Fed Rate Hike Puts Fear In US Equity Markets
Today the Dow Jones Industrial Average sold off heavily, closing down about 255 points. The S&P futures closed down about 38 handles. There was heavy selling across the board. Yesterday the Dow Jones Industrial Average closed up 225 after the Federal Reserve said they were going to raise interest rates for the first time in nine years. I think the market is worried that the Federal Reserve acted very late. About two and a half years ago when unemployment was above 8-8.5%, the Federal Reserve maintained that they would start raising interest rates once unemployment got down to 6.5%. We had seven years of 0% interest rates, a very long period of time. I think people are starting to realize that maybe the Federal Reserve got it wrong. That they should have started hiking interest rates a while back. They should have started raising interest rates early in the cycle so that the economy would start gaining strength and momentum throughout the cycle. There are now talks of a recession in 2016 with worries that the Federal Reserve will over tighten. These fears contributed to the heavy selling today.
I stated that I was not expecting an interest rate hike yesterday. In November the Federal Reserve stated that they were data dependent, looking at the slowdown in china, and had an inflation gauge of 2%. Inflation is nowhere near 2% and the Federal Reserve even acknowledged that inflation was low. In my opinion this was not the right time to raise rates. I believe many people are starting see what I saw and the market is getting spooked.
If I was a long term investor I would look to sell and be 100% in cash if the Dow Jones Industrial Average gets up into the 17800-18400 range between now and the end of the year. If you have mutual funds, exchange traded funds, and/or individual stocks I would look to be flat. There are nine more business days left in 2015.
Today crude oil broke the 35 dollars a barrel level, trading down to the 34.60 level. There is an oversupply of crude oil. The inventory number released Wednesday was expected to show a decrease of over one million barrels and the inventories actually increased by over four million barrels. Going into the winter months here in the northeast, heating oil is almost at its lows for the year. I am looking for a bounce in crude oil but there is a lot of selling pressure. As crude oil drifted lower today, the heavy selling of oil stocks in the S&P 500 contributed to the weakness in the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the overall market.
Today gold was down about 25 dollars at one point, trading down to the 1045 level. The 1040 level is very big for gold. Whenever interest rates are increased gold prices decrease and that is what we saw today. When interest rates are unchanged or decreased gold prices increase. I am watching the 1040 level. Gold has traded around the 1045-1046 level and it is just a matter of time before the 1040 level is tested. I am hoping for a bounce in gold and I believe it is dead money between now and the end of the year.