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Movement Sparse as FX Markets Settle into Holiday Mode

Movement Sparse as FX Markets Settle into Holiday Mode

2011-12-23 10:13:00
Joel Kruger, Technical Strategist
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  • Expecting quiet consolidation is ultra light Friday session
  • Razor thin conditions could however open intraday volatility
  • North America economic calendar features Canada GDP and US durable goods
  • Looking ahead to trade opportunities in 2012

Although currencies have been bid against the US Dollar in recent trade, most of the price action can be classified as consolidative, with markets content on taking a breather into the holiday week. With Xmas around the corner, we do not expect to see anything too exciting from a price action perspective, and Friday should prove to be an uneventful day. Still, given the razor thin conditions, it won’t take a lot to move markets in either direction which means it is best to stay on the sidelines and avoid being subjected to violent intraday price swings.

Relative performance versus the USD on Friday (as of 10:00GMT)

  1. AUD +0.26%
  2. JPY +0.17%
  3. EUR +0.14%
  4. CHF +0.01%
  5. CAD -0.01%
  6. NZD -0.02%
  7. GBP -0.04%

On the data front, of the key releases in Europe was softer than expected GDP out of France. The data takes on added significance given that market participants are already nervous with the potential downgrade of the country at any moment. Also out in Europe were some disappointing Italian consumer confidence numbers and weaker UK index of services. Looking ahead, things pick up quite a bit into North America, with Canada GDP, US durable goods and new home sales highlighting the docket. US economic data has been quite solid of late and the improvement in the data has been helping to bolster risk appetite, inviting some welcome optimism for recovery into 2012. As we look to the year ahead, we take the time to outline what we contend could be a great opportunity in 2012.

Foreign Investment in US Equities

While on the surface, the recommendation appears to be non-currency specific, we view this as an extremely attractive opportunity for a portfolio hedge in 2012 and potential arbitrage strategy. Currencies have been broadly outperforming against the US Dollar in recent years and it finally appears as though this trend could be on the verge of some form of a reversal back in favor of the buck. However, long USD positions have also been quite risky and exposure to the Greenback might bring with it some unwelcome stress. As such, our recommendation is foreign investment in US equities. What does this mean?

Here is how we see this playing out. Should current correlations stand, if US equities are to head higher, then the investor will benefit from the US equity return, but at the same time, likely have his/her investment offset by the sell-off in the US Dollar and appreciation in his/her local currency on the resurgence in risk appetite and outflow from the safe-haven US Dollar. If on the other hand US equities head lower, then the risk off market environment will allow the investor to offset his/her loss in US stocks through the appreciation in the US Dollar on its safe-haven flows (remember – the investor in invested in US equities and thereby has USD exposure).

So if this is the case, then where is the benefit in this trade, and why even do it? Well, what if we see a break down in familiar correlations where the US equity market rallies and the US Dollar also rallies at the same time? What if we see a situation where US equities and the US Dollar become positively correlated? In this scenario, the investor stands to benefit a great deal and will not only make money from his investment in US equities, but will also enhance his/her returns on the appreciation in the US Dollar.

The global recession appears to be moving in phases, and with the markets now dealing with phase two of the crisis in Europe, we can start to anticipate the transition to phase three, where we believe that China, the commodity bloc economies and emerging markets will all be exposed. At the same time, we see a first in and first out type of situation, with the US economy the first to emerge from the global recession which should translate into a more upbeat outlook on low valuation US equities and the US Dollar as well, on a narrowing of yield differentials back in favor of the Greenback as the Fed begins to signal a reversal of ultra accommodative monetary policy.

ECONOMIC CALENDAR

Movement_Sparse_as_FX_Markets_Settle_into_Holiday_Mode_body_Picture_5.png, Movement Sparse as FX Markets Settle into Holiday Mode

TECHNICAL OUTLOOK

Movement_Sparse_as_FX_Markets_Settle_into_Holiday_Mode_body_eur.png, Movement Sparse as FX Markets Settle into Holiday Mode

EUR/USD: The market has finally taken out the key October lows at 1.3145 to confirm a lower top by 1.3550 and open the next downside extension towards the 2011 lows from January at 1.2870. Daily studies are however looking a little stretched and at this point we could see some corrective action before the market resumes its downward trajectory. Look for any rallies to be well capped in the 1.3300 area from where the next lower top will be sought out.

Movement_Sparse_as_FX_Markets_Settle_into_Holiday_Mode_body_jpy2.png, Movement Sparse as FX Markets Settle into Holiday Mode

USD/JPY:The market has managed to successfully hold above the bottom of the daily Ichimoku cloud to further strengthen our constructive outlook and we look for the formation of a inter-day higher low by 76.55 ahead of the next major upside extension back towards and eventually through the recent multi-day highs by 79.55. Ultimately, only a close back below the bottom of the Ichimoku cloud would negate outlook and give reason for pause, while a daily close back above 78.30 accelerates.

Movement_Sparse_as_FX_Markets_Settle_into_Holiday_Mode_body_gbp2.png, Movement Sparse as FX Markets Settle into Holiday Mode

GBP/USD: Rallies have been very well capped ahead of 1.5800 and it looks as though a lower top has now been carved out by 1.5780 ahead of the next major downside extension back towards the October lows at 1.5270. Key support comes in by 1.5400 and a daily close below this level will be required to confirm bias and accelerate declines. Ultimately, only back above 1.5780 would negate bearish outlook and give reason for pause.

Movement_Sparse_as_FX_Markets_Settle_into_Holiday_Mode_body_swiss1.png, Movement Sparse as FX Markets Settle into Holiday Mode

USD/CHF: The recent break above the critical October highs at 0.9315 is significant and now opens the door for the next major upside extension over the coming weeks back towards parity. A confirmed higher low is now in place by 0.9065 following the recent break over 0.9330, and next key resistance comes in by 0.9785. Ultimately, only back under 0.9065 would delay constructive outlook.

--- Written by Joel Kruger, Technical Currency Strategist

To contact Joel Kruger, email jskruger@dailyfx.com. Follow me on Twitter @JoelKruger

To be added to Joel Kruger’s distribution list, send an email with subject line “Distribution List” to jskruger@dailyfx.com

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