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Forex Blog - Trade The News Weekly market update
- A holiday shortened week in the US still presented a full week's worth of news, with a significant development in one government financial program and economic data that raises questions about the timing of any recovery. Late Thursday, the Treasury announced the PPIP program, which was once expected to be a centerpiece of the economic recovery plan, would be launched with a modest $20B in public and private funds-a dramatic decrease from the $500B program it was originally slated to be. On the data front, the persistent battle between hard and soft economic indicators supporting any green shoots scenario remains a key theme as the third quarter begins. The week saw a mixed picture continuing to emerge but softer data was clearly dominant. June ISM manufacturing data inched up once again but remains below the 50 mark that signals growth, and many took notice of a decline in new orders. Economic optimism was forced to come to terms with the sobering reality of the US payrolls report, showing another net 467K jobs disappeared in June. Weekly initial jobless claims remain above 600K, highlighting the rational that US consumers might continue to save rather than spend going forward. All of this data came on the heels of an uninspiring June consumer confidence reading. With the big sell off on Friday's disappointing jobs data, equity markets were down for the week: The DJIA fell 2.1%, the Nasdaq was lower by 4.1%, and the S&P500 slid 2.5%.
- Despite a weaker dollar for most of the week, energy futures could not gain any ground this week. The IEA lowered its medium term oil demand forecast due to recession and stated that global demand would not exceed 2008 levels until 2012 period. Crude futures, after retesting the$73 level on an escalation of violence in Nigeria, moved lower by the end of the week after some demoralizing economic data in the US and Europe. A report on Thursday that a London-based oil brokerage fired a senior derivatives broker after allegedly detecting an unauthorized Brent ICE position on his book (equal to as much as $630M or 9m barrels of oil) may have also contributed to the late week sell off in crude. For the week front month crude fell 4%. Natural gas had an even rougher week, falling 11.8%, as it fell back to a one month low, unable to gain any traction despite being relatively cheap compared to oil.
- Ahead of the unofficial start of Q2 earnings season next week, a lot of action was seen in the equity market in the last four days. General Mills (GIS) rallied to fresh three month highs on a better than expected earnings release, while Apollo Group (APOL) gave the education sector a boost with a strong earnings report on Monday. Oshkosh (OSK) was a big gainer this week, rising over 30% after winning a $1B contract to supply armored trucks to the US Army. Force Protection (FRPT) and Navistar (NAV) who lost out to Oshkosh on the contract, both sold off sharply on the news.
- There was substantial news in the biotech sector this week. Biogen (BIIB) started the week off moving lower after reporting another case of the brain disease PML in a patient taking its Tysabri. Biogen's stock fell 10% on the week. Biogen's partner on Tysabri Elan also started the week off in a swoon, but it closed out the week with a surge as it announced JNJ would take a 18.4% stake in the firm for $1B. Sepracor (SEPR) stock was depressed after reporting disappointing results in a clinical trial for a compound meant to treat major depressive disorder.
- US Treasury yields entered the final week of the quarter at their lowest levels in more than a month. Coming off another round of surprisingly robust auction results, and heading into a week void of any new supply enabled the benchmark rate to test 3.5% on Monday. Prices came off mid-week around month/quarter end flows, and as traders postured prior to June employment data in thin markets ahead of July 4th. Payrolls missed improving expectations by a fairly wide margin reminding everyone the hole that the economy needs to dig itself out of is large and any recovery is likely going to be tepid. Risk aversion flows put a bid into bond markets following the employment figures sending yields back towards where they entered the week. Better demand has been seen at the short end of the curve with the 2-year yield falling below 1% widening the benchmark spread back towards 250 basis points.
- When traders return from the long weekend their focus will likely turn to supply once again. Treasury announced $63B is regularly monthly supply to be auctioned off next week with the long end getting much of the attention. It is also worth noting that the 10 and 30-year sales each take place after the G8 meeting on Tuesday. Also watch June ISM non-manufacturing on Monday as another possible data point that could serve as roundup for the green shoots theory.
- In currencies the holiday-shortened trading week provided plenty of data releases and monetary events while trading in the context of month-end and quarter-end conditions. The dollar price action was choppy helped again by the reserve currency issue. Dollar sentiment remains subject to "headline roulette" on the topic ahead of next week's G8 summit. The upcoming summit will provide a forum for member nations mulling the idea of moving towards a new 'super-reserve' currency at some future point in time. Along those lines vague rumors that China would bring up the reserve currency issue at G8 hammered USD sentiment midweek. The greenback recovered on Thursday after a Chinese official commented that he was "not aware" of a plan to discuss a new reserve currency at the upcoming G8 meeting. Also numerous G20 officials noted that the dollar's reserve status was unlikely to be addressed by China at this time, and a Japanese official echoed that view affirming currencies would not likely be a major topic at the G8 summit. Even Russia (one of the most vocal on the reserve currency issue) stated that China would not bring up the dollar at G8, but did reiterate that it would purchase the pending IMF bond sale also indirectly highlighting the reserve currency debate.
- The initial Chinese G8 chatter helped push up the EUR/USD towards 1.4200 early in the week. Though the USD managed to offset losses against the European and commodity-related pairs, and move back towards last week's closing levels heading into long holiday weekend. Risk aversion flows helped the dollar and were enhanced by concerns regarding the sustainability of the green shoot theory following the US payrolls data. The JPY ended the week on a firmer noted aided by rising risk aversion as well. Dealer chatter also took note of new quarterly Toshin issues in which demand was practically "non-existent" with one dealer in particular noting that Â¥170B in issues had less than Â¥5B filled.
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