On the latest edition of Market Week in Review, Chief Investment Strategist Erik Ristuben and Julie Zhang, director, North America sales enablement, discussed the U.S. Federal Reserve’s (the Fed) latest economic outlook as well as likely catalysts behind the recent stock-market plunge.

No rate increases for a long time, Fed Chair Powell says

Following the Fed’s two-day policy meeting, Chair Jerome Powell affirmed on June 10 what markets had been anticipating: the central bank has no plans to increase interest rates for a long time, possibly through the end of 2022. “As Powell put it, the Fed is not even thinking about thinking of raising rates – and that’s a very strong signal that the central bank understands now is not the time to take away any part of the punch bowl,” Ristuben remarked.

Despite this dovish statement, markets still dropped in the wake of Powell’s comments. Why? The reason likely centers around the Fed’s newly released economic outlook, which forecasts high unemployment and a significant drop in GDP (gross domestic product) through the remainder of the year, Ristuben said.

“The Fed predicts that the unemployment rate, which is currently around 14%, will fall to only a little less than 10% by the end of December. While that’s not enormously shocking, it’s quite sobering for markets to hear this straight from the Fed’s mouth,” he explained. The central bank’s projection of a 6.5% decline in GDP this year likely had the same effect on markets, Ristuben added. “The Fed essentially confirmed that the current U.S. recession will be really bad-and while that in and of itself isn’t a big surprise, hearing it directly from the leaders of the nation’s central banking system really underscores how bleak the economic picture is.”

READ ALSO  Health Expert: Mask Wearing Will Remain Mandatory Even After A COVID Vaccine

Markets plunge as coronavirus cases rise in parts of U.S.

After the modest drop in U.S. equities following Powell’s comments – the S&P 500® Index dipped 0.5% on June 10 – markets plunged dramatically the next day. The S&P 500 sank by 5.9% on June 11, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average tumbled nearly 7%. What sparked the steep selloff?

“It’s important to understand that markets had run very far, very fast, since bottoming out in late March,” Ristuben said. “The incredible rally in stocks since then was one of the steepest upward climbs ever recorded in a 50-day period,” he noted, “and this finally led to markets being a little overbought.” From late March until early June, Ristuben said, Russell Investments’ sentiment indicator had continuously flashed an oversold signal.

The main catalyst for the June 11 rout was likely the news of an increasing number of coronavirus cases in some U.S. states, he said – particularly Texas, Florida and Arizona. While Ristuben believes this is cause for potential concern, the overall picture of the outbreak on a national level is far from clear, he added.

“On a rolling one-week average, new cases nationwide rose less than 1%, which is the slowest increase, percentage-wise, that the U.S. has seen in coronavirus infections since March,” Ristuben explained. He added that in other parts of the world that have reopened their economies, such as Europe, an increase in cases has largely not been observed.

“Ultimately, there’s still plenty of uncertainty regarding the spread of the virus and the potential for a second wave of infections – and this means additional market volatility is likely in the weeks ahead,” Ristuben concluded.

READ ALSO  Aides to Mike Pence test positive for Covid-19


These views are subject to change at any time based upon market or other conditions and are current as of the date at the top of the page.

Investing involves risk and principal loss is possible.

Past performance does not guarantee future performance.

Forecasting represents predictions of market prices and/or volume patterns utilizing varying analytical data. It is not representative of a projection of the stock market, or of any specific investment.

This material is not an offer, solicitation or recommendation to purchase any security. Nothing contained in this material is intended to constitute legal, tax, securities or investment advice, nor an opinion regarding the appropriateness of any investment, nor a solicitation of any type.

The general information contained in this publication should not be acted upon without obtaining specific legal, tax and investment advice from a licensed professional. The information, analysis and opinions expressed herein are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual entity.

Please remember that all investments carry some level of risk. Although steps can be taken to help reduce risk it cannot be completely removed. They do no not typically grow at an even rate of return and may experience negative growth. As with any type of portfolio structuring, attempting to reduce risk and increase return could, at certain times, unintentionally reduce returns.

Investments that are allocated across multiple types of securities may be exposed to a variety of risks based on the asset classes, investment styles, market sectors, and size of companies preferred by the investment managers. Investors should consider how the combined risks impact their total investment portfolio and understand that different risks can lead to varying financial consequences, including loss of principal. Please see a prospectus for further details.

The S&P 500® Index, or the Standard & Poor’s 500, is a stock market index based on the market capitalizations of 500 large companies having common stock listed on the NYSE or NASDAQ.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) is a stock market index of 30 large U.S. companies created by Dow Jones & Company co-founder Charles Dow. First calculated in 1896, the DJIA is currently owned by S&P Dow Jones Indices, which is majority owned by S&P Global.

Indexes are unmanaged and cannot be invested in directly.

Copyright © Russell Investments Group LLC 2020. All rights reserved.

This material is proprietary and may not be reproduced, transferred, or distributed in any form without prior written permission from Russell Investments. It is delivered on an “as is” basis without warranty.


Editor’s Note: The summary bullets for this article were chosen by Seeking Alpha editors.

READ ALSO  International Seaways: Either A Bargain Or A Value Trap (NYSE:INSW)