Another woeful start to trading on Monday, as heightened geopolitical risk compounds investor anxiety and drags on risk assets.
It could be a make or break week for the markets, with the Fed meeting on Wednesday, big tech earnings, and ongoing tensions on the Ukraine/Russia border. That may sound a bit over the top given how deep a correction we’ve already seen, particularly in the Nasdaq, but it could get much worse before it gets better.
Wednesday is going to be massive. The Fed needs to strike the right balance between taking inflation seriously and not wanting to cause further unnecessary turmoil in the markets. Not an easy balancing act when four hikes are already priced in, alongside balance sheet reduction, and some are arguing it’s not enough.
That’s a lot of pressure for a meeting that’s not really live but investors will be hanging on every single word. It won’t take much for the Fed to add to the anxiety but if they manage to strike the right chord, it could help settle the markets and draw investors back in.
And then there’s earnings. Netflix got things off to a rotten start for big tech but there’ll be plenty of opportunities to turn that around this week. The Nasdaq has fallen more than 16% from its highs and sits very close to bear market territory. Will investors be tempted back in at these levels if the other big tech names deliver?
Whatever happens, it promises to be a really interesting week in the markets and one that could go terribly wrong or be the turning point. Perhaps that’s oversimplifying things but when fear is in control as it seems to be now, it creates these kinds of extremes.
Weak PMIs as omicron weighs
The PMIs we’ve seen today won’t exactly be helping the mood but we should take them with a pinch of salt given the impact that omicron will have had. The services sector was hit particularly hard, especially in the US, but again that’s to be expected under the circumstances. While the data won’t have helped to lift the mood, it won’t change the outlook for interest rates either. There was cause for optimism in some of the UK service’s forward-looking components which bodes well for the coming months, even as households and businesses are hampered by higher energy costs and taxes.
A major test of support coming for bitcoin
Another miserable day for bitcoin which is continuing to slide after surpassing the 50% mark a little over two months after hitting record highs. It’s in freefall once more and really suffering in these risk-averse markets.
We’ve seen this before though, extreme moves work both ways and while the market has matured over the years, it is still a highly speculative, high-risk asset class. And high-risk assets are being pummelled.
But bitcoin now has a real test on its hands. The psychological blow of losing USD40,000 is nothing compared to what happens if USD30,000 falls. This is a major level of technical support that held throughout 2021, despite numerous tests early in the year and then throughout the summer. If this falls, it could get very messy.
For a look at all of today’s economic events, check out our economic calendar: www.marketpulse.com/economic-events/
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