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Game change continues as US stocks and oil rebound on hawkish Fed talk

Game change continues as US stocks and oil rebound on hawkish Fed talk

The big sea change in sentiment around how the street reacts to FOMC and economic news has been continued into this week. To recap, since 2009, generally speaking, news that pointed toward a dovish and supportive Fed has been received positively by stock traders. On Friday, however, a dovish read on the FOMC decision to delay raising interest rates sparked a big selloff in stocks and oil. The reason for this is that many traders now recognize the US economy has reached a point where the economy can stand on its own two feet again and it's time to start easing back on emergency measures, or risk causing more problems. In addition, the negative signalling effect I warned about before the meeting has kicked in. That is: knowing the Fed should start raising rates, the delay has caused many traders to ask what is wrong with the global economy. Because of this, instead of being supportive as in the past, Fed inaction has become a sign of potential trouble. Today’s trading confirms the tide has turned with US stocks responding favourable to hawkish talk from the Fed. Over the weekend: San Francisco Fed President Williams (who voted the party line last week) indicated the decision to hold was a close call. He supports a rate hike this year, echoed FOMC Chair Yellen’s comments that a press conference could be called on short notice on an October liftoff, and warned against waiting too long. Richmond Fed President Lacker (hawkish dissenter last week) confirmed he things rock bottom rates are no longer needed. St. Louis Fed President Bullard (non-voter this year) indicated he would have dissented if he had a vote, and that conditions to normalization have been met. Perhaps most importantly, this morning on CNBC, Bullard took the ultra-doves to task apparently calling out CNBC host Jim Cramer and stating ““The Fed cannot permanently raise stock prices” and “To have him cheerleading for low rates 24 hours a day is, I think unsavoury” he also confirmed the Fed wants to move on rates early and gradually and avoid falling behind the curve and having to raise rates every meeting as it did in its 2004-2006 campaign. Overall, the Fed comments and warnings from this weekend and this morning can be seen as strong signals that the Fed is seriously considering an October liftoff with December as a backup date. Markets appear to be pleased with hawkish talk as stocks, USD and WTI have all been climbing to start the week. Remember, hawkish talk and strong data is now being seen as a sign of strong economy and a positive environment for resource demand and corporate earnings. This is a huge change in how the market reacts to Fed developments from the last several years. Fed reaction and speculation may continue through the day today. In the early afternoon Atlanta Fed president Lockhart is scheduled to speak. As with Williams on the weekend, any comments he has on why he voted to hold, and what he may do next time could attract keen interest from the street. Gold is trading lower today as the hawkish turn in Fedspeak lights a fire under USD which has rebounded against everything except CAD which is catching a tailwind from the big turnaround in WTI today. The loonie could be active through the day with Bank of Canada Governor Poloz talking this afternoon in Calgary, where the economy has been hit particularly hard by the oil price crash. European indices are also bouncing back following the re-election of Syriza in Greece, which is expected to pave the way for the passage of key reforms. The next big vote for Europe comes this weekend with regional elections scheduled in Spain’s Catalonia region. The Dax is trailing its continental peers today, held back by a 20% drop in Volkswagen following weekend news that it cheated on emissions test results potentially leading to a massive recall and brand damage.

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