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  • Finally some positive news for the US labor mkt.

    In This Issue..

    * Finally some positive labor news...
    * ECB and UK rate decisions...
    * China to stress test banks...
    * Happy Birthday Delaney Grace!!...

    Good day... Thunderstorms are rolling through the St. Louis area this morning, and while we don't need the rain, the cooler temperatures they are bringing with them are certainly welcome.

    The dollar moved a bit higher yesterday as data released here in the US finally contained some positive news for US workers. The ISM's index of non-manufacturing businesses rose to 54.3 in July from last month's 53.8 figure. And more importantly for market psyche, it was well above expectations which had predicted a drop to 53. About 90 percent of the US economy is service related, so this number is more closely watched than the manufacturing reports....
  • Employment Disappoints...

    In This Issue..

    * Fundamentals creep back into markets...
    * Dollar gets sold...
    * RBA keeps rates unchanged...
    * U.K. makes right moves...

    Good day... And a Terrific Tuesday to you! Did you have a grand Independence Day Holiday Weekend? I sure did! I got to see two ballgames, one very bad, one good. Spend time with the kids, friends, and relax a little... WOW! Now that I think of it, the weekend was more grand than I first thought!

    The currencies traded yesterday, but in very tight ranges, as the U.S. was on holiday. This morning, the bias is to sell dollars, much like it was on Friday before the liquidity of Europe went to the pubs... Let's go back now, and revisit Friday's action...

    Well... More proof that the double dip is coming on Friday......
  • Roll call on the desk...

    In This Issue..

    * Roll call on the desk...
    * Markets believe US rates will move higher...
    * Loonie books a gain...
    * AUD$ backs off...

    Good day... The Pfennig inbox was filled with nice notes regarding the Christmas card we sent out yesterday. I want to thank Nicki Storm for taking the picture and creating the card and TJ Wolf for helping to get it sent out. Several of you asked for names to go with the faces, so I will list the names as we appear on the card. The great looking ladies from left to right are Jennifer McLean, Christine Peplow, and Kristin Kuchem. The men from left to right are as follows: Mike Meyer, Ty Keough, Aaron Stevenson, Tim Smith, Chuck Butler, Chris Gaffney, Don Ries, & John Kretchmar. Now you will be able to have a face to put with the voice on the other end of the line when calling the trading desk....
  • Thin trading brings tight ranges...

    In This Issue..

    * Thin trading brings tight ranges...
    * Searching for the exits...
    * Mixed data in Europe...
    * Yen and Real make strange bedfellows...

    Good day...We had a pretty quiet 24 hours in the currency markets, with the majors all trading in a very narrow band vs. the US$. We will probably have a few more of these days during the next two weeks, as currency desks are manned by the backups and trading thins out. Many of the institutional investors will be moving to cash in order to preserve gains for their year end statements, and individual investors will have the holidays to take them away from the markets. Occasionally we will get a rogue piece of economic data which shoves the market one way or the other, but we typically won't see any long term positions being put on during the last two weeks of the year....
  • ECB & BOE leave rates unchanged...

    In This Issue..

    * ECB & BOE leave rates unchanged...
    * Trichet makes a mistake in judgment...
    * Asian central banks defend the $..
    * Gold pauses...

    Good day...Had a horrible night here in St. Louis, as every one of our teams let victory slip away. As you all know, Chuck drove to Columbia to watch his MIZZOU Tigers take on one of their arch rivals in a rare Thursday night matchup. The game went well into the night, as it was delayed due to problems with the lights at the stadium, so Chuck probably didn't get home until early this morning. I'll have the con on the Pfennig today, but Chuck will be back in the saddle again on Monday.

    As predicted, both European central banks kept interest rates unchanged. The European Central Bank and the Bank of England kept their benchmark interest rates at record lows in an effort to keep stimulating their economies. Trichet signaled that the ECB has no plans to raise rates in the near future, stating that the current level is 'appropriate' for the current economic environment. 'The recovery is expected to be rather uneven,' Trichet said. 'It will be supported in the short term by temporary factors but will be hampered in the medium term by balance sheet issues at financial and non-financial institutions.'...
  • A Currency Rally Takes Shape...

    In This Issue..

    * Currencies rally overnight...
    * A$'s rally for 7th consecutive month!
    * Will the ECB be vindicated?
    * Sweden tries negative deposit rates...

    Good day... And a happy Friday to one and all! So, yesterday didn't turn out the way I thought it would go, but that's OK... I think my body is trying to tell me something, as I overslept again this morning! I'm heading out the door this morning to go 'fishing'... Should be a ton of fun, with neighbor friends this weekend...

    Well, front and center this morning, we are smack dab in the middle of a currency rally VS the dollar. It has all the makings of such, as the Japanese yen is getting sold, along with the green/peachback. The improved economic data this week, finally caught up with the dollar, as risk assets are back on the table....
  • Bad news for GM and Chrysler rallies the US$...

    In This Issue..

    * Bad news for car makers rallies the US$...
    * Yen comes back strong...
    * Singapore to devalue?...
    * German Chancellor Merkel gives warning...

    Good day... And good Monday morning to all of you. I can't believe March is nearly over, it seems as though it just started. March will end up being a pretty good month for the currency markets, as investors exited the safety of US treasuries and started moving funds back into higher yielding assets. But the markets continue to be volatile, and news released on Friday and over the weekend has sent these investors rushing back to the safe haven of the US dollar.

    The Japanese Yen and US dollar benefited after a US Government official said Friday that bankruptcy may be the best option for GM and Chrysler. The dollar continued to gain strength this morning after US Treasury Secretary Geithner warned yesterday that some financial institutions will need 'large amounts' of aid. When the Treasury Secretary says large amounts, you know it is going to be billions or trillions! Geithner was making the rounds of Sunday morning talk shows to try and justify the money already spent and prepare the taxpayers for another request of funds....
  • Geithner tanks the dollar, but then pushes it back up...

    In This Issue..

    * Geithner sends the dollar on a thrill ride...
    * A failed UK gilt auction...
    * China set to recover first...
    * AUD and NZD rally again...

    Good day... The currency markets took back what little strength the dollar mustered over the past two days with the Euro moving back above popping back above 1.36 and the Australian dollar moving back up over .70. The cause for this dollar weakness? Data released in the US yesterday was surprisingly strong again, so investors dumped the 'safe haven' holdings of Treasuries and moved money back into higher yielding investments.

    At one point yesterday the dollar index dropped precipitously (more than 1.5% in less than 10 minutes), and then bounced back up within a half hour. Jennifer McLean, who takes care of our currency trading while Chuck is away from the desk, said the sudden moves were due to Treasury Secretary Geithner's comments. Apparently Geithner was asked about China's call for a new international reserve currency yesterday at a NY event. He said that while he hadn't read the proposal, he understood it as a plan 'designed to increase the use of the IMF's special drawing rights. And we're actually quite open to that.' After hearing those words, currency traders immediately starting selling off the dollar. After all, if the Treasury Secretary of the US says the administration is open to a new international reserve currency, why do you want to hold dollars? I guess Geithner got wind of what he had done to the currency markets pretty quickly (the power of Blackberries!) and 15 minutes later he clarified his comments to say the US dollar should remain as the world's reserve currency....
  • A New Year’s Jobs Jamboree Friday...

    * Will the ADP report be a good indicator? * China to slow treasury purchases? * Gold as a store of wealth... * Dealing with the devil... ** A Jobs Jamboree Friday... Good day... And a Happy Friday to one and all! A Fantastico Friday, as it is forecast to get to 50 degrees today here in St. Louis. Never mind that tomorrow's high will be 29! It doesn't take away from today! What a trading day in the currencies yesterday... Whew! It's a Jobs Jamboree Friday, so let's not beat around the bush... It's time to Jamboree! Today is the day the Gov't prints the December Jobs Jamboree, and if Wednesday's ADP report did what they said it was going to, and that is change their methodology to mirror the BLS (Bureau of Labor Statistics) then this morning's Jobs Jamboree will be a nightmare. Of course not the kind of nightmare that the over 2.5 million people that lost jobs in 2008 had! I was once in those numbers, as our old Bank, Mark Twain Bank, was bought by a bigger bank, Mercantile Bank, and Mercantile decided after a few months to perform ethnic cleansing of Mark Twain employees... I called it "my retirement" but with a 3 year old at home and on my lap most of the day, "retirement" couldn't last too long! My point is that you don't know the emptiness and failure you feel when they show you the door... So my thoughts are always with those that lose their jobs......
  • Dollar bounces back up...

    * Dollar bounces back up... * Paulson heads back to congress... * BOJ cuts rates to below the US... * China to continue increasing the value of the Renminbi... ** Dollar bounces back up... Good day... The currencies took a breather overnight as the dollar bounced back up. When we left last night, the Euro was still holding above $1.42, but the single unit dropped 3 cents overnight and is now hovering around the $1.39 level. This move back down was to be expected, and serves as an excellent opportunity for investors who were afraid they had missed out on getting back into the currency market. I have searched the news wires this morning and can't find any good reasons for the dollar's turn around other than it had simply gone too far too fast. Mike Meyer and I were talking about this yesterday morning, as we were looking at the trading screens in amazement. The dollar's move down over the past two weeks was even faster than the move up earlier this year. Chuck had warned readers all during the dollar rally that the strength was only temporary, but the reversal was just too quick. This move back up is healthy for the markets, and will allow investors another opportunity to move back in....
  • The Worst Jobs Report Since 1974!

    * Will -533K turn to -600K? * A glimmer of light brings back risk takers... * Another week of data... * Fedspeak today... ** The Worst Jobs Report Since 1974! Good day... And a Marvelous Monday to you! What a Whirlwind Weekend for your truly, as it came and went, I did a ton of stuff, but no rest, and this morning, I was reminded that I had not gotten any rest! UGH! But! It was all fun! A great time in Jacksonville at the Headquarters' version of a Holiday Party... It was great to see the folks there that I know. OK... Did you see the rot on labor's vine Friday? The Jobs Jamboree was very unkind to many, with a 533K jobs lost in November. That number was the worst figure since 1974! The tally of 1.9 million jobs lost this year surpasses the losses of the past two recessions, and according to the Wall Street Journal, signals that the current downturn could be the worst since the years immediately following World War II....
  • It's All About The Jobs Jamboree...

    * Currencies rally then fall back... * Rate slashers! * Following Japan? Let's hope not! * Canada's woes mount... ** It's All About The Jobs Jamboree... Good day... And a Happy Friday to one and all! A Fantastico Friday! A Jobs Jamboree Friday! Anything else, Chuck? No, I don't think so, I'll stop there... It's all about the Jobs Jamboree today. It's all about finding out just how badly the rot on the labor vine has gotten... The Weekly Initial Jobless Claims, yesterday, remained above 500K per week, which doesn't bode well for next month's data... But first... November's Jobs Jamboree on the docket! The "experts" have forecast a -335K drop in jobs for November... But, your old Pfennig writer believes that this forecast is low. I think it will be closer to -375K... The reason I say that is the employment piece of the ISM report that printed the other day... The employment index of that report showed some real serious rot on the labor vine... I read a report last night, where an economist was attempting to show how the report should read -750K... As bad as -375K is, I don't think the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) would have anything to do with printing a -750K report!...
  • The NBER Finally Says So!

    * RBA cuts 100 BPS... * It IS a recession! * Paulson to ruffle feathers? * Yen to rally hard? ** The NBER Finally Says So! Good day... And a Terrific Tuesday to you! Quoting one of my all time fave Christmas songs, Baby, it's Cold Out There! Winter has arrived, and I had to drag out the big heavy winter coat this morning. So... The seasons pass us, which is a good thing, because without winter, we couldn't have spring, and spring training! OK... Right out of the starters blocks this morning, the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) pulled the rug right out from under the "high yield status" of their economy, with another HUGE rate cut overnight... This time, the RBA cut 100 BPS, to an internal cash rate of 4.25%. This brings the total since September to 300 BPS! WOW! Talk about effectively unwinding seven years of tightening! The statement following the rate announcement leads me to believe that the RBA is probably finished cutting rates for now... It will be a wait-n-see what happens globally, before the RBA entertains any talk of further rate cuts... At least that's my opinion!...
  • Employment Data Sends the Dollar Down...

    * Employment data sends the dollar down... * A divergence of two economies... * Carry trade reverses (again)... * The desk is back to full strength (almost)......
  • ECB and BOE Leave Rates Unchanged...

    * ECB and BOE leave rates unchanged... * Data not nice to US$... * NZD also leaves rates alone... * Oil hits a record......