Tag Archives: forex news

Stocks Have Bottomed But AUD Hasn’t

The S&P 500 will continue to rebound after the post-FOMC rally but forex market risk trades like AUD/USD will underperform as the market adjusts to the zero-growth reality in the United States.

The FOMC decision set off a wild round of trading. In less than two hours, the S&P 500 traded in a 117 point range. Eventually stocks closed at the daily highs and pulled risk trades along for the ride.

Here are some highlights of the FOMC decision:

  • The Fed committed to keeping rates low until “at least through mid-2013”
  • Three FOMC members dissented to ‘mid-2013’ saying they preferred to keep the vague commitment to low rates “for an extended period.”
  • The Fed said growth so far this year “has been considerably slower” than expected. They noted a deterioration in the labor market. There is no longer any mention of “the recovery”. They also noted that temporary factors like the tragedy in Japan account for only some of the recent weakness.
  • Previously, the Fed said it expected the recovery “to pick up” in the coming quarters. It now expects “a somewhat slower” place of recovery. They compounded the downgrade by saying that downside risks have increased.
  • The outlook for inflation was downgraded.
  • The Committee discussed the range of policy tools available to promote a stronger economic recovery… and “is prepared to employ these tools”

The final point was key because it helps explain the rebound in risk assets. It sounds like the Fed has several ideas on how to boost the economy, if need be. The thinking is that after Jackson Hall something will be implemented. This was the course of action with QE2.

To us, a larger factor was the relative value of stocks compared to bonds. After the FOMC, ten-year Treasury yields touched a record low of 2.03%. Dividends on 22 of the 30 stocks in the Dow yield more than 10 years and the average yield is 3.26%. The market tried to bully the Fed into QE3. The Fed didn’t bite (yet at least) so the market took a second look at where it could stash its money and decided risk assets were still a good bet.

That’s the takeaway for the immediate term, but what about the next 4-6 months?

We believe the market is in the process of pricing in a long period of near-zero growth in the US — something akin to the Lost Decade in Japan.

The US government is tapped out and spending cuts will continue no matter the economic state. This will be a headwind to growth, cutting about 0.5% per year from GDP.

The Fed is tapped out as well. There is nothing the Fed can do to lending rates that will stimulate growth. Borrowing rates are next-to-nil and we they don’t have a mandate or the power to get the economy moving.

This scenario may sound negative for stocks but it’s not as bad as it sounds. 1) Companies with solid (A+) ratings can borrow at extremely low  rates. 2) The worldwide economy is growing, booming in some places. Multinationals are making a larger and larger portion of their revenues abroad.

In the forex market, this doesn’t translate into the ‘risk trade’. Slower US growth will hurt commodities more than corporate profits so commodity currencies will underperform. CAD is especially vulnerable because a) rate hikes are priced in. b) Canada is highly integrated with the US. c) raw commodity exports are a large part of the Canadian economy. d) Canadian house prices are overvalued.

The first thing to break down will be the carry trade. This has already begun and will continue as AUD/USD falls to 90-cents. The Canadian dollar will be the next to decline. Traders will increasingly look to emerging market currencies.


July Trade Review: AUD/USD (+92 pips)

Entered AUD/USD at 1.0950 on 26 July. Exited July 26 at 1.1042. Result: +92 pips

AUDUSD trade analysis July 26
AUD/USD 30 minute, July 26

Entered with no stop. Greatest open loss: 15 pips Greatest open gain: 110 pips

Sometimes a trade that is bought minutes or hours ahead of data looks whimsical but when it’s good, it’s often because it was set-up long beforehand.

I entered this trade because I became bullish Australian dollar after the RBA minutes on July 18 (my analysis here).

I became further convinced AUD/USD was going higher due to the breakout of the triple-top at 1.0789 on July 21.

AUDUSD tweet 21 Jul
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I was waiting for a pullback but I knew that I wanted to be long into the decision. At the same time, it was risky to be holding USD positions because of debt ceiling talks and volatility in markets so I minimized those risks by buying hours before the decision on the bottom end of the recent range.

“We’re sure that the record of 1.1012 will fall,” we wrote.

What I should have known better: If I would have thought harder and prepared better, I would have realized what the break above resistance at 1.0789 was forecasting and been ready to buy on the pullback to 1.0800. I also left some pips on the table by covering perhaps too quickly. Eco data is always somewhat unpredictable, so I should have used a stop, even though I was watching the decision.

What I’m happy about: The fundamentals and technicals aligned and I jumped at the opportunity. What’s better than that?


Euro Rebounds on Greek ‘Plan B’

Positive sentiment emerged in US trading on hopes that Greece will pass an austerity budget and news that Europe is working on Plan B if the vote fails. The euro was the top performer while AUD and NZD lagged on the day. Japanese retail sales are the highlight of Asia-Pacific trading.

EUR fell in early trading and overall sentiment was negative after Moody’s warned that deposits are rapidly being pulled from Greek banks but the trade reversed on talk that Europe may incentivize its banks to rollover Greek debt with a Brady bond-like structure. Greek PM Papandreou also predicted HE WILL HAVE ENOUGH VOTES to pass the austerity budget required for bailout funds. A vote is likely on Tuesday. The ECB’s Stark said the central bank is “very vigilant.” A JULY HIKE IS ALREADY PRICED IN but this helped traders feel a bit more confident about it.

US personal spending was flat compared to the +0.1% expected. Core PCE rose 1.2% y/y compared to the 1.1% expected. Although this is well below the Fed’s threshold, it is moving in higher and we believe it must fall below 1.0% before the Fed considers QE3.

Treasuries fell badly pushing yields higher by 5-9 bps across the curve. The selloff accelerated after a soft 2-year auction. The rising yields underpinned USD against JPY and CHF. Auctions continue on Tues (5yr) and Wed (7yr). The S&P 500 climbed 0.9% to 1280. Gold fell $5 and closed below $1500 for the first time since mid-May.

Comments from the Fed’s Kocherlakota (voter) did not relate to current policy, instead he called on the gov’t to lower the tax deduction on mortgage interest – something that has zero chance of happening in the next five years.

Japanese Retail Sales

Japanese retail sales are expected to be down 2.2% y/y in May compared with a 4.8% drop in April. PM Kan appears to be closer to resigning at the end of the current Diet session in mid-August. Nikkei News reports he has offered to quit once bills are passed authorizing a supplementary budget and deficit financing.