Amped-Up Consumer = Amped-Up Market!

Key News

Key Reports (WSJ):
8:30 a.m. 1Q Employment Cost Index: Expected: +0.5%. Previous: +0.5%.
8:30 a.m. Initial Jobless Claims For Apr 25 Week: Expected: +5K. Previous: +27K.
8:30 a.m. Mar Personal Income: Expected: -0.2%. Previous: -0.2%.
8:30 a.m. Mar Personal Spending: Expected: -0.1%. Previous: +0.2%.
9:45 a.m. Apr Chicago PMI (Adjusted): Expected: 34.5. Previous: 31.4.
10:00 a.m. DJ-BTMU Business Barometer For Apr 11: Previous: -0.7%.
10:30 a.m. EIA Natural Gas Inventories

Quotable

“There is no salvation in becoming adapted to a world which is crazy.”

                              Henry Miller

FX Trading – Amped-Up Consumer = Amped-Up Market!
One of the news headlines above notes the optimism that can be taken from yesterday’s worse-than-expected headline report on US Q1 GDP. Enough said, but I’ll keep going anyway …

Besides the worse-than-expected decline in first quarter GDP, yesterday revealed personal consumption expenditures jumped far more than had been expected in the first three months of the year. Red Bull gives you wings; and consumer spending gives the market wings.

The consumer is back, baby! At least that’s the tone taken by the CNBC folks and perhaps heeded by stock investors the world over.

Ok – it wasn’t just the positive spending number – the FOMC announcement succeeded in not spooking the markets. That’s a victory in their eyes. The stock market flew.

I noted on Tuesday that stocks looked as though they could be rolling over. Silly me … making a prediction like that ahead of the ‘crisis-mode’ Fed. Now that intermediate-term daily highs are being tested, hope lives; the bottom is in!

Just to be clear though, I’m not yet ready to concede our position that the US savings rate has further to climb. And with that, I dare not underestimate the ongoing impact a responsible and conscious US consumer has on the global economy. American personal savings now sit above 4%. You need to go back at least 10 years to find a quarterly savings rate nearly as strong.

And frankly, it’d be nice to see more data to support a stabilized consumer ready to start buying again at a pace anywhere near his expected “purchasing potential.” Perhaps we get more evidence this morning with the release of personal spending for the month of March. Expectations are rather low; the potential for a nice surprise exists.

Something worth noting, debit card purchases exceeded credit card purchases in Q4 2008. Per a recent Wall Street Journal article, “On Wednesday, Visa Inc. reported that the total dollar volume of purchases made using its branded debit cards surpassed credit-card purchases for the first time during the last three months of 2008.” Willing to spend moderately, but less willing to take on debt – a novel idea …

My ramblings may have seemed a little jumbled today; no doubt there’s currently a lot of optimism flowing through the marketplace. The obvious reaction is a rallying stock market.

But how optimistic should we be? Indeed, we have fought through a lot of negativity recently. But will a US recovery now dominate the consensus and, in turn, market sentiment? (Be careful when sentiment becomes too one-sided. Heaven forbid we run out of good news to trump the still-present not-so-good news.)

A headline included at the top of today’s Currents showed Commerzbank stepping out on a limb. Here’s the link again if you missed it.

Euro May Fall Versus Dollar on Bets for U.S. Recovery, Commerzbank Says

Today could be critical for the euro: