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  • 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....
  • Game off for risk trades...

    In This Issue..

    * Dollar hits 3 month high...
    * Norges bank raises .25%...
    * Fed repeats call to keep rates low...
    * Inflation in India rises...

    Good day...And welcome to Thursday. Chuck started his Christmas vacation, so I have the honor of bringing you the daily missive for the next week or so. The dollar continued to gain strength throughout the day as investors waited on news from the FOMC. Overnight, Greece sustained another rate cut, this time by S&P, which caused investors to move back toward the 'safety' of the US$. The news caused the dollar to rally to a 3 month high vs. the Euro and post gains across the board. The currency markets are becoming a bit volatile again, and much of this volatility can be linked back to the return of a transaction which dominated currency markets over the past decade....
  • Increasing SDR Issuance...

    In This Issue..

    * Fed confuses markets, risk assets get sold...
    * SNB intervenes to stop franc's rise
    * ECB issues 12-month liquidity...
    * Bernanke to get grilled?

    Good day... And a Tub Thumpin' Thursday to you! Yes, I know the currencies and commodities got whipsawed yesterday, and my Cardinals got spanked, but that's no reason for us to not enjoy a Tub Thumpin' Thursday! Every day is a gift, and it has nothing to do with stocks, bonds, currencies, and commodities!

    OK... Not that I try to be philosophical, sometimes it just comes out that way! Besides, you don't want to think that I'm just a smart *** all the time! HAHAHAHAHAHA!

    Well, as I said in the open, the currencies and commodities got whipsawed yesterday, and the culprit was the FOMC minutes... You see, the Fed Reserve met to discuss rates, and other items. And what they said just blew away the bond vigilantes, and really ticked off the Hawks, but in the end, what they said, was really that things will remain status quo......
  • More Stimulus On The Way?

    In This Issue..

    * Euro leads currencies higher...
    * Commodities rally back on FOMC thoughts...
    * FOMC meeting today...
    * NZ Consumer Confidence on the rise...

    Good day... And a Wonderful Wednesday to you! Well... Yesterday, the title of The Pfennig was: So Far... It's A Turn Around Tuesday! And... That theme played well throughout the day, and by day's end, it had been quite the Turn Around Tuesday! Now, we have to see what's in store for us today, as the last couple of weeks have seen the Wednesday trading quite the opposite of Tuesday's trading! Strange trading pattern don't you agree?

    Overnight, the euro climbed as high as 1.4140, only to sit at the cusp of 1.41 as I begin to write this morning. Of course 1.41 certainly looks a lot different from the 1.35-1.40 range we've seen in recent days. But then, we've seen these probes above 1.40 before only end with the euro falling back to the 1.35-1.40 range again......
  • High yeilders continue to rally...

    In This Issue...

    * High yeilders continue to rally...
    * Quantitative easing drives the markets...
    * Inventories to drive inflation...
    * Happy Birthday Chuck...

    Good day... I'm back from a long vacation with the family down in Florida, I had a great time but it actually feels good to get back to work. But before I get started this morning, I want to compliment Mike on what a fantastic job he did on the Pfennigs while Chuck and I were in Florida. Mike jumped right in and cranked out some great information, setting the bar rather high for me. We have a busy week ahead of us, so better get right to it.

    Currency investors continued to pull out of the dollar and move funds back into higher yielding currencies on Friday. The best performing currencies on Friday were the higher yielding commodity based currencies of Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa. Investors were eager to move money back into the higher interest rates available in these currencies as markets began to stabilize. With the Feds announcement last week that it will buy $300 billion of US government bonds, deflation is now a thing of the past. This purchase by the Fed monetizes the debt, basically pumping the cash directly into the markets. It is the most inflationary action the Fed can take, Bernanke has now put the printing presses in high gear. With deflation no longer a worry, commodity currencies have begun to look attractive again....
  • Fed brings rates down to near zero...

    * The Fed fires its last bullet... * Euro breaks back above $1.40... * AUD and NZD rally... * Happy Birthday Jen... ** Fed brings rates down to near zero... Good day... The 'noise' from the street which I wrote about yesterday turned out to be correct, as the FOMC cut 75 basis points to put the Fed Funds target at .25%. The US now has the lowest interest rates in the industrialized world, even below those in Japan. The dollar lost ground quickly after the announcement and continued to fall overnight to a 13 year low vs the yen and the weakest vs. the Euro in 4 months. With both Chuck and Frank out of the office, I fielded the calls from reporters after the FOMC cut, and the most popular question asked was what the near zero interest rates would mean for the man on the street. Well it was great news for those on Wall Street, but I told the reporters that the rate cut really wouldn't have much of an impact on US consumers. After all, interest rates at 1% weren't stimulating the banks to start lending so why would .25% rates cause any change?...
  • Waiting on the FOMC meeting...

    * FOMC to cut further... * Bernanke turns his back on inflation... * Kiwi and Australia rally... * Gold continues to shine... ** Waiting on the FOMC meeting... Good day...and welcome to another week, hopefully the currency markets can continue their assault on the dollar which began a few weeks ago. The dollar index peaked back on November 21, and with the exception of a few days around the beginning of December, the greenback has consistently fallen vs. most of the major currencies. Friday was no exception, and the dollar continued to give back gains over the weekend with the Euro climbing back over $1.35 for the first time in two months....
  • Spending More Money...

    * Turn back the clocks to 1950... * Currencies rally on the day... * Bank of Canada to cut rates today... * Fed Funds to zero? ** Spending More Money... Good day... And a Terrific Tuesday to you! It's raining like cats and dogs outside, and that rain is supposed to turn to snow tonight, so we've got that going for us! Always love that rain to snow bit, as it puts a nice layer of ice under the snow! Well... It looks like the new president wants to spend more money... Yes, President-elect Obama, presented his economic plan yesterday, and before doing so, issued a warning that the economy is going to get a lot worse before it gets better. His plan calls for a pledge to spend the most on infrastructure since the 1950's... Now, let me say this... The Big Boss, Frank Trotter, and I talk about this all the time... To spend money on Financial Institutions and things that don't get used more than once like bullets and bombs, isn't our "fave" way to spend money... But building something that could be used over and over again, well, that makes sense... However, this spending could be coming at the absolute most awful timing, as the Deficits are exploding in front of our eyes, and it certainly isn't as appealing as watching the fireworks display in Vancouver!...
  • TARP Testimony Today...

    * What will Paulson say? * Dollar remains well bid... * How long for Safe Haven buyers? * G-20 Schmee 20! ** TARP Testimony Today... Good day... And a Terrific Tuesday to you! I've been away for a few days to deal with something, I want to thank Chris once again for taking the conn on the Pfennig since last Thursday. He'll get it again at the end of this week and the beginning of next week, as I hope to get to Marco Island for the Wealth Masters Conference. Well... Nothing has changed since I left you last Wednesday. The awful economic data just keeps piling on, and the dollar gets bid up on safe haven purchases. We did see the Eurozone and Japan announce that they are in a recession... Chris was kind enough to leave me the following, so here's some more Chris.......
  • 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....
  • Rescue plan not an instant fix...

    * Rescue plan to take time... * Pound sterling rallies (for now)... * Brazil supports the real... * Iceland cuts rates... ** Rescue plan not an instant fix... Good day...Another roller coaster of a day, as the dollar continued to slide through lunch but then rallied back up in the afternoon. As I walked out the door last night, most of the major currencies were trading right about where they were when I turned the screens on. The dollar has started to fall again in overnight trading, so the up and down of the past few weeks looks to continue. The news stories coming across the wires this morning seem to be as volatile as the currencies. I have now counted three different stories which state the markets are moving back into higher yielding currencies and riskier investments after the coordinated bank bailout plan which was announced yesterday. But several other stories are talking about how investors are moving out of the higher yielding assets because of concern that the bank rescue will take too much time to unfreeze global credit markets. I tend to agree with the latter of these....
  • Fed floods the markets with US$...

    * Bernanke gets help opening the spigot... * Euro and Pound rally... * Yen to continue to benefit from carry reversals...* Aussie $ rallies... ** Fed floods the markets with US$... Good day...and happy Columbus day! This is an official bank holiday here in the states, so all of the banks are closed, but the stock markets are open. We will have a half day here on the desk to try and catch up with all of the work which has been piling up the past few weeks. The phones are turned off, since it is an official bank holiday, but we will be checking messages and try to get back to everyone as quickly as possible. It is a very unusual holiday, as the banks are all closed with no funds transfers possible, but the stock markets are open. Currency desks are lightly staffed, so we will have to really work to get the trades done this morning. These strange holidays usually can lead to some real market volatility, and with today will probably be another rollercoaster. In an all out effort to ease the credit freeze, the Federal Reserve recruited help from the ECB, Bank of England, and the Swiss central bank to flood the market with US$. These central banks will auction unlimited dollar funds with maturities of seven days, 28 days, and 84 days at a fixed interest rate. This move is unprecedented, as all previous dollar swaps were capped at a maximum amount while these auctions will be for unlimited funds....
  • Paulson speaks with forked tongue...

    * Paulson speaks with forked tongue... * Fed leaves rates unchanged... * A look back at the data... * Japan to weather the financial Tsunami... ** Paulson speaks with forked tongue... Good day...Another day, another $85 billion of US taxpayer used to bail out an ailing financial firm. Yes, our Treasury Secretary went on another shopping spree, and this time he was accompanied by Fed Reserve Chairman Ben Barnanke. Just two days ago, Paulson drew a line in the sand when he let Lehman Brothers collapse into bankruptcy. The non-action from Paulson was seen as a good move by most, as he was sending a signal to the markets that the US taxpayer couldn't be seen as the buyer of last resort for failed financial firms. And Paulson talked tough with regard to AIG. Paulson was asked about reports that AIG wanted an emergency loan to help it through its troubles. "What is going on right now in New York has got nothing to do with any bridge loan from the government," he replied. "What's going on in New York is a private sector effort, again, focused on dealing with an important issue that's, I think, important that the financial system work on right now, and there's not more I can say than that....
  • A Huge Data Week...

    * Dollar rebounds... * Big Ben's imagination... * More Risk Events... * Inflation lights a fire under the loonie... ** A Huge Data Week... Good day... And a Marvelous Monday to you! A weekend that was supposed to be filled with rain, was nothing but sunshine, and beautiful days. For once, I didn't make fun of the weather people that make the forecasts! But, as always, it was too darn short! The alarm went off this morning, and for a minute I thought, "to heck with this, I'm going back to sleep!" But, then as always, I got up to start the day. Well... Recall on Friday, the currencies had rallied very strongly on Thursday, and it looked like a reversal of the month-long dollar rally could be at hand... I had this to say in Friday's Pfennig: "But today is a new day folks... And what happened yesterday is now history... The attitudes could change in a NY minute, and the dollar be back in favor. This is what I'm talking about when I say things are less secure. Wishy-Washy market sentiment leads to very volatile markets, and that's what we saw yesterday... Now, let's move on to today, and see what Bullwinkle has up his sleeve. Hey Rocky, wanna watch me pull a rabbit out of my hat?"...
  • Dollar's Mini-rally ends...

    * Record iron ore price! * Ben Stein in the Pfennig! * Top 11 currency returns... * Mogambo on Gold... ** Dollar's Mini-rally ends... Good day... And a Terrific Tuesday to you! The dollar's mini-rally yesterday stalled overnight, and once again the dollar bulls are having to cover euro shorts they put on. Yes, they NOW believe the Fed will not come through on it's claim to be an inflation fighter, and leave rates unchanged. That will keep the positive yield differential in the euro's favor (well, it would have anyway, but it keeps it unchanged). Remember though, who called out Fed Chairman Big Ben Bernanke when he said early this month that the "falling dollar had caused an unwelcome increase in inflation, and that he was "attentive" to the problem." Hogwash, said I!...