The market eagerly awaits Ben Bernanke's press conference and the USD was weaker overnight on anticipation of the release. However,the USD strengthened heading into the NY trading session against the EUR, GBP, CHF, CAD and others, though not the JPY or AUD.
If Bernanke fails to hint at more stimulus, then the USD should gain as more easing would dilute the value of the USD.
We previewed his release in our fundamental update earlier in the week: 5 Reasons We Don't Get QE3 in Bernanke's Speech at Jackson Hole
From Reuters: Stock index futures were little changed on Friday as investors hesitated to make bets on when Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke would announce a new stimulus plan as a volatile week drew to a close. Stocks rallied early in the week as investors wagered the Fed could announce a new program to combat softness in the economy. That contributed to a three-day rally.
For three straight days, the S&P has moved more than 1 percent. On Thursday, it fell on continued concerns about the U.S. job market and the state of the European economy. Most analysts believe Bernanke, scheduled to speak on Friday at 10 a.m. EDT, is most likely to outline gradualist measures, which would disappoint those looking for dramatic action, such as a fresh round of asset purchases.
CHF Weakens Post Leading Index
The Swiss Franc bounced up of support at 0.7890, with the currency weakened by a poor KOF Leading Index report. From here we target the 0.7980 highs from yesterday.
From Bloomberg: The Swiss franc weakened against all its major counterparts after an index of leading indicators dropped more than economists forecast, adding to signs the currency's recent strength may be damaging the nation's growth.
The economic gauge shows that the strong Swiss franc is having a negative impact on the economy, said Marcus Hettinger, a foreign-exchange strategist at Credit Suisse Group AG in Zurich. The reason why the Swiss franc is not a lot weaker is that the markets are waiting for today's Bernanke speech. We need a stable external environment in Europe and the U.S. for safe-haven demand to fall a little bit, so the Swiss franc can weaken.
AUD Stronger Overnight on Hawkish RBA Comments
The Australian Dollar was stronger in the Asian trading session as RBA Governor Stevens put the bank into a neutral stance, saying that global uncertainies of late have weakenened the prospects for upside risks to inflation, however he did not make a case for a rate cut either. The market had been pricing in an interest rate cut for the RBA, and therefore his comments were taken as more hawkish than expected, and the AUD had a strong overnight session against its major rivals as a result.
For a Technical Look at the AUD/USD see the latest technical update: AUD Channeling, At Resistance
From Bloomberg: Reserve Bank of Australia Governor Glenn Stevens said weaker consumer confidence driven by the rout in global financial markets will help ease inflation pressures, making it prudent to sit still on interest rates.
Inflation bears careful watching, but we can keep it under control, Stevens told a parliamentary committee today in Melbourne. It would be reasonable to anticipate that a decline in confidence arising from the recent events internationally may well dampen demand somewhat compared with the outlook set out in the Statement on Monetary Policy published in early August.
If we did see a very dramatic change for the worse in the global economy, certainly we have plenty of interest rates to play with if need be, Stevens said in response to a question. In terms of macroeconomic ammunition, there would be not that many countries who could say they had more than us in the event of a really big episode. I don't think that's occurring at the moment.