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Thursday March 25, 2010 - 01:39:47 GMT
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Stocks tread Water in Limited Reaction to Greek Fiscal Woes

U.S. stock indices traded in a tight, inside range despite potentially bearish pressure from plunging higher yielding currencies and commodities. Either stock traders clearly believe that the economy will benefit from the European financial woes or bullish traders are being set up for a possible 8 to 10% correction.


The June E-mini S&P 500 looks vulnerable to the downside after failing to take out the high of the week at 1070.50. Although pressure was mounting throughout the day to break this market, bearish traders failed to trigger an acceleration to the downside as strong bids held this market up. If this market is going to break then shorts may have used Wednesday as a day to distribute more stock before the impending break.


The chart formation indicates that a break through 1146.75 will turn the daily main trend to down. The short-term downside target is 1125.25.


June Treasury Bonds closed sharply lower and changed the main trend to down when it broke through 115’27. A 50% level was tested at 115’24, temporarily preventing an all out collapse. A break through this level means 115’06 will be next.


T-Bonds weakened after several days of consolidation. While the media likes to talk about the stock market as a leading economic indicator, I have always maintained that Bond traders are the smartest investors in the world, and the overnight developments in the bonds suggest that there is risk out there despite what the equity markets are saying.


Pressure is mounting on the Treasuries because investors are driving up yields in the face of the increasing risk of holding on to debt. Everyone is issuing debt at this time from corporations to governments. Because of the increased competition, investors are in a position to ask for and receive the higher yields they desire. This should keep the pressure on T-Bond prices.


The stronger Dollar drove down June Gold.  Early in the trading session, this contract broke the late February bottom at $1088.50, but failed to attract the heavy selling pressure that had been anticipated. Although the initial reaction to the news out of Portugal is encouraging the shorts, if the situation becomes dire for the Euro once again like it did several weeks ago, then look for gold to find support from investors betting on the demise of the Euro. General demand for hard assets will help underpin this market should the Euro collapse.


June Crude Oil closed lower after a government report showed a larger-than-expected increase in domestic crude stocks last week. Additional pressure came from the weaker Euro and stronger Dollar as traders sold off higher risk assets. Losses were tempered by bigger-than-forecast drawdowns in gasoline and heating oil stocks.


The main trend is down on the daily chart and this market may be forming a secondary lower top. Should the Euro collapse further, pressure could spillover to the energy complex. The charts are saying this market is vulnerable to a correction to 77.28.


The U.S. Dollar Index rose to a new high for the year as demand for the Greenback soared following an escalation of the fiscal problems gripping the Euro Region economy.


Wednesday’s session began with the June Euro breaking through its recent low at 1.3431 triggering a sharp plunge after Fitch downgraded Portugal’s credit rating. Coupled with on-going concerns regarding efforts by Greece to obtain financial aid from either the European Union or International Monetary Fund, this latest development weakened the Euro throughout the day as the EU began its two day summit to discuss various bailout proposals.


Tuesday night Fitch announced it had downgraded Portugal one level to AA- and warned further cuts would be forthcoming unless the country takes care of its ailing finances. Although this downgrade had been in the market for weeks, Euro investors nonetheless applied downside pressure on the thought that the other credit rating agencies, the S&P Corp. and Moody’s, would reaffirm Fitch’s assessment. Furthermore, traders reacted as if this situation would spread to other sovereign nations as the European Union continued to drag its feet amidst the already dire Greek outlook.


After closing the previous day off its low following the news that France and Germany were leaning toward accepting a Greece financial aid package from the IMF, the Euro weakened shortly before the Fitch news on the notion that financial aid from an outside entity would appear to be a weak signal from the European Union. This was almost a complete about face from the scenario earlier in the week which helped push up demand for higher yielding assets and currencies.


According to the recent CFTC’s Commitment of Traders data, short traders continue to control the direction of the Euro. Although efforts have begun to curb excessive short speculation in the European single currency, it looks as if bearish speculators are in control and have called the direction of this currency precisely. Even if a financial aid agreement is reached, it seems that the shorts will be reluctant to budge until there is clear evidence that Greece and the other nations experiencing financial difficulties are well on their way to solidifying their economies.



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