Asian markets (apart from India) have all moved higher today following the positive closes in
Europe and the US on Friday as optimism continues to build on the prospect that the US and
China will settle their trade differences. All the latest soundbites thus far have been positive
as those bilateral talks continue again this week.
That optimism has in turn has fed its way into higher oil prices with WTI above $56 a barrel
this morning. It’s worth remembering the very close link between the price of WTI and
equity market direction in play at the moment-something that I have commented on before.
In order to see just how close that is, please take a look at a chart tracking the most recent
price of the S+P 500 and WTI.
This chart is a bit scatty, but I think it’s nevertheless clear to see how the price of WTI (white
intermittent line) and the S+P 500 (yellow intermittent line) are continuing to move in a
highly correlated way. Personally, I could make a serious argument for why I think that’s
ultimately a flawed correlation, but maybe that’s something for another time. Meantime,
lets just take it for what it is!
Irrespective of all that anyway; the latest equity market moves, from a global perspective,
haven’t yet dented the demand for gold which rose further overnight, touching $1325 an
ounce and almost matching its Jan 31 high of $1326. Meanwhile the JPY hasn’t moved much
so that JPY/XAU correlation, that I covered on Friday, has shifted further out of sink as this
week gets underway.
The dollar managed to grab defeat from the jaws of victory on Friday as the EURUSD
reversed from what was a fresh 2019 low at 1.1234. The rate is back above 1.1300 in early
trade this morning as the price action looks like it stranded a few short EUR positons on
Friday. A similar price dynamic unfolded on the GBPUSD too as that reversed from an
intraday low of 1.2773 on Friday to back above 1.29 this morning.
Consequently, the dollar index has continued to shy away from breaking above its 2018 high
of 97.71. The price peaked at 97.37 last week and has subsequently backed off to around
96.80 this morning. In respect of all of this, and at this stage, these latest moves on the USD,
EUR and GBP look attributable to profit taking on long dollar exposure and little else as far
as I can tell. So, from a longer term perspective I don’t yet see any reason to diverge away
from a positive dollar bias.
So, as far as those equity markets are concerned, its still a case of prices correcting their
heavy December falls and I think that’s best demonstrated by looking at another chart of
the S+P 500- on its own this time.
This chart shows the price of the S+P 500 continuing to rebound and retrace its move from
an all time high last year (at 2941) to a low of 2346 posted at the end of December. As you
can see, this rebound has taken out several of the potential corrective targets and now only
one significant one remains- at 2800- the white parallel line that is next on the upside and
just above the 2775 close on Friday. US markets are closed for ‘Presidents Day’ today so we
won’t get a move above 2800 in any case later on, but it is nevertheless a level to be mindful
of because a significant break of this could mean we are in for a move back to the all time
Whilst I don’t personally believe the current environment is right for that, I do have to
respect the possibility of it happening. If it does, then it will have implications for the FX
market and the dollar and the JPY in particular.
Important Economic Releases Due this Week
19/02- 12.30am RBA February 8 th Policy Meeting Minutes
19/02- 9.30am UK January/December unemployment report
19/02- 10.00am German and European February ZEW Survey
20/02- 7.00pm US FOMC Minutes from January 30 th Meeting
21/02- 12.30am Australian January Unemployment Report
22/02- 10am Eurozone Final January CPI Reading
22/02- 1.30pm Canadian December Retail Sales