Fiscal cliff chatter continues to pull markets around

Having been fixated on events in Europe for so much of this year, this week’s events surrounding Greece and Spain have shifted the focus on to more imminent problems unfolding right now in the US.

The will they, won’t they agree a deal dance on the US fiscal cliff continues to pull markets to and fro in a tug of war between the bulls and bears, after US markets rebounded last night on optimistic comments from both President Obama and Republican House Speaker John Boehner, that a deal would be reached, in contrast to the scepticism the previous night from Senate leader Harry Reid.

The fervent hope remains that the various protagonists in this other politically charged saga can come to a deal swiftly and then we can all get on with our lives as we head into month end. The likelihood remains that we will see more twists and turns between now and Christmas as markets oscillate between optimism and pessimism in the coming days and weeks.

Today’s economic calendar is quite light in terms of economic data, but one item does stand out and for all the recent focus on Greece and Spain, we once again return to the question of the rising unemployment rate in Europe, and in particular Germany today ahead of tomorrow’s EU and Italian numbers which aren’t expected to make particularly good reading.

Germany in contrast to the rest of Europe has been somewhat insulated from the worst of the crisis, with respect to rising unemployment, however their numbers have started to shift upward in recent months, raising fears that the crisis has become endemic.

Today’s November unemployment numbers from Germany are expected to see a 16k rise, with the unemployment rate staying unchanged at 6.9%. Later on, a whole raft of broad based European confidence data for November is expected to show a sharp decline in confidence across consumers, business and industry.

In sharp contrast in the US the latest Q3 GDP revision is expected to be revised sharply higher from 2% to 2.8%, in light of some recent adjustments to some of the Q3 data. A sharp narrowing in the trade deficit, as well as higher inventory levels are behind the increase, however the numbers won’t give too many clues with respect to how Q4 is shaping up, but the omens don’t look promising with the uncertainty surrounding the fiscal cliff and last night’s Beige Book pointing to significant weakness in manufacturing and industrial activity.

Today’s release of the latest weekly jobless claims in the wake of Hurricane Sandy are expected to point to another fall, this time below the important 400k, coming in at 392k, down from 410k, as the labour market settles back to a more normalised look.

EURUSD – we got a brief dip below 1.2900 yesterday but no follow through which suggests we could well have another go at 1.3005 trend line resistance from the 2011 1.4940 highs. Only a break above 1.3020 has the potential to retarget the September highs at 1.3175.
A break back below the 50 day MA and 1.2900 retargets a move towards the 200 day MA at 1.2800, while below that we also have trend line support from the 1.2050 lows which now comes in at 1.2750.

GBPUSD – the fall through 1.6000 found support just below 1.5970 before bouncing back.
The main resistance remains first of all the 50 day MA at 1.6060, while behind that we also have 1.6090 channel line resistance from the 1.6310 highs. Only above 1.6100 has the potential to target 1.6200 and the October highs. A fall through yesterday’s lows could well see a move towards 1.5815 trend line support from the 1.5270 lows, as well as 1.5660.

EURGBP – Tuesday’s bearish daily candle keeps the risk to the downside but we’ve held above the 200 day MA at 0.8060. We need to close below it to argue a move back towards 0.8020. We need a move above 0.8115 to suggest a move towards the October highs at 0.8165 remains possible.
On the downside trend line support comes in at 0.7990 from the July lows at 0.7755.

USDJPY – we continue to hold above the support at 81.70/80 and while above we remain on track for a retest of last week’s highs at 82.85, on the way to a broader move towards the March highs above 84.00.
A break below the interim support at 81.70/80 has the potential to target a move towards the 80.50 and weekly cloud level support.
Only below the 80.50 level suggests a move back towards the November lows at 79.00.