China Devalues Again, Market Very Confused

China Devalues Again, Market Very Confused

The narrow 5% trading range in place on the S&P 500 (NYSEARCA:SPY) since February remains as the market ended the day unchanged after a wild session. Questions as to what if anything is driving market direction continue to intensify.

Yesterday, China’s 1.9% devaluation of its currency drove markets down across the world in confusion. Today, China’s second devaluation in as many days at first drove markets lower, but the Dow (NYSEARCA:DIA) clawed back up to exactly where it opened. Major support at 2040 on the S&P is now a crucial support zone in place for 6 months.

Gold (NYSEARCA:GLD) continued higher on its fifth consecutive day of gains, up to $1125 an ounce from a low of $1072, for a gain of 5% in a week. Miners in particular had a very strong day, with large cap gold miners like Newmont (NYSE:NEM) up 6.5% on the day. Goldcorp (NYSE:GG) and Barrick Gold (NYSE:ABX) were both up over 5%.

The gains in the metals were reflected by a strong selloff in the dollar index (NYSEARCA:UUP). A dollar selloff happening in the midst of a double Chinese devaluation belies particular weakness in the world’s reserve currency.

With stocks showing no particular sustained trend, day to day volatility seems to be the order of the day until either the uptrend is restored on new highs or the market breaks sharply lower. What ultimately happens may depend on whether the Fed raises interest rates in September as many are forecasting, or if they postpone the proposed first rate hike in 9 years to some other unspecified time.

Catalysts tomorrow include weekly initial unemployment claims due an hour before market open, as well as retail sales, with the consensus estimate at a 0.5% increase.

Stay tuned as the coil continues to tighten. The tighter the trading range, the more sensitive to incoming economic data equities may become.