Stock Indices tried to mount a rally early in the trading
session, but failed to hold on to gains by the end of the day. The markets were
trying to follow-through to the upside early in the session on the heels of
stronger markets in Europe.Buyers were reluctant to chase the indices
higher after news surfaced that the resolution of the Greek debt problems would
be delayed for a day or two.
The market strengthened a little after Fed Chairman
Bernankeâ€™s hinted at higher interest rates. Traders took this as a sign the
economy was recovering enough to warrant an exit strategy by the Fed. Look for
increased appetite for risky assets to send equity markets soaring once the EU
makes its announcement regarding its loan guarantees to Greece.
Treasury futures finished sharply lower following comments
from Fed Chairman Bernanke hinting at a hike in the discount rate. Although
Bernanke did not pinpoint when interest rates would rise, he did propose the
Fedâ€™s strategy on ending stimulus and hiking interest rates. Additional
pressure came from the increased T-Bond and T-Note supply which will hit the
market after the Treasury auction. Finally, if the European Union announces its
plan to help out Greece,
Treasuries are likely to feel more pressure because safe haven investors will
begin exiting their positions.
April Gold finished slightly lower. The stronger Dollar triggered
a profit-taking break because of the lack of follow-through to the upside
following Tuesdayâ€™s bullish move. If a favorable announcement regarding Greece is
reached over the next few days, then look for the Dollar to break and gold to
rally. The inability to break gold sharply lower is a sign that traders feel a
viable decision is imminent.
March Crude Oil bucked the trend in commodities and finished
higher. Oversold conditions and speculation that a solution to Greeceâ€™s debt
woes will be reached over the near-term helped to give crude oil a boost.
Stronger stock prices also helped crude oil at times but became a non-factor
once equities turned lower. Wednesdayâ€™s rally stopped at a .618 retracement
level at 74.78.
The Euro finished lower as the lack of concrete news
regarding the European Unionâ€™s plan to guarantee Greeceâ€™s debt caused investors to remain
nervous and skeptical that a resolution would be reached over the next few
The U.S. Dollar finished higher against most major
currencies except the Canadian Dollar. The Dollar opened the New York session overnight and managed to
hold on its gains throughout the day although earlier gains against the
Canadian Dollar were erased.
Once investors became satisfied that the EU would postpone
any announcements about the Greek deficit problem for a day or two, they turned
their focus on the testimony of Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke.
Bernanke gave the Dollar a boost after hinting that the Fed
was gearing to hike interest rates as part of its exit strategy. While most
investors have been trying to forecast when the Fed would begin raising the Fed
Funds Rate, Bernanke surprised everyone by stating that the Fed may raise the
discount rate charged on direct loans to commercial banks.
Although it finished lower, the March Euro closed inside
yesterdayâ€™s range. The chart pattern suggests that a supportive base could be
being built. Last weekâ€™s low at 1.3584 and this weekâ€™s high at 1.3838 are both
holding indicating impending volatility. Depending on the outcome of the
EU/Greece resolution, this market is set up for a break out in either
The March British Pound finished sharply lower. Spillover
selling from the weaker Euro provided some early selling pressure, but the bulk
of the selling came after the Bank of England cut its inflation forecast and
hinted at extending and expanding its quantitative easing stimulus.
Bernankeâ€™s comments regarding higher interest rates helped
weaken the March Japanese Yen. Todayâ€™s action was a pure interest rate
differential play. Gains were limited on the possibility risk aversion would
return to the markets if the EU was unable to come to a decision on the Greek
debt problem.If Greeceâ€™s problems resurface, then
look for investors to seek safety in the Japanese Yen.
The weaker Euro helped drive the March Swiss Franc lower as
it reignited the possibility that the Swiss National Bank would intervene to
weaken its currency. A stronger Euro will pressure the U.S. Dollar versus the
Swiss Franc. The failure to reach a resolution of the Greek debt problems could
put more pressure on the Euro tomorrow while helping to boost the U.S. Dollar
against the Swiss Franc. The size of the possible break in the Swiss Franc will
depend on how strongly traders feel the SNB will intervene.
The March Canadian Dollar erased earlier losses and finished
higher for the day. The U.S. Dollar posted strong gains early as traders
shunned risky assets and Fed Chairman Bernanke hinted at raising interest
rates. Oversold conditions were the primary reasons for the mid-to-late session
rally in the Canadian Dollar. Gains were further boosted by stronger crude oil
and a stable equity market.
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