US Dollar, S&P 500 Overlook FOMC Rate Decision as Election Drags
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US DOLLAR, S&P 500 UNFAZED BY FOMC DECISION IN LINE WITH EXPECTATIONS
- FOMC leaves policy interest rate and pace of asset purchases unchanged as widely expected
- US Dollar facing heavy selling pressure, S&P 500 soaring on prospective Biden Presidency
- Market volatility could quickly resurface if coronavirus concerns come back into the spotlight
The Federal Reserve just announced its latest interest rate decision. FOMC officials unanimously voted to leave the target Federal funds rate range unchanged at 0.00-0.25% and continue expanding its balance sheet at the current pace. This was widely expected with the US central bank likely opting to stay sidelined this meeting in light of the November 2020 election.
US DOLLAR INDEX PRICE CHART: 4-HOUR TIME FRAME (20 OCT TO 05 NOV 2020)
The broad-based US Dollar Index moved little in response to the latest FOMC decision. Over the last few hours, however, USD price action has plunged amid election-driven volatility. The DXY Index now trades about 1.6% lower month-to-date and is probing technical support provided by October swing lows near the 92.60-price level. Growing prospects for a Biden presidency stands out as the primary catalyst for recent US Dollar weakness.
S&P 500 INDEX PRICE CHART: 2-HOUR TIME FRAME (28 OCT TO 05 NOV 2020)
The S&P 500 similarly changed little in the wake of the Federal Reserve statement. Stocks have been soaring and seemingly defying gravity as the mix of a Biden presidency and split congress could downplay risks of higher taxes. That said, the move higher in risk assets and selloff across safe-haven currencies seems a touch overdone at this point.
President Trump continues to file lawsuits against states in an attempt to contest election results across key battleground states. If there is merit to these lawsuits and the final election result is dragged out further, investors could grow uneasy and send the VIX ‘fear-gauge’ snapping back higher. Nonetheless, two court judges in Georgia and Michigan have just separately dismissed Trump lawsuits regarding potential voter fraud due to lacking evidence.
Looking beyond the election, the threat of mounting coronavirus concerns across the US again stands out as a major headwind to the economy and risk appetite. The Fed press statement highlighted once again how the path of the economy depends significantly on the course of the pandemic.
On that note, with other global central banks ramping up their pace of asset purchases recently, there could be potential for the Fed to expand its QE program down the road at the December FOMC meeting. Also, considering the little chance for a democratic sweep now, hopes for a massive stimulus package may dwindle and the burden of providing much-needed economic support could fall back on the Fed’s shoulders.
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