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Financial Markets Stabilize After Recent Beatings

Stock-Markets / Financial Markets Sep 22, 2008 - 05:04 AM GMT

By: Regent_Markets

Stock-Markets Traders, investors, and financial journalists must have been glad to reach the end of a week that will surely go down in the history of financial markets. The FTSE closed the week just 66 points down which the S&P 500 actually managed a small profit. Homeowner, the closing figures do not even begin to tell the whole story with the FTSE trading in a 521 point range and posting its best one day rally in history on Friday.

The turmoil began last week with the bail out of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. This raised hopes of a similar bail out of the Lehman Brothers. To say that investor’s were shocked when Lehman’s was not only denied a bailout, but filed for insolvency would be an understatement. Lehman’s collapse sent shockwaves throughout equity markets sparking a domino effect that knocked over Merrill Lynch, AIG and HBOS.

Even the most seasoned investors had a hard time steadying themselves last week as the newswires continue pump out dark news, and once in a generation headlines. Fear was understandably widespread with the Russian stock market suspended indefinitely after dropping 10% in an hour, and a large money market fund ‘breaking the buck’, meaning they lost their unit holders money. When the supposed safe havens of money market funds start to break down, investors see little choice but to fly to quality. There is a flood of assets transferring to safety of short term US Government Treasuries, forcing the yield on three month Treasury Bonds down to their lowest level since the great depression. Gold endured a remarkable week trading in a $140 range before closing the week up around $90.

On the economic data front, US CPI was in line with expectations, and oil prices have continued to stay below $100. Both of these factors indicate that the inflation monster may be coming back under control. However, the FOMC voted to keep rates on hold last week, initially markets had a mixed reaction. Many believe the Fed has now left itself some ammunition to deal with a weakening economy further down the line. It also sent out the signal that it would not be influenced by market makers into cutting rates as they did back in July.

It was the two emergency announcements on Wednesday and Thursday that had the greatest impact last week. After central banks dropped a coordinated liquidity bomb overnight on Wednesday, global equity and credit markets initially seemed to show a very cautious reaction. The greatest reaction seemed to come from the Fed’s plan to create a giant ‘bad bank’ that would absorb many of the toxic subprime assets held by banks. This measure accompanied with a crack down on short sellers, seemed to have hit the nail on the head for the financial institutions, with the root cause of the credit crunch (sub prime assets) being attacked.

Next week’s headlines will be dominated by Ben Bernanke’s testimony before congress starting on Wednesday. We also have US existing home sales on Wednesday and new home sales on Thursday. However, the planned economic announcements could be secondary to any surprise headlines or further emergency measures. When stock markets move percentage points in the matter of minutes, anything can happen.

Although equity markets bounced last week, the panic at one stage reached such an extreme that the yield on 3 month US Treasuries reached 0.02% on Thursday, returning just $2 on a $10,000 investment. Investors weren’t just running to safety, they were blindly staggering to anywhere with no exposure to the credit markets. When investors press the panic button as they undoubtedly have done, there is potential for a counter rally to set in the short term as we saw on Friday. However, looking at large crashes from 1987, 1997, 1998, 2000 and 2001, the follow on reaction is typically a range bound market. A barrier range trade returns a profit if neither of two predetermined levels are hit within a specified time. A barrier range trade at BetOnMarkets predicting the Dow Jones not to touch 12200 or 10500 over the next 16 days
could return 39%.

By Mike Wright
Tel: +448003762737
Url: &

About Regent Markets Group:   Regent Markets is the world's leading fixed odds financial trading group. Through its main multi-awarding winning websites, and, it has established itself as the leading global provider of a unique, powerful way to trade the world's major financial markets. The number, length and variety of trades available to our clients exists nowhere else in the world. Tel  (+44) 08000 326 279

Disclaimer: The above is a matter of opinion and is not intended as investment advice. Information and analysis above are derived from sources and utilizing methods believed reliable, but we cannot accept responsibility for any trading losses you may incur as a result of this analysis. Do your own due diligence.

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