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Saturday May 1, 2010 - 02:39:52 GMT
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Economic Reports, Goldman Sachs Pressure Stocks

Stock fell sharply lower after U.S. economic reports disappointed investors and rumors circulated that the Feds were going to look for criminal activity at Goldman Sachs.


Today’s break was initiated by a weaker than expected U.S. GDP report. Although the report showed that the economy expanded by 3.2%, economists were looking for an expansion of 3.3%.


Later, in the morning, a weaker than expected consumer sentiment report helped to accelerate the break. Some traders feel that although the EU and Greece are expected to have a bailout deal worked out by the end of the week-end, there is just too much risk in holding risky assets like stocks over the week-end. Additional pressure is coming on chatter regarding a possible criminal investigation of Goldman Sachs.


The Goldman news triggered a sell-off in the financial sector. Traders fear that a Federal investigation of the firm could tie up the company’s assets and hurt their market making business. In addition, investors feel that the revelation of problems at the firm are likely to mean more financial market regulations that could put restrictions on bank proprietary trading.


The main trend in the June E-mini S&P 500 is down. Friday’s failure to hold the 50% level at 1196.75 was an indication of weakness. It is possible that a secondary higher top has been formed. The close under 1212.25 helped form a weekly closing price reversal top which could set up the start of a 2 to 3 week break. The weekly chart indicates that 1134.00 is the next downside target.


Weaker equity markets helped drive June Treasury Bonds higher in a flight to safety rally. This week’s better than expected Treasury auction also contributed to the strength. The weekly chart indicates that a clean upside breakout is taking place. The next upside objective is 119’16. Treasury Notes and Bonds could both accelerate to the upside if problems continue to escalate in Europe and investors continue to dump stocks. Interest rates are usually a leading indicator. This week’s drop in yields indicates that there may be some serious problems on the horizon.


The weaker Dollar triggered a breakout to the upside in June Gold. Lower demand for equities also helped to boost gold along with lingering fear that Euro Zone problems are going to continue to put pressure on the Euro. Some gold traders still feel that Euro will be broken up if fiscal problems escalate in Spain, Portugal and Ireland. The strong rise in gold coupled with the sell-off in financial stocks is a sign of deepening concerns about the global financial system. Late breaking news that three banks in Puerto Rico went under is likely to influence the trade early next week.


Technically, the weekly breakout to the upside along with increased momentum could mean a test of the contract high at $1230.00 is possible next week.


The weaker Dollar and stronger Euro helped to buoy June Crude Oil. This market bottomed earlier in the week at 81.29 just as it was becoming apparent to investors that a bailout deal between Greece and the EU may be reached by this week-end. Bullish traders feel that a stable Euro will lead to increased demand for energy products. The oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico could become a bullish factor if it leads to tighter regulation of even a shut-down of some wells. This would disrupt supply which would mean more reliance on OPEC oil.


Despite signs of a bottom on the daily chart, the Euro finished lower for the week. The daily chart is reflecting a short-covering rally; the weekly chart is indicating that investors still lack the conviction to turn the Euro into a buy.


On Friday the June Euro closed up but well off its high. Although the EU feels that a bailout agreement with Greece will be reached this week-end. Some traders feel that there is too much risk to hold a long position until Monday. Most traders feel that more downside risk exists in the Euro because of lingering problems in the Euro Zone with Spain, Portugal and Ireland.


After an initial surge to the upside overnight, the June British Pound broke from its high. Traders were buying in response to the strong showing at the debate by the Conservative Party. Some traders felt that the emergence of a leader less than a week before the May 6th election would reduce the possibility of a hung parliament.


The British Pound began to weaken following the release of the U.S. GDP report. Although this report showed the economy had expanded by 3.2%, it fell short of the expected retracement of 3.3%.  For the week, the British Pound closed lower while changing the trend to down. Expectations are for this market to sell-off into the election with 1.5078 the next potential downside target.


Another victim of the drop in appetite for higher risk assets was the Canadian Dollar. Friday’s break in the currency was triggered by Thursday’s comments from the Bank of Canada’s Mark Carney. In what is amounting to a “verbal intervention”, Carney said that the high priced currency could have an impact on inflation and monetary policy. The Canadian Dollar stopped going up on his commentary, indicating that the BoC may be in the market attempting to curtail the Canadian Dollar’s advance.


Technically, the June Canadian Dollar is threatening to break hard to the downside. A break under the last main bottom at .9789 will turn the main trend down.


The June Swiss Franc closed lower for the week after a break to a 10-week low. The close back above the former bottom at .9185 was triggered by the turnaround in the Euro. Swiss National Bank President Phillip Hildebrand said that Europe must find a quick settlement to Greek financial problems in order to return stability to the region. He also said “Switzerland has enormously benefited from currency stability over the past decade. It’s obvious that a threat to this stability would pose big risks.”


Hildebrand’s comments signal that the SNB remains poised to continue to intervene by selling Swiss Francs in order to defend its currency’s stability and to protect the country’s export market. This means continue to sell the Swissy on Euro weakness.


The June Japanese Yen closed flat for the week but higher on Friday. After an early attempt to break to the downside failed, the Yen rallied sharply higher as the stock market deteriorated. The strong close indicates that further upside pressure is likely with 1.0749 the target. Watch for strength early next week especially since the U.S. equity markets posted major weekly closing price reversal tops. Traders are ignoring the weak Japanese economy and turning their focus on an increase in demand for lower yielding assets.




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