So, the Crimean parliament voted nearly unanimously to leave the Ukraine, join the Russian Federation, and put a referendum vote to the people on 16 March. Seems legit. Probably no fear factor, bribery, nor intimidation going on there. Guess we'll just mind our own business now. I'm sure the sudden occupation of the region by military forces had no impact on the vote.
Economically, today is primarily about the central bankers. Not only do we hear from the Bank of England, and the European Central Bank this morning, but there's a long list of important speakers waiting on the sidelines today. There really is no expectation of any change in monetary policy at the BOE, but expectations are mixed for the ECB. Some economists think that Mario Draghi will cut rates just a smidge, trying to stay on the plus side of the equation....guess we'll know shortly. Don't really know how that would help the European economy at this point. Either way, the ECB Press Conference, to be held at 08:30 ET, will be the focus for European traders this morning. As for the Fed, you'll hear from William Dudley before the opening bell at 11 Wall Street, Charles Plosser just after lunch, and Dennis Lockhart later tonight.
As for the home team, there are quite a few macro data-points on the docket today, but not a lot that will impact traders. Non-Farm Production, Unit labor Costs, and Factory Orders are all important ingredients when measuring the health and trajectory on an economy, but traders do not seem to react to headline numbers in these areas unless there is a complete blindside hit. That leaves weekly Initial Jobless Claims, and the also weekly Inventories print for Natural Gas. Both of these items will cause knee-jerk reactions in related futures valuations. I say it all the time, Initial Jobless Claims are meant to be looked at as a four week moving average. That is the economist in me talking. When the headline number prints, and the value moves around, I promise you that the trader in me will try to take advantage, ignoring my inner economist. As for Natural Gas, that one moves fast, and can be dangerous just before, and after this print. In fact, natural gas can be dangerous anytime. I'm a middle aged man, and I don't have the courage, nor the tolerance to trade this one. If you do, I wish you all of the luck in the world. In fact, I wish all of you good luck. Carry on, gang.