Global stocks continued to fall steeply on Monday after the trading week started with new lack luster sessions in Asia. Shares declined heavily in Europe and Dow Jones Industrial lost 0.94% adding to the 2% fall last week. Materials, industrials and financial stocks led by Bank of America ended in deep red, negative territory.
The technology heavy Nasdaq declined 1.04%. Equity markets regained some ground in the last half of the session, but the onslaught on stocks seems to be by no way over. Most of the gains after the last half years stock rally have been wiped out after the US Federal Reserve, FED, last Wednesday announced an end to the FED bond buying program of USD 85 billion monthly.
This monetary easing program has given stock markets added liquidity and taken them to new record highs. Capital has been pumped into the more risky emerging markets, which also have seen successful bond issues by in weak economies as Rwanda and Honduras. FED’s announcement has created panic like reactions and led to a flow of capital out of emerging markets and big declines in their currencies.
The last four days developments have grossly strengthened the USD. The DXY-index, a basket of currencies weighed against the Dollar, is at its highest level since June last year. A more optimistic business outlook from Germany has kept EUR/USD steady above 1.31. A decline below 1.3072 will, however, imply a strong bearish signal.
USD/JPY has also kept steady over the last 24 hours trading just below 98 Yen to a Dollar. The Australian Dollar has recovered 0.5% from the 33 month low following the bad financial news from China yesterday morning. The Aussie Dollar is extremely volatile to any changes in China. Precious metals continue to be under strong pressure set for new lows. The same goes for oil in spite of the tense situation in the Middle East.
The dollar surged to its highest level against Japanese yen in 3-1/2-year before US job numbers for February are going to be presented later today. USD stands at 95,43 yen up 0,6% since yesterday. It is expected that that the US economy last month created net 160 000 new jobs. The unemployment rate still stands at 7,9% far from the 6,5% which the Federal Reserve (FED) has set as target for ending monetary easing.
Investors waiting for more dovish signals from the European Central Bank (ECB) at its press conference yesterday was disappointed. The single currency posted its biggest rally this year and jumped more than 100 points against the dollar and stands at 1.3092 after flirting with 1.29 figures earlier in the week. ECB President Mario Draghi plaid down the threat of contagion to other euro members following the Italian political stalemate. Draghi stressed growing market confidence in the Euro which had EURO bears quickly to cover short positions.
The Euro skyrocketed 2% to 124,57 against the JPY. It stood at 118,74 last week. The 34 month peak of 127,71 set last month is thereby brought back in play. The rally might, however, be short played with investor’s attention back on Chinese trade data and whether the US unemployment rate will stay at 7.9%.
Bank of England (BOE) kept its guns yesterday and held fire on the expected more economic stimulus. The downward pressure on British sterling (GBP) continues, however. USD/GBP trades again below 1.50 after seeing some recovery yesterday. There is no change in the choppy trading pattern in commodity related currencies. Oil prices are steady. Gold fell back from USD 1583 an ounce reached yesterday to 1567 this morning.
The stock rally in the United States continue. Dow Jones ended at record high for the third straight day boosted by expectations of a pick-up in the payrolls report. Growth oriented sectors led the gains with strong jumps in Bank of America (up 2,9%) and JP Morgan Chase (1,2%). Worries about the path of US fiscal policy and the Euro zone crisis loom, however, in the background. For the moment the Bulls are in advance.