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Wednesday February 20, 2008 - 14:00:50 GMT
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Random thoughts on price action and stuff

FX Trading – Random thoughts on price action and stuff
I am sitting in my hotel room looking out over the ocean here in beautiful St. Kitts; the beach is beckoning.  Should I bask in the serenity, or ruminate on the incredible turmoil still brewing above and below the surface of that place we refer to as the financial markets?  I guess you know my choice.  Sad!  Yes, I know.  But it is what it is.  You gotta dance with those who brung ya!

So, pondering recent price action, we have a few random ruminations this morning:

1) Despite yesterday’s dollar hammering, it ain’t over till it’s over! No doubt the buck is still the last choice for a dance partner for most people, but we continue to notice that if you consider the news, it’s acting okay.  If the path of the dollar is paving the road to Banana Republic Land for the United States, as believed by a majority of players and gurus in the world, why is it still holding above the old lows on news that continues to be downright awful? 

One of the key pieces of information that sticks in our head is the price action in the buck on jobs Friday, February 1st, as you can see in the chart below. 

 [Chart not available in text format]

Considering price action on Feb 1, and the fact that the ugly step-sister of currencies has held above the Feb 1 swing low may also be telling us something.  Qualitative sentiment stuff, such as tone of the market and reaction to the news, can be as much as we have to go on during times of unusual volatility. 

Oh, that reminds us of something else, unusual volatility is what we usually see at major trend changes.  Just a thought!

2) As we watch the UK deal with Northern Rock problem, we wonder just how many more Northern Rocks there are in the world (not just in the UK).  I think we can all surmise with ease: There are a bunch of them!

At first blush, thanks to our inherent belief that government creates more problems than it solves (with our money), we want to hammer the UK for getting back into the nationalization game, a game that was played so well until one our all-time favs, the Great Maggie Thatcher burst onto the socialist-dominated-UK scene.  But on the second blush, maybe it was the best of a lot bad choices the government was facing. 

We have to assume the UK treasury knows a bit more than we do.  We recognize that knowing vs. doing are two separate skill sets.  Not stretching our imaginations too far, we can visualize this process of panic on the part of our institutions is now very much tied to the domino theory.  And if we bought the British pound on the way up on the view that it was the currency/economy in the world most leveraged to global financial services, and benefitting accordingly, don’t we have to believe the flip-side as the dominos are now beginning to tumble, despite “valiant” efforts of Brown, Darling, King & Co? 

3) All that glitters is good, but then again, it may be a giant trap!  We know it’s equivalent to sacrilege to say something even bordering on the negative territory when it comes to an asset class that is now so universally loved, but that’s what we do.  Here we go…

It sure looked to us that yesterday’s gold price action ticked off some key buy stops just above the old high (as this would be the signal a new high and more was on the way), which in itself was a failed test of the all-time high.  And the old high on a daily basis looks like a simple divergence. 

We are warming to the idea that it might be lights out for gold for a while; but then again, only if the step-sister of currencies is invited to the dance.  If all things China and all things commodities and all things risk can’t muster the force to drive gold to a new all-time high, it could likely mean that everyone who wants to own gold owns it. 

 [Chart not available in text format]

Disclaimer: Keep in mind when you consider our rather agnostic gold view that we only missed about $200 or the last $200 rally in prices.

Jack Crooks
Black Swan Capital


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