The March dollar index (DXH3:NYBOT) hardly budged Monday, despite rallies topping 2.3% in the major stock indices. The buck should have gotten some traction from the stock rally, but it didn't. That's bad news for the dollar index, a market already trading at a contract low. On
Nov. 22 , I mentioned some longer-term factors that could weigh on the dollar index. Now, new matters are likely to take their toll on the buck. First, the turmoil in Venezuela is spinning out of control. An extension of the general strike there and the use of deadly force at antigovernment demonstrations have paralyzed the nation's oil exports, much of which goes to the U.S. January crude oil (CLF3:NYBOT) spiked above $30 a barrel, and the situation doesn't look like it will improve until President Chavez agrees to an earlier-than-scheduled referendum on his rule. Higher oil prices are negative for the dollar because they sap corporate earnings, consumer spending and investments that could be put to more productive use elsewhere. The shake-up at the Treasury Department isn't helping matters, either. At best, the Bush administration's new Treasury secretary appointee John Snow is perceived as being neutral for the dollar. In the worst-case scenario, Snow will cave to interests wishing to do away with the existing strong-dollar policy in an attempt to stimulate U.S. exports and the economy. Both the situations in Venezuela and at the Treasury are dollar negative. Meanwhile, the March euro FX (ECH3:CME) -- the currency with the most clout on the dollar index -- is asserting itself as one of the strongest momentum movers among the most closely followed futures markets. Only the energies and gold have more upside inertia. Other currencies paired against the dollar are surging as well. The correlated March Swiss franc (SFH3:CME) just missed setting a new contract record. The March British pound (BPH3:CME) has hit fresh highs for the past two days after breaking out of a weekly ascending triangle. And the Aussie dollar (ADH3:CME) has gotten a boost to fresh contract highs, piggy-backing off gold's rally.
Monday's near-flat finish in the face of healthy stocks and stock index futures' gains demonstrates the market's distaste for the dollar. Given the plethora of negative fundamentals and the technical strength in currencies paired against the dollar, buyers will be unlikely to step in until much lower levels are achieved. Psychological support at the round 100 level is the next downside target.
a month ago , I mentioned that a break of 330.0 in February gold (GCG3:COMEX) would be in the spirit of a Cooper Rule of Four breakout, a pattern that presaged huge runs in corn and cocoa. Gold has closed firmly above 330.0 for the past two sessions and bolted overnight on Monday to 340.0. Here is a complete list of the changes.