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The Market Wrap for May 4: Tentative Fed Baffles Investors

Asif Imtiaz May 04, 2018

Some fantastic corporate earnings reports couldn’t keep the bears from pushing stocks down this week as the Fed failed to provide a clear signal about how many rate hikes we will get from them during the rest of the year.

The Federal Reserve didn’t raise interest rate this week, but it surely raised some questions about how many rate hikes to expect in 2018. First, the market was told that there will be a total of three rate hikes in 2018. As inflation worries cooled down over the last two months, it prompted the market to consider that the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) will not hike rates in May, and they didn’t.

However, the FOMC statement did mention that inflation rate is catching up to its target, so now most fund managers have started to sense that there might be a total of four rate hikes this year. As a result, the Dollar Index reached 92.81, causing the greenback to appreciate against most major currencies.

Meanwhile, corporate America continued to deliver stellar earnings in Q1. For example, MasterCard Incorporated (MA ) increased its year-over-year revenue by 31% in Q1 2018!

In the end, the tentative words from the Fed did more harm than good as stocks fell across the board.

Be sure to check out our previous week’s edition here, in which the market focused on the record low weekly unemployment claims.

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