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Thursday December 31, 2009 - 23:40:01 GMT
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Stock Indices Finish Lower for Week

U.S. equity markets finished lower for the week after buyers failed to surface following today’s better than expected U.S. Initial Claims Report. End-of-the-year profit-taking was most likely the catalyst behind the drop in prices.


The March E-mini S&P 500 formed a new main top on the daily chart at 1128.50.  Based on the short-term range, the first downside objective is 1108.50 to 1103.75.  There could be a technical bounce at this level but a break through it is likely to trigger an acceleration to the downside.  The main trend will remain up until the main bottom at 1088.50 is penetrated.


March Treasury Bonds penetrated the last swing bottom at 114’26 but closed off the low.  Traders sold off the T-Bonds following the release of the better than expected U.S. Initial Claims Report.  Traders felt that the friendly report indicated the Fed will be getting closer to raising interest rates. This market’s ability to regain the old bottom at 114’26 indicates that there may be one more surge to the upside.  This will only take place if the last main top at 115’29 is penetrated.


February Gold weakened a bit into the close as the Dollar strengthened but still managed to close higher.  The chart formation indicates the main trend will turn up on the daily chart, following a break out over $1114.50.  This move could trigger an acceleration to $1151.30 to $1169.30 over the short-run.  The key to triggering this upside breakout will be the emergence of new buyers between $1094.80 to $1090.20.


March Crude Oil closed higher in limited action.  Signs that the economy may be picking up, continues to underpin the market. $81.52 is the next upside target.  The first sign of weakness will be a closing price reversal top.  If this pattern occurs, then look for the start of a break back to 77.12 to 76.27.


The U.S. Dollar finished nearly unchanged in a volatile trade, highlighted by a choppy two-side market.  Late last night, the Dollar was down sharply against most major currencies on end-of-the-year position squaring.  Throughout the night, however, a support base was built as traders awaited this morning’s U.S. Initial Claims Report.  The Dollar surged to the upside following the release of the better than expected claims report.  Traders reacted positively to the good news as it indicated the economy was still on track for a recovery, and the Fed would have to consider hiking interest rates sooner rather than later.


Next week the Dollar faces potentially volatile conditions as the bigger players return to work after an almost two week absence. Trading could get wicked as traders position themselves ahead of the U.S. Non-Farm Payrolls Report on January 8th.


This report is likely to set the tone for the Dollar for several months.  Last month’s report showed a surprising drop in the unemployment rate from 10.2% to 10.0%.  Traders will be watching the next report to see if the last report was an aberration or the start of a trend.  The direction of the Dollar for several months will be decided by this report. A better than expected number should put the pressure on the Fed to begin raising interest rates before the start of the third quarter.  A bearish report will mean the Fed will wait until after June.


Technically, the daily chart is indicating the Dollar Index is ripe for a near-term correction.  A trade through 77.33 will turn the main trend to down and set up a correction to 76.31 to 75.80. Thursday’s sell-off stopped just short of testing the bottom at 77.33.


This morning, the daily chart pattern in the March Euro suggested the minor trend was ready to turn up on a trade through 1.4457, but sellers stepped in after the friendly U.S. initial claims report to pressure the Euro. No actual damage was done to the chart formation so the first upside objective over the short-term remains 1.4677 to 1.4786. Whether traders go after this level will be determined by a slew of U.S. economic reports next week especially the employment report on January 8th.


The March British Pound followed through to the upside after Wednesday’s spectacular turnaround.  The daily chart indicates that this market has room to the upside with 1.6351 to 1.6475 the next objective. The tone was firm today although the Pound closed slightly off its high.


The March Japanese Yen tumbled after a steady to higher opening and accelerated to the downside following the release of the better than expected initial claims report. This report signaled an improving economy and put the Japanese Yen in a position to weaken further. Minor resistance is being formed at 1.0886.  A break through this level could trigger an acceleration to the upside to 1.1024. The main trend on the weekly chart turned down this week when the market crossed the last main bottom at 1.0847.


The March Swiss Franc traded higher overnight but managed to take back most of the gain during the New York session as the friendly U.S. initial claims report pressured the market throughout the day. The daily chart indicates the minor trend will turn up following a rally through .9734.  The first upside objective is a retracement zone at .9806 to .9873. Taking out the bottom end of a retracement zone at .9603 will put the Swiss Franc in a weak position.


The March Canadian Dollar had an inside day, but closed lower. After a 50% correction of its recent rally, the Canadian Dollar saw buying pressure early but turned around after the .618 retracement level at .9574 was tested. Short-term support is at .9476 to .9435.  Investors seem content with letting this market remain rangebound albeit under volatile conditions.


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