Stock Index Futures Insight, Christmas Modified Trading Schedule + Levels for 12.21.23
Posted By:- Ilan Levy-Mayer Vice President, Cannon Trading Futures Blog
The U.S. economy is looking like it’s approaching yet another historical period.
By Mark O’Brien, Senior Broker
After months of seeing the Federal Reserve raise interest rates to their current 5.25% – 5.50%, target range, traders, economists, investors, etc. are looking at this year and anticipating the first cut in rates since the beginning of the COVID pandemic.
Perhaps more importantly, there is the feeling that these interest rate cuts – once they are put in place – will be a policy shift possibly different than any other time in the history of Fed rate decisions. Instead of cutting rates because of an imminent risk of recession, or the need to protect against one, the Fed. will be lower borrowing costs as an accommodation – almost a reward of sorts – for moderated inflation readings, growth that has slowed without much adverse effect on the country’s employment situation (satisfying one of their two mandates) and is now sliding toward the Fed.’s long-standing target of 2%.
Ruling nothing out, Fed. Chair Jerome cautioned in his press conference last week that the U.S. economy can behave in unexpected ways and the central bank stands ready to resume a restrictive posture should economic conditions warrant. Chicago Federal Reserve Bank President Austan Goolsbee seconded that: ” “Progress continues, though we still have a way to go,” Goolsbee said in an interview last week.
Clearly, traders in stocks and stock index futures feared little in that caveat – and haven’t for the last nine weeks. The Dow Jones and Nasdaq futures moved to record a new all-time closing high. Following another session in the green on Tuesday, the S&P 500 index is only a few dozen points away from its own milestone. Roughly another move up of 0.6% can bring it to that peak. Stay tuned for the last days of 2023 to see if the Santa rally charges ahead.
Notably, the biggest contributors to the S&P 500’s banner year have been the usual suspects, currently dubbed the Magnificent Seven: Apple, Microsoft, Alphabet, Amazon, Nvidia, Tesla and Meta Platforms. Collectively, these companies’ stock prices have jumped 75% in 2023, leaving the other 493 companies in the S&P 500 in their dust. Those have risen a more modest 12%, while the index as a whole is up 23%. The Magnificent Seven stocks have swelled to represent about 30% of the S&P 500’s market value, according to Goldman Sachs Global Investment Research. That is approaching the highest-ever share for any seven stocks.
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