With the chance of a rate hike hovering between absolutely not and no chance at the two-day July meeting (today and Wednesday) stocks took something of a breather, finishing in mixed fashion and anticipating no rate movement from the FOMC, which will release its policy decision at 2:00 pm EDT tomorrow.
There was a sudden drop in equities across the board early in the day on Tuesday, sending the major indices into negative territory, a place they spent most of the remainder of the session.
Oil continued its relentless decline off ridiculously high levels reached last month. While today's drop was less than one percent, the price of WTI crude for September 2016 delivery fell to a three-month low as gasoline demand in the US and most other developed nations remains stubbornly low. The last traded price was in the $42.82 per barrel range.
The global glut in crude oil will continue into the foreseeable future, as production from OPEC nations continues at near capacity and US rig counts continue to creep slowly upward.
Precious metals posted small gains, but remain off their recent highs. This appears to be a time of price consolidation prior to the next leg upward, the four-year bear market now clearly in the rear view mirror and fading from view.
Besides the FOMC meeting, focus is clearly on the political front, as the Democratic National Convention enters the second of its four-day schedule. Much of the rancor over the leaked emails has subsided, though delegates and supporters of Bernie Sanders - the runner-up to Hillary Clinton in the primaries - continue to protest and clamor for their candidate.
Tonight's main event is the delegate roll-call, sure to be accompanied by loud cheers, jeers, assorted sign-waving, and yelping from the disaffected Sanders delegations. It is expected that Hillary Clinton will be awarded the delegates she needs to secure the Democratic nomination, though many Sanders supporters have not given up hope for a last-minute change of heart by some super delegates.
It's a long shot for Sanders, but he will continue his fight for social justice as a serious sideshow in the run-up to November's elections.
Dow Jones Industrial Average
18,473.75, -19.31 (-0.10%)
5,110.05, +12.42 (0.24%)
2,169.18, +0.70 (0.03%)
10,772.99, +20.56 (0.19%)