Stocks Languish As Investors Await FOMC Meeting This Week

Markets slumped today after reaching fresh extended trading session highs, and now investors are awaiting the Federal Reserve meeting this week, where some key economic decisions could sway markets.

After an emergency meeting of Federal Reserve policymakers in mid-March, chairman Jay Powell showed confidence in the Fed’s ability to protect the US economy from the most disastrous consequences of the coronavirus pandemic.

“We think we have plenty of policy space left, plenty of power left in our tools,” he told reporters.

Powell has ruled out negative rates, for now, stating they would not be appropriate for the US, so the question is whether the Fed will want to firm up or clarify that statement on Wednesday.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average was the only one of the key indexes to show gains late into Tuesday trading, as the index rallied amid optimism that states could be reopening the U.S. economy, propelled toward a 5-day winning streak, before closing at a loss along with the others. The 30-stock average lost 33 points on the day to close down 0.14% but was up more than 1% earlier in the day.

With news yesterday that New York is looking at a path to reopen the economy and there may be a partial reopening of the economy in states like Alaska, Georgia, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, investors drove stocks higher, as investor sentiment improved, with certain U.S. businesses set to gain from the first group of consumers emerging from shelter-in-place restrictions.

“The stock market is increasingly reflecting a restart in the economy as more and more states show a willingness to allow some economic activities to come back online,” Jim Paulsen, chief investment strategist at The Leuthold Group told CNBC.

But with the coronavirus pandemic now surpassing more than 3 million cases worldwide and claimed the lives of more than 213,000 people, including 1 million cases and 57,000 deaths in the United States, stocks have remained off highs since this morning.

Analysts also blame earnings from tech stocks for the decline Tuesday, but in general recognize the fortitude stocks have continued to exhibit over the last month, giving experts and investors pause to consider if a V-bottom recovery is actually possible.

“I think people are selling into the tech earnings,” said Peter Cardillo, chief market economist at Spartan Capital Securities. “If those results disappoint, then those stocks can lead the market lower.”

“But in general, the market has been resilient lately,” Cardillo said.

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