Today's Markets

The combination of a negative surprise from ADP, a disappointing Chicago PMI and talk of MSCI rejig has encouraged the market to extend the short-covering rally in the euro, sterling and Swiss francs. With the fiscal year end repatriation completed, the yen has been under pressure and remains so today. Full liquidity will not return to the foreign exchange market until next Tuesday and this may also encouraged some position adjusting.

The weak data are helping stabilize the bond market (in the US and Europe). At the start of the week, we suggested the euro had corrective potential into the $1.3550-70 area. This still seems fair. The risk at this juncture seems to be on the upside. The key seems to be Friday's US jobs data. A strong jobs report, say in the area of a 200k rise in nonfarm payrolls could turn today's price action into a head fake. After all the ADP data is not seasonally adjusted. Nor does it include government workers. Both factors are thought to have bolstered the employment report. However, at this juncture it would seem that even a 100k increase would be disappointing. If there is disappointment, continued unwinding of euro shorts could push the euro through $1.36. A convincing move through there could target $1.38 in quick order.

We had expected sterling to rise toward $1.50. We under-estimated the strength of the short-covering rally. A move now above $1.5200 would likely signal a test on the $1.54 area. As we have noted, many macro-economic models are suggesting that sterling is relatively cheap. We have been more reluctant because of political considerations and the risk of a hung parliament.

Some technicals are suggesting that sterling has a double bottom in pace near $1.48. If this is true, the measuring objective, assuming a break of $1.54 confirms the move, sterling could be headed toward $1.60.

The yen is the only major currency the dollar is gaining again. The bears cite the low interest rates that are expected to persist in Japan and wider interest rate differentials. Many expect renewed Japanese interest in the high yielding markets, like Brazil, Australia and yes the dollar after the start of the new fiscal year. We had anticipated the dollar rising toward JPY93. We under-estimated the cross rate pressure that weighed on the yen. The JPY93.77 is the high for the year and is the highest the dollar has been since last July. If the JPY93.80-JPY94.00 area is taken out, the risk would extend into the congestion bans in the JPY96-JPY98 area.

My bigger picture and medium-term positive outlook for the dollar has not changed. Whether it happens in April or May, we suspect the US jobs market is turning for the better. I continue to believe the output gap closes fastest among the majors in North America, leading to rate hikes before the ECB, BOE and BOJ.
Today's Markets Today's Markets Reviewed by Marc Chandler on March 31, 2010 Rating: 5
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