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Saturday May 15, 2010 - 02:31:14 GMT
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Stocks Finish Sharply Lower; More Downside Likely

U.S. stock markets finished sharply lower on Friday although a short-covering rally late in the session pared a decent portion of the loss. The indices accelerated to the downside after the Euro broke through last week’s low at 1.2518.


The move in the Euro began as a report that France’s president had threatened to pull his nation out of the Euro Zone. French President Nicolas Sarkozy’s comments reignited the fear of a collapse in the currency. Traders divested out of higher risk assets pressuring U.S. stocks.


Fear that the collapse in the Euro Zone will plunge the world into another recession weighed on investor’s minds as they pared positions in anticipation of reduced future earnings.


The drop in the Euro spread worry throughout the global equity markets which began to weaken overnight. This set up the U.S. equity markets for the break following Thursday’s closing price reversal top.


Technically, the June E-mini S&P 500 is set up to retrace at least 50% of the week-long rally. The move from 1056.00 to 1174.75 creates a retracement target at 1115.50 to 1101.50.


Pressure is on the June E-mini NASDAQ this morning. Thursday’s closing price reversal top sets up a potential break to 1856.00 to 1126.25.


The bearish closing price reversal top on the daily E-mini June Dow charts sets up a potential retracement to 10376 to 10251.


Stocks will take their cue from the Euro on Sunday night. The weak close in the Euro has this currency in a position to take out the so-called “Lehman Brothers Low” at 1.2329. At the time this low was made in 2008, the world was going through a credit crisis. Nonetheless, a break through this level next week could trigger a psychological breakdown in the equities as it will mean that the global economy is well on its way to repeating the same mistakes which triggered the start of the sell-off in late 2008 and early 2009.


June Treasury Bonds soared on Friday in a flight to safety rally. Based on the short-term range of 124’16 to 119’26, the market rallied into the retracement zone created at 122’05 to 122’23. With equity prices plunging and fear spreading across Europe, traders want the protection the Treasury markets offer. Friday’s action was relatively calm compared to last week’s movement.


The falling Euro and the strong Dollar did not trigger a breakout rally in June Gold as expected. This came as a surprise, but it could be related to margin calls in the equity markets. For weeks, gold has become the safe haven currency. During the Greece financial crisis, money was flooding into gold, driving it to an all-time high. At this time, Gold is barely holding onto its gains which could be a reflection of margin calls hitting stock traders. Traders often begin liquidating speculative positions to meet margin calls in investments. This may have been the case in gold this morning.


Technically, June Gold made a daily closing price reversal top at $1249.70. Although it doesn’t appear that the trend is getting ready to turn down, this pattern may trigger a correction to $1203.00 to $1191.90.


June Crude Oil collapsed on Friday on the Euro break. Bearish traders are becoming more confident that the problems in the Euro Zone are going to slow down demand for crude oil. Downside momentum suggests that 70.75 is the next target over the near-term. Earlier in the week, a report from the Energy Information Administration started the break with a report showing that inventories had risen more than expected.


The June Euro touched its lowest level since October 2008 on Friday as investors continued to pull out of the currency on the fear that political and economic problems will lead to a collapse of the Euro Zone economy. The rapid decline is pushing toward the so-called “Lehman Brothers Low at 1.2329. This support was established at the height of the global credit crisis and marks a time when a global financial disaster was avoided.


Although some feel that the world’s financial system is better prepared for a credit shock than it was back in 2008, a break through this level will have psychological ramifications as well as symbolic meaning. It will be used as a benchmark among global investors who will question whether the world has learned anything following one of the greatest financial meltdown’s in history.


Besides the risk of sovereign debt default, investors are now becoming concerned about the lack of activity and the inaction from the European governments. Once again investors are asking the question “where is the union in the European Union”.


The inability to stop the slide in the Euro by pumping $1 trillion into the economy with basically debt on top of debt has convinced investors that the EU has and had no plan to prevent the kind of currency slaughter taking place at this time.  Investors have grown weary of the reactive moves by the governments and want to see more proactive action.


From the start investors have been asking for clarity from the EU. No one wants to see a currency collapse, but without a firm plan in place investors have had no options to consider except to sell the Euro.


Friday morning’s selling pressure was rumored to have been triggered by a story in a Spanish newspaper saying that French President Nicholas Sarkozy was threatening to pull out of the Euro. Although his statement has been denied a few times this morning, traders don’t seem to believe the denial.


Although the French have denied the negative statement from President Sarkozy, the Euro continues to remain fragile. After Sarkozy’s denial, rumors began to circulate that serious discussions may be going to decide the ultimate fate of the Euro. At this time emotions are running high in the Euro Zone as it is becoming clearer that the financial cuts necessary to make Europe financially sound will have huge global ramifications.


Even former Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker has a gloomy outlook for the situation. On Thursday during a stop in London he said “You have the great problem of a potential disintegration of the Euro. The essential element of discipline in economic policy and in fiscal policy that was hoped for has so far not been rewarded in some countries.”


As support continues to erode for the Euro discussions will increase as to how it will survive when there continues to be such a huge disparity between those countries that have and those nations that have not.



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