FOMC Minutes Have Little Impact

07/15/2013 10:00 am EST

Focus: BONDS

Jim Jubak

Founder and Editor,

The new concerns over Greece's debt problem and the political crisis in Portugal have MoneyShow's Jim Jubak assessing the chances of another round of euro debt crisis.

On July 10, 2013, the Federal Reserve released the minutes from the last meeting of the Federal Open Market Committee.  The Federal Open Market Committee is the body that sets interest rate policy.  It's where the whole debate right now is going on about what to do about tapering off the buying of $85 billion in treasuries and mortgage-backed securities every month and where to set interest rates and all that stuff. 

The minutes came out and the market was really disappointed; not so much because there was something negative in the minutes but because the minutes were exactly what everybody thought they might be but really is wishing they weren't.  The market was hoping that there was going to be some big policy sign either short, it was going to be clear that the Fed was moving toward an early taper or long, that there was a body in the Fed that was saying, well, we're not going to taper off forever and instead what you got are minutes that showed our Federal Reserve really, really divided among policy alternatives and really, really dependent on the data.  That's what the Fed has said it is right now. 

The Fed keeps saying we will taper off or we won't taper off depending on what the real economy does, depending on what real job numbers look like.  The market doesn't really want to hear that.  What the market would like to know is hey, what's policy going to be over the next six months?  We're not interest in hearing well, you know, if unemployment drops, we will do this because that means that we have to wait until we get the data before we decide how to invest and that's not what the market wants to hear right now, especially with the S&P near all-time highs again. 

There's a lot of risk in a market when it gets to be this high and the market would really like to know what the drivers are either up or down so people can place their bets and what the Fed delivered on July 10, 2013, was just watch the data because that's what we're doing and the market's not happy.  Market didn't go up, didn't go down, but certainly you're not going to get a big trend out of that kind of watch the data sentiment. 

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