“Will they? Won’t they?” Uncertainty seems to be a common theme for the key factors driving major markets right now. It should therefore come as little surprise that major forex and commodities are stuck in a risk-on/risk-off loop, lacking conviction and range bound. Conflicting daily reports of progress and then lack of agreement on US fiscal support, are dragging the dollar lower then higher, but overall, meaning that a lack of trend is the result. The Democrats and Republicans seem to be too far apart for an imminent agreement, and the prospects of something this side of the Presidential election are dwindling. This has pulled the dollar higher and hit risk appetite in the past day or so. This is also seemingly the case with the Brexit trade deal negotiations between he UK and EU. As this soft deadline of this weekend’s EU Council meeting approaches, there are signs of progress but seemingly not enough for agreement. The talks are likely to continue for a number of weeks. A drag on the negotiations will likely weigh on sterling which is becoming increasingly jittery in recent sessions. Another currency under pressure today is the Aussie, which has reacted poorly to the suggestion from RBA Governor Lowe that yields are too high and that a rate cut to +10bps could be seen.
Wall Street closed lower as the prospects for immediate fiscal stimulus wilted. The S&P 500 ended -0.7% at 3488, whilst futures are also lower today (E-mini S&Ps -0.5%). This has weighed on Asian markets, with the Nikkei -0.5% and Shanghai Composite -0.2%. In Europe there is also a drag on sentiment, with FTSE futures -0.8% and DAX futures -1.0%. In forex, risk-off leaves a mild USD outperformance, with AUD and to a lesser extent NZD the big underperformers. In commodities, dollar gains means that gold (-0.2%) and silver (-0.6%) are struggling slightly, whilst oil is also a shad lower (c. -0.3%).
We have to wait until the US session for any meaningful data on the economic calendar today. There is a clutch of data at 1330BST with a couple of Fed surveys and the weekly jobless numbers. The New York Fed Manufacturing (Empire State) is expected to slip slightly to +15.0 in October (from +17.0 in September). Philly Fed Business Index is also expected to fall slightly to +14.0 in October (from +15.0 in September). US Weekly Jobless Claims are expected to improve slightly to 825,000 (from 840,000 last week). Finally, the EIA Crude Oil Inventories, delayed a day due to Columbus Day on Monday, are at 1600BST and are expected to show a drawdown of -3.4m barrels (after a stock build of +0.5m barrels last week).
Once more there are several Fed speakers to watch out for today, although some repeats of yesterday. FOMC board member Randall Quarles (centrist) is speaking at 1400BST along with the FOMC’s Robert Kaplan (voter, centrist). Furthermore, the most dovish member of the FOMC, Neel Kashkari (voter, very dovish) speaks at 2200BST. It might also be interesting to look out for ECB President Christine Lagarde who speaks at 1600BST, although she is due to speak broadly about the world economy, so may avoid ECB specifics.
Chart of the Day – Silver
It is still a frustrating time to be a bull of silver. Over the past few weeks, it has been a run higher where it has been two steps forward and one step back. This leaves a shallow, now three week, uptrend (which comes in at $23.85 today). However, it also leaves a very tentative feel to the outlook and one which lacks real conviction. The bulls will point to the higher lows and higher highs, but also there is a worry that the market turned back on Monday almost bang on the 23.6% Fibonacci retracement (of the $11.62/$29.84 March to August bull run) at $25.54. This still leaves the 38.2% Fib at $22.88 open as a potential test. After the negative candles of Tuesday and a tepid close higher yesterday, the bulls need to show themselves quickly otherwise the faltering momentum will drag the market lower. The early price action this morning is not helping, as the bulls again fail to ignite. The uptrend at $23.85 is under pressure and is a first support that needs to hold, otherwise a retreat toward $22.54/$23.40 could set in. The hourly chart shows a new near term downtrend beginning to form, with support at $23.85/$24.00 being tested. Initial resistance around $24.60 looks to be becoming a lower high too.
It is a frustrating time to be trading EUR/USD. With downtrends and uptrends being broken in recent sessions, yesterday’s doji candle of a small daily range adds to the lack of conviction in the market. We have talked previously about the old August/September lows between 1.1695/1.1750 turning into a pivot area, and right now it is arguable that this is a basis of support. However, given that the momentum indicators (RSI and MACD) have become stagnant around their neutral points, whilst shorter moving averages (21 day and 55 day) have flattened off, it is more a case that around 1.1750 is a neutral outlook. Below 1.1695 turns to a negative bias, whilst above 1.1830 turns into a positive bias.
Brexit trade negotiations make sterling and in this case, Cable a volatile play right now. Sharp intraday swings in the past couple of days reflect this. A recent two week uptrend was broken yesterday, but the market then swung back higher and is again around the 1.3000 old pivot and restricted under 1.3080 resistance. Newsflow over the trade talks are a key driver here in the coming days, with support around 1.2860 (yesterday’s low) and resistance at 1.3080 near term key reference points for potential breaks. Positive news of an agreement will pull Cable above 1.3080 and open the upside once more. The two sides dragging their feet will see Cable drifting back lower again, with below 1.2860 opening 1.2670.
The selling pressure is gradually taking its toll once more on Dollar/Yen. Over the past week, a new run of lower daily highs has formed a mini downtrend as intraday strength is seemingly now a chance to sell. What is also interesting, is that this negative bias is also reflected in the bigger medium term outlook still. Although there is still an argument for this being an 11 week trading range between 104/107, in taking the extreme spikes of recent months, we can still derive a multi-month downtrend, which now comes in below 106.00 today. Medium momentum indicators are still negatively configured, with MACD lines now drifting lower under neutral. It leans us towards continuing to believe that near term strength is a selling opportunity. The hourly chart shows that today’s early tick higher could struggle around 105.30/105.40, whilst it would need a move above 105.60 to improve the near term outlook. We favour pressure towards 104.90 and given the continued negative medium term bias, any rallies that falter under 106.00 are a good chance to sell towards 104.00 in due course.
Several of the major markets appear to be stuck in a loop of uncertainty right now, and gold is no different. This gives rise the consistent breaking of trendlines. The search for ever shallower trendlines, means ever reduced conviction and effectively a market that ultimately is struggling for direction. We have spoken frequently of the importance of the old pivot band $1902/$1926 and it still seems as though this remains a key area which is effectively a neutral zone. As the market again struggles to break back above $1900 this morning, we see again a lack of direction. With the bull failure earlier this week at $1933, we note a shallow two month downtrend (today at $1929) that helps to counter what is a fairly shallow six month uptrend (today at $1881). There is a lack of conviction on momentum, with RSI and MACD lines all but flat just under their neutral points, and so we wait for real direction to emerge once more. The constant risk-on/risk-off of newsflow surrounding the US fiscal stimulus is playing into this lack of technical direction right now. Initial support at $1882 and $1873. Resistance initially at yesterday’s high of $1912 and then $1933.
Brent Crude Oil
We continue to note the trading ranges on Brent Crude. Initially, there is a medium term, now four month range between $37.00/$46.50. However, more recently, in the past five weeks, the market has built a tighter and much better defined five week range between $38.80/$43.80. It is notable that almost bang in the middle of both ranges is a pivot at $41.30. The pivot has become very prominent in the 5 week range, as a basis of support now. The past couple of sessions have rallied off this pivot and the market is now eyeing a test of the resistance $43.55/$43.80. Momentum is edging with a positive bias, but is so far lacking the drive that would be pointing towards an imminent breakout. With momentum not leading the price, how the market reacts around the $43.55/$43.80 resistance will be important. Given the ranging tendencies for oil, we remain neutral until a decisive breakout is seen. A closing breakout above $43.80 opens the long term resistance at $46.50 once more.
Dow Jones Industrial Average
A second successive negative session has weighed on the Dow. The move is now seriously threatening a three week uptrend and with futures pointing to a negative open today, is set to test the breakout support which begins at 28,365 today. With the formation of the now broken uptrend, there were a couple of breakouts, at 28,040 and 28,365. This is now a band of support. These are still above all the rising moving averages, so for now, the market is just pulling back within a bull phase. The formation of support around here would then be seen as a chance to buy. However, if the correction goes further and breaches the first higher low at 27,730 then this would be more considerable damage to the positive outlook. It would suggest hat the Dow is in a bigger sideways range phase. Resistance is now increasingly important at Monday’s high of 28,958 with the hourly chart showing 28,600 was restrictive for much of yesterday’s session.