Europe open – Equities bounce, oil, gold, bitcoin

Markets enjoy brief reprieve

European stock markets are back in positive territory on Tuesday, following yet another chaotic start to the week.

Source – Thomson Reuters Eikon

While I’d like to think there’s something encouraging about this, I highly doubt there is. These are troubling times for markets and brief periods of reprieve should be welcomed but treated with caution. This will pass eventually but not when governments around the world are implementing draconian measures and crossing their fingers.

The market has been savaged these last few weeks but we’re no clearer on where we are and what the real cost will be. The old adage goes that markets hate uncertainty, I think they’d love a little uncertainty at this point. Investors are navigating the landscape blind and it’s fraught with danger.

They’ll be encouraged from the response we’ve seen from the relevant authorities around the world but ultimately, what use are they if people are locked up at home and businesses have closed their doors. They’re treating the symptoms and waiting for the fever to pass. This feeling of helplessness is not what anyone is used to.

Oil enjoying reprieve as Brent tests $30

Oil is enjoying some welcome reprieve this morning and just in time. Brent crude has been flirting with $30 and even nipped below a few times on Monday, testing trader appetite for another potential dip. WTI took the plunge having already done so earlier this month but I can’t help but think that it could be more significant if Brent significantly breaks that threshold.

I’d like to say it won’t come today with oil prices up more than 3% already this morning but that’s not the world we live in. These markets are as wild as they get and that gain could turn into another double digit decline in a heartbeat. With sentiment as sensitive as it is, I wouldn’t be confident that it won’t.

Brent Daily Chart

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It’s been a wild ride for gold

Gold is having a rough time of it at the moment, with equities swinging between huge losses and occasional bounces, both of which are proving problematic for the yellow metal. The result has seen it plummet almost 13% from its peak a little over a week ago and unless these markets take a breather, more pain could be in store.

Gold found some support on Monday around $1,450, which had been an important level throughout last year. Technical levels may only get us so far in these erratic times, but on this occasion it appears to have bought gold a little time. Ultimately, until the storm passes, gold isn’t looking great. Beyond that, in the near-term, it may come back into favour. But then it will have the economic and stock market bounce to contend with.

Gold Daily Chart

The parachute has opened after bitcoin free-fall

Bitcoin has fared even worse than gold in these troubling times. It seems that when times are good, there’s room for speculation in some of the more exciting and exotic markets, but when the tough times arrive, bitcoin falls down the pecking order, just behind toilet roll and dry pasta.

Having fallen below $4,000 last week from a peak above $10,000 just a month ago, the parachute appears to have opened and bitcoin prices have exited the free-fall phase. That will come as a relief but conditions are wild so the danger hasn’t passed. Enthusiasts will be hoping for a soft landing and soon.

Bitcoin Daily Chart

Source – Thomson Reuters Eikon

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This article is for general information purposes only. It is not investment advice or a solution to buy or sell securities. Opinions are the authors; not necessarily that of OANDA Corporation or any of its affiliates, subsidiaries, officers or directors. Leveraged trading is high risk and not suitable for all. You could lose all of your deposited funds.

Craig Erlam

Craig Erlam

Senior Currency Analyst at OANDA
Based in London, England, Craig Erlam joined OANDA in 2015 as a Market Analyst. With more than five years' experience as a financial market analyst and trader, he focuses on both fundamental and technical analysis while conducting macroeconomic commentary. He has been published by The Financial Times, Reuters, the Wall Street Journal and The Telegraph, and he also appears regularly as a guest commentator on networks including Sky News, Bloomberg, CNBC and BBC. Craig holds a full membership to the Society of Technical Analysts and he is recognized as a Certified Financial Technician by the International Federation of Technical Analysts.