Can Fed minutes turn around falling US stocks?
01:00, 09 July 2014
· By Giorgio Benetti
After a triple digit fall for the Dow yesterday, North America will be hoping for a better stock market performance than their South American counterpart Brazil’s at football. Alcoa got earnings off to a good start overnight but all eyes will be set on Fed minutes as US markets look set to open higher today.
Futures suggest the Dow Jones will open 14 points higher at 16,920 with the S&P500 expected to open 2 point higher at 1,965 and the Nasdaq 5 points higher at 3,869.
Alcoa is expected to move higher on the open after last night the aluminium company reported earnings of 18c per share on revenues of $5.84bn, beating estimates on both metrics. Premiums charged on top of benchmark aluminium prices rose in the company’s primary metals unit aided by rising demand for aluminium and the closing of more costly production plants.
Tomorrow will perhaps be the bigger day for US earnings with releases from Gap, Family Dollar and Chevron.
Since beginning its most recent rally in mid-April, the S&P 500 has typically been correcting for two days and then moving on to making new highs; if that is to happen again it will be down to today’s Federal Reserve meeting minutes. It’s unlikely Fed members will have deviated too much from recent statements in the minutes; but in such a bullish market, just holding the course may be enough to push stocks back up again.
The biggest risk to the rally in stocks out of the Fed minutes will any implication of a rate hike happening sooner than expected due to an improving labour market and rising inflation. Wage growth in the US is still lagging jobs growth so the Fed will probably choose to emphasise that as an area of slack. CPI inflation is above 2% but the Fed’s preferred the PCE deflator is still far below which should be enough for the Fed to hold out on raising concerns over inflation for at least another meeting.
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