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On the surface, tomorrow’s FOMC meeting is expected to be relatively anti-climactic. The Fed is expected to go forward with balance sheet reduction while keeping interest rates unchanged. But, this is a meeting where the Fed will produce updated “dots,” and combined with the fact that the market is very complacent with regards to a December rate hike (i.e. the market doesn’t expect it) there is the chance for a hawkish surprise.
From a practical standpoint, the key here is how the 10- year yield reacts. If the Fed is marginally (or outright) hawkish and the 10-year yield pushes through short-term resistance at 2.27% and longer-term resistance at 2.40%, that could be a tactical game changer and warrant profit taking in defensive sectors, and rotation to more cyclical sectors.
Hawkish If: The Fed provides a (very) mildly hawkish surprise if the “dots” show one more rate hike in 2017 (so unchanged from June). Specifically, in June four Fed votes expected just two rate hikes in 2017. If that number decreases to three or two, it will be a mild hawkish surprise. The Fed will provide a more serious hawkish surprise if the dots show another rate hike in ’17 and an additional rate hike in 2018 (so the median dots staying at 1.375% for ’17 and rising to 2.375% from the current 2.125% in ’18).
Likely Market Reaction. Stocks: If it’s a mildly hawkish surprise, then it should…(withheld for subscribers only—unlock specifics and ETFs by signing up for a free two-week trial).
Meets Expectations If: There are no changes. The median dots still signal a December rate hike is expected, but one or two Fed officials change their dot to reflect just two rate hikes in 2017. That would imply a December rate hike is far from certain (matching the market’s current expectation) and it would be taken as mildly dovish.
Likely Market Reaction. Stocks: Cyclicals and bank stocks would likely see some…(withheld for subscribers only—unlock specifics and ETFs by signing up for a free two-week trial).
Dovish If: The dots show that more than four Fed voters switch their dot to reflect no rate hike in December. That would effectively put a December rate hike off the table.
Likely Market Reaction. Stocks: A decidedly week (on a sector level). Stocks would likely rally in an
algo-driven…(withheld for subscribers only—unlock specifics and ETFs by signing up for a free two-week trial).
Wildcard to Watch: Balance sheet reduction. Everyone expects the Fed to commence balance sheet reduction tomorrow, but they haven’t ever explicitly said they will reduce the balance sheet in September. So, there is a slim chance they might not, and that they might opt to wait for the next meeting (in November). This is a remote chance, as the Fed has clearly telegraphed the balance sheet will be reduced in September, but it’s possible for a last-minute change.
Likely Market Reaction: Very dovish…(withheld for subscribers only—unlock specifics and ETFs by signing up for a free two-week trial).
In all likelihood, this Fed meeting should meet expectations, but that will leave the market at risk to a potential hawkish surprise later as investors are not pricing in a December rate hike despite the Fed signaling it all year.
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