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Wednesday April 14, 2010 - 15:08:13 GMT
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Commodities, Equities Rise Overnight; Bernanke Likely to Move Markets

The U.S. Dollar is trading lower against most major Forex markets ahead of today’s Consumer Price Index, Retail Sales and Business Inventories Reports. In addition, investors are awaiting the testimony of Fed Chairman Bernanke.


Today’s Consumer Price Index report is expected to show little or now inflation for the month. February Retail Sales are expected to show a rise of 0.3 percent after a 0.1 percent rise in January. If one takes out auto sales, the report should show a rise of 0.8 percent. This number should be the market mover today. Business Inventories are forecast to be unchanged in January after a slight decline in December.


Fed Chairman Fed Bernanke testifies before the Joint Economic Committee on the economic outlook at 9am CT. Traders are expecting Bernanke to say the economic recovery is taking hold but that the recovery remains sluggish. One key to his speech will be his commentary on the U.S. unemployment situation. Most analysts expect him to say that the recovery is not yet strong enough to drastically improve employment.


In addition to the weak employment market, Bernanke is expected to say that the U.S. still faces problems with stagnant wages, weak home values, rising foreclosures and hard-to-get credit.


Bernanke’s biggest problem remains how to sustain the recovery after massive government stimulus ends later this year. To help keep the economy on the path to recovery, the Fed continues to pledge low interest rates for an “extended period”. Traders will be looking to see if he hints the Fed is getting ready to alter this phrase in any way. Some feel the Fed may begin to hint at a more specific time period when rates are likely to begin to rise. Analysts have been critical of the phrase “extended period” lately because of its ambiguity.


Volatility could return to the Forex markets today after several days of inactivity. The past few days, traders have had no major U.S. reports to react to, but today’s slew of economic report should have an impact especially if Bernanke give clear signals that interest rates are set to change sooner than previously expected.


Greece news will continue to dominate the news regarding the Euro. The week started with a pledge by the European Union to provide loans to Greece. On Tuesday Greece auctioned T-Bills and the news today is that Moody’s warned of a ratings downgrade for Greece.


Some traders believe that Greece is in a death spiral and that no amount of aid will be able to stop the decline in the economy and its negative effect on the Euro. Even after Tuesday’s favorable auction, traders are still unsure as to how much Greece will need to finance its economy over the short-run. Most feel that Greece will have to tap some of the money pledged by the EU to run the government. How much they borrow and how often they do it will dictate the direction of the Euro. At this time, hedge funds continue to stand ready to sell the Euro on rallies. Until something happens to force these traders to cover their massive short positions, continue to look for downside pressure.


The British Pound is trading better overnight. Recent improvements in the economy have been helping to boost the Sterling, but gains have been capped by concerns regarding the upcoming May 6th election. Traders seem to be hesitant to drive this market higher until either political party provides a clear plan as to how it will handle the current budget deficit.


U.S. equity markets are trading better overnight. Traders have been reacting positively to recent earnings reports and diminished risk concerns. The weaker Dollar is helping to drive June Gold and June Crude Oil higher.


Following this morning’s Retail Sales Report, look for the focus to shift to Bernanke’s commentary.



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15:00 US- Existing Homes Sales
15:30 US- EIA Crude
Thu 21 Dec
03:00 JP- BOJ Decision
13:30 CA- CPI & Retail Sales
13:30 US Weely Jobless
13:30 US- GDP
Fri 22 Dec
09:30 US- GB- GDP
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