Major averages fell yesterday on higher volume, marking another in what is now a cluster of distribution days around the peak. Oil hit new lows once again.
A potential Russian currency crisis is brewing as Russia took a massive step toward protecting the ruble and defending its ailing economy. The country’s central bank raised its key interest rate to 17% from 10.5%, effective today. That’s the biggest jump since the government defaulted on debt back in 1998. Wonkblog’s Matt O’Brien says it’s a desperate move, a “financial shock and awe,” that won’t stop things from getting a lot worse. “It’s a classic kind of emerging-markets crisis,” he wrote. “It’s only a small simplification, you see, to say that Russia doesn’t so much have an economy as it has an oil-exporting business that subsidizes everything else. That’s why the combination of more supply from the United States, and less demand from Europe, China, and Japan has hit them particularly hard.”
In U.S. economic news, the Empire State manufacturing index, fell to negative 3.6 in December from 10.2 in November, well below expectations of 12.0. This is the first negative reading since January 2013. Readings during the fourth quarter show a "significant downshift in activity" from levels seen in prior two quarters, the New York Fed said.
We maintain our downside target of 77 for Workday (WDAY) and 177-178 for Tesla Motors (TSLA), our two current short-sale target stocks.