Stocks are having little reaction to the events in Greece.
Treasury Bonds are also under pressure after a slew of stronger-than-expected U.S.
economic reports on Thursday triggered a reversal top. April Gold is trading
lower because of the stronger Dollar, but could turn around if the Greek
situation worsens. Profit-taking is pressuring June Crude Oil as well as less
demand for higher yielding assets.
Today is a quadruple witching day for U.S. futures
and options. This means that trading could be light and volume thin during most
of the session as traders position themselves for the close.
Since equities have been rallying, often there is a hard
sell-off early to help deflate call options. This has been followed in the past
by a sharp rally into the close. The key is to watch for periods of quiet
trading to be followed by volatile trading. Rallies and breaks may stop
suddenly for no apparent reason especially around strike prices. There are no
major economic reports due out today so the Dollar, at times, may influence the
movement more than usual. Based on the overnight action, it doesnâ€™t look like
stock traders are paying much attention to the Dollar, but this could change
throughout the day. It all depends on how volatile the Dollar trades.
Once again risk aversion is taking center stage as traders
are buying the Dollar and shedding higher risk currencies. The main concern
driving the Dollar higher overnight is Greeceâ€™s ability to obtain
financial aid. Traders are pricing in the strong possibility that Greece
will not receive aid from the European Union and be forced to turn to the
International Monetary Fund for help.
Although Greece agreed to austere budget cuts to pacify the
EU, it seems that despite these moves members still are against providing aid
to the ailing Greek economy. Greece
needs the funding to get through this difficult transition period but cannot
afford to go to the open market to borrow money because of the high interest
rate it would have to pay. The cost to borrow would be prohibitive and the
amount of money required to service the debt would cripple the economy.
Volatility is high because of the persistent rumors that
keep circulating regarding the Euro. New reports overnight suggest that German
officials have indicated support for a joint bailout of Greece by the EU and the IMF. The
dissension among the EU community is being triggered by the thought that
bringing in the IMF will make the European economy appear to be weak.
Additional pressure is being applied to higher risk
currencies because of the growing war of words between the U.S. and China regarding currency valuation.
is basically telling the U.S. Treasury to back off from calling the Yuan a
The March Canadian Dollar had a volatile morning after the
release of stronger-than-expected inflation data. The surprise increase in
inflation spurred speculation that Canadian interest rates may rise sooner than
rates. The Canadian Dollar is rallying on the news while upside momentum is
driving this currency closer to parity with the U.S. Dollar.
The March Swiss Franc is trading lower because of the weaker
Euro, but losses have been limited by comments from Swiss National Bank
Governing Board member Danthine. He said yesterday that the SNB cannot keep
borrowing costs near zero for an extended period of time and maintain purchases
of foreign currencies indefinitely. This hawkish talk strengthened the Swiss
Franc although it is likely to remain weak against the Dollar because of
persistent interventions by the SNB to combat its perceived strength versus the
The British Pound is under pressure. More talk of a possible
double-dip recession in the U.K.
is pressuring this currency. This report comes two days after the news was
released that the Bank of England would back off from extending and expanding
its quantitative easing program. Fundamentally, the British Pound is struggling
because of the weak economy, political uncertainty and concerns that its credit
rating would be cut if it cannot service its debt.
The March Japanese Yen is weakening ahead of a three-day
holiday in Japan.
Investors are squaring up positions in the Yen ahead of this holiday. The chart
pattern suggests that a break out to the downside is imminent especially if U.S.
equity markets break sharply.
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