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Monday February 8, 2010 - 21:40:27 GMT
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Equity Markets Finding Support but Need Catalyst for Rally

U.S. equity markets are trading slightly better at the mid-session, but seem to be lacking a catalyst to drive it sharply higher. An easing of investor risk sentiment helped to support equity prices overnight, but the lack of follow-through to the upside, helped limit early gains. Traders are hoping for more concrete evidence that a resolution has been reached regarding the deficit situation in the Euro Region.

Appetite for risk is likely to rise once the situation in Greece stabilizes and the Euro begins to rally. Optimism that a viable solution could be reached to assure investors that Greece would adhere to its budget, should help to drive investor confidence up. It looks as if today will be choppy until investors decide whether to embrace risk or repel it.

March Treasury Bonds are trading lower at the mid-session. The overnight and midday weakness is being triggered by a combination of falling demand for lower risk assets and the new supply of debt which is ready to come to the market courtesy of the U.S. Treasury. Overnight support held this morning at a 50% level at 118’24. A failure to hold this level is likely to trigger an acceleration to the downside.

The weaker Dollar is helping to buoy April Gold following a strong overnight rally. Some traders also believe that the gold market overreacted to the downside last week. A combination of oversold conditions and a successful test of a retracement level at $1049.60 could help to give Gold a boost into the close. Furthermore, growing deficits in most major economies is renewing talk of a major developing inflationary situation. Some gold investors believe that central banks will be forced to print money to cover their deficits. This will weaken paper money, making hard assets more valuable.

The weaker Dollar and increased demand for higher risk is helping to drive up March Crude Oil at the mid-session. The supply and demand situation remains bleak so this market will be more sensitive to currency movement. Look for a surge to the upside if the Dollar trades lower into the close.

The U.S. Dollar is trading lower at the mid-session as tensions eased regarding the fiscal problems in Greece. Some traders feel that a resolution will be reached which may involve aid or stronger assurances that Greece will strictly follow its newly proposed budget.

The March Euro experienced a choppy two-sided trade early in the session. Continue to look for volatility, highlighted by a choppy trade until the European Central Bank, European Union or International Monetary Fund offers a viable solution to the Euro Region’s fiscal problems.

Volatility and choppiness is affecting the British Pound at the mid-session. Besides the weak economy, investors are now having to deal with the possibility that the U.K. will suffer the same fate as Portugal, Spain and Greece and have its debt rating reduced because of its huge budget deficit. Furthermore, news that the June election could result in neither party receiving a majority is also hurting the British Pound.

The March Japanese Yen is little changed at the mid-session, but this trading pattern could shift quickly if risk aversion returns to the markets. Budget problems in Europe, the U.K. and the United States may encourage traders to seek the safety of the lower yielding Asian currencies. The Japanese Yen is taking its clues from the stock market today.

The direction of the March Swiss Franc is being determined by the movement in the Euro. A weaker Euro will increase the chances of a Swiss Bank intervention, thereby strengthening the Dollar versus the Swiss Franc. A short-covering rally in the Euro will help underpin the Swiss Franc.

Stronger gold and crude oil should be helping to underpin the March Canadian Dollar, but it looks as if the choppy equity markets are exerting a larger influence on this currency. Look for the Canadian Dollar to remain buoyed as long as it is getting support from the commodity complex. A bullish turnaround in the stock market will help strengthen the Canadian Dollar late in the session. Some traders feel that dovish comments from Bank of Canada deputy governor Duguay are helping to limit gains. He reiterated that interest rates will hold steady until at least the end of the second quarter. Furthermore, he emphasized a weaker Canadian Dollar scenario is necessary to keep the economic recovery on course.

 

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