By in company News

Short Sterling the pick of the movers!

There’s plenty going on around the traps this week. Let’s just go through a few highlights:

Oil is the one getting the headlines, with ICE Brent Crude getting up to $135 before selling off hard today. The NYMEX WTI* has done a similar thing; selling off $5 from a high just above $135 over the course of today.

As of this moment we wouldn’t be calling a top in this one despite this volatility. As we said last week, one swallow doesn’t make a summer. The lack of reaction to last week’s Doji Candlestick pattern proved that!

Saying that we might not be far away from a capitulation (it’s certainly starting to feel that way), but trying to pick the top of a market like this is a dangerous and foolish game.

Equities looked toppy last week, as we flagged in the Blog, but it took a few days before we turned over, although the DAX Future held key psychological support at 7000 today, and the FTSE Future is holding support at 6139.5, the last higher low.

But it’s Debt markets that are catching my eye this week. We have seen a sell off of 90 ticks in December ’08 Short Sterling Futures. In simple terms that means a swing of rate expectations for December of almost a full percentage point. In other words this week the market has decided that there’s little chance of more rate cuts from the MPC, a sign that maybe things are settling down a bit. This is a quite spectacular move for a contract that is usually pretty “steady as she goes!”

For those of you who are finding trading things like the DAX and Oil a little precarious and volatile you can often put good directional trades on in these Interest Rate Futures, as the Central Banks try not to cause too many surprises; flagging their intentions with their rhetoric as they go along, and guiding the market if expectations are going awry.

Many professional traders trade huge amounts of size in these contracts every day. The equivalent in Europe is the Euribor, and in the US it’s the 3 month Eurodollar Futures. They are among the most actively traded Futures contracts in the world.

Check with your Spread Bet provider how wide their spreads are on these products. They should be quite tight, because they don’t move about quite as much as things like Equity Indices, Gold and Oil.

Let’s finish up by clearing up some confusion: We produce a report each day on NYMEX WTI.

NYMEX is the name of the Exchange where it is traded; the New York Mercantile Exchange, one of the few remaining “open outcry” Futures Floors (due to be taken over by the CME Group). WTI stands for West Texas Intermediate. This is the Benchmark Crude Oil in the US, and is also known as “Light Sweet Crude”.

Happy Trading,