HomeTrading NewsMarkets next week have to contend with how aggressive the Fed drumbeat sounds

Markets next week have to contend with how aggressive the Fed drumbeat sounds

” To [pause], or not to [pause]? That is the question–Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune, Or to take arms against a sea of troubles, And, by opposing, end them?” — Shakespeare’s “Hamlet” (modified) Wall Street’s anxiety over events next week revolves far more around 2:30 p.m. ET Wednesday than it does 2 p.m. It’s almost universally accepted that the Federal Reserve’s policy-setting committee will raise its benchmark fed funds rate another quarter point at the end of its two-day meeting to a range of 5%-5.25%. That decision will be released promptly Wednesday at 2 p.m. The likelihood that the Fed will go another 25 basis points stood at 86% on Friday, versus just 47% a month ago, in the throes of the March bank scare precipitated by the failure of Silicon Valley Bank and Signature Bank, according to the CME Group’s FedWatch tracker. A basis point is 1/100th of a percent. It’s what the Fed statement accompanying the rate move spells out, and what Chair Jerome Powell says at his press conference afterward at 2:30 p.m. ET that has investors anxious. Where will Powell lean? “Is Chairman Powell going to say, ‘It is likely that we pause now and assess what the economy is going to do?’ Or does he really say ‘Oh, and there’s more work to be done on inflation?'” Wharton Business School professor Jeremy Siegel asked on CNBC. “The tone on that balance is going to be very critical to how the market is going to move next week.” One real risk to banks is that a fed funds rate as high as 5.25% will push up Treasury bill and money market fund yields, spurring bank depositors to pull even more money from banks in search of higher returns. What’s more, recent inflation numbers have provided Powell with the intellectual “ammunition” necessary to justify raising rates, Siegel said. For example, the March core personal consumption expenditure price index that the Fed closely watches came in at 4.6% annually on Friday, a touch higher than the 4.5% Wall Street consensus. Also, the first-quarter employment cost index rose 1.2%, also ahead of the Street’s 1% estimate. If Powell says something along the lines of “there’s more work to do … that’s going to discourage the market,” Siegel said. Alternatively, if Powell suggests that the central bank has room to take its foot off the brake, and will pause its inflation-fighting rate-hiking cycle to assess the impact of the past increases and where the economy stands, stocks may be able to break above the recent range that has capped the S & P 500 at about 4,180 over the past six months. Questions surrounding the Fed’s approach to the current macroeconomy are haunting Quincy Krosby, chief global strategist at LPL Financial, too. “What is [Powell] going to do? Does he have the resolve to try and get,” inflation down to the Fed’s 2% target, “or will they be happy with getting to 3%? The understanding is OK, we’re not going to get to 2% this year. But the question is, are they going to say 3% is good enough? And we’re not going to fight it anymore.” The fact that first-quarter corporate earnings have generally come in above expectations, and recent economic signals have proven so resilient, only “adds even more focus and drama to what the Fed’s going to do next week,” said Gina Bolvin, president of Bolvin Wealth Management. “The question mark has become a little bit bigger.” June Fed meeting The betting on Wall Street right now is that, after next week, the Fed will stand pat at its next meeting six weeks later, on June 13-14. The CME FedWatch puts the odds of no change in June at 66%, but the odds of another quarter point hike to 5.25%-5.5% at 23%. A month ago the odds of a June move higher were zero. Deutsche Bank can’t completely rule out no increase, saying that “while our base case remains that the May hike will be the last of this cycle as the economy responds to the tightening to date, we see risks tilted toward another increase in June,” chief U.S. economist Matthew Luzzetti said in a note Friday. After June, things will get dicey because of the debt ceiling debate between Capitol Hill and the White House and the risk that the economy will slow further as a result of tighter credit. Two other events that have investors on edge next week: Apple ‘s latest earnings after the stock market closes Thursday, and April’s nonfarm payrolls report first thing Friday. Apple’s fiscal second-quarter results are expected to slow from last year’s torrid pace. The consensus among analysts surveyed by Refinitiv is that earnings per share eased about 6% to $1.43, while revenue slipped a little more than 4%, to $92.98 billion. The latest thinking on Wall Street is that the economy added some 185,000 new jobs in April, down from 236,000 in March, and that the unemployment rate may edge up to 3.6% from 3.5%, according to FactSet data. The “critical” employment report will be just as important as the Fed meeting, in the eyes of Ross Mayfield, investment strategy analyst at Baird. “[W]ages are the Fed’s main (perhaps only) concern from here. If the weakness peaking through via initial claims data shows up in nonfarm payrolls, ‘pivot’ is a go. Also key to the Fed’s read on the labor market will be the productivity data out Thursday,” Mayfield added. “[B]etter productivity data will give the Fed cover to pause or ease with wage growth still well above its 2% inflation target.” Beyond Apple, some 161 other companies in the S & P 500 index are scheduled to report latest-quarter results next week. At 32% of the index, that’s down just a touch from the 35% in the week just ended. Week ahead calendar Monday 9:45 a.m. S & P Global manufacturing PMI (April) 10 a.m. Construction spending (March) 10 a.m. ISM manufacturing index (April) Earnings: Norwegian Cruise Line, On Semiconductor, MGM Resorts Tuesday 10 a.m. JOLTS (March) 10 a.m. Factory orders (March) 10 a.m. Durable goods orders (March) Earnings: Pfizer, Marriott International, Uber Technologies, Marathon Petroleum, Ford Motor, Starbucks, Clorox, Advanced Micro Devices, Yum China, Lumen Technologies, Match Group , AmerisourceBergen, DuPont, Zimmer Biomet, Cummins Wednesday 8:15 a.m. ADP private payrolls report (April) 9:45 a.m. S & P Global services PMI (April) 10 a.m. ISM services index (April) 2 p.m. Fed decision 2:30 p.m. Fed Chair Jerome Powell news conference Earnings: CVS Health, Yum Brands, Estee Lauder, Kraft Heinz, Wingstop, Qualcomm, Etsy, Zillow, MetLife, Emerson Electric, Generac, Phillips 66, Costco, Allstate, Marathon Oil Thursday 8:30 a.m. Weekly jobless claims (week ended April 29) 8:30 a.m. Productivity Q/Q seasonally adjusted annual rate (Q1) 8:30 a.m. Unit labor costs Q/Q (Q1) 8:30 a.m. Trade balance (March) Earnings : AB InBev, Regeneron, ConocoPhillips, Paramount Global, Peloton Interactive, Shake Shack, Intercontinental Exchange, Kellogg, Apple, Dropbox, Coinbase, Block, American International Group, DoorDash, Cardinal Health, Royal Caribbean, Vulcan Materials, Stanley Black & Decker, Moderna Friday 8:30 a.m. Nonfarm payrolls (April) Earnings: Cigna, Warner Bros. Discovery, Cboe Global Markets, Johnson Controls –CNBC’s Samantha Subin, Alexander Harring, Jeff Cox and Michael Bloom contributed to this report.

No comments

leave a comment