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U.S. Opening Bell: War Deepens; Futures, Europe Stocks Slump; Oil and Gold Surge

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Russian ruble plunge eases
Gold advances
US Treasury yields slide

Key Events

As a massive Russian convoy moves toward Ukraine’s capital Kyiv on Tuesday, US futures on the Dow Jones, S&P 500, NASDAQ and Russell 2000, as well as European stocks, are all trading lower.

Oil continues to rise with both crude and Brent hovering around the key $100 per barrel level.  

Global Financial Affairs

US futures contract traders reverted to recent habits and sold off tech shares in favor of value stocks. Futures on the NASDAQ 100, representing growth stocks, were leading the losses, while contracts on the Russell 2000, which lists smaller domestic firms, and the Dow Jones, which lists blue-chip stocks, had fallen the least. 

Russell 2000 Daily

However, we expect that the Russell 2000 Index will continue declining, having retested a bearish flag, itself a downside breakout of what appears to be a top.

In Europe, positive results for the German life sciences group Bayer (DE:BAYGN) led healthcare equities higher, as management said that its agricultural division performed well. However, the company warned that the Russia-Ukraine conflict could pose a risk to its future earnings. It opened 1.6% higher and extended gains to 4.4%. However, this slipped to 2.2% as the STOXX 600 Index moved lower on Ukraine worries. 

Technicals may be influencing the performance of the European index.

STOXX 600 Daily

The gauge has been halting precisely on the bottom of its range—a potential top—for the third day.

Earlier, stocks in Asia extended a rebound for the second day. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng bounced into positive territory but was volatile. In Japan, the Nikkei jumped 1.47%. Australia’s ASX 200 climbed 0.92% after the Reserve Bank of Australia cited the crisis in Ukraine as a “source of uncertainty,” keeping interest rates at a record low. Surprisingly, the Aussie dollar climbed to the highest level for the currency since Nov. 16 despite yielding next to 0%.

As investors reduced risk and moved into bonds, 10-year Treasury yields fell.

10-year Treasuries Daily

The decline in rates eased after they reached the bottom of a falling flag and a completed pennant, both of which are bullish. The price remains in the rising channel that broke the topside of a symmetrical triangle. Higher yields may weigh on stocks, as they predict higher interest rates and provide a safe alternative to stocks.

After giving up an initial rally, the dollar was little changed and found resistance.

Dollar Index Daily

The greenback has been struggling with blowing out a diamond top.

Gold traders took advantage of the dollar resistance.

Gold Daily

We’re betting on a continued climb in the yellow metal. It may even retest its August 2020 peak, after the yellow metal completed a sizeable symmetrical triangle, lasting all of 2021.

Bitcoin surged over 15% yesterday after the Treasury Department announced sanctions on Russia’s central bank and froze Russian assets.

Bitcoin Daily

Nevertheless, the crypto stopped climbing below its February peak, keeping an H&S continuation pattern in play, after completing a large H&S top, implying testing the $30K level and perhaps lower.

The more important news was Russian ruble-denominated Bitcoin, whose volume surged to a 9-month high amid a flight from the Russian fiat currency, making the leading digital coin more valuable than the Russian ruble. BTC/RUB closed 11.7% below its Nov. 14 record peak on Monday.

The USD/RUB itself declined by 0.5% today, after its worst plunge on record on Monday, bringing losses to 36% since the late October bottom.

Oil opened higher and extended its advance to the highest level since late July 2014. Investors are weighing the possible effect of the release of emergency stockpiles or the resumption of Iran oil supplies could have versus the disruption of Russian oil supplies if the current talks on a nuclear pact are successful. Russia’s output is the second largest after Saudi Arabia.

Oil Daily

WTI was pushing against the intraday resistance of recent trading following an upside breakout of a pennant formation, expected to be a continuation pattern.

Up Ahead

Crude oil inventories are released on Wednesday.
On Wednesday, the Bank of Canada announces his interest rate decision.
The US Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell testifies to Congress on monetary policy Wednesday and Thursday.

Market Moves

Stocks

The STOXX 600 rose 0.2%
Futures on the S&P 500 rose 0.6%
Futures on the NASDAQ 100 rose 0.3%
Futures on the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.6%
The MSCI Asia Pacific Index rose 0.6%
The MSCI Emerging Markets Index rose 0.9%

Currencies

The Dollar Index was less than 0.1% lower at 96.66
The euro was down 0.3% at 1.1182
The Japanese yen declined 0.2% to 114.76 per dollar
The offshore yuan was little changed at 6.3159 per dollar
The British pound was little changed at 1.3420

Bonds

The yield on 10-year Treasuries advanced two basis points to 1.85%
Germany’s 10-year yield declined to -0.0145%
Britain’s 10-year yield fell to 1.26%

Commodities

WTI crude advanced 2.9% to $98.53 a barrel
Brent crude rose 3.3% to $101.26 a barrel
Spot gold was little changed

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