After a brief wobble on Thursday night in the wake of the shocking shooting down of Malaysia Airlines MH17 over the Ukraine, and the loss of nearly 300 innocent lives, normal service appeared to be resumed on Friday as US markets reversed all of the previous sessions losses.
Given the sheer number of geopolitical factors at play this year, the resilience, or complacency, of US markets continues to surprise and amaze, in equal measure.
The Dow and Nasdaq managed to outperform last week, unlike the S&P500, which while still finishing the week in positive territory, was unable to post a new all-time or multi-year high.
It’s hard to imagine what it would take to prompt any form of correction or pullback in these Teflon US markets, as they continue to shrug off bad news
instead choosing to focus on earnings reports that continue to broadly beat expectations.
As US markets continue to make record highs
investors should really remember that for all this optimism, a large number of these earnings reports are below the expectations that we were expecting at the beginning of this year
, but with a large number of M&A deals also grabbing headlines it's not hard to see why US investors seem so upbeat.
European stock markets are much less complacent
with the German DAX
struggling to get back towards the heady heights seen at the beginning of the month when it was trading above 10,000.
A large part of this decline can be put down to concerns about a slowdown in the German economy
against a backdrop of slowing economic activity across the whole of Europe in Q2.
Today's Bundesbank monthly report for July could well reinforce these concerns
, as well as this week’s preliminary July manufacturing and services PMI reports,
and with the prospect of a new round of much tougher economic sanctions, in addition to the new ones announced last week, by EU and US leaders on Russia, the outlook for the rest of 2014 looks no less positive.
So far EU sanctions have come across as somewhat half-hearted
, but given last week's horrific events the pressure for a much tougher approach towards Russia will be much harder to resist, given the sheer number of lives lost in an act that has all the makings of having Russia's fingerprints all over it.
Actions speak louder than words
and for all the Ukrainian separatists claims that Ukraine's military shot down the airliner, their obstruction tactics with respect to access to the crash scene, tell another story.
This particular story looks like it has some way to run and investors would be unwise to become complacent about it, given growing anger in Europe,
about last week's events, as well as the growing divisions between the Ukrainian government and the pro-Russian separatists.
Germany's role in particular is key with Angela Merkel in particular under pressure to drop her reluctance to countenance harsher sanctions due to Germany's close economic ties with Russia
, while here in the UK pressure could start to build for action to freeze Russian money coming into London.
Despite these concerns Europe's markets look set to start slightly higher this morning
as we look ahead to a week full of German, French and UK economic reports as well as the latest minutes from the most recent Bank of England meeting, which could show a very small chance of a split on rates.
– while the euro broke below the 1.3500 level on Friday we haven't, as yet, broken below the lows this year at 1.3477, though we have broken below trend line support from the 2012 lows at 1.3520. A move through here could well be the trigger point for a move towards the November 2013 lows at 1.3300. A move back through 1.3570 is required for a retest of 1.3640.
– having found support at 1.7035/40 last week the pound has managed to rebound and could well easily retest the highs last week just below 1.7200. Only a move back through 1.7040 would argue for a deeper move towards 1.6910. A move through 1.7200 argues for further gains towards 1.7330. 1.7330 is the 50% retracement of the decline from the 2007 highs at 2.1160 and the lows at 1.3500 in 2009.
– having found a bit of short term base at 0.7885/90, we need to see a break through 0.7960 for some signs of stabilisation. The pressure remains towards the downside and 0.7780, while below the highs last week at 0.7980 while we also have trend line resistance from the March highs, at the 0.8010 area.
– the pressure appears to be building up on the downside and a move towards 100.60 while below the 101.80 level. It would take a move through 101.80 to target the range highs just below 103.00.
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