Daily Market Commentary for June 22, 2011
Legislation for first bill ever introduced in Congress, to end federal marijuana prohibition. (read more at Millennium-Traders.Com)
Markets took a nose dive into Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke began his post-announcement speech. The street affirmed they did not like what he was saying. All eyes and ears were awaiting the Fed decision, which came out at 12:30pm ET. FOMC said it was shifting policy to 'hold' by allowing its $600 billion bond-buying program to end as scheduled on June 30. The Federal Reserve announced their surprise over the recent weakness of the economy but expects recovery to pickup, later this year. The Fed also said they expect inflation to subside as energy prices and other commodity prices moderate.
In the press conference by Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke this afternoon he said there was “uncertainty” about how much of the slowdown was temporary, caused by factors such as the Japanese earthquake. Fed Boss explained that 'extended period' should mean at least two or three meetings of inaction, and possibly longer. The Fed additionally said the slower pace of growth reflects 'in part' some temporary factors such as higher gasoline and food prices. The central bank cut its growth forecast for the second time this year, as the midpoint of its 2011 gross domestic projection is now 2.8%, down from 3.2% in April and 3.65% in January. Fed reported they see unemployment at 9.1% in May, between 8.6% and 8.9% this year, falling to a range of 7.8% and 8.2% next year and, down to a range of 7% to 7.5% by the end of 2013. Bernanke said there were only 'small' risks to U.S. banks from a default by Greece but noted the risks could effect money-market funds as well as to the European financial system. Bernanke spoke positively about the central bank adopting a formal inflation target, saying it could anchor inflation expectations, but said the Fed wouldn’t act until it received 'buy-in' from the public, Congress and the White House. Bernanke added that, adoption of an inflation target wasn’t imminent. The Congressional Budget Office reported that the total federal debt will grow to 84% of GDP by 2035 - based on laws on the books today. The Obama White House and Congress are working on a deal to cut long-term deficits as well as raising the $14.3 trillion U.S. debt ceiling.
Economic data released today:
MBA Mortgage Applications: U.S. MBA Refinance Index -7.2% at 2675.2 vs. last week 2883.7; U.S. MBA Purchase Index -2.8% at 185.8 vs. last week 191.1; U.S. MBA Market Index -5.9% at 549.9 vs. last week 584.6.
House Price Index: April FHFA Housing Price Index +0.8% compared to March FHFA Housing Price Index +0.3%.
Crude Oil Inventories as released by DOE: U.S. Refineries ran at capacity 89.2% vs. 86.1% week ago; US Refineries ran at capacity 89.2% vs. expectations of 86.40%; US Distillate Stockpiles +1.173 Million Barrels in week vs. expectations of +0.5 Million Barrels; US Distillate Stockpiles +1.173 Million Barrels at 141.994 Million Barrels; US Gasoline Stockpiles -0.464 Million Barrels in week vs. expectations of +0.8 Million Barrels; US Gasoline Stockpiles -0.464 Million Barrels at 214.601 Million Barrels; US Crude Oil Stockpiles -1.711 Million Barrels In week vs. expectations of -0.8 Million Barrels; US Crude Oil Stockpiles -1.711 Million Barrels at 363.844 Million Barrels.
FOMC Interest Rate Decision: Fed keeps Fed Funds range unchanged at 0.0% to 0.25%; voted 10-0 for Fed Funds rate action; prepared to adjust holdings as appropriate; to regularly review size, composition of securities holdings; will maintain policy of reinvesting principal payments; to complete $600b bond purchase program this month; will pay close attention to inflation, expectations; inflation should subside as commodity prices decline; unemployment rate to resume gradual decline; pace of recovery to pick up in coming quarters; inflation has picked up, long-term expectations stable; housing sector remains depressed; household spending, business investment expanding; rise in energy, food prices likely temporary; labor market weaker than anticipated; slower pace of recovery reflects temporary factors; economic recovery slower than expected.
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