Bad news is bad news, once again.
For months, investors have cheered bad economic news. When the United States economy showed signs of weakness, stock markets often reflected investor enthusiasm. The thinking was that bad economic news would persuade the Federal Reserve to slow the pace of rate hikes. Inflation would slide lower, and recession would be avoided.
Last week, there was a shift in attitude.
On Wednesday, the Federal Reserve raised the federal funds rate by half a percent, as expected. Over the course of this year, the fed funds rate has risen from near zero to 4.33 percent. That’s an enormous increase designed to drop inflation by slowing economic growth – and the Fed expects growth to slow.
The dot plot is a chart that reflects the expectations of each member of the Fed’s decision-making committee. It showed that Fed officials expect U.S. economic growth to slow next year. The forecasts indicated gross domestic product (GDP), which is the value of all goods and services produced in the U.S., could grow very slowly or even contract next year (it could contract -0.5 percent or grow to 1.0 percent). Fed officials also anticipated the unemployment rate could rise from a relatively low 3.7 percent to 4.6 percent.
The day after the Fed’s statement, the Commerce Department reported that retail sales declined more than expected in November. That suggests economic growth may be slowing.
The stock market didn’t surge on the bad economic news. It retreated. Vildana Hajric and Lu Wang of Bloomberg reported:
“For the first time in a long time, news that was bad for the economy was bad for the stock market as well, more proof that recession fear has replaced inflation angst as that market’s biggest bugaboo… Rather than rise on speculation that weak data would curb Federal Reserve tightening, the S&P 500 dropped 2.5% on Thursday, while the Nasdaq 100 lost 3.4%. Small-cap stocks lost more than 2.5% and the VIX volatility gauge shot back above 22. The yield on 10-year Treasuries hovered around 3.45%, down from a peak of 3.63% earlier this week.”
https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2022-12-15/stock-market-traders-discover-that-bad-news-is-bad-after-all (or go to https://resources.carsongroup.com/hubfs/WMC-Source/2022/12-19-22_Bloomberg_Stock%20Market%20Traders%20Discover%20that%20Bad%20News%20is%20Bad%20Afterall_1.pdf)
https://www.barrons.com/articles/fed-interest-rates-stock-market-51671240434?refsec=the-trader&mod=topics_the-trader (or go to https://resources.carsongroup.com/hubfs/WMC-Source/2022/12-19-22_Barrons_The%20Fed%20is%20Making%20a%20Mistake%20and%20the%20Stock%20Market%20Will%20Pay_5.pdf)
https://www.barrons.com/articles/everyday-decisions-wealth-retirement-annamaria-lusardi-51638573781 (or go to https://resources.carsongroup.com/hubfs/WMC-Source/2022/12-19-22_Barrons_How%20Everyday%20Decisions%20Affect%20Your%20Wealth_7.pdf)
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