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Get Ready for the Bear Market

Last week’s selloff was brutal for investors in the US stock market: the Dow Jones Industrial Average closed at its lowest level since late 2020, falling to 29590.41, losing 1.6% on Friday alone. With the S&P 500 currently down a whopping 23% from January’s highs this year, and other indexes close behind percentagewise, stock market bulls are understandably desperate to find any event to warrant optimism. Unfortunately, despite some respite from US inflation in July and August, there does not appear to be much reason to expect this selloff to stop anytime soon. With bearish momentum emerging for equities, and fears about an impending crash and recession growing, we have no choice but to get ready for the bear market.

What is a Bear Market?

Technically speaking, there is no strict definition for a bear market, since it is a more colloquial term than an exact set of financial conditions. However, it is generally agreed upon that when analysts refer to a bear market, they are discussing a financial market or index that has lost at least 20% of its value from recent highs. It is also worth noting that a bear market can occur without that market crashing, since a crash often refers to a dire situation in which said market loses at least 10% of its value in a single day.

Why is This Happening?

Many factors can contribute to a bear market, ranging from trade and foreign policy issues, to market-generated financial crises, to fiscal and monetary policy. In this particular situation, there appear to be two interrelated key catalysts creating a looming bear market in the United States:

1) An extremely hawkish Federal Reserve that is in eager pursuit of contractionary monetary policy, with economic growth being sacrificed accordingly. Chair Powell recently emphasized this at the FOMC press conference by explaining that for now, the Fed can only fulfill its ‘dual mandate’ by focusing on stabilizing prices at the expense of high employment, for the sake of eventual maximum employment. Stocks are not just a casualty in the effort to reduce high prices, they are a primary target.

2) Poor economic forecasts for both businesses and consumers, tied together in a vicious cycle. High interest rates will make it difficult for businesses to borrow or attract investors, as their high-risk shares and bonds will be far less lucrative compared to low-risk alternative securities. This nearly guarantees that they will have less capital to spend on employees, reducing employment opportunities and triggering layoffs for workers who are already struggling under the weight of high inflation and costly debts. These workers will then likewise spend even less, guaranteeing lower revenues for businesses accordingly, further impeding growth.

How Severe Will It Be?

For better or for worse, because of how unpredictable markets are by nature, we are effectively unable to know just how severe this bear market and recession could be. However, between the Federal Reserve’s far-from-spotless track record (2022’s hawkish Powell is, in fact, still the same person as 2021’s dovish optimist who dismissed inflation as ‘transient’), as well as the inherent lags in inflationary data such as Core CPI, the Federal Reserve could easily overshoot their tightening effort and create a depression.

This seems especially possible considering how badly the stock market has been hit while the labor market remains hot; these selloffs may become far worse as unemployment rates begin to increase, particularly if high global food and energy prices remain a problem for US consumers. However, because this hawkish monetary policy mission is consciously created by the Fed, rather than being the result of a structural failure as per the Financial Crisis of 2008, there is a chance that a meaningful economic recovery could be implemented more quickly than in decades past.

What Can Be Done?

Sadly, little can be done by working people to prevent a bear market from occurring beyond a miraculous, coordinated effort to voluntarily reduce consumer spending across the United States. Even if volatile food and energy prices continue to fall in a similar fashion as over the last few months, the Fed would still likely keep their eye on core inflation for a more complete picture. This downturn is being induced at an institutional level and is ostensibly unavoidable.

Nonetheless, for those who are long-term investors, bear markets also present myriad buying opportunities, as many shares across sectors are available at heavily discounted prices. For those who are patient and have some income to spare, building a diversified portfolio through recurring investments in safe, reputable funds remains a simple way to capitalize on poorly performing indices. While these methods by no means cancel out the horrors of economic suffering, value investing in this fashion offers consumers some semblance of wealth-building agency as we endure this business cycle.

Key Takeaways

• There have been significant declines in stock market prices since January of this year, with some indices, like the S&P 500, losing over 20% of their value. These trends sadly don’t appear to be stopping.
• A bear market is a term typically used in the context of a financial market or index that has lost at least 20% of its value from recent highs.
• While bear markets can occur for numerous reasons, the primary catalysts behind an impending bear market in the US appear to be hawkish aggression from the Federal Reserve and a bleak outlook for businesses, workers, and consumers accordingly.
• Although the exact dimensions of an anticipated bear market are unpredictable, it seems plausible that its severity could exceed that of current FOMC economic projections, though perhaps last more briefly because it is only artificially induced by the Fed.
• Unfortunately for working people, little will likely be done to prevent this downturn from happening at an institutional level. However, for those who can set aside some money for recurring and diversified long-term investments, buying opportunities will be plentiful.

Why the New FOMC Decision Matters

Yesterday, the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC), the Federal Reserve’s policy-making body, implemented yet another 75 basis point interest rate hike. While this move was perfectly in line with market forecasts, Chair Powell’s comments following the subsequent press conference, in which he discussed the FOMC’s new set of economic projections, were significant. He continued to emphasize the Fed’s commitment to bringing year-over-year inflation back down to 2%, even at the expense of short-term economic growth, offering little in the way of dovishness. These events may become key fundamental catalysts for further bullish USD price action and stock selloffs, hence why the new FOMC decision matters.

Top Pairs to Trade

Because the Federal Reserve has re-upped its commitment to contractionary monetary policy, which is favorable for the US Dollar’s value in the forex market, USD bulls have ever more reason for fundamentals to be on their side. The following pairs are among the EdgeFinder’s top recommendations for USD bulls, as can be seen with their respective ratings and biases/signals. The first three pairs have either broken through or just touched support, with potential breakouts to the downside seeming plausible. The fourth pair, USD/JPY, sold off today before finding some support, while even more buying pressure seems likely in light of the Bank of Japan's decision yesterday to continue their ultraloose monetary policy.

1) EUR/USD (Receives a -7, or ‘Strong Sell’ Signal)

Why the New FOMC Decision Matters
Why the New FOMC Decision Matters

2) GBP/USD (Receives a -6, or ‘Strong Sell’ Signal)

Why the New FOMC Decision Matters
Why the New FOMC Decision Matters

3) AUD/USD (Receives a -4, or ‘Sell’ Signal)

Why the New FOMC Decision Matters
Why the New FOMC Decision Matters

4) USD/JPY (Receives a 4, or ‘Buy’ Signal)

Why the New FOMC Decision Matters
Why the New FOMC Decision Matters
Shocking CAD Inflation News

Statistics Canada released a surprising new batch of inflation data this morning: month-over-month CPI failed to meet market forecasts, declining by 0.3% instead of the anticipated 0.1%. Rather than being an outlier, the other measurements of CPI mostly followed suit, as both year-over-year Trimmed CPI and Median CPI likewise failed to meet expectations. Trimmed CPI’s poor performance, clocking in at a 5.2% increase year-over-year instead of the expected 5.5%, could be interpreted as particularly significant in that it excludes the 40% most volatile prices. This may theoretically set CAD fundamentals apart from USD, in that the Federal Reserve has incentive to keep hiking interest rates due to stubborn core inflation, while the Bank of Canada no longer does. Regardless of your overall Canadian Dollar bias, this is shocking CAD inflation news.

Best Pairs to Trade

While there are multiple ways to take this news, I personally have two takeaways: 1) USD/CAD bullishness now seems more compelling in light of the growing disparity between Canada’s inflation problem and the US’ inflation problem, and 2) the market reaction to this news could present discounted opportunities to buy CAD against less promising currencies. These readings are consistent with current EdgeFinder signals as well, as can be seen with the following pairs:

1) USD/CAD (Receives a 3, or ‘Buy’ Signal)

Shocking CAD Inflation News
Shocking CAD Inflation News

Price action has just hit a historic resistance zone, with Keltner Channels also indicating overbought conditions. Conservative traders may want to wait for a more optimal buying opportunity, though there may be some breathing room left before hitting the upper trendline and top of this resistance zone.

2) GBP/CAD (Receives a -6, or ‘Strong Sell’ Signal)

Shocking CAD Inflation News
Shocking CAD Inflation News

Price action is currently retesting the depicted zone as resistance and could potentially serve as an optimal selling point.

3) NZD/CAD (Receives a -4, or ‘Sell’ Signal)

Shocking CAD Inflation News
Shocking CAD Inflation News

Despite the bearish CAD news and support at 0.79, price action has still been bearish for this pair today. There is also ample room to potentially continue selling off before touching support from the lower trendline.

2 Paths for Aussie Bears

At 9:30 pm Eastern Time tonight, the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) will be publishing their latest round of monetary policy meeting minutes. While there is a chance that their intentions could come across as more hawkish than expected, they currently have little reason to be. Despite relatively low unemployment at 3.5%, steady GDP growth, and annual inflation having increased by a full percentage point to 6.1%, the Australian economy has not overheated in a manner comparable to that of other countries.

Because their inflation threat is not nearly as dire as that faced by the US, the UK, and the EU, the RBA’s 50 bp rate hikes understandably pale in comparison to the Fed and the European Central Bank’s 75 bp hikes, or the Bank of Canada’s willingness to utilize a full 100 bp hike. Because of this disparity in economic circumstances, there is a good chance that the RBA’s meeting minutes will favor AUD bears tonight as a fundamental catalyst. For those who are interested in watching this unfold or perhaps taking a position, here are 2 paths for Aussie bears, along with their respective EdgeFinder ratings and categories.

1) AUD/USD (Receives a -4, or ‘Sell’ Signal)

2 Paths for Aussie Bears
2 Paths for Aussie Bears

With big monetary policy decisions and economic projections coming on Wednesday from a hawkish Federal Reserve, there is a chance that significant bearish momentum could be coming. Institutional traders clearly have far more confidence in USD over AUD, as per COT data.

2) AUD/CHF (Receives a -4, or ‘Sell’ Signal)

2 Paths for Aussie Bears
2 Paths for Aussie Bears

The Swiss National Bank is expected to implement a 75 bp rate hike on Thursday, officially leaving negative interest rates behind. This marks a hawkish pivot that continues to set apart the Swiss Franc as a safe haven currency.

Bonus: AUD/CAD (Receives a -2, or ‘Neutral’ Signal)

2 Paths for Aussie Bears
2 Paths for Aussie Bears

Though perhaps less clear than with the two aforementioned pairs, the Bank of Canada’s approach to contending with inflation contrasts remarkably with the RBA’s, despite both CAD and AUD being commodity currencies. Also, Canada has a monthly round of CPI data due on Tuesday.

4 Pairs to Watch Next Week

As the trading week comes to a close, and forex traders are given another weekend of respite to mentally rest and/or backtest, it is worth considering where to pick back up on Monday. While there are many criteria to consider when selecting pairs to watch closely, in this article we will list several such pairs based on scheduled economic data releases and compelling EdgeFinder analysis. Based on these two categories, here are 4 pairs to watch next week.

1) GBP/CAD (Receives a -7, or ‘Strong Sell’ Signal)

4 Pairs to Watch Next Week
4 Pairs to Watch Next Week

On Tuesday, September 20th, Statistics Canada will be releasing a variety of month-over-month and year over year CPI data for August. On Thursday, September 22nd, the Bank of England (BoE) is forecast to hike the Official Bank Rate by 50 basis points, issuing a corresponding monetary policy summary as well. The Bank of Canada has been far more hawkish as of late than the BoE, so unless there are any bullish surprises, this pair seems likely to continue its bearish trend.

2) GBP/CHF (Receives a -7, or ‘Strong Sell’ Signal)

4 Pairs to Watch Next Week
4 Pairs to Watch Next Week

Along with the aforementioned BoE upcoming monetary policy decision, the Swiss National Bank (SNB) will also be deciding on a new policy rate on Thursday, September 22nd. The SNB is expected to implement a rate hike of 75 basis points, doing away with the precedent of negative interest rates. These expectations have seen this pair fall to historically significant lows, as can be glimpsed on the 1-week timeframe above.

3) GBP/USD (Receives a -6, or ‘Strong Sell’ Signal)

4 Pairs to Watch Next Week
4 Pairs to Watch Next Week

This pair presents another opportunity to sell GBP, since the Federal Reserve will be adjusting the Federal Funds Rate on Wednesday September 21st, as well as issuing accompanying economic projections and a related statement. Fed Chair Jerome Powell currently shows no signs of relenting from hawkishness as a 75 basis point rate hike is forecast. With support being tested, we will see whether the BoE or the Fed could present a catalyst for a breakout to the downside.

4) USD/JPY (Receives a 4, or ‘Buy’ Signal)

4 Pairs to Watch Next Week
4 Pairs to Watch Next Week

Along with the upcoming Federal Reserve decision, the Bank of Japan (BoJ) will also make a monetary policy decision this week. If the BoJ continues to keep their Policy Rate below-zero, further abstaining from rate hikes as currently forecast, this could usher in even more bullish momentum for this pair. Depending on how the Fed’s move meets or contrasts with market expectations, USD/JPY could yet again touch, or break out above, trendline resistance.

USD Still Strong from Inflation

This morning, at 8:30 am Eastern Time, the United States’ Bureau of Labor Statistics revealed that inflation had once again beaten expectations. Market forecasts had anticipated a 0.1% decrease in month-over-month CPI in August, whereas a 0.1% increase was the result. However, even bigger news was month-over-month Core CPI coming in hot at 0.6%, double the 0.3% increase that had been forecast.

With annual core inflation in the US currently sitting at 6.3%, sharp declines in volatile energy prices are still not enough to bring the country’s inflation train to a screeching halt. This gives the Federal Reserve further incentive to continue raising interest rates, which manifested in a surge of buying pressure for USD this morning as the US Dollar Index jumps 1% intraday. With even a technical recession and a rising unemployment rate unsuccessful in completely mitigating economic overheating, USD bulls may have fundamentals on their side for the near future.

Three Great Major Pairs

The following major pairs are ranked favorably for USD bulls by the EdgeFinder, A1 Trading’s software tool that provides supplemental analysis. Based on criteria ranging from fundamentals to trader sentiment, those who are bullish on USD may want to watch these pairs for potential opportunities to go long on the Greenback:

1) EUR/USD (Receives a -5, or ‘Sell’ Signal)

USD Still Strong from Inflation

2) GBP/USD (Receives a -5, or ‘Sell’ Signal)

USD Still Strong from Inflation

3) USD/JPY (Receives a 4, or ‘Buy’ Signal)

USD Still Strong from Inflation
How to Short GBP

(More) Bad News for the United Kingdom

This morning, at 2 am Eastern Time, the UK’s Office for National Statistics reported that month-over-month Gross Domestic Product (GDP), a key measure of economic output, had failed to meet forecasts. While markets and analysts had expected 0.3% or 0.4% growth, the reality was a disappointing 0.2%. Though not a contraction, it is yet another in a long list of unfortunate national events ranging from double-digit annual inflation to the death of Queen Elizabeth II.

With newly elected Prime Minister Liz Truss taking the reigns at a time of great economic suffering, and a still-wary Bank of England unable to halt supply-side woes, there is little certainty to be found for the Pound Sterling. With fundamentals, institutional sentiment, and technical analysis pointing towards continued GBP bearish momentum, let’s explore which GBP pairs have the best selling potential.

Top Three Pairs to Sell

According to the EdgeFinder, A1 Trading’s market scanner software, the three most promising pairs to sell are all GBP pairs. All three are experiencing months-long downtrends, with recent bullish price action retesting key levels in the form of resistance. Here they are, along with their respective EdgeFinder signals:

1) GBP/USD (Earns a Score of -7, or ‘Strong Sell’)

How to Short GBP

2) GBP/CHF (Earns a Score of -7, or ‘Strong Sell’)

How to Short GBP

3) GBP/CAD (Earns a Score of -7, or ‘Strong Sell’)

How to Short GBP
CHF Might Be Underrated

Forex traders had a fair bit of news to chew on this morning. All eyes were on the European Central Bank as they implemented an anticipated 75 basis point rate hike followed by a press conference, after which the world was treated to yet more commentary from Fed Chair Powell. Perhaps sliding under the radar was positive labor market news for CHF, with Switzerland’s unemployment rate beating expectations by falling to 2.1%. This joins a long list of reasons to consider going long on the Swiss Franc, as CHF might be underrated.

The Swiss Economy’s Strength

Switzerland boasts many economic factors weighing in its favor, including its hot labor market, CHF’s safe haven reputation, and GDP growth in spite of a recession-prone global economy. In many ways it is comparable to Japan’s economy, as both are high performing, export-heavy economies that are historically comfortable with negative interest rates due to low inflation relative to other countries.

However, one crucial difference between the two in terms of fundamentals is that the Swiss National Bank has proven willing to hike interest rates recently, whereas the Bank of Japan has thus far put off such a move. With Switzerland’s annual inflation still creeping up, currently hovering at 3.5% (a thirty-year high), more tightening could potentially be on the menu.

Best CHF Pairs to Trade

According to the EdgeFinder, A1 Trading’s market scanner tool, the following three pairs may be worth selling for CHF bulls. Here are the pairs, along with their respective EdgeFinder ratings:

1) GBP/CHF (Earns a -6, or ‘Strong Sell’ Rating)

CHF Might Be Underrated

2) NZD/CHF (Earns a -6, or ‘Strong Sell’ Rating)

CHF Might Be Underrated

3) AUD/CHF (Earns a -5, or ‘Sell’ Rating)

CHF Might Be Underrated
3 Ways to Sell JPY

The Japanese Yen has continued to plummet in value in the forex market, recently hitting a low not seen in twenty-four years. It appears as if the Bank of Japan (BoJ) will not budge on monetary policy as negative interest rates continue to be the norm for the foreseeable future, despite vocal concerns from Japan’s government. As the BoJ’s relentless dovishness continues to set it apart from increasingly hawkish central bank contemporaries, many traders resume shorting the Yen. Let's discuss 3 ways to sell JPY.

How Long Can the BoJ Hold Out?

While much of the developed world is focused on frantically quelling high inflation rates through contractionary monetary policy tools like rate hikes and quantitative tightening, Japan is not. Rather, the BoJ is in the unique situation of perpetually trying to stimulate Japan’s economy to prevent deflation and create growth. Considering that the BoJ has been striving for at least 2% annual inflation for years, and has only just hit 2.6%, the likelihood of an immediate rate hike seems slim. This situation makes JPY a relatively safe currency to bet against from the standpoint of fundamentals, since the BoJ has little incentive to become aggressive.

Three Potential Pairs to Trade

According to the EdgeFinder, A1 Trading’s market scanner that offers supplemental analysis, the three following JPY pairs are potentially the most promising to buy for Yen bears. Considering that the host countries of all three base currencies are dealing with severe inflation threats, and have become significantly more hawkish in response, these fundamentals contrast well with JPY’s. Here are the pairs, along with their respective EdgeFinder ratings:

1) USD/JPY (Earns a 4, or ‘Buy’ Rating)

3 Ways to Sell JPY

2) CAD/JPY (Earns a 4, or ‘Buy’ Rating)

3 Ways to Sell JPY

3) EUR/JPY (Earns a 3, or ‘Buy’ Rating)

3 Ways to Sell JPY
Get Ready: Big 3 Tomorrow

On September 2nd, tomorrow morning, at 8:30 am Eastern Time, the Bureau of Labor Statistics is scheduled to release another crucial round of US labor market data for last month. The public will learn 1) how average hourly earnings, i.e., labor prices, have changed month-over-month, 2) how many non-farm payrolls (NFP) were added, and 3) what the new national unemployment rate is. These three bits of information will likely cause a great deal of volatility among major pairs.

How Is This Significant?

These metrics offer traders key insight into how hot the US labor market still is, which plays into overall inflation because of its reciprocal relationship with consumer demand. If these numbers beat market forecasts, then the Federal Reserve will be even more incentivized to hike the federal funds rate to slow the economy, which is bullish for USD. However, if the data fail to meet forecasts, this would be bearish for USD accordingly. Current expectations are: 1) average hourly earnings to increase by 0.4%, 2) 295,000 net new hires across non-farm industries, and 3) a static unemployment rate, remaining at 3.5%.

Possible Pairs to Trade

According to the EdgeFinder, A1 Trading’s market scanner that offers supplemental analysis for traders, the following are currently three of the most promising major pairs to trade for USD bulls. Whether you plan on entering a position before tomorrow’s big news, or wait until the data is revealed, these three pairs are worth watching.

1) EUR/USD (Earns a -7, or ‘Strong Sell’ Rating)

Get Ready: Big 3 Tomorrow

2) GBP/USD (Earns a -7, or ‘Strong Sell’ Rating)

Get Ready: Big 3 Tomorrow

3) USD/JPY (Earns a 4, or ‘Buy’ Rating)

Get Ready: Big 3 Tomorrow
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