Gold and JPY soar as traders go defensive
It’s been another risk off day in world markets with traders sending stocks sharply lower while defensive havens like gold, JPY and CHF have soared.
Technology stocks also took another big hit today with the NASDAQ 100 falling over 3.0% outpacing the Dow’s 2.2% drop to the downside at one point and retesting its August low. Tesla Motors fell nearly 10% at one point as the valuation crunch continues to cut former high flyers with traders not even bothering to wait for the company’s earnings report Wednesday night.
It’s also been another rough day in the US oilpatch. Chesapeake Energy plunged 50% on the open and bounced back a bit but was still trading down 34% into the afternoon after the company announced it has hired restructuring experts which sparked speculation it could be preparing for a bankruptcy filing which the company denied. Meanwhile Williams Cos fell 35% after the CFO of its suitor Energy Transfer Equity LP suddenly resigned, sparking speculation that the deal could be about to fall through.
US indices managed to bounce back into their close, easing some of the downward momentum heading toward today’s Asia Pacific trading with the dow, S&P and NASDAQ falling 1.0-1.8%, compared with the 2.8% drop in the FTSE and the 3.0-4.5% drop in major continental indices.
The big plunges we have seen in energy stocks today and technology stocks on Friday suggest that many traders are panicking and that we are probably close to a selling climax but it’s hard to know if we are there or what it would take to turn things around. It’s possible we could see markets remain volatile through Fed Chair Yellen’s testimony to Congress on Wednesday which may give a better indication of whether the Fed is really reconsidering a March rate hike or not.
For today’s Asia Pacific trading, we could see follow-through from today’s US and European declines, particularly with some markets still closed for Lunar New Year. Japanese stocks may come under particular pressure with the Yen rallying.
Although things have been looking bleak for the markets lately, last night’s Super Bowl result could give some longer encouragement to the bulls. Denver won its third Super Bowl last night, defeating Carolina 24-10. Here’s some quick facts:
The last two times Denver won the Super Bowl, in 1998 and 1999 the Dow finished up 26.7% and 19.5% respectively.
The last time Carolina lost the Super Bowl in 2004, the market finished the year up 8.9%.
The last time Peyton Manning won the Super Bowl in 2007, the Dow finished the year up 3.5% but has averaged up 9.2% following his three previous Super bowl appearances.