It was another relatively quiet session in the stock market today. On Tuesday we saw the SPDR S&P 500 ETF (NYSEARCA:SPY) rally 0.3%, the SPDR Dow Jones Industrial Average (NYSEARCA:DIA) jump 0.2% and the PowerShares QQQ ETF (NASDAQ:QQQ) climb 0.5%.
That’s as investors try to get positioned ahead of the Federal Reserve’s announcement on Wednesday. It doesn’t help that there’s a quadruple witching day this Friday, one of four throughout the year, as we roll into the fourth quarter.
Assets Moving Ahead of the Fed
While it’s been a relatively calm Monday and Tuesday in the equity markets, the same cannot be said about financial markets over the past month.
Earlier this month, we had the SPY, DIA and QQQ break out of their choppy trading ranges. Amid that breakout though, we had a deep correction in high-growth tech stocks like Roku (NASDAQ:ROKU), Alteryx (NYSE:AYX), The Trade Desk (NASDAQ:TTD), Veeva Systems (NYSE:VEEV) and many, many others.
We recently caught a nice pullback both in gold and bonds after an absolutely explosive rally in the SPDR Gold Shares (NYSEARCA:GLD) and the iShares 20+ Treasury Bond ETF (NASDAQ:TLT). The latter’s decline helped spring a potent rebound in bank stocks, by the way.
Finally, how could we forget the move in crude oil. Following a drone strike in Saudi Arabia over the weekend, oil prices were skyrocketing. While they have come down off the highs, and with Saudi production expected to come fully back online in the coming weeks, crude is still up about 7.5% from its closing price last week.
To say the Fed has a full plate is putting it lightly.
What to Expect From the Fed
There is now a greater chance of no rate cut on Wednesday than there is of a rate cut. This has not been the norm over the past few days or weeks, mind you.
Currently, the Fed Funds futures are pricing in 52.7% probability the Fed does not raise interest rates tomorrow. The other 47.3% probability calls for a 25-basis point cut. Essentially, a coin flip.
Just a day ago, the figures stood at 37.7% probability of no cut and 62.3% chance of a cut. A week ago it was even more drastic. Participants were pricing in a greater than 92% chance the Fed cuts rates, with a less than 10% probability of no cut.
Finally, a month ago, the market wasn’t even pricing in the chances of no cut. Instead, it was expecting a cut of at least 25-basis points, while there was a 22.3% probability of a 50-basis point cut.
Sorry for the deluge of statistics, but they underscore how much can change in a relatively short amount of time. It will be interesting to hear what Fed Chair Jerome Powell has to say about the economy and the recent fluctuations in various assets.
With unemployment low and stocks near their highs, it’s easy to make the case for “no cut.” But if that’s the course the Fed chooses, it will surely hear from a chorus of dovish detractors — as well as President Donald Trump.
Movers in the Stock Market Today
Shopify (NYSE:SHOP) stock fell 2.7% after the company announced a 1.9 million share secondary offering. The deal is for Class A stock that priced at $317.50, raising just over $600 million for the company. The move comes as little surprise given that Shopify stock is still up roughly 140% in 2019 and after its recent $450 million acquisition.
Following Disney’s (NYSE:DIS) acquisition of Twenty-First Century Fox, the company is getting to work on its balance sheet. Disney is looking to deleverage a bit after digesting that big $71.3 billion deal, tendering more than $4.2 billion worth of notes. It increased its intended purchases as well.
Micron (NASDAQ:MU) caught a price target boost from $55 to $65 at Cascend Securities. The analysts maintain a “buy” rating and believe MU has “good value” after evaluating the DRAM market. Shares ended the day higher by 1.4% at $50.84.