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's "Columnist Conversation," you can see how the pros are playing it on a real-time basis. Here are the top five ideas from today:
1. Swiss National Bank
By Marc Chandler
11:59 a.m. EDT
The Swiss National Bank has turned more aggressive in its intervention, and it appears the central bank has followed up yesterday's bouts with another one today, though with somewhat diminished effect. In addition to bidding the market higher and coming in more than once, the other way the SNB has turned more aggressive is that it also appears to have intervened against the U.S. dollar as well.
The SNB's comments had suggested the focus was strictly on the euro-franc cross. That it intervened on the dollar suggests its line of attack may be more the trade-weighted index. Yesterday before the intervention, the BOE's trade-weighted index of the Swiss franc (a readily available proxy) rose to its highest level in more than three months -- roughly 1 standard deviation above its 100-day moving average. The intervention has succeeded and today's operation feels more like a "mopping-up exercise" and underscores the SNB's resolve.
The SNB-induced selloff of the Swiss franc has knock-on effects on several other currencies.
First, because of the intervention on the dollar, SNB intervention weighs on the euro, which from the finance ministers point of view is not a wholly undesirable.
Second, because of the residual Swiss franc exposure in central Europe, the Polish zloty and Hungarian forint are benefiting. The zloty has also been aided today by unexpectedly robust May retail sales (+1% year-over-year vs. expectations for -0.5%).
Third, to the extent that the Swedish krona has been sensitive to developments in the Baltics, good news for Hungary and Poland is good news for Sweden. The Swedish krona is the best-performing G10 currency.
2. Housing Bulls
By Bob Byrne
11:08 a.m. EDT
improving cancellation rates. If you are a bull on housing,
chart will look positive if it can close above 17.30. The stock has support between $15.50 and $16 (easy stop loss)... with initial resistance at $18.20 and $20.
If you want to trade it, enter after the stock closes above $17.30 or near support at $15.50/$16. I would ditch the stock on a sub-$15.50 close.
3. Seven-Year Auction
By Tom Graff
8:37 a.m. EDT
Today's seven-year Treasury auction is worth watching. Yesterday's FOMC statement, which lacked any discussion of an exit strategy, should steepen the yield curve. I think it will be a head fake, and the curve will eventually flatten, but the short-term move should be steeper.
If that's right, then the seven-year should be a good spot on the yield curve, and thus you'd expect strong demand. On the other hand, it's the third major auction in as many days, and given that the two- and five-year notes went very well, is there any demand left for the seven-year?
Another problem with the seven-year is that it has never really caught on with the investor community. Corporate bonds aren't generally spread off the seven-year, and thus it isn't used as a hedging vehicle by traders.
So it's a question of whether the steeper trade can overwhelm these negatives, which should be a tell on Treasury demand overall.
4. Retail HOLDRs Trust (RTH): Sink or Swim Time
By Alan Farley
8:36 a.m. EDT
Retail HOLDRs Trust
rallied off its bear-market low at $60 in March and stalled in the low $80s, just under last October's breakdown from five-year support. Note how this price level also converges with the 200-day EMA. The fund has pounded out a double-top pattern in the last three months and now sold off to support near $75.50.
A breakdown from this key level could trigger a painful test of the bear-market low because the prior rally carved out few obvious support zones. Fibonacci retracements at $71 and $69 might slow the decline but aren't likely to turn around the evolving downtrend.
A selloff would also be bad news because this fund is a referendum on the American consumer.
5. ConAgra Report
By Tim Melvin
8:34 a.m. EDT
There is a lot of good news lurking below the headline number in this morning's
release. The headline number is down 13% from the year-ago period but does not tell you that last year's number was inflated by the sale of the commodity trading unit. The basic operations of the company showed gains pretty much across the board. Revenues were up in the quarter on a year-over-year basis, growing by 8% and profits from continuing operations better than doubled in the quarter.
The stock is not excessively cheap but the company is performing well in the environment. They have great cash flow and are buying back stock and pay a decent dividend. On pullbacks it is worth trying to buy some shares or sell the $17.50 puts. This company has a great collection of brands and should do very well going forward.
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This article was written by a staff member of RealMoney.com.