Europe leads markets lower


  • Europe retreats as the Ukraine/Russia crisis escalates.
  • S&P 500 displays milder selling pressure and the primary trend remains intact.
  • VIX continues to indicate a bull market.
  • China’s Shanghai Composite is bullish in the medium-term.
  • ASX 200 may experience a secondary correction, but the primary trend displays buying support.

European leaders are waking up to the seriousness of the menace posed by Russia in the East, summed up in a recent Der Spiegel editorial:

Europe, and we Germans, will certainly have to pay a price for sanctions. But the price would be incomparably greater were Putin allowed to continue to violate international law. Peace and security in Europe would then be in serious danger.

Vladimir Putin will not alter course because of a light slap on the wrist. President Obama is going to have to find Teddy Roosevelt’s “big stick” — misplacement of which is largely responsible for Russia’s current flagrant disregard of national borders. And Europe is going to have to endure real pain in order to face down the Russian threat in the East. Delivery of French Mistral warships, for example, would show that Europe remains divided and will encourage the Russian bear to take even bolder steps.

Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin said, however, that he doubted France would cancel the deal, despite coming under pressure from other Western leaders: “This is billions of euros. The French are very pragmatic. I doubt it [that the deal will be canceled].”
The Moscow Times

The whole of Europe is likely to have to share the cost of cancelling deals like this, but it is important to do so and present a united front.

Markets reacted negatively to the latest escalation, with Dow Jones Europe Index falling almost 6% over the last month. 13-Week Twiggs Momentum dipped below zero after several months of bearish divergence, warning not necessarily of a primary down-trend, but of a serious test of primary support at 315. Respect of 325 and the rising trendline would reassure that the primary trend is intact.

Dow Jones Europe Index

The S&P 500 displays milder selling pressure on 13-week Twiggs Money Flow and the correction is likely to test the rising trendline and support at 1850/1900, but not primary support at 1750. Respect of the zero line by 13-week Twiggs Money Flow would signal a buying opportunity for long-term investors. Recovery above 2000 is unlikely at present, but breakout would offer a (long-term) target of 2250*.

S&P 500

* Target calculation: 1500 + ( 1500 – 750 ) = 2250

CBOE Volatility Index (VIX) spiked upwards, but remains low by historical standards and continues to suggest a bull market.

S&P 500 VIX

China’s Shanghai Composite Index broke resistance at 2150, suggesting a primary up-trend, but I will wait for confirmation from a follow-through above 2250. Rising 13-week Twiggs Money Flow indicates medium-term buying pressure. Reversal below 2050 is unlikely at present but would warn of another test of primary support at 1990/2000. The PBOC is simply kicking the can down the road by injecting more liquidity into the banking system. That may defer the eventual day of reckoning by a year or two, but it cannot be avoided. And each time the problem is deferred, it grows bigger. So the medium-term outlook may be improving, but I still have doubts about the long-term.

Shanghai Composite

* Target calculation: 2000 – ( 2150 – 2000 ) = 1850

The ASX 200 is likely to retrace to test the rising trendline around 5450, but 13-week Twiggs Money Flow holding above zero continues to indicate buying support. Recovery above 5600 is unlikely at present, but would present a target of 5800*. Reversal below 5050 would signal a trend change, but that is most unlikely despite current bearishness.

ASX 200

* Target calculation: 5400 + ( 5400 – 5000 ) = 5800

Speak softly and carry a big stick.

~ President Theodore Roosevelt, describing his style of foreign policy which he later explained as “The exercise of intelligent forethought and of decisive action sufficiently far in advance of any likely crisis.”