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Tuesday July 27, 2010 - 04:06:23 GMT
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New Home Sales Helps Dow Move Positive for Year

The Dow finished sharply higher after moving positive for the year. Slow and steady was the move on Monday as stocks opened higher then slowly built on their gains throughout the day buoyed by the news that U.S. New Home Sales beat estimates and FedEx boosted its forecast


Early in the trading session, stocks got a boost as investors were able to set aside risk because of the acceptance of the European bank stress test results. Some traders were worried that given the weekend to digest last week’s stress test data, investors would reconsider their bullish tone set in motion on Friday. This was not the case, as investors held stocks steady to better overnight despite widespread criticism of the techniques used to assess the solvency of the European banking system.


Technically, the September E-mini Dow Jones futures contract turned the main trend up on the daily chart with a move through 10367. The chart indicates the market is in a position to test the .618 retracement level at 10516 and the June top at 10536 over the near-term. The September E-mini S&P 500 turned its trend up on the trade through 1099.25. This market is struggling at a 50% level at 1107.00. Holding above this level could launch an acceleration to the June top at 1129.50. Finally, the September E-mini NASDAQ is in an uptrend on the daily chart. Holding the 50% level at 1875.75 could help drive this market to the 61.8% retracement price at 1917.75.


Cycle watchers may have been disappointed by today’s strong finish since several technical timers had been looking for a reversal top. Today’s action does not negate the outlook however as several key cycles are also set to converge later in the week. Continue to watch for higher-highs, but become cautious if an intraday reversal top develops.


While equity traders looked at today’s New Home Sales Report as friendly, Treasury Bonds and Notes rallied on the news. A one-month bounce off of last month’s low was not enough to convince investors that interest rates would rise because of the news. In fact, the Treasurys are still suggesting the possibility of a double-dip recession because of the recent weak economic reports as well as Fed Chairman Bernanke’s bearish testimony.


Longer-term investors are pricing in the possibility of the first rate hike in years by the Fed in September 2011. This clearly shows the market still does not have strong confidence in the economy. This logic flies in the face of the stock market rally which is being driven by better than expected earnings and revenues. The question is what is the best indication of the state of the economy, the broad-based economic reports or the earnings outlooks.


The Australian Dollar surged on Monday as rising equity markets drove up demand for higher yielding assets. Traders are also chasing the higher yield in Australia due to the weaker outlook for the U.S. economy.


Early Monday morning, the Aussie’s rally slowed a bit due to a disappointing Producer Price Index report. The PPI rose 1.0% compared with a forecast 1.5% rise. After a slight retreat from the early session high, the market regained its momentum to test .9000 in the U.S. session for the first time since the middle of May.


Although initially concerned with the modest gain in the PPI, traders quickly turned their focus on Wednesday’s Consumer Price Index. Traders are looking for this report to show an increase of 0.8%, keeping in line with the Reserve Bank of Australia’s overall target band of 2% to 3%. A report greater than the estimate could be the trigger which gives the RBA a reason to hike its benchmark rate once again at the next policymakers meeting on August 3.


The RBA has been on the sidelines since May, choosing to ignore the economy over the short-term because of the financial problems in Europe at the time. Now that is seems the European financial system is sound, the RBA will shift sentiment back to the economy. The Australian economy has been strong but traders will have to decide on Wednesday whether it has been strong enough to warrant another rate hike based on the inflation data. A spike in consumer prices will put inflation over the target band, setting the table for a 25 basis point hike to 4.75%.


Despite questions about how the European bank stress tests were conducted, investors seemed satisfied enough with the results early Monday morning to underpin the Euro while waiting for fresh news regarding the U.S. housing market.


Following the release of U.S. new home sales data which saw an increase in June by more than economists had forecast, the Euro rallied and is now pressing a minor .618 retracement level at 1.2998. This puts this pair in a position to challenge last week’s high at 1.3028. 


Stocks extended their gains following the housing report, driving up demand for higher risk assets, helping the Euro maintain the upward momentum which helped drive the market higher late last week.


The British Pound finished higher but momentum slowed when the market neared a weekly swing top at 1.5523. A breakout over this level will turn the main trend up and set up a possible acceleration to a major 50% retracement level at 1.5635.


Fundamentally the Sterling is being driven higher by last week’s release of better than expected second quarter GDP. Last week’s news that the U.K. economy expanded by a strong 1.1 percent was a sign the economy was more stable than previously estimated. This news led some investors to believe that the Bank of England will have to seriously consider raising its benchmark interest rate sooner than expected.


As the Pound approaches a key retracement level at 1.5635, investors have to realize that the second quarter expansion took place before the government implemented its proposed deep spending cuts and tax hikes. The biggest fear amongst bullish traders is that the government’s proposed austerity measures will curtail the gains that the economy is currently showing.



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