Investors show signs of getting used to oil volatility, US stocks lower, European stocks higher, precious metals firm, ASX futures 42 points lower

Reminder: as I write this market wrap from The Legian hotel in Bali, all readers should be reminded that they have just over two weeks left to open a new Rivkin advice, stockbroking, global dealing, foreign exchange or wholesale managed account, or a self-managed superannuation fund, to be in the draw to for Rivkin's $8,000 luxury trip giveaway - see https://www.rivkin.com.au/bali for all the details.

Trading in the US S&P 500 index ticked up higher into the close last night to finish at 2,028 after hitting sessions lows of 2,022.58. Despite some big falls in oil markets, investors didn't push the US indices around too much. From today's first chart you can see some patterns in the behaviour of oil and equities, as the last black (WTI crude oil) candle illustrates a very bearish day by opening on its highs and closing on its lows (leaving no upper or lower shadow at either end of the candle), dragging down the S&P 500 (orange) with it. The correlation between these two securities is not very obvious at all, one must look closely to notice the nature of oil's 'on or off' days in determining an associated risk 'on or off' move in equities, and then when oil begins to consolidate and become less volatile you can see that equity market confidence grows moves independently of the individual daily moves in oil. If the European Central Bank can offer some answers this month on what indirect assistance it will give European investors, then we may merely have to wait for the oil price to bottom in order to see some fearless equity market performance. But as a caveat there, I just watched a fantastic BBC World Hard Talk interview with an economic adviser to Greece's opposition Syriza Party, and it further clarified how difficult a position this country is in. I'm not sure the ECB can move forward without dealing with Greece, which either means some big debt write-downs for all foreign investors  (a big spit in the face to the likes of Spain, Portugal and Ireland who have taken their medicine on austerity), one one huge write-down for the ECB if it is to flick Greece from the EU. 

In today's second chart I have shown the price movements in precious metals markets - the left and right axes really only relate to silver (left) and gold (right), nonetheless you can see that they're all either consolidating or climbing following the July-November US dollar strengthening theme. The orange line shows gold trying to break its medium-term highs, with palladium (blue) and platinum (grey) exhibiting similar behaviour. In a very similar way to the Australian dollar (AUDUSD), these securities have had the foot of a strong USD held on their head for many months and are awaiting further optimism about a 2015 US interest rate rise before making further lows. But if sentiment changes there and US interest rates appear to be unappealing for some time, this could help these spot metal prices recover and break new highs.

Buried underneath today's Global Markets matrix I've included a shot of The Legian pool taken from yesterday. Granted it's a touch cloudy at present, and if I'm to be honest it's been absolutely hammering down with rain all morning... BUT! We will work with the winners to find the best possible window of predicted weather available in 2015! 

Today’s charts are taken from the Rivkin Trader platform. 30,000 global instruments available to trade including FX, commodities, index, ETFs and international shares. Trade Australian share CFDs from just $8 or 0.10%. Click here or phone 1300 748 546 to get your free $100,000 demo account.

Upcoming economic announcements: Japanese lending and trade data out at 10:50am, Chinese trade balance out at 10:50am, UK CPI at 8:30pm, all Sydney time.



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