Economic figures were slightly dour in the US this morning as traders can’t seem to find any hope to cling to. The S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Index was better than expectations, but still turned in a negative number; the Richmond Fed Manufacturing Index missed with a print of -4, the worst reading since October of last year; and the Conference Board’s Consumer Sentiment Index declined to its lowest value since January. Add in the negative fog of the EU Council meeting later this week, and you would be hard pressed to find much to be optimistic about. Despite all of this, many risk based currencies are trading higher against the US dollar on the day, save for the EUD/USD which can’t seem to get out of its own way.
Speaking of Europe, there are rumors circulating that Moody’s will be downgrading Spain to junk status sometime today. Spain’s stock market, IBEX, has fallen off sharply, with Spanish and Italian 10-Year bond yields following suit. German Chancellor Angela Merkel has also set the expectation for the upcoming EU Council meeting as she was overheard to say that Europe will not have shared liability “as long as she lives.” Therefore, it appears the rest of Europe won’t be getting any water from that stone as long as Merkel is in charge, and the hope for a more unified EZ is slipping further and further from grasp.
As the day proceeds, the tempest that is brewing in Europe might outweigh anything else on the agenda. If Moody’s does end up downgrading Spain, the move might already be priced in, but will likely spike downward. Add in the fact that Merkel isn’t playing nice anymore; there is no reason to think that markets could rally. However, Merkel is not really saying anything that she hasn’t said before; she’s just saying it with more zeal toward her party constituents. Therefore some profit taking as markets touch lows could create a bit of a rally in the second half of the US trading session, much as it did yesterday.
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