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  • European growth is 'on fire'

    In This Issue.

    * European growth surprises on the upside

    * Real rates drive currencies

    * US jobs data weak again

    * Norges bank increases rates

    ...
  • 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......
  • A New Year!

    * Currencies range trade... * With a bias to buy dollars... * Recession deepens in Eurozone... * India cuts rates... ** A New Year! Good day... Happy New Year! And a Happy Friday to one and all! A Fantastico Friday, I bet it will be, as most people are still on "holiday". I hope your New Year's celebration went well, mine did, spent with good friends, after a simply scrumptious dinner! Yesterday, we spent the day with friends again, as good friend Rick, had everyone and their brother to his new house to celebrate the New Year... I'm worn out! Good thing this is a quick shot work day, and then onto the weekend, because I'm spent! Well, enough of all that! The currencies traded in a very tight range on Wednesday, and I expect more of that today. The bias has been to buy dollars going into the year-end, and it looks as though that might be the case today, as there's been no data to speak of in the U.S., while the Eurozone printed a very weak manufacturing index report, indicating that the Eurozone's recession is deepening. Of course if we compared apples to apples the bias would be to buy euros, but since there hasn't been any "real" economic data in a couple of days from the U.S. this report from the Eurozone gets all the attention....
  • 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!...
  • Another Jobs Jamboree Friday!

    * A zero rate conspiracy? * Weekly jobless claims head toward 500K... * Turning Japanese... I really think so! * Mr. Yen speaks! ** Jobs Jamboree Friday! Good day... And a Happy Friday to one and all! I hope it turns into a Fantastico Friday, because it's not starting out that way. Technical difficulties would be the term used to describe my morning so far... I don't know if the Pfennig will go out on time this morning, as those "technical difficulties" have me working offline right now. But we'll see, eh? Well, it's a Jobs Jamboree Friday too! This should be quite the Jobs Jamboree too, as the ADP Employment report suggested the other day that this data could be even worse than the forecast -200K job losses for October. There have been more job losses in 2008, than you can shake a stick at, but yet the beat goes on for the dollar. Coming To America is the theme playing out in the currencies... Of which, I've explained over and over again, until I sound like a broken record....
  • Heading Towards Zero...

    * Fed cuts rates 50 BPS! * Currencies rally Big! * 3rd QTR GDP to go negative? * I.O.U.S.A. ** Heading Towards Zero... Good day... And a Tub Thumpin' Thursday to you! It certainly was a Tub Thumpin' Wednesday for the currencies, foreign stocks, commodities, and the Philadelphia Phillies! This by no means that the deep dense fog that has hung over the markets for 3 months has lifted for good... It did, however, lift for one day, and what a day it was! Oh, and the Fed did indeedly do cut their Fed Funds rate to 1%, which works out great since Fed Funds had been trading at 1% anyway! I had a reported from Dow Jones call me a few minutes after the rate cut and ask me my opinion on what the dollar was doing, which at the time was rallying back a bit... I said it looked like a classic case of buy the rumor sell the fact, that enough speculators were pushing the dollar lower ahead of the rate cut in hopes that a larger cut would be made. That, however, was not the case, and the dollar rallied... But only for about 20 minutes, and then it took a rid on the slippery slope, with the euro pushing to the 1.29 handle as I left for the day....