Forex news from InstaForex
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    Australia Business Confidence Index Rises To +12 - NAB



    Business confidence in Australia ticked higher in January, the latest survey from the National Australia Bank revealed on Tuesday with an index score of +12.

    That's up from the downwardly revised +10 in December.

    The NAB also said that its index for business conditions jumped to +19 from +13 in the previous month.

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    Australia Jobless Rate Eases To 5.5% In January



    The unemployment rate in Australia came in at a seasonally adjusted 5.5 percent in January, the Australian Bureau of Statistics said on Thursday.

    That was in line with expectations following the upwardly revised 5.6 percent reading in December (originally 5.5 percent).

    The Australian economy added 16,000 jobs last month - beating forecasts for 15,000 following the downwardly revised 33,500 increase in the previous month (originally 34,700).

    The participation rate came in at 65.6 percent - matching expectations and down from 65.7 percent a month earlier.

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    Wall Street Gains as Dow Jumps 253 Points



    U.S. stocks increased sharply on Wednesday, hitting a four-day winning streak as banks and tech lifted major indexes higher.

    The Dow Jones industrial average closed 253.04 points higher at 24,893.49 after dropping as much as 150 points. Goldman Sachs contributed the most to the gains, climbing 2.8 percent. The 30-stock index also pared all of its 2018 losses and reported its longest winning streak since Jan. 5.

    The S&P 500 rose 1.3 percent to 2,698.63, with financials and tech each gaining over 1.5 percent. Bank of America, J.P. Morgan Chase, Citigroup and Morgan Stanley all traded higher. The financials sector had its best day since Nov. 28. The index also turned positive for 2018.

    The Nasdaq composite climbed 1.9 percent to end at 7,143.62, as shares of Facebook, Amazon, Netflix and Alphabet increased.

    U.S. equities opened lower on the back of stronger-than-expected inflation data.

    Seven of the 11 major S&P 500 sectors were higher. The decliners included the typically defensive sectors: consumer staples, utilities and real estate.

    The CBOE Volatility index was down at 21.10 points, slipping below 20 for the first time since Feb. 5 and well off the 50-point mark it hit during last week's sell-off.

    The SPDR S&P Bank exchange-traded fund (KBE), rose 2.9 percent and posted its best day since Nov. 29.

    Concerns of rising inflation have recently weighed down Wall Street. Last week, all three major U.S. indexes finished the five-day trading period more than five percent down each, with the Dow delivering its worst performance since January 2016.

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    Japan Export Growth Accelerates in January



    Japanese exports increased for the fourth straight month in January as shipments to Asian and western Europe grew.

    Exports climbed 12.2 percent year on year in January, figures according to the Ministry of Finance. Exports increased 9.3 percent in December.

    Outbound shipments to Asia were up 16 percent while those to western Europe rose 20.8 percent. Imports also increased in January, climbing 7.9 percent year on year, short of the 8.3 increase percent forecast by economists.

    U.S.-bound shipments were 1.2 percent higher in the year to January, led by steel, batteries and medicines, while car shipments declined 3.9 percent. The small rise in U.S.-bound exports followed a 3.0 percent gain in the previous month.

    Those numbers resulted in a trade deficit of •943.4 billion ($8.9 billion). Economists expect exports will continue to expand in the coming months, led by demand for the semiconductor-related products that lifted exports in 2017.

    Analysts are also wary about a rising yen as well as the U.S. stance towards protectionism ahead of the mid-term elections later this year, and potential effects on Japan's exports of cars and other products.

    A strong yen erodes profits at Japanese manufacturers and could hurt the otherwise buoyant economy, which posted an eighth consecutive quarter of growth in October-December.

    The yen was flat against the dollar at •106.31 following the publication of the trade figures.

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    New Zealand Services Growth Robust In January



    New Zealand's service sector activity continued to expand strongly in January, survey figures from Business NZ showed Monday.

    The performance of services index, or PSI, dropped to 55.8 in January from 56.0 in December. However, any reading above 50 indicates expansion in the sector.

    The sub-index for new orders fell below the 60.0 point mark for the first time since April last year. It declined to 57.6 from 60.1.

    "While the PSI is relatively robust, combined with the Performance of Manufacturing Index it nonetheless signals something of a slowing in GDP growth for the near term," Craig Ebert, senior economist at Business NZ, said.

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    Australia's Consumer Confidence Weakens Further



    Australia's consumer confidence weakened for the second straight time during the week ended February 18, a weekly survey compiled by the ANZ bank and Roy Morgan Research showed Tuesday.

    The consumer confidence index dropped to 115.3 from 119.5 in the preceding week. Views towards current economic conditions fell 5.5 percent last week, bringing the sub-index to an eight-week low of 107.0.

    Similarly, perceptions of future economic conditions declined to a 13-week low of 106.3.

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    EU Names Spainís de Guindos as Next ECB Vice-Chair



    Eurozone's finance ministers selected Spanish Economy Minister Luis de Guindos to succeed European Central Bank Vice President Vitor Constancio in May, a move that is seen to increase the odds of a German official becoming the head of the central bank next year.

    Choosing a Southern European for the position increases the possibility that a northerner such as German Bundesbank governor Jens Weidmann could be voted to take the place of Mario Draghi as the leader of the ECB in 2019. The decision could have an impact to the bank's ultra-loose monetary policy for the common currency zone.

    In a statement released by the EU following a short discussion among finance ministers, the Eurogroup backed the candidacy of Luis de Guindos for the position of Vice President of the European Central Bank. After the selection, De Guindos said he would step down from his post as Economy Minister within days.

    A number of EU legislators opposed his appointment as ECB Vice-President on worries that the nomination of a politician could impact the independence of ECB, a criticism that was dismissed by De Guindos.

    Initially, there were two candidates for the post: De Guindos and Irish central bank governor Philip Lane. Ireland decided to withdraw Lane's name for the position.

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    Walmart Shares Tumble on Weaker Holiday Online Sales



    Walmart shares tumbled after posting weak online sales for the Christmas period and issuing a disappointing annual profit forecast.

    In the three months to December, online sales were 23 percent higher. However, the increase was less than half the growth seen in the prior quarter and down from the same period in 2016.

    Shares in the world's biggest retailer declined more than 10 percent to $94.11. This year through Friday's close, the stock has risen by 6.1 percent.

    The retailer reported its online revenue clocked in at $11.5 billion in 2017, but it suffered losses on the said sales. CEO Doug MCMillon said e-commerce losses would be ďabout the sameĒ for the current fiscal year. He said that the firm was making progress in its efforts to be at the same level with Amazon and other competitors.

    Under its transformation strategy, Walmart will spend more on Walmart.com and reduce spending on marketing for its Jet.com website, which targets younger and more affluent shoppers.

    Despite higher-than expected sales growth at Walmart's U.S. stores, which came in at 2.6 percent, net profit declined 42 percent to $2.2 billion.

    Walmart expects earnings of $4.75 to $5 per share this financial year, excluding some items, against the estimate of $5.13 by Wall Street.

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    Japan All Industry Activity Grows At Slower Pace



    Japan's all industry activity growth halved in December, the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry reported Wednesday.

    The all industry activity index rose 0.5 percent month-on-month in December, following November's 1 percent increase. Nonetheless, this was the third consecutive increase in activity and bigger than the expected 0.4 percent rise.

    Industrial production advanced 2.9 percent, while construction activity shrank 0.4 percent and tertiary industry activity contracted 0.2 percent in December.

    On a yearly basis, all industry activity growth slowed to 1.8 percent in December from 2 percent a month ago.

    In the fourth quarter, all industry activity rebounded 0.7 percent after declining 0.3 percent in the third quarter.

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    ARGENTINA: Merval Rises As Fed Minutes Point To Gradual Increase In U.S. Rate



    Merval, the main index of the Buenos Aires Stock Exchange, rose 0.85%, closing at 33,108.16 points, in a volatile session, after the Federal Reserve meeting minutes showed that the U.S. central bank will move gradually towards higher interest rates.

    "The main US stock indices increased following the minutes of the Federal Reserve. The local market was not kept aside," said Eduardo Fern?ndez, an analyst at Rava Burs?til.

    Ternium Siderar shares rose 0.32% even after the company reported a consolidated net profit of result of 848.1 million pesos for the fourth quarter of 2017, 10.12% lower compared to the same period of the previous year.

    The Argentinean state-owned oil company YPF also ended higher (+1.22%) after starting the sale of its stake in Metrogas, dedicated to the distribution of natural gas.

    The oil company Vista Oil & Gas reported that it agreed to acquire an oil operating platform of Pampa Energ?a (+2.51%) and Pluspetrol Resources Corporation in Vaca Muerta.

    The shares of Distribuidora de Gas Cuyana (-2.36%), TGS (-2.34%), San Miguel (-1.38%), and Tenaris (-,86%) fell the most, while Cresud (+5.16%), Holcim (+4.15%), and Autopistas del Sol (+3.68%) posted the strongest gains.

    The locally traded U.S. dollar rose 0.37%, to 19.92 Argentinean pesos, due to lower interest rates from Lebacs, the country's central bank bonds.

    "The drop in the interest rate set by the central bank to the Lebac left the greenback without a clear trend, with sudden ups and downs amid a sharp drop in the trading volume," said Fernando Izzo, an analyst at ABC Mercado de Cambios.

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