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Thursday January 28, 2010 - 21:37:25 GMT
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Financial Market Fears Drive Stocks Lower

U.S. stock indices sold off as fear swept through the markets. News that Greece’s budget problems could escalate sent traders into the Dollar and out of higher risk assets. Lower than expected U.S. economic reports also contributed to the weakness as traders liquidated positions in anticipation of a slowdown in the economy. All three major indices are currently trading inside of retracement zones. So what may appear as panic selling to some could actually be a normal retracement.

The March E-mini S&P 500 has formed a range between 1148.00 to 1078.50. This makes 1113.25 to 1121.50 a potential upside target. The charts are also indicating a possible rally to 1842.00 to 1855.50 in the March E-mini NASDAQ and to 10371 to 10445 in the March E-mini Dow.

Despite the near panic selling in the stock indices and an increase in demand for safety, pressure remains on the March Treasury Bonds and March Treasury Notes. This could mean that the stock break was emotional. Yesterday’s Fed report signals that it is getting closer to hiking interest rates. The news that the Fed is going to end its quantitative easing program on schedule at the end of March could put upside pressure on yields. Tuesday’s closing price reversal top which started inside a major retracement zone is helping to pressure the March Bonds. All indications are for a possible break back to 116’06.

February Gold has had a volatile day. Overnight the market dipped lower, but then failed in an attempt to rally as the Dollar began to strengthen shortly after the opening. The trend is up in the Dollar which should keep pressure on gold, although oversold conditions make this market ripe for a short-covering rally back to $1119.10. A break under $1075.20 could trigger an acceleration to the downside. The bigger picture indicates that this market could collapse another $50 to $100 if speculators decide to liquidate positions.

March Crude Oil found support overnight ahead of the December bottom at 72.53. The test of this price encouraged shorts to cover positions while attracting bottom pickers. The fundamentals are still bearish because of low demand and higher inventories. Renewed interest in higher risk assets could trigger a short-covering rally however. The charts indicate there is plenty of room to the upside with 78.99 a potential upside target.

After trading relatively flat in the hours before the New York opening, the U.S. Dollar strengthened as sentiment shifted back toward safety. Late yesterday and overnight, the Dollar appeared to be ready to weaken as demand for higher risk assets began to pick up.

Early in the trading session, news began to leak about Greece debt concerns causing the U.S. stock market to sell sold off. The release of less than stellar U.S. economic reports triggered additional selling pressure as investors pared equity market positions in anticipation of an economic slowdown. This rattled traders who then began selling higher price assets while seeking safety in the U.S. Dollar.

The March Euro continued to weaken throughout the session while taking out sell stops under the psychological 1.40 level. Today’s selling pressure has been triggered by news that Greece’s budget woes have resurfaced. For several days, traders had become complacent while under the belief that a new bond issuance would make the Greek debt problems go away. 1.3800 remains the most likely downside target.

The British Pound is trading lower but remains inside of its five day range. It’s hard to tell at this time which direction investors prefer. Fear, and demand for lower risk is likely to drive the market lower.

Demand for safer assets helped the March Japanese Yen turn lower. Early in the session, the Dollar was rallying versus the Yen after completing a 50% retracement and a closing price reversal top. A sell-off in U.S. equity markets, however, sent traders scrambling for safety, sending the Japanese Yen higher.

Oversold conditions and profit-taking helped to underpin the March Canadian Dollar early but the sell-off in U.S. equity markets changed risk sentiment, triggering an intraday reversal. Look for the Canadian Dollar to feel pressure as long as investors continue to shun risk. Lower crude oil and gold are also contributing to the strength in the USD CAD.

The March Swiss Franc held could not shake earlier losses after an overnight break took this market through the December low at .9522. A new main top has been formed at .9647. This market is rapidly approaching oversold status and could begin a correction at any time. Watch for a closing price reversal to signal the formation of a bottom. This pattern is unlikely to occur today unless risk sentiment shifts away from safety.

 

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