Putin antics fail to impress markets

For all his macho posturing, Vladimir Putin has demonstrated an inability to move financial markets with his antics in Eastern Ukraine. His latest incursion towards Luhansk, with white-painted military trucks bearing aid to the rebel-held city, unchecked by the Red Cross, passed barely noticed. Instead markets are intently focused on nuances from a 68-year old Jewish mum at Jackson Hole, who also happens to chair the Federal Reserve.

I would have loved to call Janet Yellen a “grandmother”, but son Robert Akerlof — himself a PhD in Economics — does not claim any offspring on his CV. The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. Husband, George Akerlof, is a Nobel prize-winning economist and professor emeritus at University of California, Berkeley.

The image below highlights the differences between the Fed and the ECB:

Fed ECB

The Fed’s more stimulatory approach has paid dividends in terms of economic growth and employment while inflation expectations remain muted. The inflation breakeven rate — 10-year Treasury yield minus the yield on equivalent inflation-indexed securities — continues to range between 2.0% and 2.50%.

Inflation breakeven rate

The ECB’s more austere approach, on the other hand, has caused a world of pain.

Market update

  • S&P 500 tests 2000.
  • VIX continues to indicate a bull market.
  • DAX hesitant rally.
  • China bullish.
  • ASX 200 faces strong resistance.

The S&P 500 hesitated after making a new high on Thursday, but there was no dramatic fall in response to news from Eastern Ukraine. Expect retracement towards 1950, followed by another test of 2000. 21-Day Twiggs Money Flow is likely to re-test the zero line, but respect would indicate strong buying pressure. Breach of support at 1900, warning of a reversal, remains unlikely.

S&P 500

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

Declining CBOE Volatility Index (VIX) indicates low risk, typical of a bull market.

S&P 500 VIX

Germany’s DAX rallied above 9300 on the weekly chart, but 13-week Twiggs Money Flow warns of continued selling pressure. Reversal below support at 8900/9000 would warn of a primary down-trend.

DAX

* Target calculation: 9000 – ( 10000 – 9000 ) = 8000

Shanghai Composite Index is testing resistance at 2250. Breakout would confirm a primary up-trend, signaling an advance to 2500*. Rising 13-week Twiggs Money Flow indicates medium-term buying pressure. Respect of resistance, however, would suggest further consolidation.

Shanghai Composite Index

* Target calculation: 2250 + ( 2250 – 2000 ) = 2500

Tall wicks on ASX 200 daily candles indicate strong resistance at 5650. Respect would suggest retracement to 5550, while follow-through would be a strong bull signal, suggesting an advance to 5850*. Another 21-day Twiggs Money Flow trough above zero would indicate long-term buying pressure. Reversal below 5450 is unlikely, but would warn of a test of primary support.

ASX 200

* Target calculation: 5650 + ( 5650 – 5450 ) = 5850