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Thursday March 4, 2010 - 00:43:21 GMT
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Fed Beige Book Triggers Late Session Equity Market Break

U.S. stock indices finished lower with the exception of the March E-mini S&P after failing to hold on to earlier gains. The break late in the session coincided with the release of Fed’s Beige book. At first trader reaction to the report was non-committal as it offered no new bullish economic news. After a delayed response, a sell-off began as if traders were saying “no bullish news is bad news”.

 

Earlier in the session, U.S. equity markets surged to the upside following the release of a better than expected ADP jobs report and a much improved ISM Services Index. The ADP figure came out at the low end of the range which gave investors a reason to believe that Friday’s Non-Farm Payroll figure may also show an improvement in the U.S. jobs situation.

 

The reversal to the downside in the NASDAQ and Dow could have been triggered by overbought conditions or position evening ahead of Friday’s Non-Farm Payrolls Report. The current chart set up makes the market vulnerable for a correction to the downside, but not necessary a change in trend.

 

Treasury markets weakened after U.S. jobs data showed improvement from the previous month and the ISM Services Index rose more than expected. Traders saw this as a sign that the U.S. economy is improving which could mean the Fed hikes rates sooner than expected. Investors also may have pared positions ahead of Friday’s Non-Farm Payrolls Report. Technically, the charts indicate a move to 116’04 is likely over the near-term.

 

April Gold rallied through and held a key 50% level at $1136.75. The current chart formation suggests that holding this level could trigger a further rally to the .618 retracement price at $1158.50. The direction of the Dollar will dictate the next move in Gold. May Silver turned the main trend higher on the trade through $16.96. Regaining the technical level at $17.09 was a sign of strength with $17.66 the next upside target.

 

Technically, the crude oil charts indicates plenty of room to the upside. Fundamentally, the weaker Dollar is helping to boost demand for commodities, but the increase in weekly crude oil inventories may be limiting the upside momentum.

 

On Wednesday, the U.S. Dollar lost ground to every major currency except the New Zealand Dollar. Early selling pressure triggered a change in trend when this index took out the last main top at 80.14. In the process a new lower top was formed at 81.34. The charts are indicating a break to 77.86 is possible over the near-term.

 

The March Euro rose on Wednesday to its highest level since February 17th after traders covered short positions and aggressive investors went long following the announcement that Greece managed to make additional budget cuts while increasing taxes in an attempt to shore up its dismal budget and gain favors from the European Union.

 

Greece’s new fiscal responsibility plan drew positive comments from Luxembourg’s Jean-Claude Juncker who said “Greece’s ambitious program to correct its fiscal imbalances is now credibly on track.”

 

Technically, the Euro turned the main trend to up on the daily chart for the first time since December 7th when the currency crossed the last main top at 1.3692. The action by Greece and the possibility of new government regulation of hedge funds could trigger a massive short-covering rally over the short-run to 1.4009. This is possible if a sizeable amount of the 50,000+ open shorts decide to cover their positions at the same time. Often, news driven downtrends end with the majority of the traders running for cover through one exit.

 

The strengthening Euro triggered some light short-covering in the March British Pound. This current move is not expected to lead to a change in trend however. The British Pound remains the weakest currency because of the U.K.’s wide budget deficit, soft monetary policy and political uncertainty.  Traders pared short positions on the belief that Greece would finally receive some bailout money from Germany and France.

 

The March Japanese Yen closed higher after taking out the last main top at 1.1295. A follow-through to the upside will trigger a test of the.618 retracement level at 1.1356. This market was strong despite increasing demand for risky assets. I’m still confused about the move in the Japanese Yen. What I think is happening is the Yen isn’t getting stronger, the Dollar is getting weaker.

 

The March Swiss Franc closed higher as traders bought the currency on the idea that a rally in the Euro would diminish the need for the Swiss National Bank to flood the market with cash in an effort to protect its export sector. Upside momentum could take this market to .9526 over the short-run.

 

The March Canadian Dollar continued its uptrend on Wednesday, encouraged by speculation that the Bank of Canada may raise interest rates sometime after June. Trader sentiment shifted to the long side of this contract after the Canadian government released a better than expected Fourth Quarter GDP Report earlier in the week. Upside momentum is building which puts this market in a position to test the January top at .9780.

 

The market is also rapidly approaching an area which previously raised concerns at the Bank of Canada. The BoC was concerned that the rapid appreciation in the Canadian Dollar would have a detrimental effect on Canadian exports. Since the current move has been justified because of the robust economic growth, it will be interesting to see if the BoC attempts another verbal intervention or lets the currency seek its own level.

 

 

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