Flying Below The Radar

Members of the U.S. Federal Reserve have gathered for their latest Federal Open Market Committee meeting this week. The fact that this meeting is not followed by a press conference makes it a sleeper, but it is still worth watching for the important signals that come out of this latest gathering of what are arguably some of the most influential and powerful people in the world. What can we reasonably expect and how might the markets react?

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7 To Watch In The Week Ahead

It’s a busy week ahead in policy circles. On Thursday, Republican leaders in the U.S. House of Representatives are planning to bring to the floor a vote on the healthcare bill. And this planned vote will come on the heels of what is sure to be headline-stealing testimony by FBI Director James Comey before the House Intelligence Committee as well as the start of Senate confirmation hearings for Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch, both on Monday. And while all of these events will certainly be interesting to watch, the seven people I will be watching closely in the week ahead are those from the U.S. Federal Reserve that are scheduled to take to the speaking circuit in the coming week.

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Popeye Goes To Washington

Enjoy the candy while it lasts. While it has received relatively less attention in the financial media since the election in early November, the new administration is likely to bring meaningful changes for the Federal Reserve and the direction of monetary policy going forward. And given that the primary driver of stock market gains throughout the post crisis period has been the aggressively easy and accommodative monetary policy from the Fed, the likely changes have the potential to completely transform what we should expect from investing in the U.S. stock market going forward.

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Capitalizing On The Interest Rate Outlook For 2017

It was right around this time last year that expectations were building about Fed policy in 2016. On the brink of raising interest rates in December 2015 for the first time in the post financial crisis period, the consensus view was that the Fed would proceed to raise interest rates between two to four times in 2016. But here we are roughly a full year later and we are still waiting for the first rate hike in 2016. It seems all but certain (at least right now) that the Fed will finally sneak in a rate hike in December before the buzzer sounds on 2016. But what is more notable is how ambitious the consensus view has become once again surrounding how the Fed is likely to proceed in 2017. And just as I did at this time last year heading into 2016, I have a decidedly different view on the path for interest rates today going into 2017.

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The Indicator Investors Should Be Watching

The stock market has seemed heavy lately. Sure, the S&P 500 Index still grinding within striking distance of all-time highs, but it has been drifting gradually lower over the past few weeks. Knowing that there is no alternative apparently to U.S. stocks, it stands to wonder why it isn’t performing better. One largely overlooked indicator helps provide the answer.

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