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Wednesday February 24, 2010 - 00:38:11 GMT
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Jittery Investors Drive Treasury Bonds Higher

Aversion to risk and oversold conditions helped give Treasury futures a boost. In addition, weaker than expected U.S. economic data, increased concerns that the U.S. economic recovery may be faltering. Some of the rally may have been short-covering ahead of Fed Chairman Bernanke’s testimony on Wednesday.


After a weaker opening, U.S. equity markets plunged to the downside following a so-so housing report and an unexpected drop in consumer confidence. Investors had been jittery coming into the reports, but pushed the sell button heavily once the results were revealed. Investors are also uncertain about the Fed’s next interest rate play now that they have raised the discount rate. The great debate remains, will they or won’t they raise rates in 2010?


The stronger Dollar and decreasing demand for higher risk assets helped pressure April Gold and April Crude Oil.


A surprise drop in consumer confidence in the U.S. and an unexpected fall in German business confidence sent the Dollar higher against most major currencies while the Euro weakened. Both reports indicate that there are concerns about the global economic recovery.


The U.S. Dollar mounted a strong turnaround on Tuesday following a weaker overnight trade. A surprise drop in consumer confidence in the U.S. and an unexpected fall in German business confidence reversed the Dollar higher against most major currencies.  Both reports indicate that there are increasing concerns regarding the strength of the global economic recovery.


The U.S. Dollar traded higher against all major currencies except the Japanese Yen as risk sentiment shifted back toward safety.  Investors bought the Dollar and the Yen as they scaled back their appetite for more risky investments.


Trading may be tight overnight because of Bernanke’s testimony on Wednesday before the House Committee on Financial Services. He is expected to address the jobs outlook and the need for additional stimulus.


The March Euro closed near the low and in a position to test last week’s main bottom at 1.3442. A trade through the recent bottom will make 1.3692 a new lower main top. Concerns are being raised over Greece’s ability to handle its ballooning budget deficit. In addition, the news that German Business Confidence unexpectedly weakened in February also pressured the Euro along with reports that the outlook for Spain remains bleak following reports that bad loans are likely to continue to rise as the labor situation deteriorates. Continue to look for more weakness in the Euro but be aware that China or Russia may be eager to protect their currencies by buying other foreign currencies. This could trigger a short-covering rally.


The March British Pound finished down but off its low. In addition, buyers came in an effort to save the currency from testing its recent low at 1.5336. The charts are indicating more downside potential is likely. Combined with the weak fundamentals, the Pound remains one of the weakest currencies.


The signs are there that the U.K. economy is still at risk for a protracted recovery. Additional pressure is coming from dovish comments from the Bank of England during its testimony before Parliament. Short-term oversold conditions could be preventing an acceleration to the downside however.


The March Swiss Franc weakened on Tuesday. Talk circulated that the Swiss National Bank may have once again intervened as the Euro weakened. The SNB is mandated to protect its economy and has been intervening heavily lately during the Euro crisis. At this time, the weaker Euro is putting Swiss exports at risk.


Jittery investors seeking protection against a decline in higher risk assets bought the Japanese Yen on Tuesday.  Short traders should be watching for a technical bounce in the 1.1074 to 1.1126 retracement zone. Downside momentum should continue once this zone is penetrated. Breaking back under 1.1074 could trigger short-term weakness.


The commodity-linked Canadian Dollar was under selling pressure all day because of the drop in gold and crude oil. Both precious metals and energy make up a large portion of the Canadian GDP so lower prices will adversely affect the economy. Tuesday’s rally retraced to 50% of the recent rally from .9274 to .9643.



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