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Federal Reserve Holds Interest Rates Steady Amid Economic Uncertainty

Daniel Kim Views  

AP/Yonhap News

The New York stock market showed fluctuating results on May 1st (local time).

According to Yonhap News, the Dow Jones Industrial Average closed at 37,903.29 on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), up 87.37 points (0.23%) from the previous day.

The Standard & Poor’s (S&P) 500 index fell 17.30 points (0.34%) to 5,018.39, while the Nasdaq index slipped 52.34 points (0.33%) to 15,605.48.

The Federal Reserve (Fed) Chairman, Jerome Powell, caught the market’s attention.

The Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) maintained the interest rate at 5.25~5.50% as anticipated.

Powell stated during a press conference, “The economic outlook is uncertain, and we are still paying close attention to the risk of inflation.”

However, he left the door open for potential interest rate deductions if the job market weakens adversely to expectations.

Powell stated, “There are paths to both interest rate deduction and the status quo,” adding, “I think the probability of the next policy leading towards an increase in interest rate converges to zero.”

Due to the downward trend in inflation that has been on deceleration recently, the expectation of a Fed rate cut has retreated, and the market showed relief as the possibility of an interest rate hike was also left open.

The 10-year U.S. Treasury note yield fell to 4.63%, reflecting the weak dollar, the euro-dollar exchange rate inclined to $1.071.

The dollar-yen exchange rate plummeted sharply from 157 yen to 154 yen.

This is interpreted as the result of Japanese foreign exchange authorities weighing the timing of dollar-selling intervention and the Fed’s dovish stance.

Jeffrey Gundlach, CEO of DoubleLine Capital, spoke on CNBC, “The base case for this year seems to be an interest rate cut,” but added, “The data is insufficient, so the likelihood of an interest rate cut in June seems inconceivable.”

The stock prices of companies that announced their earnings also caught attention.

Amazon.com’s stock rose more than 2% after its first-quarter earnings outstripped the expectations.

Starbucks showed a 15% collapse as it reported decreased revenue and net income for the last quarter.

Pfizer’s stock price rose more than 1%.

Despite the company’s first-quarter revenue and net income decreasing, it outperformed Wall Street’s expectations and portrayed a promising earnings outlook.

CVS Health, a major U.S. pharmacy chain, saw its stock plummet by over 16% due to depreciation compared to its expected earnings.

New York Community Bancorp, a struggling U.S. regional bank, saw its stock surge by 28%.

Although the bank reported a loss for the first quarter, its management board announced plans to secure profitability within the next two years.

Among major tech stocks, Microsoft Corporation (MS) and Meta rose more than 1% and 2% respectively, while Tesla and NVIDIA fell nearly 2% and 4% respectively.

U.S. employment indicators fluctuated on the day.

According to the ADP National Employment Report, private-sector employment increased by 192,000 in April compared to the previous month.

According to an index compiled by the Wall Street Journal (WSJ), this figure exceeds the market expectation of 183,000.

According to the Jolts report released by the U.S. Department of Labor, the number of job openings in March was 8,488,000, down from 8,810,000 the previous month.

The number of job openings in the U.S. has been below 10 million since the end of last year.

Construction spending in February was $283.9 billion at a seasonally adjusted annual rate, a decline of 0.2% from the previous month.

The market is awaiting the announcement of new non-agricultural employment and unemployment rates for April, which will be released on the 2nd.

Energy, technology, industry, and finance sector indices fell, while health, materials, real estate, utilities, and communication-related indices rose.

According to CME Group’s FedWatch Tool, the probability of the Fed keeping interest rates in June is 90.9%, while the likelihood of a 25-bp interest rate cut in June is reflected as 9.1%.

The Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE) Volatility Index (VIX) dropped sharply by 0.26 points (1.66%) to 15.39.

Daniel Kim
content@viewusglobal.com

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