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  • Geithner tanks the dollar, but then pushes it back up...

    In This Issue..

    * Geithner sends the dollar on a thrill ride...
    * A failed UK gilt auction...
    * China set to recover first...
    * AUD and NZD rally again...

    Good day... The currency markets took back what little strength the dollar mustered over the past two days with the Euro moving back above popping back above 1.36 and the Australian dollar moving back up over .70. The cause for this dollar weakness? Data released in the US yesterday was surprisingly strong again, so investors dumped the 'safe haven' holdings of Treasuries and moved money back into higher yielding investments.

    At one point yesterday the dollar index dropped precipitously (more than 1.5% in less than 10 minutes), and then bounced back up within a half hour. Jennifer McLean, who takes care of our currency trading while Chuck is away from the desk, said the sudden moves were due to Treasury Secretary Geithner's comments. Apparently Geithner was asked about China's call for a new international reserve currency yesterday at a NY event. He said that while he hadn't read the proposal, he understood it as a plan 'designed to increase the use of the IMF's special drawing rights. And we're actually quite open to that.' After hearing those words, currency traders immediately starting selling off the dollar. After all, if the Treasury Secretary of the US says the administration is open to a new international reserve currency, why do you want to hold dollars? I guess Geithner got wind of what he had done to the currency markets pretty quickly (the power of Blackberries!) and 15 minutes later he clarified his comments to say the US dollar should remain as the world's reserve currency....
  • The Treasury Secretary rides to the rescue...

    In This Issue..

    * Geithner rescues the stock market...
    * Commercial real estate, the next big drag...
    * Norway: the new safe haven...
    * China pushes for a new reserve currency...

    It was a dramatic day on Wall Street yesterday, with the major stock indexes surging as much as 6 percent, including the Dow Jones which jumped more than 400 points. The reason for all of this euphoria on Wall Street? A combination of Geithner's plan to rescue the banks from the toxic debt in which many are mired, and a surprisingly large uptick in existing home sales. I touched briefly on the Giethner plan in yesterday's Pfennig and readers know I am more than a little skeptical about its possible success.

    But the housing numbers really caught me off guard. Existing home sales jumped a tremendous 5.1% in February, clearly above all expectations. But Chuck pointed out that the almost 1/2 of the sales were either foreclosures or short sales, hardly what you would call a 'rebound' in home sales! And these additional existing home sales came at deep discounts. The median price for an existing home fell 15.5% in February 2009 to $165,400 as compared to $195,800 in February of 2008....
  • High yeilders continue to rally...

    In This Issue...

    * High yeilders continue to rally...
    * Quantitative easing drives the markets...
    * Inventories to drive inflation...
    * Happy Birthday Chuck...

    Good day... I'm back from a long vacation with the family down in Florida, I had a great time but it actually feels good to get back to work. But before I get started this morning, I want to compliment Mike on what a fantastic job he did on the Pfennigs while Chuck and I were in Florida. Mike jumped right in and cranked out some great information, setting the bar rather high for me. We have a busy week ahead of us, so better get right to it.

    Currency investors continued to pull out of the dollar and move funds back into higher yielding currencies on Friday. The best performing currencies on Friday were the higher yielding commodity based currencies of Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa. Investors were eager to move money back into the higher interest rates available in these currencies as markets began to stabilize. With the Feds announcement last week that it will buy $300 billion of US government bonds, deflation is now a thing of the past. This purchase by the Fed monetizes the debt, basically pumping the cash directly into the markets. It is the most inflationary action the Fed can take, Bernanke has now put the printing presses in high gear. With deflation no longer a worry, commodity currencies have begun to look attractive again....
  • Up, up, and away...

    In This Issue..

    * TALF...
    * Dollar falls even more...
    * Commodities...
    * Still disappointing...

    And Now... Today's Pfennig!

    Good day...And a Fantastic Friday to you! It's the end of another week that not only brought us the beginning of spring but also a major shift in the currency market. The effect from the Fed's decisions on Wednesday carried over into yesterday's trading session with the dollar engaged in another large sell off. How long and how far would be the big question marks right now but until another major event comes along, the dollar should continue to get sold.

    As I just touched on, the dollar was still down and out suffering from a two day hangover yesterday as a result of the quantitative easing measures the Fed has decided to pursue. We also gained some insight into the TALF that I mentioned yesterday which is intended to resurrect both consumer and business lending. They will expand to accept securities backed by four types of loans that include leases of business equipment and rental car fleets, securities backed by loans extended by mortgage servicers to cover missed payments by homeowners, and securities for floorplan loans. The Fed also said that this announcement was a first step in expanding the TALF and that a number of other asset classes are under review....
  • A building block...

    * A quiet Friday... * Euro hits 1.30... * Chinese concern... * This week in data... ** A building block... Good day...And a Marvelous Monday to you. Its hard to believe that Monday morning is already upon us, where does the time go? Just as the currency market took a breather, our cold weather from last week decided to follow suit as it turned out to be a nice late winter weekend. Friday was fairly uneventful as the currencies traded in a tight range throughout the course of the day so it will be interesting to see how this week shapes up. Let's see if the currencies can build from last week...

    Volatility was basically non-existent during Friday trading with less than a .50% difference between the high and the low of the dollar index. The overall bias, however, was a weaker dollar and the euro held onto 1.29 for a majority of the day and was near 1.2920 as I left the desk. The pound and Swiss franc were the only two currencies left on the bench last week with losses of about 1% and 2.5% against the dollar respectively. The rest were able to turn in a decent week with the Swedish krona on top of the pile posting a 6.5% gain....
  • Auction Week!

    * Currencies have a mini-rally... * Deficits do matter, eh? * Turning Japanese... * Gold fails to respond... ** Auction Week! Good day... And a Terrific Tuesday to you! Sometimes I'm right, and I can be wrong, my own beliefs are in a song... I just heard that great old song on the radio, and thought, that's a great credo to live by... Oh, well... That's just me I guess... Let's go to work! The currencies, led by the euro, made a valiant effort during the trading day in the U.S. yesterday to mount a rally, and they did! They have gained even more ground in the overnight markets, with the euro trading with a 1.27 handle... OK, I hear you saying... But, Chuck, tell us what pushed the currencies higher yesterday? Ahhh... Grasshopper... Of course I'll tell you that! Let me first set the table with the background story, then lead into the real meat with a building crescendo!...
  • A change in the Trading Theme?

    * A change in the Trading Theme? * Gold rebounds Big time! * ECB cuts 50 BPS, as expected... * Lots of lessons today... ** Jobs Jamboree Friday! Good day... And a Happy Friday to one and all! It supposed to be 70 degrees here today, so in my book that makes it a Fantastico Friday! It's also a Jobs Jamboree Friday, and while this report is probably not going to be anything good, it will be Fantastico BAD! The experts have forecast a job loss in February to be 650K!!!!!! Six Hundred and Fifty Thousand did I say? Yes, sir, may I have another, sir? Well, shiver me timbers, this is just downright awful! And if it prints this bad, it will be the most jobs lost in a month since 1949! This is horrific, just plain horrific folks... And in my opinion, will NOT signal the bottom of the barrel for labor just yet... This thing has momentum and I don't think you'd want to step in front of this run-away bus!...
  • China Announces A Stimulus Plan...

    * China to grow 8%? * An end for Mark-to-markets? * What will the ECB do today? * Gold at a discount.... ** China Announces A Stimulus Plan... Good day... And a Tub Thumpin' Thursday to you! It's a Tub Thumpin' Thursday, because I woke up to see that my beloved Missouri Tigers had beaten #3 ranked Oklahoma last night! YAHOO! I had to hit the sack at half-time, so the outcome was in question when I went to bed. Great stuff! This was HUGE after being not ready for prime-time last Sunday against Kansas... Be gone you demons! You monkeys on our backs too! We just beat OU! Whew! A poet and I didn't know it! Well... We have the Bank of England (BOE) and the European Central Bank (ECB) meeting today. Look for rate cuts from both of them, as recessions are deepening in both camps. The BOE doesn't have many arrows in their quiver, while the ECB has held some in reserve. I doubt the ECB would go for a "huge honkin'" rate cut today, as they are normally more stick in the mud thinking... The BOE will probably move rates nearer to zero......
  • The Trading Theme Returns...

    * U.S. data prints awful! * Eastern Europe gets 24.5 Billion euros! * More Problems for Citi... * Gold at a discount... ** The Trading Theme Returns... Good day... And a Happy Friday to one and all! I'm going to go out on a limb and say it will be a Fantastico Friday! I don't know why, it's cold and rainy here, and we're supposed to get snow tonight... But Shoot Rudy, why not? Every day is a blessing, and Friday's are special! At least in my book! Well... Chris left me a note last night about the day's happenings, as I was "out of touch" all day. So... I guess it would be best to let Chris give us the recap on yesterday, eh? Here's Chris... "The big news on the day was the durable goods orders, which came in even worse than expected. The dollar had lost ground vs. most of the currencies up until the durable goods number came in. The bad data for the US sent the dollar back up as investors headed back to the 'safe haven' of US Treasuries. Initial jobless claims also came in well above expectations with continuing claims climbing over 5 million for the first time ever. Continuing claims have only climbed above 4.5 million twice since the data has been recorded. They hit 4.6 million in May of 1975 and again in October of 1982. These peaks were very short lived as the came at the height of these two recessions. The problem with today's numbers is that we are still at the beginning stages of our recession and the jobs numbers look to only get worse....
  • A Eurozone Bond To Compete With Treasuries?

    * The euro gets some wind in its sails... * Citigroup is seeking more bailout funds? * Gold hits $1,000! * The ghost of Humphrey-Hawkins... ** A Eurozone Bond To Compete With Treasuries? Good day... And a Marvelous Monday to you! Sure seems as though I went from Friday to Monday, as I went out of town this past weekend, and before I knew it, I was driving to work this morning! UGH! There was a rumor on Friday that really sent the euro higher, and there was another rumor this past weekend about the Asian currencies... So... Let's look at those two items and more of course, as we begin the last week of February!...
  • When Will Foreigners say "No Mas"?

    * G-7 kisses up to China... * The dollar swings a mighty hammer... * Eastern European loans weigh on the euro... * Gold kicks tail and takes names later! ** When Will Foreigners say "No Mas"? Good day... And a Terrific Tuesday to you! I trust your weekend was grand. I was lucky enough to have a 3-day weekend, and brother did I need one! Rest was the order of the weekend! Of course Saturday was Valentine's Day... Here's a thought for all us men that were standing in line at the flower shop... We need a "Hallmark holiday" where our significant others buy us tickets to baseball games! HAHAHAHAHAHAHA! OK... Well, Friday ended on a sour note for the currencies, and while yesterday was a holiday here in the U.S. the currencies continued to sell off, with the dollar swinging a mighty hammer. G-7 said very little about currencies, left yen alone, and praised the Chinese for their continued move toward flexibility of the renminbi......
  • Geithner's Plan Disappoints...

    * Trade Deficit to narrow further... * Currencies rally, then sell off... * Obama's stimulus loses backers... * Riksbank cuts 100 BPS unexpectedly... ** Geithner's Plan Disappoints... Good day... And a Wonderful Wednesday to you! Well... Tim Geithner didn't experience a Terrific Tuesday, as I had wished for him... And now, it looks as though the shine is coming off the new President as more and more individuals are "not buying" his appeal to the nation to get a stimulus package passed... The currencies rallied and then sold off after Geithner gave the details of his "new and improved" plan... We've got some potential market moving data printing today and more! So... Let's go to the tape!...
  • Talking Stimulus Deux

    * Pending Home Sales surprise! * Eurozone Retail Sales slump! * Tax cuts don't create jobs... * Failure to follow through for the A$ ** Talking Stimulus Deux... Good day... And a Wonderful Wednesday to you! Well... I'm here! The Orlando Money Show... And guess what? Looks like I brought that artic cold front that had hit St. Louis, all the way down to Orlando! It's cold here! UGH! Well, not "cold" like at home, but "cold" for here! OK... Front and center this morning, we had a stock rally yesterday after the Pending Home Sales data printed a surprise number. And since stocks and currencies have been trading together the past few days, (we talked at length about this yesterday) that meant a currency rally as well! But! Neither stocks or currencies could break on through to the other side, break on through, yeah! So... That left them vulnerable to profit taking, and that's exactly what we've seen with the currencies overnight. We'll have to wait a couple of hours to see how stocks open up......
  • Talking Stimulus...

    * A very tight range for currencies... * RBA cuts rates to historic low! * Spending that doesn't create jobs... * Gold see profit taking... ** Talking Stimulus... Good day... And a Terrific Tuesday to you! On the road again, I just can't wait to get on the road again... Yes, all my bags are packed and I'm ready to go! Won't be back until late Saturday night, and back in the saddle next Monday. And I'm leaving just in time, as yet another cold front has moved into St. Louis! UGH! Well... Let's see... What to talk about today? I could talk about the Aussie rate cut and stimulus package... I could talk about the "new and improved" stimulus package and all the "non-stimulus spending attached to it... I could talk about how it sure seems as though the euro, and then the other currencies, are taking their cues to rally from equities... Now, this is certainly a short term phenomenon because we all know that currencies have different pricing mechanisms than stocks, and a very low correlation to stocks, which is why they make excellent diversification assets, along with Gold and Silver....
  • Another FOMC Day....

    * Currencies rally... * Davos begins... * A new and improved stimulus plan! * Happy Birthday, Chris! ** FOMC Day.... Good day... And a Wonderful Wednesday to you! A very cold and snowy Wednesday here in St. Louis. I got caught behind the line of snow plows this morning, and it too me what seemed like for-ev-er to get here! Oh well, I'm here, so let's get going, eh? Well... The currencies saw some profit taking yesterday, only rebound overnight, which seems to be the recent pattern... The overnight markets participants drive the euro and other currencies higher, and the U.S. market participants sell the euro and other currencies... Makes you want to side with the overnight markets participants, eh? Oh well, the euro is trading with a 1.3255 look to it this morning, as I turn on the screens......