Fed Wildcards to Watch

What’s in Today’s Report:

  • Wildcards to Watch: Tapering Schedule and Balance Sheet Reduction
  • Chart: Inside Day in the S&P Underscores Trader Indecision
  • Technical Breakpoints for the Market Today

Stock futures are firmly higher as trader focus shifts ahead to the Fed while investors digest mostly upbeat earnings.

MSFT initially fell by 7%+ after earnings yesterday but a positive outlook by management during the investor call has helped shares turn positive and rise by more than 4%.

Looking into today’s session, there are two economic reports due out this morning: International Trade in Goods (E: -$95.1B) and New Home Sales (E 760K) but neither should move markets ahead of the FOMC Announcement (2:00 p.m. ET) and Fed Chair Press Conference (2:30 p.m. ET) which will be the main events today.

Earnings today include: BA (-$0.09), T ($0.76), FCX ($0.96), PGR ($0.99), TSLA ($2.26), INTC ($0.90), STX ($2.36), RJF ($1.77).

Bottom line, the market is coiled up after the volatile start to the week and whether the Fed is dovish or hawkish today will decide whether we see a relief rally or break down to new lows.

What Fed Tapering Means for Markets

What’s in Today’s Report:

  • What Fed Tapering Means for Markets (Short Term Positive, Medium Term Uncertainty)
  • EIA and Oil Market Update

Futures are slightly higher following a generally quiet night of news as markets digest Wednesday’s Fed decision.

Economic data was sparse and the only notable report was German Manufacturers’ Orders which missed estimates, falling –1.8% vs. (E ) –1.3%.

There was no progress on the Democrat’s spending bill overnight as Manchin remains a holdout, but a deal is ultimately expected in the coming days or weeks.

Today focus will be on economic data and we get two notable reports:  Jobless Claims (E: 277K) and Productivity and Costs (E: -1.5%, 5.3%) and one Fed speaker, Quarles at 1:50 p.m. ET.  But, unless there’s a major surprise from the data, focus will turn back to Congress and the fate of the Democrat spending bill, and any headlines that imply quick passage without any material tax hikes will be a short-term tailwind on stocks.

Tom Essaye Quoted in Yahoo Finance on August 12, 2021

3 Things That Could Send The S&P 500 Down 20%

The consensus expectations for the Federal Reserve monthly asset purchasing is that the Fed will announce a plan for tapering sometime in…Essaye said. Click here to read the full article.

Why Powell Wasn’t Dovish (Tapering is Coming)

What’s in Today’s Report:

  • Why Powell Wasn’t Dovish (Tapering is Coming)
  • Infrastructure Update (Tax Hike Risks)
  • Oil Update, EIA Analysis, and OPEC Outlook (Where is Oil Going?)

Futures are modestly lower following mixed Chinese economic data.

Chinese Fixed Asset Investment, Retail Sales, and Industrial Production all beat estimates, although they were offset by a miss in Q1 GDP (7.9% vs. (E) 8.2%).  But, while GDP got most of the headlines, the bottom line is the rest of the data is more current, and on balance, the outlook for the Chinese economy has improved (which is good for global stocks).

Today there are numerous economic reports to watch including, in order of importance:   Philly Fed Manufacturing Index (E: 28.5), Empire State Manufacturing Index (E: 18.3), Jobless Claims (E: 368K), and Industrial Production (E: 0.7%).  As has been the case “Goldilocks” data with muted pricing indices will help stocks rally (markets won’t want to see data that’s too strong or too weak).

Turning to the Fed, Chair Powell speaks to the Senate at 9:30 a.m. ET but we should expect the same message as Wednesday and his comments shouldn’t move markets.

Finally, earnings season continues to gain momentum and some reports we’ll be watching today include: TSC ($0.89), MS ($1.63), UNH ($4.41), USB ($1.14), BK ($1.01).

Four Assumptions for the Next Leg of the Rally

What’s in Today’s Report:

  • Four Assumptions for the Next Leg of the Rally
  • Weekly Market Preview:  Will the Fed Acknowledge Tapering is Being Discussed?
  • Weekly Economic Cheat Sheet:  All About the Fed (But Notable Growth Data this Week Too)

Futures are slightly higher following a quiet weekend as markets look ahead to Wednesday’s FOMC decision.

The G-7 meeting in England produced a lot of headlines including broad agreement on a minimum corporate tax.  But there were little specifics of any new policies released and the meeting won’t impact markets.

Economic data was sparse as the only notable number was Eurozone Industrial Production which rose 0.8% vs. (E) 0.4%.

Today there are no economic reports and no Fed speak (the Fed meeting starts tomorrow so officials are in their “quiet period” ahead of the meeting) so for markets to extend last week’s rally we’ll need to get corporate commentary that confirms inflation pressures are “peaking.”  Absent that, I’d expect stocks to largely tread water ahead of Wednesday’s FOMC decision.

What Can Go Right and What Can Go Wrong?

What’s in Today’s Report:

  • What Can Go Right and What Can Go Wrong?
  • Weekly Economic Preview:  More Tapering Talk?
  • Weekly Economic Cheat Sheet:  All About Friday’s Jobs Report.

Futures are modestly higher thanks to more solid economic data combined with generally in-line inflation metrics.

The Chinese, EU, and UK final May manufacturing PMIs all largely met expectations and confirmed the global economic recovery is continuing (and importantly not deteriorating).

EU HICP (their CPI) rose 2.0% vs. (E) 1.9%, but the core reading was in line with expectations at 0.9% and as such not spiking inflation fears.

Focus today will be on the ISM Manufacturing PMI (E: 60.9) and the market will want to see a “Goldilocks” number that shows the economic rebound is continuing, but that activity isn’t so hot that it increases inflation fears.  If we get that “Goldilocks” number stocks can extend the early rally.

More Volatility Ahead But Not Necessarily a Correction

What’s in Today’s Report:

  • Bottom Line: More Volatility Ahead (But Not Necessarily A Correction)
  • Weekly Market Preview:  All About Inflation (Still)
  • Weekly Economic Cheat Sheet:  Friday’s the Most Important Day This Week

Futures are moderately higher as markets ignore more Bitcoin volatility following a generally quiet weekend.

Bitcoin volatility remained elevated, with the cryptocurrency falling more than 10% over the weekend, and then bouncing back more than 5% this morning, but markets are ignoring the volatility so far today.

There were no notable economic reports over the weekend, nor any notable central bank speak.

Today there are multiple Fed speakers but we’ll be watching Brainard (9:00 a.m. ET) and Mester (11:00 a.m. ET) specifically to see if there’s any reference to thinking about tapering (if there is look for a small hawkish response from markets). Bostic (12:00 p.m. ET) and George (5:30 p.m. ET) also speak today but shouldn’t move markets.