Monday's market was flat; Tuesday's market rallied, and Wednesday's market gave back all of yesterday's gains. SPX lost $23 to close at $2080 and RUT lost $12 to close at $1192. Volatility contracted with the VIX closing at 15.9%, down 1.2 points.
ADP's private employment report came in at +217k for November. the FOMC's beige book, the minutes from the last meeting, were released this afternoon and seemed to be generally upbeat about the country's economic growth. Janet Yellen spoke today and reiterated that theme of modest, but positive progress and anticipated we would see inflation make its way closer to the Fed's target of 2% in coming months. Her comments about future inflation rates were curious since both the CPI and PPI have been steadily tracking near zero for a long time. In summary, the beige book and Yellen's remarks lead analysts to expect an interest rate hike to come out of the FOMC meeting December 15-16.
It seems as though the market contracts every time Yellen or other members of the FOMC say anything that could possibly be interpreted as leading to an interest rate hike. Would a quarter point change make any significant difference? I doubt it. And interest rate hikes in the past have generally been met with bullish markets, not bearish markets. But one could correctly argue that this low interest situation is unlike anything in this country's economic history. It will be interesting to see the eventual outcome of this drama.