S&P 500 Rallies As U.S. Dollar Pulls Back Towards Weekly Lows

Key Insights
The strong pullback in the U.S. dollar provided significant support to stocks.
Treasury yields have pulled back after touching new highs, which served as an additional positive catalyst for S&P 500.
A move above 3730 will push S&P 500 towards the resistance level at 3760.
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Pfizer Rallies After Announcing A Huge Price Hike For Its COVID-19 Vaccines
S&P 500 is currently trying to settle above 3730 as traders’ appetite for risk is growing. The U.S. dollar has recently gained strong downside momentum as the BoJ intervened to stop the rally in USD/JPY. Weaker U.S. dollar is bullish for stocks as it increases profits of multinational companies and makes U.S. equities cheaper for foreign investors.

The leading oil services company Schlumberger is up by 9% after beating analyst estimates on both earnings and revenue. Schlumberger’s peers Baker Hughes and Halliburton have also enjoyed strong support today.

Vaccine makers Pfizer and Moderna gained strong upside momentum after Pfizer announced that it will raise the price of its coronavirus vaccine to $110 – $130 per shot.

Biggest losers today include Verizon and Twitter. Verizon is down by 5% despite beating analyst estimates on both earnings and revenue. Subscriber numbers missed estimates, and traders pushed the stock to multi-year lows.

Twitter stock moved towards the $50 level as the U.S. may conduct a security review of Musk’s purchase of the company.

From a big picture point of view, today’s rebound is broad, and most market segments are moving higher. Treasury yields have started to move lower after testing new highs, providing additional support to S&P 500. It looks that some traders are ready to bet that Fed will be less hawkish than previously expected.

S&P 500 Tests Resistance At 3730

S&P 500 has recently managed to get above the 20 EMA and is trying to settle above the resistance at 3730. RSI is in the moderate territory, and there is plenty of room to gain additional upside momentum in case the right catalysts emerge.

If S&P 500 manages to settle above 3730, it will head towards the next resistance level at 3760. A successful test of this level will push S&P 500 towards the next resistance at October highs at 3805. The 50 EMA is located in the nearby, so S&P 500 will likely face strong resistance above the 3800 level.

On the support side, the previous resistance at 3700 will likely serve as the first support level for S&P 500. In case S&P 500 declines below this level, it will move towards the next support level at 3675. A move below 3675 will push S&P 500 towards the support at 3640.

A Levels Online in an ever-changing world!

Many of you often ask us if A Levels online are worth considering in order to gain a recognized qualification or if you have left it too late to study A Levels, as part of your career progression.

Suggested article: A Level Courses Online

A Levels, known as ‘Advanced Level qualifications’ are normally introduced for students aged 16 and above. The term of the A Level qualification would normally be two years, although learners choosing to study through online learning, can normally fast track and complete this much sooner. UCAS points will be available, which will go towards University applications.

Learners also have the option to complete AS Level only and will still receive UCAS points, depending on grades achieved.

Do I need A Levels for University?

Most universities insist that potential applicants have a good mix of basic Maths and English Level 2, together with Level 3 qualifications or A Levels in order to secure a place with them. When considering applying to University, the first thing we recommend you should do is contact them and ask what the entry requirements are for the specific degree you are considering studying as you cannot leave this to chance. We have had students come to us at the eleventh hour, desperate to study a specific subject in a short space of time because they did not ask this simple question.

Can A Levels go wrong?

In an ideal world, many would complete their A Levels in sixth form at a conventional school or college, then progress to college or university. However, this does not always go according to plan and for one reason or another, you may not have had the opportunity to gain your A Level in a school or college setting.

A classic example is a Covid-19 pandemic, where many students were expected to sit their exams in the normal way and were then told that due to the cancellation of exams, their results would be based on predicted grades. This worked for some learners as they had worked hard on any assessments submitted to their Teacher but for others who hadn’t really made the effort, relying on studying hard for their examinations; it did not bring the desired effect with low grades submitted.

We then had a second year of canceled examinations, again something that no one was prepared for. The results of this, we are still awaiting, but I am sure that there will be learners receiving grades they were not expecting.

There have also been other reasons learners have been unable to achieve their A Level qualification. As an example, we were approached by Jason, who had been keen to study A Level Computer Science at school but during his first year, he had become extremely ill and was not able to complete his second year. This is one of our extremely popular courses as this can lead to various career paths such as Application Analyst, Business analyst, Data analyst, Games developer, etc. We enabled Jason to complete his second year of A Level Computer Science and he then went on to study a degree at university managing to get himself back on track.

Suggested article: A Level Computer Science Online Course

Are there any age restrictions for studying A Levels?

Not everyone is suited to studying with an online learning college though and we have found that learners of all ages enrol with us, as there appears to be no set criteria for applicants. As they say ‘it is never too late to learn and everything changes so fast, we have to keep up to date with it.

Suggested site: Learn Now Distance Learning College

One of the things we have found with learners is that you really need to be self-motivated and able to work autonomously. This is difficult if you feel you can only work in groups with your peers and do not feel you can set yourself a timetable and stick to it, thus avoiding distractions. We have found that using your Lesson Plan helps considerably as this sets out which modules should be completed and when. This can give you a certain amount of structure and ensure that you stay on track throughout your course.

It would seem that there are always options to complete your A Levels, whether online or studying at a school or college. It is a case of you deciding the best options for yourself.

How Jazz Influenced Pop Music of Today

The history of Jazz is deep, varied and its influence has seeped into many genres from hip hop to pop and even rock music. This genre of music can be sometimes misunderstood as ‘too complex and enjoyed by music snobs’ or ‘background music at a bar’, however, it has likely had an effect on some of your favorite artists! Let’s take a closer look at its early origins, characteristics and find out how jazz influenced modern pop music.

Jazz origins

New Orleans is hailed as the birthplace of jazz music, originating in the second half of the 19th century. It was a melting pot of different cultures, all mixed together, sharing and playing their music. Born not long after the abolishment of slavery, jazz signified emancipation, freedom of expression, and experimentation. It is a unique blend of rhythms originating in West African music and the variety of instruments and harmonic chords used in European music. While we can trace its roots back to the late 1900s, jazz really got its ‘big break’ around 1920, in the era of ‘roaring twenties, which made it an overnight success. Musicians like Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington, Count Basie all came into prominence. Since then, this diverse, complex, and exciting genre has morphed into other forms and influenced many genres of music we know and love today. At the same time, it hasn’t died out and still maintains a vibrant music scene of awe-inspiring jazz musicians. Let’s take a look at some of the key features of jazz and how they have influenced popular styles like pop, rock, and hip hop.

Chord progressions

Jazz typically uses a lot of extended chords, moving away from the standard three-note triad. We notice the use of 7ths, diminished intervals, 9ths, 11ths, and sustained chords, among others, creating colorful harmonies. These chords add more complexity to jazz music and are powerful ways to create tension and add a broader range of emotion into your performance.

Harmony

The harmony created by these extended chords is vastly used in R&B, neo-soul, blues, and folk. Jacob Collier is an excellent example of someone who uses jazz harmony extensively in their music. It also appears in the songs of popular artists like Lianne La Havas, Celeste, Hiatus Kaiyote, and countless others. Exploring intervals beyond the 3rd, 5th, and octave allow us to add a different flavor to our compositions, and jazz has heavily influenced the currently popular r&b and neo-soul artists as well as classic pop songs.

Song structure

Jazz steers away from the traditional pop song structure of verse-chorus or ABAB. Instead, it often uses AABA song structure or even ABABC, and it generally offers much more room for looser structures for artists to explore. We can see this influence used heavily in The Beatles’ music, for example, in the song ‘Honey Pie’. When it comes to more current artists, SZA is very prominently influenced by jazz song structure. Her songs feature multiple sections that all sound slightly different. This way, she keeps it interesting for the listener, encouraging them to keep coming back, as the songs are less predictable and keep our attention for longer. Improvisation and call and response are heavily featured in jazz, emphasizing its freedom of expression and an exciting way to communicate through music. These meticulous improvisations, which seem so effortless also make the jazz song structure much less rigid, compared to pop or classical music.

Rhythm

Jazz music is characterised by its swing rhythm but it’s also an endless resource for ear-catching rhythm elements! Syncopation, off-beats and infectious grooves are found everywhere in jazz. This genre has also been influenced by samba, bossa nova, and afro- Cuban beats, which have found their way into current pop music. We hear jazz-influenced rhythms in the music of Amy Winehouse, Tom Misch and many others, whose memorable grooves make us want to listen again and again.

Jazz influence in Pop

You may assume that pop music and jazz have nothing in common, due to pop’s rather simplified and straightforward elements. But the truth is, it’s heavily influenced by jazz, especially now that we see more neo-soul and hip-hop artists come into the spotlight and dominating popular music. Jazz musicians often feature on pop artist’s line-up, due to their varied and impressive skills in sight-reading, improvisation, and quickly picking up complex material. We see these examples countless times in live touring, for example, the impressive multi-instrumental bands that support artists like Justin Timberlake, Beyonce, and more. Music production is another example of how jazz-influenced pop music like Quincy Jones’ work with Michael Jackson. Quincy had worked as an arranger with Frank Sinatra, Duke Ellington, Count Basie, Dizzy Gillespie. His heavy jazz influence can be heard throughout Michael’s discography. If you listen closely, you’ll notice it in many of today’s popular artists, too. The funky disco-pop music of Charlie Puth and Dua Lipa, for example, has clear jazz influences in their syncopated basslines and energetic grooves.

Jazz influence in Rock

Rock seems an unlikely genre to be influenced by jazz but bear with us. This style of music has originated from rock’n’roll, which derived from blues music. Jazz has derived from blues too and yet it has also crossed over into rock. You’ll hear its influence in bands like The Doors, Led Zeppelin, and artists like Jimi Hendrix. ‘Time’ by Pink Floyd is an exceptional example of jazz influence in rock due to its unusual structure, chord changes, and harmony. Radiohead, for example, is usually put into the rock category, but records like The King of Limbs and the presence of drummer Clive Deamer, of Get the Blessing, would suggest otherwise. We hear their jazz influences particularly on songs like ‘Little by Little’. And so, rock is another genre that hasn’t escaped the influence of jazz music.

Jazz influence in Hip Hop

In today’s popular music, hip hop reigns supreme. And of course, it’s strongly rooted in jazz, which brings us full circle, showing the full extent of how jazz influenced modern pop music. Hip hop originates in sampling culture and there are countless samples taken from jazz and reimagined in hip hop. According to Who Sampled, Herbie Hancock has been sampled 984 times, Miles Davis 293 times, George Benson 290 times. The complex rhythms in hip hop very clearly derive from jazz with their energetic, syncopated beats and off beats we have come to love and get accustomed to in popular music. Hip hop and jazz are also tied together by their use of improvisation. Jazz musicians will often improvise over sections of the song, ‘communicating’ with each other through call and response and bouncing ideas between themselves. Hip hop expresses itself in a similar way through freestyling and improvisation that lets us take an unedited peek into the artist’s raw vision, background, and musical ideas. While jazz has influenced countless artists and so many of our most popular genres, it has probably had its strongest influence on hip hop.