Daily Market Color

Markets Fluctuate Ahead of FOMC Announcement

US stocks struggled to sustain yesterday’s momentum following disappointing corporate earnings while Treasuries sold off marginally ahead of today’s FOMC announcement.  Apple weighed on both the S&P 500 and Nasdaq after the company reported its slowest-ever rise in iPhone shipments during last night’s earnings release.  CEO Tim Cook sounded bearish on the global economy, telling analysts that he’s beginning to see “extreme conditions unlike anything we’ve experienced before just about everywhere we look”.  He specifically mentioned “economic softness” in China as a downward risk to the forward outlook, despite just reporting the most profitable quarter in history.  Disappointing results from Boeing, Textron, and Tupperware also weighed on equities.

The Fed will conclude its two-day meeting and announce its latest policy decision at 2pm ET.  Trading in futures currently implies no chance of a rate hike, but the statement should provide visibility into how the Fed views recent global financial market volatility.  The statement is expected to acknowledge some concerns about recent global developments, but will likely try to do so without alarming the public with an overly bearish tone.  This is an “off-cycle” meeting, so there won’t be an accompanying news conference or an update of economic projections, making the statement all the more important.  It’s also worth mentioning that the first policy meeting of 2016 means a new group of regional bank presidents have rotated into voting seats on the FOMC.  Kansas City Fed President George, a known hawk, was a frequent dissenter the last time she was a voter in 2013, so it will be interesting to see if the January vote is unanimous.

US economic data beat expectations after a report showed new home sales rose to the highest level in 10 months, concluding the best year for housing since 2007.  Sales increased 10.8% last month, the most since August 2014, as demand continued to outpace supply.


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