Stephen Pope

Macroeconomic Strategist

Stephen Pope is the Managing Partner of Spotlight Group. He has worked in the world of finance since 1982 and has performed duties as a market making trader, salesman and analyst. Stephen brings this wealth of experience gained at American, British, French, and Japanese institutions to bear in his analytical work.

He traded Euro Dollar Bonds for Japanese, Scandinavian and Supranational names, using risk weighted analysis to hedge the trading books. As a trader he often had telephone calls from Tokyo in the early hours to make prices for Far East clients.

He has a broad base of client service and his career progressed rapidly as he rejected a “smile and dial” approach in favour of methodical client profiling and building an open exchange of information with traders. This led to actively scanning the markets for “Rich/Cheap” analysis for relative value trades that could maximise portfolio switches either in a similar maturity or via modified duration weighted yield curve plays.

This progress led him to being a leading figure in the world of central banks bond sales as he advised national agencies such as the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority, Bahrain Ministry of Finance, The Central Bank of Kuwait, Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency, Central Bank of Oman,  State General Reserve Fund of Oman, Bank of Botswana and South African Reserve Bank.

Portfolio management by state authorities actively uses the repo market. In this area, Stephen provided all clients with an active list of repo opportunities, especially highlighted issues that were on “Special” as against just “General Collateral”. Indeed, he brokered the first repo trade with the Central Bank of Iran and Nordic Investment Bank.

In an active career clients have been covered in all geographic regions and time zones embracing 36 nations.

As an analyst/strategist Stephen was a regular speaker at investor meetings and conferences as well as a much-sought guest on global financial television: ABC (Australia), ABC (U.S.), Al-Jazeera, BBC, Bloomberg, BNN (Canada), CNBC, CNN, Fox, New Delhi Markets, Reuters and Saxo Bank TV.  With Reuters Stephen was the first guest to be interviewed for a “live” broadcast into The People’s Republic of China.

In addition to, Stephen is also currently writing for Forbes and previously for Saxo Bank. His insight into the tobacco industry is regularly used by The Winston Salem Journal.  On the radio he is a regular guest on the Resonance FM programme that covers the hedge fund industry, “The Naked Short Club”.

Stephen gained his BA (HONS) Economics (II.I) from the University of Warwick in 1982 and his MBA from Henley Management College in 1995.

He gained professional examination awards from the Association of International Bond Dealers (Now called the International Capital Markets Association) in 1988, is a member of the Financial Conduct Authority and has been a Fellow of the Chartered Institute for Securities and Investment.

He currently lectures as an adjunct Professor with the University of Maryland in the field of Business Management and Economics. In addition, he is a guest lecturer for Economics at the London Academy of Trading and the London School of Wealth Management as well as training summer interns and new graduate recruits at leading commercial and investment banks in Europe and the U.S.


Gold Rally Poised To Pause

Gold prices look limited over the short term USD tiredness at the end of the week helped push gold prices higher Technical sentiment is mixed A tightening labour market could suggest another Fed move   Gold prices have surged roughly 1.25% to the $1,320 area over the past week. The market was lifted by a … Continued


A Euro Breakout Against The Dollar: Or False Alarm?

EURUSD recouped broken support on Friday There is every prospect that has placed a small upside back in play Fed and ECB signals not the easiest to decipher Buy Euro to seek small upside gains, be ready to trade back and forth The market for EURUSD during last Friday, i.e. January 25th, 2019, saw the … Continued


With Oil, Keep Looking at Trade Data and News

WTI boosted by two clear driving forces, trade and supply Any recovery in trade relations between the U.S. and China not until end of January The decline in operating oil rigs in the U.S. will be reversed Selling will be the early form after a 3% gain on Friday The market’s WTI Crude Oil traders … Continued


A Parliament Of Preening Pharisees Can Scupper Sterling

EURGBP slipped across the board on Friday and hit 3-day lows There is every prospect that PM May’s deal will be defeated on Tuesday In that event of one should see Sterling tumble Bearish Sterling sentiment will prevail if UK muddles on to a delay, no-deal or another vote The market for EURGBP rose in … Continued


Natural Gas Market Outlook Looks Bleak

Natural Gas looks oversold after a 33% decline since December 10th Any recovery in prices should be capped at $3.16/Mm BTU In the event of stronger short-covering place a stop Bearish sentiment prevails and will take prices lower to $2.70 area The market for the natural gas market on the Nymex endured moderate week and … Continued


Gold Can Gain As A Savage Bear Stalks Stocks

US equities undermined as shutdown and trade standoff spooks the market This has allowed a recovery in gold prices Shorts have been squeezed out of the gold market Bullish sentiment will dominate prices toward 1265 Gold slipped on Friday, December 21st, 2018 by $8.95 or 0.71% to close at $1258.95/Troy Oz. This may have been … Continued


Whoever is Short the Euro Has The Upper Hand

ECB comments on the 13th undermined the Euro Any recovery in prices on Monday morning will be short lived No major reaction expected after FOMC on December 19th Bearish sentiment prevails and will take prices lower toward 1.1100 The Euro slipped on Thursday, December 13th when ECB President, Mario Draghi indicated that the central bank … Continued


Wheat Technicals Are Bullish Across The Board

USDA reports may reveal wheat planting is somewhat low this season A recovery in prices looks likely given positive technicals The quality of Russian product is declining Look for the bullish sentiment to prevail and will take prices higher If the whispers on the street are to be believed, when the U.S. Department of Agriculture … Continued


Oil market outlook looks bleak

WTI is not at the bottom of its decline Any recovery in prices needs the Russians and Saudi’s to drive further output restrictions OPEC meets on December 6th, but all members are hurting Bearish sentiment prevails and will take prices lower The market for crude oil has not yet found a bottom and has exceeded … Continued


Ignore recent cooling in natural gas futures, they will soon warm up winter

U.S. sees first drawdown of natural gas as winter begins Now time to focus on the weather patterns hitting North America The technical sentiment for NGF9 is a soft opening; look to buy the opening New bullish sentiment will ride on a snowy surge as a second storm front chills America The U.S. Energy Information … Continued


Dollar Bulls must be patient, Selling pressure will be overcome

Selling of the U.S. Dollar Index on Friday may persist through Monday As the week pushes on, this will yield to new buying momentum The technical sentiment for the Dollar Index is strong up to the next FOMC New bullish sentiment will prevail and will take prices higher The investor base certainly lost no time … Continued


Gold – Silver ratio looking ready to reverse

The Gold-Silver ratio meanders slowly in channels As the major players in precious metals increase the bullish position on both The technical sentiment for both is almost identical Look for the reversal of silver shorts to be the more significant play There is a ratio in financial markets that is sometime overlooked in the western … Continued


No Fireworks in the Oil Market; Prices Fizzle Out on over Supply

Iran appears to be getting off a U.S. sanctions hook As the Russians, Saudi’s and U.S. ramp up oil production, the market has excess supply The technical sentiment for oil has spun around since my last note on WTI Bearish sentiment prevails and will take prices lower The market for crude oil has enjoyed a … Continued


EURUSD: Can New Euro Strength Be Sustained?

Any hint of good news re Brexit helps the Euro in the short-term If Theresa May compromises with the EU there will be pressure on her at home There is too much hostility to the leading array of contenders…she is safe for now Beyond Brexit, it will be Italy that drags the Euro down The … Continued


GBPUSD: Two Curious Currencies

U.S. equity declines have tripped the Dollar Last time the market had such loses was when the UK voted to leave the EU Who has the control over the economy, Chairman Powell or President Trump? There is a small matter of Brexit negotiations, they should put Sterling on the backfoot In the past week, over … Continued


Oil Traders to focus on Disruptions

Iran will soon face more U.S. sanctions President Trump wants to force Iran to renegotiate its nuclear deal The technical sentiment for oil is as good as the week wears on There is a good chance of new prices hitting the $90 level…and beyond   In the week ahead oil traders will stay firmly focused … Continued


Hi Yo Silver, Away!

Silver started Friday to the downside, this was quickly reversed It rose 2.98% in the session, the best one day move in Q3 this year The technical sentiment is as good as it could be, until the end of the week There is renewed interest in the metal; a push to $15.72 is likely   … Continued


GBPUSD suffers as UK faces up to a “No-Deal” risk

  When is seemed that the UK might get a Brexit breakthrough Cable hit 1.3300 That was rapidly reversed as the EU27 rejected Chequers outright The technical sentiment is poor across all time measures The opposition are not offering any credible alternative solution…so sell Sterling Friday was a chance for the foreign exchange markets to … Continued


Sorry Soybeans Slump, Time to Seek a Bean Bounce

Approximately 50% of U.S. soybeans were shipped to China in 2016 Trumps tariffs led to a retaliatory 25% levy being slapped on the U.S. crop The technical sentiment is as poor as it could be There is renewed whispers of further trade talks, so maybe a contrarian trade is in order In 2016 the leading … Continued


Dollar Loves Jobs Data; Not Thrilled

Dollar was moved by the solid August jobs report Dollar driven by expectation of Fed action in September and December Trumps tariff tirade is still a cause for concern The short-term outlook for the Dollar Index to rally and test old resistance points The U.S. Dollar traded higher against other currencies on Friday, as better-than-expected … Continued


WTI Looks to the U.S. – Canada Trade

Crude oil markets were unable to hold the high ground this week It has become bewitched by Dollar strength and U.S. – Canada trade talks Given 99% of Canada’s oil exports go to the U.S. … …The short-term outlook for oil is positive for a new test of $72/Barrel WTI crude oil broke through the … Continued


AUDUSD on Collision Course with Resistance

Australia’s new PM is Scott Morrison as moderate Malcolm Turnbull is forced out The pair is pulled by commodity prices and Chinese trade Market trend is currently to head lower This can change on a break above 0.7400 The Politics Australia has a new Prime Minister (PM) after Scott Morrison mounted a late challenge during … Continued


EURGBP looking to press past 0.9100

EUR/GBP is up for the third consecutive day The pair is resuming its main bull trend Market is trading above its key moving averages The target to the upside is located above and beyond 0.9000 Eurozone annual inflation rate was confirmed at 2.1% in July 2018, up from 2.0% in the previous month and the … Continued


As the week closes, so WTI looks

Crude oil markets were very volatile during the week It held crucial support levels on Friday Market considers the prospect of excess supply once sanctions on Iran set in The short-term outlook for oil is positive for a new test of $70/Barrel The market for WTI was given a reprieve after initially trying to rally … Continued


EURUSD, hunting for 1.1500

EURUSD began the week in the ascendency reaching 1.1740 This broke down as the week drew on The EURUSD pair is riddled with bearish sentiment The short-term outlook for the EURUSD to break under 1.1500 this week The Euro staged an attempt to rally last week, however, it soon looked exhausted once it probed the … Continued


Gold Consolidation

Bear action has undermined gold during Q2 A correction that started in April now appears to be easing so allowing gold some support US economic strength that has driven the Dollar will struggle to keep at 4%+ It looks like a period of consolidation is commencing Gold prices were unable to hold their early gains … Continued


A “no deal” Brexit Hurts EU

Post Brexit, in 2016 the UK was caught without a plan No-Deal would be a dreadful outcome for both sides EU GDP will fall and over one million jobs will be lost An agreement on Euro clearing is essential Anything less leads to financial inefficiencies and risk Since the shock decision in the United Kingdom … Continued


Copper is a Dead Cat

At the start of the year the outlook for copper was constructive That soon fizzled out as Trump trade tirade grew louder A corrective channel started in June, it has crashed through key averages Despite the potential of a small uptick, it will be a dead cat bounce Copper for July delivery ended at $2.751/lb, … Continued


Summer may be hot, but it’s gone cold

US economic strength and an optimistic Fed are driving the Dollar Dollar exorbitant privilege is undermining gold A corrective channel started in April and appears to be taking hold Despite many global problems to drive risk aversion, gold is no longer a safe haven   In early May I wrote the gold prices were proving … Continued


Greece…Still Bankrupt

The Greek economy has made minor improvements It will not really exit the bailout programme in August A weak government will dither over further reform It will, eventually seek yet another credit line Greece should be shunned in the capital markets Since the Greek economy was laid bare in 2010 successive administrations have preceded over … Continued


USDJPY… US Dollar struggles

USD began the week in the ascendency against the Yen This broke down as the week drew on The USDJPY pair is used as a vehicle to express trade-war concerns The short-term outlook for the USDJPY is soft The technical picture for the USDJPY pair is muddled with short and long measures saying buy the … Continued


Oil Prices Driven by Thoughts of Excess Demand

President Trump wants nations to stop importing oil from Iran This would impact global supply; Iran accounts for 5% of global production The impact of a successful ban on Iran and Venezuela etc would lift prices The outlook is bullish for WTI and targets $81/Barrel The oil price in the U.S. continued to make higher … Continued


Two Approaches to the Dollar Index

The Dollar has lost some its gloss this week This was because data and developments with Greece were Euro friendly The Dollar Index holds our attention as rates are normalising The short-term outlook is cagey… … however, on a one-week basis upside potential is available The trade concern has cooled the Dollar’s upward momentum that … Continued


Oil Prices Wait on Opec

Crude is under pressure as the markets awaits Opec It holds our attention as Opec produces 40% of the world’s total crude oil The Saudis and Russian’s both see a need to raise production President Trump has blamed Opec for recent price spikes Prices are set to be quiet until Thursday and Friday Oil prices … Continued


Can Corn Keep Climbing?

Commodities in the grain complex have moved higher China was ending penalties against imports of U.S. grains After the 30-minute measure, technicals all look highly positive Corn looks set to make steady gains, extending the recent run higher There was a new swagger in the step of grain futures at the end of the past … Continued


Oil prices suddenly look beautifully bullish

Crude has spiked 19% this year, to prices unseen since late 2014 Iran produced 5.1% percent of the world’s total crude oil Focus in the oil market will remain on geopolitical tension in the Middle East After President Trump withdrew the U.S. from the Iranian nuclear agreement Prices are set to advance over the summer … Continued


Gold Frustrates Through April/May

U.S. Dollar Index has made great upward strides The World Gold Council said gold demand has slumped The metal may be down, but it is not out. Prices are set to advance over the summer into Q3 On April 2nd I said in the note titled “Gold Still In Focus”: “…Rising interest rates will put … Continued


Cotton On

Cotton prices have been steered by subsidies and tariffs in recent months The technical aspect is looking highly bullish The commodity sector is in general undervalued Grains and softs look to be in the sweet spot with cotton to target 95 Many factors can have an impact the price of cotton. These range from the … Continued


Look past Trump, the data will push

Since April 5th, USDJPY moved above a downward sloping trend line On Friday, the price extended above the April high at 107.486 The price remains above the March high at 107.286 Look for a push to 108.000   USDJPY climbed to a 1-month high on Friday President Trump toned down his rhetoric on China and … Continued


Trade Tariffs Fuel Farm Fury & Crop

U.S and China are set on a trade tariff collision course The mid-west states that supported Trump are feeling the heat Their appeals for a solution have so far been ignored They may be minded to express their ire in November’s mid-terms It feels like soybeans should be sold on strength It seems that President … Continued


Gold Still In Focus

Gold and U.S debt levels are highly correlated The path of U.S. debt cannot go higher forever There may be a lag until Q3, however, I fully expect prices to shoot higher Following on from last week’s analysis paper on gold, I thought it useful to stay with this subject as one has to consider … Continued


Gold at Month High on Trump’s Tariff

Gold offers a safe haven as the threat of a trade war leave markets in a malaise. Gold prices jumped in the past week with the precious metal up nearly 2.7% to trade at $1347.20/Troy Oz at the New York close on Friday. The move of +$19.80 or +1.49% came amid continued weakness in broader … Continued


Bitcoin Embracing The Death Cross

Bitcoin Dollar slips on South Korean raids Spot has crossed under the 200-day moving average Now look for the 50-day moving average to do the same The process of mining in New York state just became more expensive Brace yourself for more excessive downside movement Bitcoin has fallen dramatically against the U.S. Dollar so that … Continued


Earnings and Tariffs Pressure Dollar

The Dollar slips on soft wages and the Trump tariff threat Average hourly earnings rose a paltry 0.1% The chance of four rate changes this year just receded U.S. employment data released on Friday showed a particularly strong February, with the Non-Farm Payroll coming in at 313K. This was a 20-month high that was over … Continued


Silver Could Be Golden

Silver is increasingly attractive as the Dollar slips on the Trump tariff threat The 200-day moving average is proving supportive Prices could rally to $19.45/Troy Oz, a gain of 17.6% More most investors that turn their eye to the commodity space tend to concentrate their efforts on Gold, Crude Oil and maybe, Copper.  Silver has … Continued


Copper Inventories Worrying Rise

Copper inventories are rising on a global basis Rise in copper prices since 2016 cannot offset transportation costs Chinese activity slowed as “New Year” approached Trump’s infrastructure plan has not catalysed prices Market is at a resistance; longer-term sentiment looks for a gain of 6% What’s going on in the world of copper? There are … Continued


€ and $; Tug of War

Euro’s good week fell apart on Friday The Dollar has supported but may struggle to break 1.2132 Eurozone economy improves; ECB could start normalising earlier than expected Treasury yields have broken higher That could unsettle the US economy and Dollar demand There can be no argument that EURUSD had a great run this past week … Continued


GOP, Donald and Debt

Trumps plans are adding %1.5 Trillion to America’s debt burden This is the cost of his tax cut programme and new infrastructure investment Treasury yields have broken higher after months of decline Is the given that foreign accounts will keep on buying a certainty? There used to be an infallible rule of western politics. Parties … Continued


Bitcoin…Cut & Run Amid the “FUD” or

Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies suffered a woeful week The potential for much tighter regulation grows each day The diehard believers think this is the right time to buy Is the risk that it is all a Ponzi Pyramid worth it…probably not Bitcoin has been under pressure in the past week like never before. Just as … Continued


Global Growth Shows

Global growth is expected to reach 3% in 2018 The potential for much faster growth is limited This time there is less reliance on one growth engine Do not overlook potential flat-spots in America, China and Europe It is now a decade since the world descended into a devastating economic crisis. A key signal of … Continued