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  • Writer's pictureRealFacts Editorial Team

Rate Cut Roulette: Why Fed Moves Won’t Always Lift Markets


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Ryan Grabinski, managing director at Strategas, emphasized this week that “investors need to be more aware of the landscape when the Fed starts cutting.” Investors have been closely watching the Federal Reserve for potential interest rate cuts, hoping these moves will boost the stock markets. However, historical data suggests that these expectations may not always result in market gains.


According to Strategas data, before the first rate cut following a period of hikes, the S&P 500 typically sees a modest 2% increase over 65 days. However, after the cut, the momentum often shifts, with the index usually declining by about 1.5% over the subsequent 65 days. This pattern suggests caution, as a rate cut may not immediately lead to a market rally.


The performance of the S&P 500 around rate cuts has historically varied, reflecting the complexity of market reactions. For instance, in 1974, the index fell more than 8% before the rate cut and dropped over 25% afterward. In contrast, in 1989, the S&P 500 rose more than 12% before the rate reduction and continued to gain over 9% afterward. These examples illustrate the unpredictability and diversity of market responses to interest rate changes, emphasizing the need to consider the broader economic context.


Recent economic indicators, such as stable consumer prices and a slight decline in wholesale prices, have sparked speculation about potential rate cuts. However, experts like Chris Zaccarelli from Independent Advisor Alliance caution that while lower inflation might justify rate cuts, it could also signal broader economic challenges. Zaccarelli notes that despite favorable conditions for rate cuts, a slowdown in inflation could indicate an economic downturn, which might negatively impact the market.


With the unemployment rate at a historically low 4%, the Federal Reserve faces challenges in justifying rate cuts, complicating the path to such decisions. Therefore, while interest rate cuts may appear as a solution to economic issues, their actual impact on the market will heavily depend on the overall economic landscape and consumer spending trends.

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