Commodities, Equities Rise Overnight; Bernanke Likely to Move Markets
The U.S. Dollar is trading lower against most major Forex
markets ahead of todayâ€™s Consumer Price Index, Retail Sales and Business
Inventories Reports. In addition, investors are awaiting the testimony of Fed
Todayâ€™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.
Bernankeâ€™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 â€śextended periodâ€ť. 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 â€śextended periodâ€ť 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 todayâ€™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.
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 Moodyâ€™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 Tuesdayâ€™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.
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 morningâ€™s Retail Sales Report, look for the
focus to shift to Bernankeâ€™s commentary.
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