by mid-year are now slightly above 50%,” RBC said

The was also knocked by a fall in oil prices after the International Energy Agency warned of a surplus in oil supplies by 1 million barrels per day in the first half of this year.

was flat at Y109.87 on subdued safe-haven demand despite reports that the death toll from the Coronavirus had increased to 17, raising fears of contagion.

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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Israel stocks higher at close of trade; TA 35 up 0.83% By Investing.com


© Reuters. Israel stocks higher at close of trade; TA 35 up 0.83%

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

At the close in Tel Aviv, the added 0.83% to hit a new all time high.

The best performers of the session on the were Shapir Engineering Industry (TASE:), which rose 11.67% or 278.00 points to trade at 2660.00 at the close. Meanwhile, OPKO Health Inc (TASE:) added 5.10% or 27 points to end at 558 and Liveperson (TASE:) was up 4.13% or 600 points to 15120 in late trade.

The worst performers of the session were Isramco Negev 2 LP (TASE:), which fell 2.44% or 1.4 points to trade at 55.9 at the close. Delek Drilling LP (TASE:) declined 2.13% or 18 points to end at 828 and Israel Corp (TASE:) was down 1.75% or 1170 points to 65730.

Rising stocks outnumbered declining ones on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange by 252 to 146 and 28 ended unchanged.

Shares in Shapir Engineering Industry (TASE:) rose to all time highs; up 11.67% or 278.00 to 2660.00. Shares in Liveperson (TASE:) rose to all time highs; rising 4.13% or 600 to 15120. Shares in Israel Corp (TASE:) fell to 52-week lows; falling 1.75% or 1170 to 65730.

Crude oil for March delivery was down 2.60% or 1.52 to $56.86 a barrel. Elsewhere in commodities trading, Brent oil for delivery in March fell 2.11% or 1.36 to hit $63.23 a barrel, while the February Gold Futures contract fell 0.03% or 0.45 to trade at $1557.45 a troy ounce.

USD/ILS was up 0.16% to 3.4605, while EUR/ILS rose 0.20% to 3.8367.

The US Dollar Index Futures was up 0.04% at 97.333.

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.



Yuan Pushes Higher After Data Release By Investing.com


© Reuters.

Investing.com – The Chinese yuan is flying Friday, climbing to six month highs against the U.S. dollar in the wake of the release of the country’s latest economic growth figures.

At 03:25 ET (0825 GMT), the pair traded at 6.8598, down 0.3%, while the Futures, which tracks the greenback against a basket of other currencies, was essentially flat at 97.06.

The People’s Bank of China set the reference rate for the yuan at 6.8878 Friday, compared with 6.8807 Thursday.

Earlier Friday, China reported that its gross domestic product grew 6% in the fourth quarter, meaning economic growth slowed to 6.1% in 2019. While this is in line with expectations, it’s also the country’s weakest growth in nearly three decades. Traders zeroed in on the monthly data for industrial production, which grew at the fastest rate since April in December, while retail sales growth stayed at 8% and fixed asset investment ticked up from a multi-year low. All those indicators point to a bottoming out of the world’s second-largest economy.

That said, there had been fears that the U.S.-China trade war could result in the annual GDP figure losing its 6% handle. Additionally, the country’s industrial production rose 6.9% in December, well above economists’ estimates of 5.9% and the fastest gain since April 2019. And annual retail sales growth stayed at 8.0%, more than expected.

These figures added to the tailwinds which have been boosting the currency of late.

It was only Wednesday that the signing phase one trade agreement between the U.S. and China drew a line under 18 months of tit-for-tat tariff hikes that hurt global, and domestic growth.

And prior to that, the U.S. removed China from a list of trading partners it considers currency manipulators. The U.S. Treasury Department said it had lifted the label after Beijing made “enforceable commitments to refrain from competitive devaluation and not target its exchange rate for competitive purposes.”

The U.S. had announced the manipulator label in August, after the yuan slid above 7 to the dollar for the first time in more than a decade.

Whether this strong tone can continue for any length of time is uncertain.

MUFG Bank thinks trade tensions will return and the yuan will end 2020 as one of emerging Asia’s worst-performing currencies.

“People are very bullish and they’re not really seeing any clouds in the sky for the yuan. They are kind of acting as if Trump is going to be a very different creature when it comes to trade this year,” Bloomberg quoted analysts at the bank as saying.

“The crusty cake of protectionism that sort of enveloped the global economy is still going to be there.”

In Europe, meanwhile, the pound rebounded after a string of losses to trade up 0.2% at $1.3094, while the euro was flat at $1.1136.

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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Dollar Rides Bullish Housing Data Higher By Investing.com


© Reuters.

By Yasin Ebrahim

Invesing.com – The dollar advanced Friday as bullish housing data offset weaker labor data, adding to growing expectations that the U.S. economy will continue to expand.

The , which measures the greenback against a trade-weighted basket of six major currencies, rose by 0.30% to 97.61.

The Commerce Department said rose 16.9% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.61 million units in December, well above economists’ estimates for 1.38 million and the biggest gain in 13 years.

The strong uptick in housing starts will lift forecasts for fourth-quarter residential investment, but is unlikely to be sustained, increasing the chances of a hefty correction in January is a good bet, Pantheon Macroeconomics said.

The report also highlighted a 3.9% decline in to a rate of 1.42 million units, short of estimates for 1.47 million.

The U.S. Labor Department’s latest (JOLTs) report, a measure of labor demand, showed job openings in November were 6.8 million, well below expectations for 7.23 million.

Sentiment on the economy was also supported by ongoing signs that the consumer remains in good shape.

The University of Michigan’s preliminary for January edged down to 99.1 from a seven-month high of 99.3 in December, data showed Friday.

fell 0.45% to $1.301 as disappointing retail sales data raised expectations that the Bank of England will cut rates at its next meeting.

fell 0.40% to $1.11 as bearish sentiment on the single currency continued ahead of the European Central Bank meeting next week.

was flat at Y110.14 as demand for safe-haven yen continued to fall amid a rally in equities.

rose 0.20% to C$1.31.

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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Oil Prices Push Higher as Chinese Data Brighten Demand Outlook By Investing.com


© Reuters.

By Peter Nurse

Investing.com – Oil prices pushed higher Friday, helped by signs the growth slowdown in China, the world’s largest importer, may be coming to an end.

At 09:00 AM ET (14:00 GMT), futures traded 0.4% higher at $58.78 a barrel, while the international benchmark climbed 0.5% to $64.92. As such, both blends are on track to end the week only a fraction below where they started it.

Earlier Friday, China reported that its gross domestic product grew 6% in the fourth quarter, meaning economic growth slowed to 6.1% in 2019. This may have been the country’s weakest growth in nearly three decades, but traders zeroed in on the monthly data for industrial production, which grew at the fastest rate since April in December, while retail sales growth stayed at 8% and fixed asset investment ticked up from a multi-year low. All those indicators point to a bottoming out of the world’s second-largest economy.

This follows on from the signing of the trade deal between China and the U.S. earlier this week, which capped – at least for now – hostilities between the globe’s two economic powerhouses which have lasted for around 18 months and damaged global growth.

“The signing of the U.S.-China trade deal has given optimism for a revival in global manufacturing, and thus stronger oil demand growth,” said Bjarne Schieldrop, Oslo-based chief commodities analyst at SEB AB, cited in a Bloomberg report. “This is what gives the oil price some vigor.”

At the same time Schlumberger (NYSE:), the world’s largest oilfield service company, also said it sees improved demand in for its services 2020, after a second half in which its U.S. operations were hit by a sharp slowdown in U.S. drilling.

“We ended the year with 2020 oil demand growth sentiment turning positive as uncertainty reduced following the progress made toward a U.S.-China trade deal,” the company said in its earnings release.

“The recent escalation of geopolitical risk should set the floor for the oil price going forward,” it added, with a nod to the stand-off earlier this month between the U.S. and Iran.

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.