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Thursday April 22, 2010 - 14:04:52 GMT
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Stocks called Lower; Weak Healthcare Stocks Pressuring Equities

U.S. stock indices are called lower after a lackluster performance on Wednesday. Worries are the healthcare industry put a drag on the S&P 500 and Dow. Several healthcare companies issued lower futures earnings because of uncertainty over how much the new government healthcare plan will cost the economy.


U.S. stock indices finished mixed on Wednesday. While the NASDAQ remained firm throughout the day on the heels of strong earnings from Apple, the S&P 500 floundered because of weaker financial stocks. Traders were also nervous over the outcome of the proposed financial regulation bill before Congress.


Many traders feel that this week’s rally may have been too much too fast which could be the reason behind today’s slow trade. The question will be whether investors want to chase this market higher or wait for a correction before entering.


June Treasury Bonds and Notes continue to trade sideways to better. Traders are watching the stock market and the situation in Greece for direction. Gains have been limited because of the massive amount of debt in the system. Unless stock market volatility increases, look for Treasuries to continue to remain rangebound.


Both June Gold and June Crude Oil are trading lower due to falling demand for higher risk assets and the stronger Dollar. A new swing top at 84.64 has been formed in the crude oil. Watch for an acceleration to the downside if 82.05 is violated. The charts indicate that this market could test 79.17 over the near-term.


Overnight Fitch Ratings issued a statement which could weigh on the Japanese Yen over the near-term. In commenting on the level of Japanese debt, Fitch said the Japanese government “is one of the most indebted in the world.” It further added “In absence of sustained economic recovery and fiscal consolidation, government debt will continue to rise, placing downwards pressure on sovereign credit and ratings over the medium term.”


The initial reaction by traders drove the June Japanese Yen lower to 1.0716, but weakening demand for higher yielding assets helped the Japanese Yen recover as investors sought safety in lower yielding assets. Traders are going to have to decide whether to let the Fitch story dictate market direction or the stock market’s direction.


Technically, the June Japanese Yen is finding support at a retracement zone at 1.0741 to 1.0697. Additional support is at an uptrending Gann angle at 1.0718. A failure to penetrate the 1.0718 - 1.0697 support cluster could trigger a rally.


Downside pressure continues to push the June Euro lower but the overnight loss has been limited by an uptrending Gann angle at 1.3332. A break through this level could trigger an acceleration to the downside with the recent bottom at 1.3282 the most likely target.


Worries continue to mount about Greece’s budget deficit. The spread between Greece Bonds and German Bunds continues to indicate that there is risk of default. Yesterday this spread traded over 500 basis points. The


The Dollar rose against the Euro on Wednesday despite the start of talks to activate the loan agreement between Greece and the International Monetary Fund. Short-traders believe there is not enough money in this agreement to help Greece over the long-run. The sell-off in the Portugal bond market is a strong indication that traders believe this country faces the same dilemma as Greece.


After a healthy two-day rally, the June British Pound is under pressure this morning following the release of a worse than expected U.K. retail sales report. March retail sales showed an increase of 0.4%. The increase was less than economist estimates of 0.6%. Traders reacted by selling the British Pound as the report indicated the possibility of slower growth in the economy.


Earlier in the week, the British Pound rose after the government reported higher than expected consumer inflation. This news triggered a rally in the Sterling, but gains were limited on election concerns. Recent polls are showing the May 6th election may result in no party have a significant majority. This could lead to a hung parliament meaning legislation to cut the U.K. deficit may be limited.


Yesterday the June Canadian Dollar hit a new 22-month high but there was very little follow-through to the upside. This is usually an indication of an overbought market. Technically, the closing price reversal top indicates an impending profit-taking break which could send this pair up to .9929 to .9896. Lower demand for gold and crude oil should pressure this market today.


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