Monday, June 7, 2010

Markets Trading Like They Did During Credit Crisis

The 'Helicopter Economics Investing Guide' is meant to help educate people on how to make profitable investing choices in the current economic environment. We have coined this term to describe the current monetary and fiscal policies of the U.S. government, which involve unprecedented money printing. This is the official blog of the New York Investing meetup.

Stocks are selling off globally. Commodities are down, but gold is holding up the best. Money is pouring into the perceived safe havens, the U.S. dollar and treasuries. Is it the late fall of 2008 or late spring of 2010?

Without further information, you can't answer that question. There is a global financial crisis occurring now because of the problems with the euro. There was a global financial crisis in 2008 because of the collapse of the prices of derivatives related to subprime mortgages. The problems with subprime debt had begun the year before and started impacting stocks in July 2007. Stocks were already in an advanced bear market sell off by the fall of 2008. The current euro crisis is only a few months old and U.S. stocks are only in a correction so far (loss of over 10% versus loss of over 20% for a bear market).

The current stock market sell off is worldwide as it was in 2008. It goes without saying the stocks in the eurozone are suffering, but technical damage can be found in major markets everywhere. The Dow Jones has broken key support at 10,000 twice already. The Nikkei gave up its significant 10,000 level a while ago, closing at 9521 last night. The Hang Seng has fallen below important support at 20,000, dropping to 19,378. In the UK, the FTSE is barely holding above 5,000 today.

The trade-weighted dollar (DXY) was as high as 88.71 in New York this morning (June 7th). This is higher than its peak in November 2008, but not as high as the top in March 2009. There was a major sell off in the middle, with the euro (FXE) having a sharp rally. Something similar is likely to happen early this summer. The dollar is very overbought and the euro is very oversold. The euro has traded as low as 1.1878 today. It may pop back up to the 120 support level and if not, there is stronger support around 115. The dollar is already hitting major resistance, so the set up for a short-term reversal looks like it is taking place.

As would be expected, U.S. treasuries have rallied strongly during the euro crisis. It is highly unlikely that they will get to the extremely low levels they did in 2008. As treasuries rally, interest rates go down of course. Interest rates on the 10-year fell to around 2.00% in December 2008. They were at 3.18% this morning. There is strong chart support at and just above the 3.00% level. So not much more of a treasury rally, interest rate sell off should be expected for now.

Currently gold has recaptured its safe haven status. It was selling off with the euro between last December and this February. Then it started rallying with the U.S. dollar, although it usually trades opposite to the dollar. Gold sold down in the fall of 2008. Central bank leasing was responsible for this. The big banks and large hedge funds leased gold at a small price and then sold it on the market to raise desperately needed cash. This is not happening at the moment to a significant enough degree that it can offset buying elsewhere. Ironically, a sharp relief rally in the euro could be short-term bearish for gold. Despite the selling in the fall of 2008, gold still closed the year up along with the U.S. dollar and U.S. treasuries. Almost every other asset closed down. It's still too early to tell if 2010 will end the same way.   

Disclosure: None

Daryl Montgomery
Organizer, New York Investing meetup

This posting is editorial opinion. Like all other postings for this blog, there is no intention to endorse the purchase or sale of any security.

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