Dollar Range Survives Mixed Housing Data

Whereas yesterday?s housing data was certainly siding with the bears, Tuesday?s round of starts and building permits gave little to either side of the market. Now, with the docket clearing out expectations for event risk later in the week, the market is turning to technicals and interest rates for direction.

In terms of dollar-based price action today, the majors were taking different paths. EURUSD pulled back from its steady rise in the early morning, putting in a top around 1.3435 and retracing 50 points quickly thereafter. With no UK data in the wings to impede its rise, GBPUSD notch up a fourth day to its rally. The 60-point range today has brought the pair within 10 points of 1.99. The yield pairs were little moved by today?s fundamentals. The Swiss franc traded off on a choppy session with the dollar as USDCHF ranged back and forth between 1.2425 and 1.2390. Finally, USDJPY merely tested yesterday?s levels of 123.30 and 123.75 in today?s quiet session.
Tuesday?s economic offerings represented the pinnacle of scheduled event risk for the week. However, the mixed readings on May housing starts and building permits offered the dollar little direction at a time where traders are looking for clues to the Fed?s next rate shift. According to the Commerce Department?s numbers, builders broke ground on 1.472 million new homes last month. This was almost exactly in line with economists? expectations for the period; though a modest lean towards disappointment worked its way into the release due to the 22,000 unit revision in the previous month?s read. The permits number was similarly muddled. Though approvals for future construction projects bested the consensus by rising 3 percent to 1.501 million units, the previous month?s nine-and-a-half year low was still eliciting caution. The proximity to record lows represents the true value of this housing data. The sector is already known as the primary weight on growth; so barring a considerable deterioration in the worst housing slump in 16 years or a promising turn around, the reports were already pegged to leave Fed speculation and the dollar relatively untouched. What?s more, the market was prepared for disappointing numbers today after the NAHB Housing Market Index numbed investors on the sector with a 16-year low. Economists and traders will now look to next week?s sales reports to give a more complete reading on inventories and prices. With the average 30-year FRM near a one-year high and inventories at record levels, things may very well get worse before they get better.
US equity markets were still stalled out following the impressive rally at the end of last week. By 15:30 GMT, the Nasdaq Composite was looking at the biggest move in a 0.25 percent drop to 2,620.04. The S&P 500 was 0.17 percent off the open while the Dow edged 0.08 percent lower to 13,601.85. Turning somewhat back to normal, the corporate headlines were once again driving the top market movers for the session. This morning, the whole retail sector received a shock Best Buy Co. reported disappointing numbers. Shares dropped 5.4 percent to $45.42 after the firm reported an 18 percent drop in first quarter profit and lowered its forecasts for the year. Turning to the top gainers list, shares of pharmaceutical Bristol-Myers Squibb received a hearty boost when it was announced the FDA would be giving the companies new breast cancer drug a priority review. Investors pushed Bristol shares 4.7 percent higher to $31.74.
Fed expectations embedded in treasuries prices were little affected by today?s housing data; though high rates down the yield curve was providing notes and bonds with a bid tone. The ten-year note was trading 5/32nds higher at 95-09 by 15:30 GMT as its yield shed 2 basis points to trade at 5.113. The thirty-year bond rose 10/32nds on a move to 92-26 while its yield also slipped 2 basis points to 5.229.