The minutes from the FOMC meeting released on Wednesday showed that Federal Reserve officials agreed in November that they would need to soon slow down the pace of interest rate hikes as the treat of recession grows. While noting that inflation had still not shown significant signs of abating, a large majority of participants signalled that a slowing in the pace of increases would soon be appropriate.
Although the Fed still expects rates to rise higher than previously forecast, senior officials have issued somewhat varied opinions about the outlook for monetary policy, as they are unsure how much further rates need to increase to start to affect the labor market, inflation, and the overall economy. Slower rate hikes would give them more time to evaluate the lagging effects on the economy; however, this uncertainty cements the likelihood of further hikes until there is direct evidence of a slowdown in inflation and employment.
The minutes reaffirmed investors’ expectations that the Fed is likely to hike by 50 basis point at its December policy meeting and 25 basis point at the end of January. Fed officials for the first time said a recession was possible next year, according to the detailed summary of the bank’s last strategy session in early November.
A few officials suggested a “pause” in rate increases might be warranted in the first half of 2023 to see how the recent hikes affect the economy. A rapid easing of inflationary pressures could strengthen this possibility.
At this juncture a slower pace of rate hikes is largely priced in, and investors’ attention has shifted to the terminal funds rate. The terminal rate is also a very important factor for the central bank, though Fed officials acknowledged that there remains significant uncertainty about the ultimate level of the federal funds rate needed to achieve the Committee’s objectives.
The market is widely expecting rates to peak at 5.00% to 5.25% next year, which would be the highest level over the past 16 years. The Fed’s aggressive posture arises from the biggest surge in inflation since 1980s. The Fed has been aiming to bring down inflation around its target level of 2%, but they acknowledge it could take a while.
Also on Wednesday, the University of Michigan consumer sentiment index for November showed an improvement in the mood of consumers, while housing, manufacturing and services activity were weaker than expected. Several Fed members expressed worries that some institutions could amplify the problems for the U.S. economy if higher rates exposed them to greater instability.
As the Federal Reserve’s November meeting minutes showed support for slowing of rate hikes soon, Treasury yields and the U.S. dollar slipped, while equity markets rebounded further. However, such reaction might be short-lived as overall rates are high enough and may prove painful for risk assets, with the technology sector particularly vulnerable. Although, the current rebound could extend further in the very short-term, the NASDAQ 100 index is facing stiff overhead resistance exerted by its medium-term down trend line, crossing at 12,360. Momentum conditions are far from encouraging and our baseline scenario is further weakness to unfold, once the current leg up is complete. The potential medium-term downside target for the index is 9,800.
Trading volume was thin ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday on Thursday which is likely to remain subdued on Friday with the U.S. stock market open for a half-session. We expect volatility to kick in next week, as the economic calendar is jam-packed with key economic data.
Active traders looking to gain magnified exposure to the NASDAQ 100 index may consider our Short and Leveraged 3x US Tech 100 ETPs.
Sandeep joined Leverage Shares in September 2020. He leads research on existing and new product lines, asset classes, and strategies, with special emphasis on analysis of recent events and developments.
Sandeep has longstanding experience with financial markets. Starting with a Chicago-based hedge fund as a financial engineer, his career has spanned a variety of domains and organizations over a course of 8 years – from Barclays Capital’s Prime Services Division to (most recently) Nasdaq’s Index Research Team.
Sandeep holds an M.S. in Finance as well as an MBA from Illinois Institute of Technology Chicago.
Julian joined Leverage Shares in 2018 as part of the company’s primary expansion in Eastern Europe. He is responsible for web content and raising brand awareness.
Julian has been academically involved with economics, psychology, sociology, European politics & linguistics. He has experience in business development and marketing through business ventures of his own.
For Julian, Leverage Shares is an innovator in the field of finance & fintech, and he always looks forward with excitement to share the next big news with investors in the UK & Europe.
Violeta joined Leverage Shares in September 2022. She is responsible for conducting technical analysis, macro and equity research, providing valuable insights to help shape investment strategies for clients.
Prior to joining LS, Violeta worked at several high-profile investment firms in Australia, such as Tollhurst and Morgans Financial where she spent the past 12 years of her career.
Violeta is a certified market technician from the Australian Technical Analysts Association and holds a Post Graduate Diploma of Applied Finance and Investment from Kaplan Professional (FINSIA), Australia, where she was a lecturer for a number of years.
Oktay joined Leverage Shares in late 2019. He is responsible for driving business growth by maintaining key relationships and developing sales activity across English-speaking markets.
He joined Leverage Shares from UniCredit, where he was a corporate relationship manager for multinationals. His previous experience is in corporate finance and fund administration at firms like IBM Bulgaria and DeGiro / FundShare.
Oktay holds a BA in Finance & Accounting and a post-graduate certificate in Entrepreneurship from Babson College. He is also a CFA charterholder.
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