Friday, November 13, 2009

Inverse US Dollar, US Stocks Relationship Continues to Boost Stocks

Once again, the inverse relationship between the US Dollar and US equity markets trumped all other trading strategies and boosted stocks on the final day fo trading for the week.

To get an understanding of how perverse and destructive this relationship has become, consider the trading action this morning, when the university of Michigan released consumer sentiment data for October. The reading, released at 9:55 am ET, fell from 70.6 in October to 66.0 in November. As the numbers hit the street the Dow Jones Industrials fell from a gain of 40 points to slightly into the negative, which would be considered a rational market reaction. However, when the forex traders got hold of the data, viewed as negative for the US economy, they immediately began to sell US Dollars into other currencies, sending the Dollar Index lower.

Faced with the prospect of virtually free money, traders poured into US stocks, turning the indices completely around in a matter of minutes. Within the hour, the Dow was up more than 80 points, with the other indices following suit. As the US Dollar continued to weaken throughout the day against other currencies, stocks held or improved gains overall in a liquidity-driven advance that had nothing at all to do with fundamentals, economic conditions or technical indications.

This is the trade that has produced the 8-month-long rally, as the Fed cut rates to zero and instituted policies that promote liquidity and risk, the very same elements which caused the near-collapse of worldwide financial systems last fall. In the long run, the inverse relationship is destructive to America's best interests, but in the short term, Wall Street is enjoying one of the greatest rallies of all time.

Dow 10,270.47, +73.00 (0.72%)
NASDAQ 2,167.88, +18.86 (0.88%)
S&P 500 1,093.48, +6.24 (0.57%)
NYSE Composite 7,119.89, +56.84 (0.80%)

On the day, advancing issues beat decliners by a healthy margin, 4005-1804, but new highs did not expand their edge over new lows, with the reading of 215-75. Volume was ridiculously low, about what one would expect from a 1/2 session in a normal market, further impressing the idea that the rally, based almost entirely on liquidity, is at its end, unsustainable.

NYSE Volume 3,936,243,500
NASDAQ Volume 1,840,433,000

Naturally, the weaker US Dollar helped commodities, though oil could not muster anything but to turn a large decline into a smaller one by day's end, dropping 59 cents, to $76.35, mostly on slack demand. Gold ramped up again, adding $10.20, to end the week at $1,116.80. Silver continued to lag behind its shiny cousin, gaining only 13 cents, to $17.39.

Next week will offer more earnings results from a variety of retailers, though economic reports are likely to dominate the financial news, with readings on retail sales, capacity utilization, PPI, CPI, housing starts and leading economic indicators among the data that will flow to investors.

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