- Russia Temporarily Limits Diesel and Gasoline Exports
- Trudeau’s Mega Pipeline Promises to Redraw Global Oil Flows
- Chevron Agrees to Regulator’s Plan to End Australia LNG Strikes
- Hong Kong Says It Calls the Shots, Not Beijing. Investors Are Wary
- Naira Plunges Toward 1,000 on Street Amid ‘Stampede’ for Dollars
- Pound Slides to Six Month Low as BOE Rate Hikes Grind to Halt
- Sweden’s Central Bank Raises Rates to 4%, In Line with Expectations
- Higher Interest Rates Not Just for Longer, but Maybe Forever
- Fed Signals Higher-for-Longer Rates With Hikes Almost Finished
- What Fed Rate Moves Mean for Mortgages, Credit Cards and More
- Klaviyo Shares Soar in Debut, Pointing to IPO Resurgence
- Ex-Goldman Bankers Make a Fortune With Controversial Bet on Coal
- BlackRock, State Street Among Money Managers Closing ESG Funds
- Corporate America Brings Its New Skinny Look to Stock Market
- Defense Department Awards Chip Funding to Fuel Domestic Research
- GPUs Transformed AI. Now They’re Here for Quantum
- Cisco to Buy Splunk for $157-a-Share in $28 Billion Deal
- Toshiba Shareholders Approve $13.5 Billion Deal to Take Company Private
- FedEx Earnings Rise Despite Weakened Demand
- The United Auto Workers Is Overplaying Its Hand, Risking Our Economy and the Election
- The Newest Addition to the Office Wardrobe? Serious Athletic Sneakers
- The Lawyers Sam Bankman-Fried Once Trusted Are Drawing Criticism
Todays Open Interest Change
Markets are still digesting the latest messaging from the Federal Reserve, which wrapped up a two-day policy meeting on Wednesday afternoon. "The fact that we've come this far lets us really proceed carefully," said Chair Jerome Powell, emphasizing some recent battles won on the inflation front, but citing risks related to an overly resilient economy and labor market. On that note, the central bank kept rates unchanged for the second time this year, though investors were watching what might come next in the FOMC's economic projections.
The dots: The median projection for the federal funds rate at the end of the year was 5.6%, implying one more hike - the same seen in the June projection. Policymakers also increased their forecasts for the fed funds rate at the end of 2024 to 5.1%, compared with the previous 4.6%, while the median projection for the end of 2025 rose to 3.9% from 3.4%. Fewer rate cuts were seen in 2024, leading benchmark indices to close the session lower, with the Nasdaq (COMP.IND) sliding 1.5%. The yield on the 2-year Treasury note (US2Y), which reflects interest rate expectations, also hit 5.118%, marking the highest level since 2006.
"Forecasts are highly uncertain. Forecasting is very difficult. Forecasters are a humble lot with much to be humble about," Powell noted during his press conference. "In terms of inflation, you are seeing - the last three readings are very good readings. It's only three readings. You know, we were well aware that we needed to see more than three readings. The only concern - and it just means this. If the economy comes in stronger than expected, that just means we’ll have to do more in terms of monetary policy to get back to 2%, because we will get back to 2%."
What to watch: So far the Fed has seemed to add enough pressure on financial conditions with less fallout for growth and employment compared to previous U.S. inflation battles. That has led the market to price in an economic "soft landing," which has helped prop up stocks for much of the year, contrary to many of the initial forecasts on Wall Street. The key question is whether that can keep on going. Have the 525 basis points in interest rate hikes delivered since March 2022 already filtered through the economy? Will things hold up if those levels are held through 2024? What about other curveballs like higher energy costs, student loan repayments, damaging labor strikes or a government shutdown?
The Hollywood strike could soon end as writers and major studios met face to face on Wednesday, and will meet again today with an aim to finalize a deal. If an agreement is not reached, the strike could extend through the end of the year. Writers have been on strike since May, with actors joining the picket lines in July in a historic double strike, halting production of several TV shows and films. "While Netflix may run out of new content later compared to its competitors, the threat is real," said SA analyst Luca Socci. Investing Group Leader Stone Fox Capital also warned investors that Warner Bros. Discovery (WBD) may “face a major hit next year without new original content.” (5 comments)
Shares of FedEx (FDX) rose 5.8% after the close on Wednesday after the company's sales outlook beat estimates. The package shipping firm posted earnings that easily topped expectations, as it continued to cut costs and poached customers from rivals UPS (UPS) and Yellow (OTC:YELLQ). However, revenue of $21.7B came in just under estimates amid ongoing demand weakness. "Labor negotiations at our primary competitor and the bankruptcy of Yellow disrupted the market," said CEO Raj Subramaniam, adding that FedEx aims to maintain the majority of the business won. FedEx Express continued to weaken, although cost cuts helped push operating profit higher. (13 comments)
The Biden administration is resuming a program to deliver free COVID-19 tests through the mail, according to Secretary of Health and Human Services Xavier Becerra. The federal program had restarted last December in partnership with the U.S. Postal Service, allowing households to order a total of four at-home COVID tests for free. However, plans to preserve the remaining test kits and a decline in hospitalizations prompted officials to pause the program in June. The latest decision to resume the program comes amid a slight uptick in COVID-related hospitalizations in the U.S. Rapid COVID-19 test makers include Abbott (ABT) and Becton, Dickinson (BDX), QuidelOrtho (QDEL) and QIAGEN (QGEN). (38 comments)
In Asia, Japan -1.4%. Hong Kong -1.3%. China -0.8%. India -0.9%.
In Europe, at midday, London -0.6%. Paris -1.5%. Frankfurt -1.1%.
Futures at 7:00, Dow -0.5%. S&P -0.7%. Nasdaq -0.9%. Crude -0.9% to $88.85. Gold -1.1% at $1,944.80. Bitcoin -1.6% to $26,653.
Ten-year Treasury Yield +8 bps to 4.43%.
Today's Economic Calendar
8:30 Initial Jobless Claims
8:30 Philly Fed Business Outlook
8:30 Current Account
10:00 Existing Home Sales
10:00 Leading Indicators
10:30 EIA Natural Gas Inventory
4:30 PM Fed Balance Sheet
Companies reporting earnings today »
What else is happening...
General Motors (GM) hits back at UAW claims as strike continues.
Cleveland-Cliffs (CLF) refuses to sign deal with U.S. Steel (X).
MGM Resorts (MGM) operations back up after hacking incident.
China pauses review of Broadcom's (AVGO) VMware (VMW) purchase.
Toshiba (OTCPK:TOSBF) set to end 74-year run as a publicly listed firm.
Senate updates marijuana banking bill ahead of committee vote.
General Mills (GIS) sees higher prices in Q1 offset a drop in volume.
Aquestive spikes as FDA rejects ARS Pharma’s (SPRY) epinephrine spray.
KB Home notches steady demand, but average sales price likely to dip.
Tilray a top pick in Seeking Alpha Quant Ratings despite short interest.