According to the Fed officials who made statements yesterday, the start of the tapering program was taken for granted
Although everyone remarked that this decision was not a precedent for rate hikes, they were nonetheless optimistic about the evolution of the labour market. They predicted a prompt return to the conditions before the pandemic crisis, both in unemployment and inflation levels. If price levels do not fall, the Fed would have to advance rate hikes to counteract inflationary pressure.
And for the moment, energy prices continue to rise with new highs in Natural Gas and oil due to expectations of higher demand during the cold winter. Electricity generating plants could choose to use petroleum derivatives instead of Natural Gas, given the rise in the price of the main fuel in thermal electricity plants.
Oil broke the $74.27 per barrel resistance yesterday. It gains momentum towards the following benchmark levels of $75.50 and $76.80 a barrel.
Rising energy prices are also beginning to be a destabilizing factor in the Chinese economy. The country suffers from an electricity shortage with cuts in production sites, pointing to one more argument favoring a slowdown in the Chinese economy. The country's authorities reported yesterday that they would guarantee supply, another sign that the problem is not minor.
Faced with this scenario of a potential slowdown in the world's second-largest economic power, with a possible default of one of its flagship companies with a liability of more than $300 billion, and with long-term interest rates on the rise in the United States, the outlook for the stock markets it does not look good, at least in the medium term.
The Nasdaq index fell more than 1% during the session, with leading technology companies losing more than 2%. However, there was a mismatch in the traditional correlation between North American indices due to a flow towards more cyclical securities such as banks. As they benefit from higher interest rates and the energy sector - due to the rise in the price of fuels - they pushed the USA30 index up for the fourth day in a row.
The benchmark, however, could not overcome the band that acts as close resistance around the 34,960 area.
Sources: Bloomberg.com, reuters.com
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