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Friday December 11, 2009 - 00:07:15 GMT
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S&P Finishes at 50% of Recent Range in Lackluster Trade

The December E-mini S&P 500 contract settled at 50% of the recent 1119.00 to 1085.00 trading range after failing at the .618 price of 1106.00.  Volume died after the opening and today’s session could best be characterized as lackluster and non-eventful.


U.S. stock indices traded higher but stalled shortly after the opening.  The strong price surge was muted when U.S. investors failed to chase stocks higher. The market could not get on track today, most likely because of valuation issues.  Traders have gotten used to buying dips, feeling that buying strength would expose them to too much risk. 


Although traders have apparently discounted the debt problems in Dubai, Greece and Spain, the fear that something may crop up unexpectedly kept most traders on the sidelines today.  News that Citigroup may pay back TARP money and issue new stock weighed on the financials because of the possible dilutive effect of such a transaction.


Stronger global equity markets contributed to the weakness in the Dollar early in the trading session as traders once again increased demand for more risky assets after reassessing U.S. economic data and the odds of an interest rate increase by the Federal Reserve.  This morning’s initial claims and trade balance reports helped trigger an early rally, but this news did not create the same upside momentum as last week’s bullish employment report.  Professional money managers are being careful with funds this late in the year and small investors remain absent because of risk concerns.


Stronger demand for equities supported the December E-mini S&P in tight range bound trading on light volume.  Yesterday’s closing price reversal bottom at 1085.00 was confirmed on this morning’s move through 1097.00, but the rally stopped at the Fib retracement price at 1106.00.


Renewed interest in higher yielding assets pushed March Treasury Bonds and Notes lower. March Bonds traded below critical support all day at 118’28 to 118’31.  At the mid-session, T-Bonds spiked lower after poor 30-year auction results were reported.  Investors are becoming concerned once again about the size of the U.S. debt and the Treasury’s ability to support it.


February Gold closed higher mostly because of oversold conditions. The key downside target remains $1107.40, but today’s trading action indicates this market may not reach this level before retracing the last downswing.  A strong break in the Dollar could be the catalyst which drives this market higher over the short-run.


March Crude Oil has completed a .618 correction of the 67.46 to 83.60 range at 73.63 but the expected technical bounce to the upside did not materialize.  A weaker Dollar and firmer equity prices could be the catalyst which fuels a short-covering rally back to the 50% level at 75.53.  Gains could be limited, however, because of bearish supply and demand conditions.


The U.S. Dollar finished mixed against most major currencies with the massive losses coming against Pacific Rim markets.     


Stronger global equity markets contributed to the early weakness in the Dollar as trader appetite for risk increased after investors reassessed U.S. economic data and the odds of an interest rate increase by the Federal Reserve. The inability to rally the stock market after an early morning surge helped the Dollar limit losses most of the day.


The December Swiss Franc traded sideways-to-lower following the Swiss National Bank’s monetary policy decision.  The SNB left its 3-month target rate unchanged while announcing plans to stop bond purchases. 


Stronger equity markets and a bearish economic report helped pressure the Japanese Yen   The drop in core machinery orders in October fueled speculation that deflation will undermine the economic recovery. 


The December Euro erased all of its earlier gains by the mid-session after traders became more risk averse due to the lack of follow-through to the upside in the stock market. By the close, however, the Euro was able to post a modest gain. This market clearly took its direction from the stock market today. 


The December British Pound moved lower shortly before the mid-session as demand for higher yielding currencies stalled, but ended up posting a small gain on late session position evening. This morning the Bank of England left interest rates unchanged while voting to maintain its asset-purchase program.


The December Canadian Dollar finished up but remained rangebound between a pair of 50% levels.  Better than expected Canadian exports helped maintain the friendly tone in this market throughout the day.


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