Stocks didn’t move much today after the Consumer Price Index for January showed enough inflation strength to bring Federal Reserve officials out in force to talk about a potential need to raise interest rates above current financial market expectations.
But other indicators–the CME FedWatch Tool, most obviously–showed that investors and traders continue to reposition for more interest rate increases beyond the Fed’s May 3 meeting.
Today, the Standard & Poor’s 500 closed with neither a loss of 0.3%. The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 0.46%. The NASDAQ Composite gained 0.57%.
Over in the bond market, the yield on the 10-year Treasury continued to creep higher picking up 5 basis points to 3.75%. The 2-year treasury closed at a yield of 4.62%. The 1-year Treasury finished with a yield of 4.96%. And the 6-month Treasury yield was an eye-popping, lip-smacking 5.01%. That was the sweet spot in the market with the 3-month Treasury yield at 4.75%
But to me, the big move of the day came in the CME FedWatch Tool, which uses prices in the Fed Funds futures market to forecast the odds of a Fed interest rate move. Today the odds of the Fed raising interest rates at its June 14 meeting by 25 basis points–after 25-basis-point increases at the March 22 and May 2 meetings–rose to 48.5%. That’s p from 42.1% odds a day ago. And a huge jump from the 6.2% odds just a month ago.
That’s right. On January 13, the investors and traders who use the Fed Funds futures market to hedge market moves, thought there was almost no chance of the Fed raising interest rates again in June. It was going to be May and done with the Fed pausing its rate increases after the May meeting. That would have set the stage for interest rate cuts in the last quarter of 2023–or earlier.
Now, those folks believe there’s almost a 50% chance that the Fed will raise interest rates again in June. A third 25-basis-point increase at that meeting would take the Fed’s benchmark short-term interest rate to a range of 5.25-5.50.
Look for that shift in sentiment to work its way into–lower–stock prices over the next few weeks.