The Rubber Band Snaps Back: Dollar Correction Begun

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An exogenous shock disrupts relationships and patterns.  It may be a useful reminder the correlation does not mean 100% co-movement.  The strongest currency in the world last week was the Swiss franc, a safe-haven that rose by almost 0.5%.  The weakest major currency, and third weakest overall, was the Japanese yen, also a leading safe-haven. … Read More

Sources of Imbalance and the Pushback Against New Divergence

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The US dollar’s surge alongside gold has eclipsed the equity market rally as the key development in the capital markets.   Even the traditional seemingly safe-haven yen was no match for the greenback.  The dollar appeared to have been rolling over in Q4 19, as the sentiment surveys in Europe improved, Japanese officials seemingly thought the… Read More

Covid-19 Contagion Outside China Keeps Investors on the Defensive

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Overview:  The spread of Covid-19 outside of China and early signs of the economic consequences again emerged to weigh on investor sentiment. Poor Japanese and Australian preliminary February PMI reports and some trade indications from South Korea saw most Asia Pacific equities sell-off. China was an exception. The small gain (0.3%), lifted the Shanghai Composite… Read More

Covid-19 Hits Yen and Korean Won

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Overview: The increase of Covid-19 cases in South Korea and Japan, coupled with China’s changing reverting back to its previous methodology of calculation, dropping clinically-diagnosed cases have again weakened risk appetites and sent the dollar broadly higher. Fears of a Japanese recession are sapping the yen’s role as a safe haven, and this helps explain why… Read More

Investors' Confidence Snaps Back

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Overview: After shunning risk yesterday, investors re-entered the fray today, and the animal spirits returned. The MSCI Asia Pacific Index snapped a four-day slide, and China’s markets were among the few losers in the region today. Europe’s Dow Jones Stoxx 600 recovered yesterday’s losses in full and is again at record highs. US shares are also… Read More

Apple's Warning Weighs on Sentiment

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Overview: Apple’s warning that it will miss Q1 revenue due to the knock-on effects of the coronavirus seemed to be a modest wake-up call to investors, who, judging from the equity market, were looking beyond. Equities have fallen, and bonds have rallied. Japan, Hong Kong, and South Korean stocks fell by more than 1%, and only… Read More

Dismal Q4 Japanese GDP Fails to Spur Yen Movement

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Overview: It is only a US holiday today, but the global capital markets are subdued. In the Asia-Pacific region, equities traded lower with China and Hong Kong, the main advancers. The MSCI Asia Pacific Index has fallen in only two weeks since the end of last November, and that was during the last two weeks of… Read More

Strong Dollar Optics, Less Clear-Cut Details

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The dollar’s performance last week is best understood as the fulcrum of the seesaw.  The major currencies that are perceived to be levered or growth and/or risk rose.  These are the dollar-bloc and the Scandis. The Swedish krona sold off before the weekend, perhaps as the market anticipates a weak CPI report that may reinforce… Read More

Markets are Data-Driven, but which Data?

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Like a Newtonian law of motion, market participants will continue to rely on a particular trading style or system until it stops working. Betting that volatility stays low is a cash register for many, and there appears to be what Soros called “reflexivity” here, like a self-fulfilling prophecy.  Why is volatility low?  Because it is… Read More

Investors Continue to Look Past the Coronavirus

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Overview: The capital markets are heading into the weekend, still trying to look past the coronavirus despite the new cases in Hubei. Tokyo was a notable exception in the Asia Pacific region, as the other major equity markets, like in Hong Kong, China, Taiwan, South Korea, and Australia, advanced. The MSCI Asia Pacific Index rose for… Read More

The Greenback Slips in Subdued Activity

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Overview: Investors appear to be increasingly looking past the latest coronavirus from China as new afflictions slow. Despite the soggy close of US equities yesterday, Asia Pacific bourses are nearly all higher, led by more than 1% gains in Singapore and Thailand. The Dow Jones Stoxx 600 is at new record highs, led by consumer discretionary… Read More

The Dollar is Still King

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Once again the US appears to be diverging from the world.  With its large and mostly closed economy (exports plus imports as a percent of GDP), it is perceived to among the best positioned to escape the newest shock with minimal economic impact.  Europe cannot get out of its own way, and the real sector… Read More

US Soars while Rivals are Hobbled

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We are approaching the mid-point of the first quarter, and the coronavirus from China is the new key development for businesses and investors.  The economic impact appears to be still growing as the disruption to supply chains, production, and demand continues.  The re-opening of China from the extended Lunar New Year holiday brought some relief… Read More

Stocks Push Higher but more Cautious Tone may be Emerging

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Overview:  The bullish enthusiasm that carried the S&P 500 to new closing highs yesterday is helping Asia Pacific and European shares today.  The MSCI Asia Pacific Index rose for the third session with Tokyo, Hong Kong, and Korea jumping two percent.  Europe’s Dow Jones Stoxx 600 gapped to new record highs before stabilizing in mid-morning… Read More

Markets Extend Recovery, but Look for a Pause

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Overview: The S&P 500 gapped higher and surged 1.5% yesterday, the most in six months, helping set the stage for a continued recovery in global equities, and stoked risk appetites more broadly. An experimental antiviral treatment is to begin clinical testing. All of the markets in the Asia Pacific region advanced, with Japan, China, and Singapore… Read More

Relief Rally Fueled by Liquidity not Peak in Coronavirus

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Overview: The combination of the rally in US shares yesterday and the continued efforts of China to inject liquidity helped lift sentiment today. The MSCI Asia Pacific Index snapped an eight-day slide, and many markets jumped more than 1%. Led by energy and materials, Europe’s Dow Jones Stoxx 600 is posting broad gains and is up… Read More