Five Things We're Watching: March 18, 2011
TGIF. It's been one heck of a week. On Friday, we see if the force of finance ministers, the UN and the king can bring some stability to the world.
G-Force to the Rescue: The wall of strength surrounding the yen finally cracks as finance ministers of the G-7 unveil a pledge to join Japan in a massive joint intervention in the currency markets. The yen tumbles and the Nikkei rises more than 2 percent. Is this enough to stabilize the volatile forex market or will it need to be the first of many interventions? Expect plenty of jawboning as well.
The King’s Speech: Traders are getting used to $100 oil but what will the King say? Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah is scheduled to give a speech tomorrow that could set the most definitive tone about the kingdom’s views on additional reforms, the situation in Bahrain and the role of Iran. As Patti Domm notes, headlines from Bahrain pushed oil higher but what every trader wants to know about is the stability and security of the world’s biggest oil producer.
UN v Gaddafi: On the eve of the dictator's planned assault on the rebel stronghold of Benghazi, the U.N. Security Council passes a resolution endorsing a no-fly zone. Translation: This paves the way for airstrikes. Market impact: This significantly ups the ante and means the uncertainty is going to continue for a while.
Down in the dumps: We hate starting Fridays on a depressing note but Steve Liesman will be unveiling the results of CNBC’s All-America Economic Survey, and let’s just say, it’s not a pretty picture. Even more discouraging, this survey was conducted before the earthquake in Japan so the consumer sentiment has hardly improved.
Bank on It: Amid all the gloom, some potentially positive news for investors: Our banking ace Mary Thompson reports that the Fed may tell banks the results of stress tests on Friday. Positive results will free banks to raise dividends and boost buybacks a much-needed relief to long-suffering bank investors.
Since it is Friday, we leave you with one final thought for the weekend: The first "Supermoon" since 1983 arrives on Saturday. The full moon will swing around Earth more closely than it has in the past 18 years, lighting up the night sky from just 221,567 miles away. Why is this important? Let’s just say there are some superstitious folks around us who say there may be a link between special lunar events and natural anomalies. Our expert, John Melloy, explains it all here and here.