Jackson Hole Symposium


Jackson Hole, Wyoming

From 25-27 August, Kansas City Federal Reserve hosts the biggest US monetary policy event of the calendar in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. Since 1978, the world’s most influential central and commercial bankers, finance ministers and economic academics have packed their suntan lotion and gathered round the BBQ to chew the fat about economic issues, implications, and policy options connected to the biggest economic policy question of the year in the world’s biggest economy.

This year that question is “Designing Resilient Monetary Policy Frameworks for the Future.” What this means to you and me is that they will mull over whether or not the current system and the beliefs that underpin it work and if they don’t, what it could be replaced with. This is the finance world’s version of Olympics with a touch of naval-gazing thrown in – are we the best at what we do? if we are not, how should we change? and, how can we keep on top?

Speculation is rampant among financial pundits. With the next Fed policy statement due on Sept 14th, traders will be agog to see if a rate hike is on the cards or even a complete overhaul of monetary policy. San Fran’s Fed president, John Williams, has called for an increase in inflation targets while other Fed presidents have called for caution. The contradictory statements coming out of the Fed in recent days has left traders bewildered and frustrated. So it’s clear something has to change. A failure to increase rates will be seen as an admission that current policies are failing and could send markets plunging though maybe more like John Smith and less like Chen Aisen.

Improved household spending and last week’s better than forecast employment figures could give Yellen reason to hint at a rate rise on the 14th and a wide range of media pundits support this view though the Federal Funds futures doesn’t agree with only an 18% probability rate rise priced in.

Across the media there is a sense that there are two routes ahead – either a rate hike in response to improved conditions, or a major rethink on monetary policy if that’s not seen as a good enough indicator of improved economic health. The Fed’s own San Fran president John Williams has stated he wants to see a revised inflation target.

With attendees from major financial institutions across the globe, traders will be paying close attention to news updates from the Symposium across all three days. Expect lots of movement on USD FX pairs as well as the USD index and other US-based market indexes across the week. If you’re busy elsewhere then cancel during Yellen’s speech on Friday as well as first thing on Monday 29th as there will probably be a reaction when markets open.

There are certainly plenty of bears around Jackson Hole so let’s see if the markets go the same way when they hear what the world’s finance bigwigs have to say.

jackson hole bears

A Jackson Hole bear








3 market-moving events catching our eye today

I'm in a money making mood

Something for the weekend?

Three big announcements today could upset the markets and give you boss-like chances.


The land of the rising sun might have put a wad in your pocket if you were on the ball early enough. Did the Japanese go to the shops this month? The household spending announcement at12.30am BST has been in decline for months but forecasts have been off the ball. More chances to play like boss with a JPN monetary policy statement (time tbc) due. This is looking more hawkish. Markets should perk up if the expected stimulus is announced.  The Bank of Japan outlook report at 6am could give us a heads up about which way the government is going to jump.


Fail! European banks are freaking today with the 4pm BST announcement from the EBA Bank Stress results. Nerves are going to be frayed as  Brexit’s recent spanner in the works could have weakened confidence and the test checks central banks abilities to cope.


More chances to jump on the bandwagon or buck the trend around lunchtime with the US quarterly advance GDP announcement. This can be good for currency trading and is a biggie to make money (or lose it) today. With the US economy on the up and up, and more average Joe’s doing an honest day’s work, we predict a positive advance GDP announcement and a rise in the dollar. But do you know something we don’t?

Press Release: Nous raises £500,000 (US$750,000) for ultra-low risk trading

Tuesday 15 December 2015, London, UK. For immediate release

Nous beats expectations, raises £500,000 (US$750,000) from Angels and crowdfunding, to bring an ultra-low-risk trading service to millions of customers around the world.

London-based start-up Nous Global Markets today announced it has completed a successful round of funding that exceeded the initial target.

The company, which was created to educate people about the enjoyment and the challenges of financial markets, originally aimed to raise £350,000 but quickly reached that target and chose to halt over-funding at £500,000. The money was raised from a combination of Angel investors, Venture Capital and crowd-funding.

The investment is an important validation both of Nous’s traction since going live in 2014, having reached over 300,000 users at very low cost, and of their future plans. Nous will use the funds to release a revolutionary new trading application designed specifically for individuals that are excluded by current products.

Nous’ first round of funding was raised from private investors, predominantly senior finance and technology professionals at global investment banks. This second round brought crowd-funded investment via Syndicate Room‘s platform; as well as strategic investors such as Tantalus Capital, and K.V. Rao, CEO of California-based predictive analytics firm Aviso.

Justin Short, CEO of Nous, says:

“With the great success of our Spark Profit application we realised that there were millions of people with discretionary capital and the desire to trade in financial markets, but no way for them to do that economically. We will put the world’s most consumer-friendly trading system into their pockets: low-cost; ultra low-risk; and with up to 20x returns.”

Nous Global Markets was founded in September 2012 by Justin Short and four other former Merrill Lynch traders and technologists. Originally based in Tokyo it has since relocated to London and has received EIS Advance Assurance.

In January 2014, Short and his colleagues launched their free-to-play virtual trading game — ‘Spark Profit’ — which enables players to predict financial market movements with no risk, in return for cash prizes. Spark Profit’s uniquely visual, beginner-friendly interface and weekly cash rewards have already attracted over 300,000 users in 200 separate countries.

At the beginning of 2015, while learning more about their customers’ needs, they found that 95% of regular players wanted to trade their own money, preferably inside Spark Profit itself. A thorough review of the competition showed that there was indeed a very large opportunity to create a simple, low-risk way for people to trade — which would be a natural progression of the existing app and a validation of Nous’ “profit together” ethos. The new trading application will feature a unique combination of consumer-friendly features unavailable elsewhere. It is due for soft-launch in Q1 2016.


Justin Short / CEO, Nous Global Markets / +44 207 117 2942 /[email protected]

About Nous

Nous, positioned at the intersection of Finance, Gaming and Education, was founded in 2012 by Justin Short and four other highly experienced traders and technologists. They saw an opportunity to empower people around the world to discover their own talents and benefit from access to global opportunities, via their smartphones. Nous launched Spark Profit, the free-to-play virtual trading game, in January 2014.


We ♡ News

One of the things we love about SparkProfit is the friendly trading community that’s building up, both inside and outside the app. One of the most fundamental things a community needs is a way to give simple, clear feedback. Now you can!

Screen Shot 2015-12-10 at 12.37.58

Every user can heart ♥ or trash 🗑 a post. Make your feelings known! If enough people trash a post we’ll come along and make sure that it follows our posting guidelines and take action if necessary. If a post get lots of likes… well, that’s going to come with special benefits in the future :).

There are some very cool features we’ll be building on top of this foundation but please share lots of ♥ with your SparkProfit friends for now!

Some Interesting Charts Going Into the Open This Week: USD Is King

The FOMC statement is the news event of the week and is likely to be the central event for many traders. The focus of most market participants will be if the Fed changes its forward guidance regarding rate increases.

The USD majors are all at extreme points and historic levels, its worth having a quick look at the charts and the news events for the week.

The following USD risk events will impact all USD crosses:

  • Tues March 17 Building Permits
  • Wed March 18 FOMC Statement and Fed Rate – this may be a significant USD market mover which ever way it comes down.
  • Thurs March 19 Unemployment Claims
  • Thurs March 19 Philly Fed Manufacturing Index


The AUDUSD is at a significant historic level but if we look at the previous drop in this pair, we can see there is room for further downside to the the 0.71 – 0.72.

AUDUSD 0.71 Level

AUDUSD 0.71 Level

The shorter term chart has a potential level where the shorts may be considering participating.

Sell zone on the AUDUSD

Possible Supply Level

The following risk is on tap for the AUD:

  • Sun March 15 RBA Assist Gov Debelle Speaks
  • Tues March 17 Monetary Policy Meeting Minutes
  • Fri March 20 RBA Gov Stevens Speaks


The weekly candle closed under a significant support level last week. The bears have it below 1.48 but we could anticipate some demand here at this level as well.

Support level breached on Cable

Support level breached on Cable

Some risk to keep an eye on this week. Wednesday is a big day for this pair from a risk point of view given the GBP news items and FOMC:

  • Wed March 18 Average Earnings Index
  • Wed March 18 Claimant Count Change
  • Wed March 18 MPC Official Bank Rate Votes
  • Fri March 20 Public Sector Net Borrowing

S and P Futures

The bears had the ball on this market last week with price coming down to the half way back for the year to date. For now, given the depth of previous retracements, a move to 2000 or even 1962 is not beyond reason.

Retracement levels on S&P Futures

Retracement levels on S&P Futures

Other risk on tap this week:

  • Mon March 16 ECB Draghi Speaks – always good for volatility
  • Tues March 17 BOJ Policy Statement
  • Thur March 19 LTRO

Good trading for the week! And remember, you can trade these, and other markets, risk free with Spark Profit.

We take the risk out of the markets.

One Year Old.

Happy Birthday!

We’re officially one year old! Its been quite a year and looking back we’re proud of what we have achieved. And, we are really excited about our plans for the second year (details coming soon – keep an eye out on this blog).

What’s Been So Awesome About Our First Year.

  • One of the best things has been watching our community grow, we now have more than 130000 players from over 200 countries.
  • We’ve awarded over $95,000 to our players since we’ve started. We want our players to win!
  • Our top players have earned almost $500 from playing on their phone – at no risk to themselves. That is time well spent playing a game on your phone!
  • We started the year offering FX markets and Bitcoin; we added more markets as we went through the year. Our players can now trade commodities and stock indexes.. And we have plans to offer our players even more markets.
  • The social side of our game has grown, with our players chatting to one another and swapping trade ideas through our app. Its been great to be part of this community as our players start to collaborate.

Thank You For Making It Such An Awesome Year!

So, a big heartfelt thanks to all our players for being part of our journey for the first year.

And here’s to the next year!



8 News Items Impacting the US Dollar This Week

Traders will be watching the US Dollar this week after the news released on Friday around jobs data. Total non farm employment rose 252K and the unemployment rate dropped to 5.6% – both of these beating market expectations. These positive numbers were slightly offset by disappointing hourly wage numbers which demonstrate low wage growth.

So, it was a mixed bag for the dollar at the end of last week and there are a number of risk events for the Greenback which are worth being aware of going into the week:

And finally, its worth taking a quick look at the US Dollar index futures chart, we are at an interesting historic level in terms of previous supply on the dollar.

USD Index at an interesting historic level

USD Index at an interesting historic level