What to watch
US home sales: On Monday, existing home sale data for May will be released in the US, with a figure of 4.2 million anticipated, versus 4.3 million in April – a figure that was 18% lower than March’s number. New home sales data will then follow on Tuesday, with the pair of reports likely to be among the most closely watched this week. Investment firm John Hancock highlighted in a Friday note that the data may help reveal “how much of an impact the coronavirus pandemic has had on the typical surge in springtime home buying activity.”
Chicago Fed national activity index: In other economic data, the Chicago Fed’s national activity index for May will be released on Monday. The index registered a -16.7 reading in April; a zero value indicates that the economy is expanding at its historic trend rate of growth, while a negative value signals below average growth. The index comprises 85 economic indicators, 79 of which were in the red for April.
UK services and manufacturing data: On Tuesday, investors will get a view into the state of the UK services and manufacturing sectors for June. Flash purchasing manager indices (PMI) for both will be released, which provide the preliminary results of a survey of purchasing managers at companies, where those firms share data such as output, new orders and pricing. A figure below 50 indicates contraction, and above 50 expansion. For May, the manufacturing sector reported a figure of 40.7, with the services sector at 29, showing a deep decline. For June, expectations are for figures of 45.3 and 39.5 respectively, according to Trading Economics.
What is happening with US Covid-19 cases?
Much is being written about the surge of Covid-19 case numbers in the US, something which is a major determining factor in how stock markets perform from here. Here is a quick summary of what has happened so far. States across the US are in different stages of reopening and are all taking different tactics. That ranges from bars being open with no masks required and relatively large group gatherings allowed, to more restrictive states, which are still heavily limiting group gatherings and taking a slower approach to reopening the leisure sector. Over the weekend, it was reported that 12 states in total have now recorded record-high new daily case numbers, including Florida, Nevada and California. In some cases, officials are looking to bring lockdowns back into force, but others are pressing ahead with reopening, citing better healthcare capacity and the economic damage of a reversal. Just as New York dominated in terms of case numbers in the first wave of the virus, there are concerns that new epicenters of the disease are emerging in the US, which could sustain the pandemic for longer.
Crypto corner: Bitcoin braced for a $1bn event as options expire
Bitcoin traders and investors are braced for an earthquake-like event this week when almost $1bn of Bitcoin options expire this week.
The size of the options expiring on June 26 is some $930m, equivalent to around 70% of the Bitcoin currently being traded on the market, according to a report in Forbes. The potential for holders of the options to re-buy them is likely to cause a spike in volatility.
Bitcoin is up just over 30% year-to-date, trading at $9,361 today. Its peer Ethereum has nearly doubled since the start of the year, with a price of $233 currently, although both are off recent highs.
All data, figures & charts are valid as of 22/06/2020. All trading carries risk. Only risk capital you can afford to lose.
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