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The headlines are concentrating on the massive earthquake and tsunami in Japan. The devastation there is widespread and tragic to say the very least.
Heading into today, much of the world was interested in how the planned demonstrations -- the so-called "Day of Rage" -- were going to transpire in Saudi Arabia. But that story has been dwarfed by the earthquake coverage. The good news is that the "rage" turned out to be a nonevent.
Police turned out in large numbers on the streets of the Saudi capital, and their presence apparently deterred most of the would-be protestors. The heavy security presence kept Riyadh quiet, but locals reported that approximately 200 people demonstrated in the city of Hofuf. This, however, appears to be insignificant. It's also good news that could potentially lead to lower oil prices.
The new concern is that China may be signaling a global slowdown. It's a pretty significant red flag when the world's leading producer of goods announces a 35% decline in copper demand. Does the slowdown in copper usage indicate a reduction of global demand for goods? Time will tell, but that is a very real concern going forward.
With the aftermath of today's devastating earthquake in Japan still unfolding, what are the trading opportunities for investors? This was the largest earthquake on record in Japan and it will probably be the most costly, too. Japan has been fighting a recessionary environment off and on for more than 20 years. Though the rebuilding of the affected areas may prove to be a long-term economic stimulant, there could be significant short-term implications for Japan.
ProShares UltraShort MSCI Japan
may offer a short-term opportunity for aggressive investors. EWV seeks returns that correspond to twice the inverse of the daily performance of the MSCI Japan Index. Because the value of the index is not computed at the close of the U.S. markets (due to differences in trading hours between U.S. and Japan), the fund's correlation to the index is measured by comparing the daily change in the ETF's net asset value per share to the performance of one or more U.S. exchange-traded security or instrument that reflects the values of the securities underlying the index. In other words, the ETF's valuation is determined by an educated guess due to the significant time difference between the U.S and Japan.
One reason this may be a profitable, quick trade is that the earthquake occurred with only 20 minutes remaining in Friday trading in Japan. It is nighttime in Tokyo, and it may be difficult to ascertain the full extent of the damage. However, the picture will become clear over the weekend and, by Monday, the real extent of the devastation will be easier to quantify.
EWV already appeared to be forming a double-bottom price pattern, similar to many inverse funds that track single countries around the world. Yesterday and today, prices spiked up on EWV. The fund was trading at $34.32 at the time of publication and could jump to $38 per share rather quickly.
Without the earthquake, EWV may have been an attractive hedge against a potential global slowdown. The earthquake may be a catalyst for EWV to move more quickly. This is a highly speculative trade. Place a stop at $31 for protection.
At the time of publication, Jerry Slusiewicz and Pacific Financial Planners maintained no positions mentioned in this article.
Jerry Slusiewicz has over two decades of professional investment experience. He has worked with individuals and institutions to manage monies for both short and long-term investment horizons. This extensive experience through various stock and bond market cycles enables him to offer a unique blend of professional investment counsel and personal service.