In this week’s recap: The tech sector slip continues for stocks; the Federal Reserve signals that interest rates will not be increased for some time.
Weekly Economic Update
THE WEEK ON WALL STREET
Stocks slipped as the technology sector remained under pressure and a mid-week announcement by the Federal Reserve failed to inspire investors.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average declined 0.03%, while the Standard & Poor’s 500 fell 0.64%. The Nasdaq Composite index dropped 0.56% for the week. The MSCI EAFE index, which tracks developed overseas stock markets, rose 0.75%.1,2,3
Technology Pulls Stocks Lower
As has been the case in recent weeks, technology stocks led the market higher, then lower in an otherwise turbulent week of trading.
Merger and acquisition activity announced at the start of the week generated a rush back into technology stocks, sparking a rebound from the previous week’s drop. Stocks continued to advance until Wednesday, when investors began to digest comments from the Fed’s Federal Open Market Committee meeting. The Fed delivered a message that coupled assurances of continued low rates with concerns about the health of the economic recovery.4
The Fed Stays the Course
In the last Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meeting before the November election, the Fed signaled that interest rates would not be increased “until labor market conditions have reached levels consistent with the committee’s assessments of maximum employment and inflation has risen to 2% and is on track to moderately exceed 2% for some time.”4
Most Fed officials do not see this happening until 2023.
While the Fed maintained its view on the importance of fiscal stimulus to help American workers and businesses, it did improve its outlook for unemployment in its latest economic outlook. The Fed now expects unemployment would average around 7-8% in the final three months of the year, down from its June prediction of around 9-10%.5
THE WEEK AHEAD: KEY ECONOMIC DATA
- Tuesday: Existing Home Sales.
- Thursday: Jobless Claims. New Home Sales.
- Friday: Durable Goods Orders.
Source: Econoday, September 18, 2020
The Econoday economic calendar lists upcoming U.S. economic data releases (including key economic indicators), Federal Reserve policy meetings, and speaking engagements of Federal Reserve officials. The content is developed from sources believed to be providing accurate information. The forecasts or forward-looking statements are based on assumptions and may not materialize. The forecasts also are subject to revision.
THE WEEK AHEAD: COMPANIES REPORTING EARNINGS
- Tuesday: Nike (NKE), Autozone (AZO), Fedex (FDX).
- Wednesday: General Mills (GIS).
- Thursday: Costco Wholesale (COST), Darden Restaurants (DRI), Carnival Corp. (CCL).
Source: Zacks, September 18, 2020
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- The Wall Street Journal, September 18, 2020
2. The Wall Street Journal, September 18, 2020
3. The Wall Street Journal, September 18, 2020
4. The Wall Street Journal, September 16, 2020
5. The Wall Street Journal, September 16, 2020
The Wall Street Journal, September 18, 2020
The Wall Street Journal, September 18, 2020
treasury.gov, September 18, 2020