(By JW Jones) Friday saw heavy selling pressure coming into risk assets, specifically equities and oil. However, the real driving force behind the selling pressure is likely the result of several unrelated economic/geopolitical events. Clearly the unemployment report had an impact on price action, but strangely enough it would appear to those more in tune with reality that market participants want lower prices so that the next quantitative easing program can be initiated.
Another key development in equities price action as of late has been selling pressure in Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL). A few weeks ago we witnessed a sharp downturn after prices surged higher into a blowoff top. Earnings came out and prices jumped again and we have watched Apple's stock price drop considerably since.
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Friday saw sellers circling the wagons pushing the tech behemoth down around 2.25% as of the scribbling of this article. When AAPL was rallying it helped the Nasdaq Composite and the S&P 500 grind higher. Now that it has clearly given up the bullish leadership role, it now appears to be a drag on the price action of domestic indices.
Additionally there was a mountain of economic data released out of Europe overnight which was entirely negative. Spain, Italy, France, Germany, and the Euro-area in general saw their Service PMI readings all come in below expectations. Europe is moving into a recession which whether economists want to acknowledge it or not has implications on domestic U.S. markets. The Eurozone as a whole is the largest economy in the world. Clearly the European economy is slowing, and our exports to Europe will slow as well.
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This leads me to the final data point which is still unknown. What will the outcome of the French and Greek elections over the weekend mean for the Eurozone's geopolitical ties as well as the potential impact on the Euro currency itself?
The answer to that question will likely not be known until late Sunday evening; however by the time U.S. markets open this coming Monday the cat(s) will be out of the bag. This final question leads me to the real topic of this article. The question I want to know is what impact these elections could have on the value of the U.S. Dollar Index as well as gold?
As an option trader, I am always focused on the volatility index (VIX) as well as implied volatility on a number of underlying assets. I came across the following chart courtesy of Bloomberg which appeared in an article posted on zerohedge.com.