The chatter has increased lately as to when the Federal Reserve will raise interest rates from their historic lows. We may not need to wait much longer to get that answer. Although it is a holiday weekend, the August jobs report will be released tomorrow and the pundits are suggesting that if the economy added more than 200,000 jobs in August, the Federal Reserve will raise rates this month. From my view a quarter point rate hike here in September is no big deal. I think the markets will have a muted reaction. However, if this is the beginning of a consistent pattern then this becomes an entirely different discussion. I do not expect that the Fed will be too aggressive with future rate hikes and of course the economic data will play a role in those decisions.
So what about the markets? We are coming into a seasonality that is typically a weaker time for stocks. What’s more, the markets will also begin to focus on the presidential election and the polls associated with it. That said, I expect an increase in volatility as we head into the fall. There are other catalysts that could weigh in on stocks such as potential changes in global monetary policies and Q3 earnings reporting season in October. The key indices continue to demonstrate strength with the S&P 500 (see chart below) being supported by its 50-day moving average click here, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (see chart below) is within a couple percentage points of its all-time highs, and both the Nasdaq (chart, click here) and the small-cap Russell 2000 (chart, click here) are trading right around their 20-day moving averages. So as of yet, stocks do not appear to be too concerned with the upcoming market seasonality and other potential catalysts that could play a role in interrupting the uptrend we have been in.
Both Paula and I wish everyone a very safe and happy Labor Day weekend 🙂