Stocks Lower, US Dollar Higher

Risk sentiment soured on fresh fears of Mideast war widening and Fed’s Waller comments on rates, sending safe havens higher and stocks lower.

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  1. Stock markets are falling almost everywhere, with Asian indices such as the Nikkei 225 and the Hang Seng Index showing declines over the day exceeding 1.5%. Safe-haven assets such as the US Dollar and yields are stronger. This is partially due to the Fed’s Williams stating that rates will have to remain at restrictive levels for some time to come, and partly due to renewed fears that the war between Israel and Hamas will widen to include Hezbollah and possibly Iran and the United States following President Biden’s visit to Israel yesterday.
  2. In the Forex market, the USD/JPY currency pair made its highest daily close in almost one year, as it continues to threaten a bullish breakout above the big round number at ¥150.00, so it will be of interest to trend traders on the long side. Since the Tokyo open, the strongest major currency has been the Japanese Yen, while the Australian Dollar has been the weakest. The US Dollar and the Swiss Franc, other safe havens, are also strong. There are valid trends in favour of the USD in the EUR/USD and GBP/USD currency pairs also.
  3. The prices of precious metals have continued to rise, with Gold reaching a 2-month high in USD terms yesterday, then remaining firm above support at $1,945.
  4. UK CPI (inflation) data released yesterday came in slightly higher than expected, at an annualized rate of 6.7% when 6.6% was expected. The Pound today is one of the weaker major currencies despite this being naturally hawkish news.
  5. Australian unemployment data released yesterday came in slightly better than expected, at 3.6% compared to 3.7%.
  6. There will be a release of US unemployment claims later.
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