Finally The Fed Raises Rates!

After 9 years of essentiality zero percent interest rates, the Federal Reserve today raised its benchmark interest rate one quarter of one point. Investor’s embraced the Fed’s action lifting all of the key major averages. The Dow Jones Industrial Average (chart) closed up 224 points, the Nasdaq (chart) up 76 points, the S&P 500 (chart) up 29 points and the small-cap Russell 2000 (chart) closed out the session up 17 points. The street gained confidence when Fed officials also provided clarity as to their upcoming intentions regarding further rate hikes. Such hikes would only move up between 0.25% and 0.5% and would be subject to future economic activity and data. Another takeaway today is that the Federal Reserve has enough confidence in the current economy to raise rates and confidence in future growth in the foreseeable future. If you are bullish on the markets it doesn’t get better than this. Which is a tepid Federal Reserve while considering raising rates and an economic backdrop that seemingly is demonstrating growth albeit in a moderate manner.

So which sectors could benefit the most from a rising interest rate environment? One sector I will turn my attention to is the banking sector. Banks tend to earn more when rates move up simply because they can charge more interest on the loans they make. There are individual bank names that one can consider but for me personally I would rather position myself in the largest banking exchange traded fund (ETF) Symbol: XLF. The XLF’s top holdings include the likes of Wells Fargo & Company (NYSE: WFC), JP Morgan Chase (NYSE: JPM), Bank of America (NYSE: BAC) Citigroup (NYSE: C) and Goldman Sachs (NYSE: GS) just to name a few. So you get the diversity of multiple money center banks and other banking related institutions which spreads out some risk. That said, it is best practice to consult with your financial advisor(s) before making any investment decisions.

I do think that investors and traders alike can now breathe a sigh of relief now that the Fed has made its first move and the markets cheered that with enthusiasm. Good luck to all!

Both Paula and I wish everyone a very safe and happy holiday season 🙂