The US dollar initially weakened after the release of declining U.S. housing starts had investors worried that the worst of the global financial crisis remains, but soon gained some momentum on safe-haven movement. Housing starts came in 13 percent lower to an annual rate of 458,000 following last months figure of 525,000, while building permits fell 3.3 percent to a record low of 494,000.
In other news this week the Fed will be responding to the request by Goldman and Morgan Stanley to apply to repay a combined $45b in TARP funds, which will continue to push equity markets higher. Also the market will look towards tomorrow's release of the Fed. minutes. Look for the dollar to trade primarily off of equity market moves as investors look for opportunities to move back into riskier assets.
The euro initially rose, but soon fell off its highs hit earlier today despite the release of stronger than expected German ZEW figures. ZEW came in at 31.1, the highest reading in three years and well above expectations for a reading of 20. Analysts will look towards Thursday for the PMI report for further direction into the Eurozone economy. Look for the euro to continue to test its high this year of 1.3739.
Sterling rose broadly against its US counterpart assisted by London's FTSE index which was up 1.4 percent today. Helping the push higher was a sharp move in bank stocks as Britain held talks with investors to gauge their interest in buying a stake in the nationalized lenders.
The Japanese yen weakened against the dollar as Japan's Vice
Finance Minister Sugimoto intervened verbally stating that “excessive moves” in currencies are undesirable and have a negative impact on the Japanese economy. The market will look towards tomorrow's release of Q1 GDP, where expectations are -4.3 percent. Look for USD/JPY to remain under pressure continuing to test 100.
The Canadian dollar strengthened against the greenback as higher equities and stronger commodities supported the local currency. Look for the Canadian dollar to extend its rally as oil and gold remain well supported and risk appetite holds.
The Australian and New Zealand dollars continued to push higher with Aussie hitting a seven-month high against its US counterpart as rallying equities and rising commodity prices dominated the market. Also assisting the local currency was comments from Reserve Bank of Australia Governor Glenn Stevens where he stated that Australia's overnight lending rate of 3.0 percent remains pretty low, “ speculating that a move higher may be coming.
The Mexican peso strengthened against the dollar and broke below the key psychological level of 13.0000 as renewed interest in risk appetite dominated market sentiment. Look for the peso to continue to test its high of 12.9745, hit last November as the Bank of Mexico scales back its intervention due to reduced volatility.
10-Year Treasury Note Yield : 3.269%
Dow Jones Industrial Average : 8,522.95 + 18.24