The greenback picked up strength throughout the New York morning, but mild price action has left the currency relatively unchanged from yesterday ahead of this week?s marquee event: the FOMC decision on Thursday.
Price action over the course of the day signaled that range trade would be the name of the game in the majors ahead of the ubiquitous FOMC meeting, especially as EUR/USD held firmly between 1.3440 - 1.3470 after US economic data weakened in line with expectations. Meanwhile, the British pound faltered after forming a short-term double top at the psychologically important 2.00 level, leading GBP/USD to meander near 1.9975. USD/JPY took a swipe at 123.30 early this morning, but the pair eventually clawed its way back up towards 124.00 throughout afternoon trading in New York.
The sole economic release out of the US today sent an unsurprising message: the housing market is still crumbling. The National Association of Realtors said today that existing home sales fell 0.3 percent in May to a nearly four year low of 5.99 million from an upwardly revised 6.01 million. Furthermore, the supply of unsold homes jumped to a record of 4.43 million. It has already been recognized that the recession in housing is by far the biggest threat to economic expansion, as first quarter GDP has already ground to a tepid annualized rate of 0.6 percent. While this growth figure is anticipated to be revised slightly higher, the resounding sentiment is that housing will continue to take its toll on the economy as growing supply and higher mortgage rates are only discouraging potential buyers further. Sales of existing homes account for about 85 percent of the US housing market, and new-home sales - which are scheduled to be released at a disappointing 925K on Tuesday morning - make up the rest. Nevertheless, US dollar traders are likely awaiting the FOMC decision on Thursday before speculating on longer-term price action. While the US central bank is widely expected to leave rates steady at 5.25 percent, markets will be scouring the simultaneous release of the policy statement, as any phrase changes in regards to inflation or growth will send the greenback reeling.
After retreating sharply last week, US equity markets made a comeback on Monday as bond yields fell and jitters regarding Bear Stearns’ floundering hedge fund subsided. The Dow Jones Industrial Average increased 0.7 percent to 13,448.62 as the Nasdaq Composite Index rose 0.3 percent to 2597.29. GM gained 73 cents to $36.19 - the highest in four months - after Goldman upgraded their share recommendation, saying the United Auto Workers union may offer larger concessions to the automaker. Telephone companies and utilities - whose dividends are made more attractive by lower interest rates - rallied the most in the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index, which added 0.5 percent to 1509.74 by 14:00 EST. Specifically, Exelon Corp., the largest operator of US nuclear power plants, added $2.07 to $72.10. Meanwhile, the launch of Apple Inc.'s iPhone is still creating a buzz for AT&T Inc. - the iPhone’s exclusive wireless service provider - as shares of the phone company gained 80 cents to $39.65.
Fed expectations embedded in treasuries prices were moderately affected by today?s housing data. The ten-year note was trading 10/32nds higher at 95-15 by 14:30 GMT as its yield shed 4 basis points to trade at 5.086. The thirty-year bond jumped 19/32nds on a move to 93-05 while its yield also slipped 4 basis points to 5.205.