Markets were exceptionally choppy in the NY session as approaching quarter-end continues to make for overall thin conditions. US equities could not hold on to modest gains and closed down about -0.3% on the day. It was surprising that they did not fall further following an extremely downbeat US consumer confidence report. The headline index fell to a much lower than expected 53.1 in September after a 54.5 read the prior month. Consensus was for an increase to 57.0 so the surprise was palpable.

The guts of the report suggest the employment picture continues to look ugly. The labor differential (which measures jobs plentiful minus jobs scarce) plunged to -43.6 from -40.0 and is now a mere point above the cycle low. This throws some cold water on the employment recovery idea and points to a below consensus NFP loss this Friday. We are currently penciling in a -205K forecast †market looking for -180K at the moment.

The US dollar traded mostly sideways and managed to eke out a negligible increase. Major daily trendline by 77.30 was tested today but the index failed to close above there. We will keep a close eye on this metric as a major break above could revive the US dollar bulls near-term. The 50- and 100-day smas lurk above at 77.94 and 79.11, respectively.

The range-bound nature of the buck was very evident in EUR/USD as well. The pair traded to either side of the 1.4527/1.4584 session range before closing out near the top of that span. Important support lurks at 1.4511 now. This is where the Kijun line sits and a daily close below there would be technically bearish for the pair. The top of the Ichimoku cloud then rests all the way down at the 1.4219 mark.

Gold managed to rally despite the overall sideways nature of other asset classes. The precious metal looked vulnerable early on after plunging to a 985 session low. There was talk of demand from the Middle East community into the lows and this looks to have helped prop the precious metal back up. Short-term we would expect XAU/USD to see decent offers ahead of the 1000 area.

Upcoming Economic Data Releases (Asia Session) prior expected

9/29/2009  2300 GMT US  Fed's Plosser to Speak at Lafayette College Economic Summit 
29-Sep   

9/29/2009  2301 GMT UK  GfK Consumer Confidence Survey  SEP  -25  -24 

9/29/2009  2315 GMT JN  Nomura/JMMA Manufacturing PMI  SEP  53.6  - - 

9/29/2009  2350 GMT JN  Industrial Production (MoM)  AUG P  2.10%  1.80% 

9/30/2009  000 GMT  AU  Conference Board Leading Index  JUL  0.90%  - - 

9/30/2009  130 GMT AU  Retail Sales s.a. (MoM)  AUG  -1.00%  0.50% 

9/30/2009  130 GMT AU  Private Sector Credit MoM%  AUG  0.20%  0.20% 

9/30/2009  130 GMT AU  Building Approvals (MoM)  AUG  7.70%  2.50% 

9/30/2009  130 GMT JN  Labor Cash Earnings YoY  AUG  -4.80%  -4.00% 

9/30/2009  200 GMT NZ  NBNZ Business Confidence  SEP  34.2  - - 

9/30/2009  400 GMT JN  Vehicle Production (YoY)  AUG  -31.90%  - - 

9/30/2009  500 GMT JN  Housing Starts (YoY)  AUG  -32.10%  -31.70% 

9/30/2009  500 GMT JN  Construction Orders (YoY)  AUG  -42.80%  - -