The Dow Jones Industrial Average popped at the open, along with the S&P 500 and Nasdaq. The DJIA soared 5.7% since touching 22,638.41 on January 3. The fear and loathing that followed the Federal Reserve rate hike on December 19, and Fed chair Powell’s apparent lack of concerned about the carnage in equity markets, has traders throwing caution to the wind.
"All is for the best in the best of all possible worlds" appears to be the message out of Manhattan again today, leaving us to wonder which unpleasant late-cycle reality will spoil the party first.
Traders are expecting to get some clarity on the Federal Open Market Committee’s outlook when the minutes are released this afternoon. Above all, markets want to find out whether the Committee unanimously shared Powell’s original hawkish bias, or if the chair's January 4 comments were a more accurate view of the bank's thinking.
If this mornings’ session is any guide, traders are leaning toward the latter.
FX markets are in “risk-seeking” mode. The US dollar sank across the G10 major currency spectrum since the New York open, led by gains in NZD and EUR. The "dovish Fed" bias was reinforced earlier after St. Louis Fed President and noted dove James Bullard said "we’ve got a good level of the policy rate toda”, and there isn’t any pressing need to go higher.”
EURUSD climbed from 1.1441 to 1.1531, which turned some technical studies bullish; these are looking for a break of resistance at 1.1550 to signal further gains ahead.
The Bank of Canada left interest rates unchanged which was expected. The statement was dovish. The BoC is concerned about slowing global economic growth from the ongoing China/US trade talks, and a “material” drop in oil prices. It trimmed its 2019 GDP growth forecast to 1.17% from 2.1%.
USDCAD dropped to 1.3182 alongside the US dollar weakness and a jump in WTI oil prices to $51.46/barrel but bounced to 1.3210 as traders digested the latest monetary policy report.