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Thursday March 11, 2010 - 00:44:37 GMT
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Stocks finish Higher after Volatile Session

U.S. equity markets finished higher after showing the first sign of volatility in several weeks. After a strong early session rally, selling pressure hit the market after the March E-mini S&P 500 failed to attract buyers after reaching its high for the year at 1148.00. The strong comeback rally and the failure to post a closing price reversal top indicates there may be enough upside momentum to drive this market through the January top until it balances price and time at 1156.00 on March 12th.

 

June Treasury Bonds traded lower after breaking through a key 50% level at 115’04. The subsequent follow-through weakness drove the market down to 115’27 which came close to testing the .618 retracement level at 115’24. Today’s T-Bond auction went off without a hitch and demand was strong. A weaker stock market will most likely drive up the bonds. A stock market rally should trigger further weakness.

 

Higher demand for risky assets and a weaker Dollar should have given April Gold a boost on Thursday, but this did not take place as the normal correlation relationship between gold and the Dollar did not work on Thursday. Downside momentum is building which could drive this market into the early March low at $1088.50.

 

June Crude Oil surged to a new high for the month after this week’s API report showed a smaller-than-expected increase in U.S. crude supplies and a big drop in gasoline supplies. Crude Oil will back off of its high if demand drops for higher yielding assets.  

 

The U.S. Dollar was mixed in light trading at the close in an unusual day as the normal correlations between the Dollar, gold and equities at times were not working. The lack of major U.S. economic reports this week is still influencing the trade although this will change with Thursday’s Weekly Initial Jobs Claims Report.

 

Early in the session it was clear that traders were looking for risk as the stock indices rose with the March E-mini S&P 500 reaching the high for the year at 1148.00. Strong demand for risk helped to drive up the asset sensitive Australian Dollar, New Zealand Dollar and Canadian Dollar.  At the same time, selling pressure was on the lower-yielding Japanese Yen.

 

The easing of financial tensions in Greece may have helped to give the March Euro a boost along with better manufacturing news from Italy and France. These events offset a weak exports report from Germany.  Trading has been light and choppy this week and is expected to remain this way until enough buying power can come in to pressure the short hedge funds out of the market. The Euro has been building a short-term base since last week when it bottomed at 1.3440 and topped out at 1.3735. The longer it takes to build this base, the stronger the rally will be once it begins to breakout to the upside.

 

The March British Pound traded weaker, driven lower behind the poor fundamentals.  Traders are most concerned at this time about the possibility of a credit rating downgrade by one or more of the credit agencies. Worries over the economic recovery, political uncertainty and the Bank of England’s soft monetary policy should continue to pressure this currency.  Traders defended the recent bottom at 1.4780, but at this time it doesn’t look like the main downtrend will be threatened.

 

The March Japanese Yen was down sharply because of greater demand for higher risk assets. Overnight the Yen felt downside pressure after China announced that both exports and imports grew at a higher-than-expected rate. The short-term picture suggests that a test of a 50% level at 1.1020 is likely. A breakdown under this price could trigger a further decline to 1.0941.

 

The rising Euro helped to support the March Swiss Franc. Traders are looking for the Swiss National Bank to announce on Thursday that interest rates will remain low while offering a more hawkish commentary. The SNB is most concerned about the impact of the falling Euro on its export market which accounts for 50% of the country’s economy. Gains in the Swiss Franc may have been limited by an intervention by the SNB earlier in the day. The charts indicate that the main trend is still up with the next major upside target set at .9526.

 

Falling gold prices and rising crude oil helped to limit the movement in the March Canadian Dollar. This market started out stronger because of higher equity and commodity markets, but it could not hold its gains after gold and U.S. stock indices began their sell-off.  The Loonie began to mount an intraday turnaround after a slight break of the January high at .9777 failed to attract fresh buying. Overbought conditions and worries that the Bank of Canada may issue a verbal intervention kept longs from pressing this market further.

 

 

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