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OBSERVATIONS
Markets shift. This is where Track.com analyzes those shifts. These pieces focus on the reactions to particular market sector events, and the issues and data that may cause adverse or unexpected market movements.

THE WEEKLY TRACK - SUPERBOWLS

Superlatives are always to be mistrusted. So it will be tonight as we await the best Superbowl ever. Finding joy in being super maybe sufficient for a short term party but not a long term seasonal joy. Judging the present from the past without context is just such a problem. The China drop in FX reserves for January being such a case. Similarly, judging the health of an economy by its sporting extravagance could lead to mistakes. Sure, there is an economic impact for having a global sports event – the World Cup, the Olympics, Cricket – they all beat the superbowl when it comes to eyeballs – but today’s US Football’s Superbowl wins for hype. The US National Retail Federation estimated 188.9mn fans plan to watch and will spend an average of $82.19 on food, decor, team apparel, etc. vs. $77.88 last year. Total spending is estimated at $15.5bn. This maybe enough to matter for some respite from the spate of ugliness surrounding the US economy. But we are in for some chop if news turns - as Friday revealed, risk appetites rest on easy money policy globally. The ability for the ECB to deliver in March, for the FOMC Yellen to steady the USD decline, for the EM world to hold to capital and yet ease conditions - all that will drive back some "hope" like 2 weeks ago. If not, we could see the February drag on like January with more winter than spring, more superlatives about volatility and more pain for chasing momentum trades.

MARKET RECAP
Get a head start on tomorrow's headlines. Succinct market analysis, updated frequently, reviewing the factors most responsible for changes in valuation, trends and sentiment, with highlights to the major themes driving market forces.

THE MORNING TRACK - WAGERS

We used to focus on wages as the key for making the FOMC move rates faster and drive the USD higher. That changed this week with Bill Dudley and his focus on financial conditions. But just how much will still be set by the monthly jobs report. The handicapping on what the Non-Farm Payrolls will be rests on weather effects, the usual post holiday seasonal adjustments and the fact that many indicators used by economists from weekly claims to Service ISM are all weaker – so a 150,000 job growth would not surprise but likely confirm that the FOMC isn’t going to be raising rates anytime soon. Thankfully, post the jobs report we have a Chinese New Year Holiday and that maybe enough to keep one of the fears at bay. The other is oil and that is more complicated with talk of OPEC and non-OPEC meetings unlikely to really be sufficient to break $35 WTI. The technical picture for the USD is the one that broke this week with a 2.5% drop. The moves in EUR and JPY are likely befuddling to the ECB and BOJ as they quietly plot the next battle in the currency war. The negative rates are having the unintended consequence of destroying bank stocks and this isn’t going to help anyone. The flight of money back to bolster balance sheets is the net unintended result. Wagers on the jobs report today to make this all change back to black – equities up in Japan and Germany, USD up and bonds down – that isn’t likely, nor is it the nascent trend. The risk for Japan particularly seems to be 114.50 JPY and that maybe in a hurry should we land in the red for the week.

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CENTRAL BANKS – AH AAAAAHHH! – SAVIOURS OF THE UNIVERSE?

Freight rates have fallen below 2008 levels With the oil price below $30 many US producers are unprofitable The Fed has tightened but global QE gathers pace Chinese stimulus is fighting domestic strong headwinds

TRADE IDEAS
Our tactical and (mostly) short-term analysis offers potential trading opportunities in fixed income, foreign exchange, commodity, equity and other asset classes. Technical and fundamental analysis is applied for risk positioning. Track.com monitors the success of all recommendations.

TRACK JANUARY IDEA DINNER – LOVE SONGS

The first Track Idea Dinner of 2016 started with a sense that markets like love can be difficult if not outright crazy. There were songs that seemed appropriate to the debate – Jack White’s “Love Interruption” or U2 Bono’s “Love is Blindness” but perhaps the more accurate to the overall mood is the Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock by T.S. Elliot – “Like a patient etherized upon a table;” the sharp pain of selling in commodities and equities had reached a point requiring sedation after all we are living on the edge of Dante’s Inferno. After seeing a modest bounce from the lows this week in equities and oil, the consensus call was for risk relief rally. But just like a bad relationship forces self-doubt – so too many are looking for the right logic to explan the present volatility and price. A diverse group of analysts, traders, investors and fund managers gathered to discuss markets, best trades, worst fears and the state of global macro. There were three key take-aways stand out – 1) More bulls than bears - This wasn’t that bearish a group – only one or two thought we would see the S&P500 lower than it is now at the end of the year. 2) Oil was expected to be low for longer. Oil was seen as near a bottom - $20-$25 lows with $35 the average for the year. This wasn’t a consensus – some saw $5-$10 potential but with much higher volatility, some saw $45-$50. 3) No recession. Growth was still the central expectation for the US and Europe and most of the world. There was a notable lack of fear about China hard landings. Many like 2015 were waiting for the global consumer and business benefits of lower energy costs to help along with the ECB and BOJ QE policies. So perhaps it’s logical that we end the 3rd week of January with the equity markets up for the first time in 2016, but the doubt remain and the discussion remained more bleak than boisterous.

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MARKET RECAP

Get a head start on tomorrow's headlines. Succinct market analysis, updated frequently, reviewing the factors most responsible for changes in valuation, trends and sentiment, with highlights to the major themes driving market forces.

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