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Friday May 8, 2009 - 12:22:24 GMT
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Stress from the “stress test”

Key News
• German exports rise first time in 6 months. (Reuters)
• The global financial crisis is still spreading and the world economy is going to get worse before getting better, China's Vice Premier Wang Qishan said in a commentary published Friday. (Reuters)
• An index of high-risk, high-yield company credit derivatives headed for its best week in more than a year after Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke said the results of a U.S. bank review should reassure investors. (Bloomberg)
• Australia’s central bank said the nation’s economy will shrink 1.25 percent in the 12 months through June before the lowest interest rates in five decades spur a “gradual” recovery next year.

Key Reports Due (WSJ):
8:30 a.m. Apr Non-Farm Payrolls: Expected: -628K. Previous: -663K.
8:30 a.m. Apr Unemployment Rate: Previous: 8.5%.
10:00 a.m. Mar Wholesale Trade: Expected: -1.0%. Previous: -1.5%.

“Canst thou not minister to a
mind diseased,
Pluck from the memory a
rooted sorrow,
Raze out the written troubles
of the brain,
And with some sweet
oblivious antidote
Cleanse the stuffed bosom
of that perilous stuff
Which weighs upon the heart?”

FX Trading –  Stress from the “stress test”

A friend called late yesterday to ask me what I thought about the “stress test.”  I told him it seemed to be working, I was pretty stressed out by the market thanks to the carnival act we call the Treasury and Fed. 

First Mr. Geithner effectively tells us that everything is hunky-dory.  Stocks soar and the buck tanks (because the only way to trade the dollar these days is to trade the stock market it seems).  Then the grownup from the Fed, Mr. Bernanke, emerges to dampen Timmy’s assessment—“Now children, let’s not get carried away.  Yes everything really is hunky-dory, but don’t confuse hunky-dory with solvency.”  Thank you Mr. Bernanke!  Stress among traders is growing. 

On those comments, the stock market decided that “green shoots” morphed into “green weeds”, a comment shared by another friend yesterday.

TGIF!  The market is closed tomorrow—right?

Crude traders don’t seem stressed.  Crude oil has been doing quite well lately, and is due for a test of its recent intermediate-term high around $59.66.  Until we know otherwise, this has to be taken as a sign something good in terms of global demand might be happening out there, despite my longer term concerns.

 (Chart unavailable in text format.)

This morning in fact we did get some good news on a couple of fronts: 1) German exports grew for the first time in six months; and 2) Canadian employment rose by 36,000 jobs in April [footnote being much was from self-employment jobs; maybe entrepreneurs see Canada as the home of the free given what tax rates are doing in the UK and about to do in the US; stay tuned.]

 (Chart unavailable in text format.)

 Source: Statistics Canada

The Canadian dollar likes the news this morning, and maybe was anticipating given the big run against the buck it’s had lately:

 (Chart unavailable in text format.)

And our favorite place for asset class agnosticism—gold.  It seems to be feeding on the stress too.  With the massive global rebound (a bit of sarcasm there—sorry) we’ve seen, the gold bugs are prospecting for inflation in “them there hills.”

 (Chart unavailable in text format.)

An asset so loved, yet couldn’t seem to get back to $1,000 on financial Armageddon will be there soon and rocket to the moon on hyperinflation—so goes the gold bug chant.  Possible?  You bet.  Likely?  No clue.  Implication for the dollar?  Almost as clueless as the correlation between gold and the buck has gone a bit haywire lately.  As per usual, we could build a scenario either way, and have.  We have little confidence in either at the moment. 
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Now something that we do like, and shared with our paid-up Members yesterday is he Polish zloty.  Lots of “ifs” as usual, and no guarantees…if this present stressed-out euphoria lasts, and if Europe becomes enthused with the idea German exports will continue to rebound, and if credit spreads continue to fall, and if the USD – Polish Zloty pair can break key support as seen in the chart below (38% retrace), we think it will be a very decent trade.  You can see how badly the Zloty has been damaged since the start of the credit crunch (and rightly so).  There’s plenty of ground to make up on signs of (perceived or real) global healing.

USD- Polish Zloty Daily:
 (Chart unavailable in text format.)

Stay tuned.

Oh, and did we mention non-farm payrolls due at 8:30 a.m. EST?

Have a great stress-free weekend.

Click here to sample our Currency Strategist service

Jack Crooks
Black Swan Capital LLC


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