Microsoft Launches Windows 10: Today is the day that Microsoft will try to jumpstart its Windows franchise as well as its falling PC sales with the introduction of their new product, Windows 10. The hopes are also that this new product will positively impact the company’s limited phone business. Let’s face it; the fact is Windows 8 was an attempt to redefine the way the Windows worked and looked. Unfortunately, the product did not get a warm reception and it is estimated that only 16% of global PC users make use of this software. Based on this, Microsoft has been determined to get it right with their latest product. The company distributed in-progress versions to companies for their feedback while developers of Windows-based business software were also involved in providing their input and feedback. The latest Windows 10 is said to resemble the older Windows 7 version which was released in 2009. Other features will include a voice-controlled Cortana intelligent assistant which has often been described as the company’s answer to Apple’s Siri, as well as a Start Menu. Interestingly, Microsoft has stated that Windows 10 will be the least release with a formal name and that it will now be treated as a ‘service’ which will have frequent updates. In case you are wondering if you should upgrade and jump in, many analysts are recommending waiting for a few months until the latest product is stable and reliable. Microsoft will be giving away Windows 10 as a free upgrade to users of the latest revisions of Windows 7 and Windows 8. This free offer will last for a year from today. If you are not one of the lucky ones, then you have the option of either buying a new PC or you can purchase Windows 10 starting at $119. Microsoft is currently trading at $45.34 a share.
Tuesday saw a top performance by U.S. stocks which helped to break a 5-day losing streak in the main U.S. indices. Despite the slowdown in China’s stocks, better than expected earnings results sparked a brief rally on Wall Street. Investors have also now shifted their attention to the Federal Reserve and the policy statement by Chair Janet Yellen which is expected out today. At the close of trading, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) advanced 1.1%, or 189.68 points, to 17,630.27. Twenty seven of the blue chip index’s 30 members finished higher with Exxon Mobil Corp. (XOM, +4.06%) rising 4.1%, while Chevron Corp. (CVX, +3.66%) also advanced 3.7%. Also on the upside was the S&P 500 index (SPX) which rose 1.2%, or 25.61 points, to 2,093.25. Gains were led by the energy sector which rose 3% in response to an increase in oil prices. Following the upward trend was the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite Index (COMP) which advanced 1%, or 49.43 points, to 5,089.21. This increase came as a result of a sharp rise in biotechnology stocks and the iShares Nasdaq Biotechnology ETF (IBB, +2.48%) rose 2.5%.
On Tuesday, the U.S. dollar (USD) trimmed gains. This came after data showed a decline in the consumer confidence in the U.S. while the markets are also now focused on the conclusion of the Federal Reserve's policy meeting today. According to the Conference Board, in July, its index of consumer confidence declined to 90.9 from a reading of 99.8 in June. This missed analysts’ expectations for a reading of 100.0. The EUR/USD traded at 1.1051, down 0.33% while the USD/JPY traded at 123.55, up 0.25%. Against the British pound and the Swiss franc, the greenback traded mixed with the GBP/USD up 0.26% and trading at 1.5601 while the USD/CHF was up 0.20% and trading at 0.9647. The Australian dollar also traded higher against the U.S. dollar with the AUD/USD up 0.63% at 0.7314. Also, the U.S. dollar index was at 96.89, up 0.26 percent.
In Asian trading on Wednesday, crude oil prices declined. This came in response to the latest industry data on last week’s stocks of crude and refined products. According to the API (American Petroleum Institute), last week, crude stocks fell by 1.9 million barrels, while the stocks of distillate increased by 4.3 million barrels. Today, the EIA (Energy Information Administration) will provide their numbers on crude oil stockpiles for last week and expectations are that their data will also show a decline by 0.4 million barrels for the week ending on the 24th of July. WTI crude oil for September delivery traded at $47.73 a barrel, down 0.51%, on the NYMEX. Also, on Tuesday, Brent crude oil for delivery in September traded at $53.24 a barrel, down 0.43%, or $0.23, on the Intercontinental Exchange (ICE) in London.
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