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Stocks are back where this all started: Morning Brief

Myles Udland
Markets Reporter

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

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Has anything really changed since July 31?

The Fed’s latest two-day policy meeting gets underway today, and it is expected to result in another rate cut tomorrow afternoon. Now, since the Fed cut rates on July 31 , obviously a lot has happened in the market.

But looking at where markets stand, it might also seem like not much has changed.

At the Fed’s last meeting it voted to lower interest rates by 25 basis points, the central bank’s first cut since 2008. Following this anticipated rate cut, Trump announced new tariffs on Chinese imports . This announcement sent markets into a tailspin. Calls for the Fed to act more aggressively began, from the White House and elsewhere . The S&P 500 dropped as much as 8% during the month of August. The Treasury yield curve worryingly inverted for the first time in over a decade.

The signal financial markets sent was that recession risks were rising. Quickly.

And then it all just sort of went away.

On July 29, the day before the Fed’s last interest rate announcement, the Dow closed at 27,198; on Monday, it closed at 27,076. That same day, the S&P 500 closed at 3,020; on Monday, it closed at 2,997.

Even the price of crude oil — after this weekend’s news that Saudi Arabian oil facilities were attacked and 5% of the world’s oil supply was taken offline — isn’t all that far from where it stood ahead of the Fed’s last meeting. Following Monday’s 15% rally, WTI crude settled at $61.88 per barrel; on the day of the Fed’s rate cut it settled at $58.58.

Because whether it was the August jobs report , or the August retail sales report , or August inflation data , or something else that did it, at some point in the past three weeks investors became convinced that there would not, in fact, be a recession in the U.S.

And everything has been unwinding since. As we noted last week in this space , the stock market has seen massive rotations out of growth and momentum trades that had worked during this downturn and into value stocks that had been beaten down. This kind of mismatched positioning in the market is why Bank of America's latest Bull & Bear reading is still at "extreme bearishness" — everyone has been bracing for the end of the world. (Which apparently involved buying McDonald's and Chipotle every day.)

Over the last few weeks, investors have instead been snapping up shares of banks, small caps, industrials, homebuilders, and chip stocks. The kind of stuff that leads during an environment when investors anticipate more growth and less recession.

Economists will still emphasize that recession risks remain elevated, that growth will likely slow next year, that the trade war will hurt consumers more in the months ahead. And rising tensions in the Middle East are exactly the kinds of risks that strategists so often warn investors to be on the lookout for.

But ahead of this week’s Fed meeting, financial markets are still telling you the most anticipated recession in history is canceled. At least for now. And it means markets are right back where they started before the last Fed meeting.

Everything (six weeks) old in this market is new again.

By Myles Udland , reporter and co-anchor of The Final Round . Follow him @MylesUdland

What to watch today

Earnings Post-market

  • 4:05 p.m. ET: FedEx ( FDX ) expected to report first-quarter adjusted earnings of $3.16 per share on $17.06 billion in revenue.

  • 4:20 p.m. ET: Chewy ( CHWY ) expected to report an adjusted earnings loss of 11 cents per share on $1.13 billion in revenue, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Other notable

  • Adobe ( ADBE ) after the market close.

Economy

  • 9:15 a.m. ET: Industrial Production month-on-month, August (0.2% expected, -0.2% in July); Capacity Utilization, August (77.6% expected, 77.5% in July)

  • 4 p.m. ET: Net Long-term TIC Flows, July ($99.1 billion prior); Total Net TIC Flows, July ($1.7 billion prior)

From Yahoo Finance

  • Watch reporter Julia La Roche’s interview with Steve Schwarzman, Chairman & CEO of The Blackstone Group throughout day on our live shows from 9 a.m. ET to 5 p.m. ET. [Read: Blackstone's Steve Schwarzman sees a 'wake-up call' for investors ]

  • Formerly ousted Canopy Growth co-founder and co-CEO Bruce Linton is slated to discuss all of his new endeavors and the state of the cannabis industry during an interview with anchor Zack Guzman on YFi PM , which starts at 1 p.m. ET.

  • Also on YFi PM reporter Krystal Hu will be covering Amazon Career Day in Arlington, Va.

Read more

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