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Friday March 26, 2010 - 14:27:57 GMT
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U.S. Equity Markets firm after EU agrees on Financial Aid Package

U.S. stock markets are trading higher after the European Union, led by France and Germany, agreed on a bailout plan to help Greece. The news spread quickly throughout the equity markets as traders covered short positions initiated after Thursday reversal to the downside. The early reaction to the upside could set the tone for the day as it may be an indication that traders will be looking for risk today, now that the fear of a breakdown in the Euro has been abated somewhat.


June Treasury Bonds are trading higher and inside of yesterday’s range. Overnight this market found support at a .618 retracement level at 115’06. Further selling pressure could force a challenge of an old main bottom at 114’15. Yields have risen quite a bit this week because of the increased supply of government debt hitting the markets. Not only is the government looking to borrow, but corporation have also begun to look for investors. This increase in competition for debt is encouraging the investor to ask for a higher yield. Today’s T-Bond auction results could move this market as well as the stock market this afternoon.


The weaker Dollar is helping to trigger a rally in June Gold. The main trend is down, so don’t expect this market to rally too high. Based on the short-term range, expectations are for this market to run into resistance in a retracement zone at $1109.30 to $1115.10.


June Crude Oil is trading firm this morning because of the weaker Dollar and stronger Euro. The main trend turned down earlier in the week, but there was no follow-through to the downside to trigger further weakness. Traders are ignoring the bearish fundamentals at this time and instead are focusing on the direction of the Dollar and events out of the Euro Zone. Look for this market to remain rangebound unless 83.80 is taken out on the upside or 79.77 is violated on the downside.


Although the Euro Zone situation will be on the minds of traders throughout the day, this morning, U.S. GDP and Consumer Sentiment could be an early session catalyst.  Economists are looking for GDP growth for the fourth quarter’s second estimate to be up 5.9%.  The University of Michigan’s Consumer Sentiment Index is expected to come in at 73.0. A downward revision will reflect the negative attitude of consumers without jobs. In addition, higher gasoline prices may weigh on the index.


After falling to take out Thursday’s low, the June Euro strengthened on the news that Euro Zone leaders agreed on a financial aid package for cash-strapped and debt-laden Greece. In keeping with its mandate not to provide direct bailout aid to a European Union member, the EU nations agreed to provide approximately $30 billion in loans should Greece have problems borrowing money to service its high debt levels.


Although this news has triggered a short-covering rally in the Euro overnight, traders are approaching the news with caution. The initial reaction is that the deal could ease tensions and calm fears that Greece’s sovereign debt problems will spread to other Euro Zone nations. Most traders do believe that this deal is enough to stop the slide in the Euro, but not enough to turn the bearish trend around.


At Thursday’s New York session close, such a bailout deal looked pretty remote. The Euro was breaking into the close of the session, driven lower by comments from European Central Bank President Trichet saying that a bailout from the International Monetary Fund would be bad for the Euro. His feeling was that help from the IMF would make the EU look weak and unable to take care of its own financial problems. Going home after the U.S. close, traders felt that a deal was far from being made.


Traders became more optimistic about the prospects of a deal when a plan endorsed by France and Germany was agreed upon. The new deal calls for a mix of IMF and bilateral loans.  Afterwards, Trichet embraced the proposal saying he was “extraordinarily happy that governments of the Euro area found out a workable solution.”  His statement amounted to an about face from a statement earlier in the day when he said that an IMF role in the funding of a rescue plan for Greece would be “very, very bad”. 


Trichet’s acceptance of the plan was mostly responsible for the overnight short-covering rally. His acceptance of the proposal helped ease concerns that Euro Zone officials would be unable to resolve the fiscal problems in Greece.


Whether a turnaround in the Euro today marks a major bottom is really up to the hedge funds at this time. Recent data suggests that hedge funds and large speculators remain net short the Euro in a big way. Until these large traders are forced to cover shorts or turn into buyers, expectations for a rally will be limited. The whole process of debating about financial aid for Greece has shaken investor confidence in the entire Euro Region.


Although the bailout news is triggering a short-covering rally overnight, the Euro has not yet even reached the old bottom at 1.3440. Regaining this price could trigger more short-covering, but unless this market finishes over last Friday’s close at 1.3529 to produce a weekly closing price reversal bottom, the Euro doesn’t look very strong yet.



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