US markets look set to open cautiously lower today as investors take a breath after yesterday’s rally and watch Russian President Putin’s next move over Crimea. Futures suggest the S&P500 will open 4 points lower at 1,854 with the Dow Jones expected to open 39 points lower at 16,208 The weekend’s “yes” vote for Crimean independence was largely anticipated by markets, the reaction by the EU and Russia was and is the source of the unknown. Markets tend to price-in worst-case scenarios. The dramatic market-moves seen last week were pricing in possibilities such as harsh sanctions on Russian trade and even military conflict in Crimea or Eastern Ukraine. The EU and US sanctions on Russia to-date have been nothing more than a finger-waggle to President Putin and will essentially make no difference to international trade. Stock markets rallied yesterday on a situation that could have been a lot worse. The situation in Ukraine is very fluid and today investors are taking stock, aware of the possibility of new developments any time. Yesterday we noted ‘The aggressiveness of Vladimir Putin’s response to the vote will likely dictate the extent of sanctions.’ This remains the case as round two of sanctions may prove to be more disruptive. Attention is also shifting to tomorrow’s FOMC statement and press conference. The US dollar has been strong in Asian and European markets in anticipation that the further tapering of asset purchases by the Federal Reserve will scale back the number of dollars sloshing around the global economy. Before that we have today’s release of US consumer price inflation. CPI data for February is expected to show a 0.1% increase in both the top-line and in the core CPI with a fall from 1.6% to 1.2%, year on year. The technology sector sees one of its biggest participants release earnings tomorrow. Oracle is expected to earn $0.70 per share on revenue of $9.36bn, up 7.1% and 4.3% respectively. The company has beaten estimates in the last two quarters, so with the economy picking up and enterprise-spending likely on the rise it seems entirely plausible it could continue this trend. CMC Markets is an execution only provider. The material (whether or not it states any opinions) is for general information purposes only, and does not take into account your personal circumstances or objectives. Nothing in this material is (or should be considered to be) financial, investment or other advice on which reliance should be placed. No opinion given in the material constitutes a recommendation by CMC Markets or the author that any particular investment, security, transaction or investment strategy is suitable for any specific person.