Europe uneasy, gold and crude fall

Weekly highlights:

  • The Dollar is strengthening
  • Treasury yields (long-term) are rising
  • Gold and crude oil are falling
  • European stocks are bearish
  • US stocks remain bullish

The tenuous ceasefire in Eastern Ukraine appears to be holding, but Europe faces another challenge this week, with a Scottish referendum on independence. Predictions of financial mayhem in the event of a “Yes” vote are, I feel, exaggerated in an attempt to influence the outcome. The official position of the UK government is:

“If a majority of those who vote want Scotland to be independent then Scotland would become an independent country after a process of negotiations.”

The “process of negotiations” is likely to be comprehensive and would resolve most outstanding uncertainties in an orderly fashion. There has been much debate over economic issues, but it is no coincidence that the referendum is being held in the same year as the 700th anniversary of the Battle of Bannockburn, when Scots under Robert the Bruce defeated an English army led by Edward II to regain their independence.

Stock markets

Dow Jones Euro Stoxx 50 remains hesitant, retreating from resistance at 3300. Consolidation above 3200 would be a bullish sign, while breach of 3100 would threaten primary support at 3000. Another 13-week Twiggs Money Flow trough above zero would indicate buying pressure, but reversal below zero would warn of a down-trend.

* Target calculation: 3300 + ( 3300 – 3000 ) = 3600

The S&P 500 is edging lower and follow-through below 1980 would indicate another correction. Respect of support at 1950, however, would suggest that the up-trend is intact. Sideways movement on 21-day Twiggs Money Flow, reflects further consolidation.

S&P 500

* Target calculation: 2000 + ( 2000 – 1900 ) = 2100

CBOE Volatility Index (VIX) below 20 is typical of a bull market.

S&P 500 VIX

China’s Shanghai Composite Index breakout above 2250 signals a primary up-trend. The monthly chart, however, reflects further resistance at 2450/2500*. Rising 13-week Twiggs Money Flow indicates accelerating buying pressure. Reversal below 2250 is most unlikely, but would suggest further consolidation between 2000 and 2250.

Shanghai Composite Index

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

The ASX 200 broke support at 5540/5560, warning of a correction. Bearish divergence on 21-day Twiggs Money Flow indicates medium-term selling pressure. Respect of support at 5440/5460 would indicate that the primary up-trend is intact, while a fall below 5360 would warn of a down-trend.

ASX 200

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

Gold & crude fall

Gold broke support at $1240/ounce to signal a primary down-trend. Declining 13-week Twiggs Momentum, below zero, strengthens the signal. Follow-through below $1200 would confirm. The sell-off is being driven by a rising Dollar.

Spot Gold

Crude oil is also falling, with Brent Crude testing its 18-month low. Nymex breach of $92/barrel would also signal a primary down-trend.

Nymex and Brent Crude

From Nick Cunningham at Oilprice.com:

The glut of supplies and weak demand is causing problems for OPEC, according to the cartel’s monthly report. OPEC lowered its demand projection for 2015 by 200,000 and in August, Saudi Arabia cut production by 400,000 bpd in an effort to stem oversupply.

It is probably no coincidence, but lower oil prices will hurt the Russian economy. As Nick points out:

Russia needs between $110 and $117 per barrel to finance its spending, which means the Kremlin can’t be happy as it watches Brent prices continue to drop. Combined with an already weak economy, Russia could see its $19 billion surplus become a deficit by the end of the year.

Falling oil prices will benefit the global economy in the medium-term. Subduing Russia’s territorial ambitions will be an added bonus.