Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Markets Flat in Advance of Fed Announcement

With little movement in the major indices - or individual stocks, for that matter - it is evident to anyone watching or participating in equity and bond markets that the financial world anxiously awaits the policy statement from the FOMC tomorrow at 2:00 pm ET, in which the Fed may or may not announce the tapering of its bond purchasing program.

Currently stuck at monthly figures of $45 billion in treasury purchases and another $40 billion in MBS (mortgage-backed securities), signs that the Fed may have enough reliable data to begin scaling the program back are still ambiguous. There have been hints, predictions and all manner of speculation on what the Fed will announce via their final policy meeting of the year, but one thing remains certain: the Fed must begin to curtail this program soon, not only because it has been ineffective, but that it could also do (and may have already) damage to the fragile economy.

On Wall Street, there's widespread belief that a cut-back in bond purchases by the Federal Reserve would cause a dip in the equity indices, being that there would be less of the free champagne money flowing to the TBTF banks, but a growing suspicion that the extent of these bond purchases, with money going to the connected and already-well-heeled, may be causing a rift of considerable proportions between the monied interests of the financiers and the rest of the planet.

Income disparity, already at an extraordinarily-high rate preceding the crisis of 2008-09, has been exacerbated by the easy money put into the hands of the rich, a trend which may be leading to suspicion, distrust and eventually, class enmity.

So, with less than 24 hours before what may be a significant announcement, traders have chosen to sit upon their collective hands, leaving volume at some of the lowest levels of the year.

Wednesday's FOMC announcement should provide some pre-holiday fireworks. If not, markets could just as easily rally from relief as sell off from disappointment. Whatever the Fed has planned for tomorrow should affect everything from stock prices to mortgage rates.

DOW 15,875.26, -9.31 (-0.06%)
NASDAQ 4,023.68, -5.84 (-0.14%)
S&P 1,781.00, -5.54 (-0.31%)
10-Yr Note 99.05, +0.77 (+0.79%) Yield: 2.86%
NASDAQ Volume 1.59 Bil
NYSE Volume 2.82 Bil
Combined NYSE & NASDAQ Advance - Decline: 2593-2889
Combined NYSE & NASDAQ New highs - New lows: 154-117
WTI crude oil: 97.22, -0.26
Gold: 1,230.10, -14.30
Silver: 19.84, -0.261
Corn: 426.75, +3.50

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