U.S. markets and stock ETFs slipped Wednesday as traders took pause ahead of the Federal Reserve comments.
On Wednesday, the Invesco QQQ Trust (NASDAQ: QQQ) was up 1.0%, SPDR Dow Jones Industrial Average ETF (NYSEArca: DIA) was 0.5% lower, and SPDR S&P 500 ETF (NYSEArca: SPY) fell 0.2%.
The S&P 500 and Dow Jones Industrial Average dipped lower Wednesday while the tech-heavy Nasdaq pushed to a new record high for the fourth consecutive session.
Traders were waiting on the Fed to conclude its scheduled two-day meeting, with many looking for signs of how long the central bank plans to maintain its aggressive monetary policy and potential to introduce new measures, Reuters reports.
“If the Fed is going to control the yield curve, then stock valuations make much more sense than many people believe they do,” Brent Schutte, chief investment strategist at Northwestern Mutual Wealth Management Co., told Reuters.
U.S. markets have surged over 45% since the March lows as unprecedented monetary and fiscal stimulus measures helped fuel the rally. However, any indication the Fed could ease back on its loose monetary policy could halt the equity market recovery.
“The market wants assurance that the Fed is not going to step in and stunt or slow the recovery,” said Miller, chief investment officer at E-valuator Funds, told Reuters.
Nevertheless, many anticipate the Fed to stand pat on interest rates and refrain from any major changes as the economy tries to digest the copious amount of stimulus already injected into the system. Investors may try to scrutinize the Fed’s first set of economic projections to see hints of how long policymakers expect the recession to last and how quickly the economy can get back up.
Later on Wednesday, Chairman Jerome Powell will clarify the Fed’s views on its bond-buying programs and its long-term intentions on interest rates, the Wall Street Journal reports.
“This rally is simply not born of economic data or even recovery prospects,” Dwyfor Evans, Head of Macro Strategy for Asia Pacific at State Street Global Markets, told the WSJ. “It is really driven by expectations that central banks and governments will be there to back the economic recovery.”
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