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Wednesday September 21, 2005 - 11:10:54 GMT
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Dollar Logic?

Key News
•Coffee Futures jumped as funds exited previously established short positions amid rumors that some coffee stored in New Orleans will be decertified by Nybot officials after damage from Katrina.
•Key reports due today (Global-View):
01:30 GMT- AUS- Westpac/MI July Leading Index
09:00 GMT- EU- Jul BOP
08:30 GMT- UK- Aug MPC Minutes
12:30 GMT- CDA- July Retail Sales
14:30 GMT- US- API and DOE Energy Inventory Surveys

“Explaining day-to-day gyrations in the Treasury market assumes a degree of logic to the process that may not exist.”

Caroline Baum

FX Trading
Let’s see: supply forecasts, demand forecasts, inflation forecasts, earnings forecasts, interest rate forecasts, and hurricane forecasts. Yikes!

Shortly after the Fed statement was force-fed through the Fed-cryptology machines, we were beginning to piece together a conclusion, or at least a seemingly intelligent conjecture: The Fed was more aggressive than expected.

Stocks sold off—especially housing stocks, the dollar rallied, and bonds, well, they are bonds; they do whatever it is they want to do.

Chart: Dow Jones Industrial Average Daily

Tops rarely end in a blaze of glory. It is a slow rounding over process on the longer-term chart—a series of sell-offs and rallies and tests of old highs on the near-term charts. How else would it be? The market needs to trap as many as possible near the top—so the smart money, whoever they may be, has enough buyers to distribute any remaining inventory.

Chart: Philly Housing Stock Index Daily

Is that a classic head & shoulders pattern shaping up in the Housing Stock Index? Stranger things have happened, especially when you consider Mr. Greenspan, oh ye who if you remember, not all that long ago, was telling investors they should move into “adjustable rate mortgages” to take advantage of low interest rates. (It was another stellar call by the Maestro that will likely roll down the proverbial memory hole.)

Chart: 10-year T-Note Futures Daily

Those short the bonds yesterday were thinking—Sweet! We got just what we wanted from Mr. G & Co. But of course that assumes there is some type of discernable logic driving the bond market. The 10-year note finished the day near its high, even though Fed Funds futures contract reflected two more rate increases for sure, and is leaning toward a third. As they say in current vernacular: Go figure!

Chart: US Dollar Index

The US dollar rallied initially on the news—shaking many (including us) out of an otherwise good position (measured in retrospect, the only way for something to qualify as good after taking a loss). No matter the dollar yield differential is now more positive and poised to become even more positive, the buck tanked during the Asian session, and was hit more in Europe. Do we dare conjecture on the logic here? Or do we just chalk it up to—buy the rumor and sell the news?

A basic scenario: Let’s assume the strength of the dollar will ultimately be driven by the strength of the US economy. And the strength of the economy will ultimately be driven by the strength of the consumer. And the strength of the consumer will ultimately be driven by the strength of his house. And the strength of housing will ultimately be driven by the height of interest rates.

So, as Mr. G & Co. ratchet up rates, the dollar is looking past differentials and focusing on the decline in collateral values, because the decline in collateral values is the precursor to recession. And future recession is a good reason to buy bonds.

That’s our story today (key word is “story”). Tomorrow’s another day.

Jack Crooks
Black Swan Capital


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