Major averages finished flat to up yesterday on mixed volume. NYSE breadth was negative by 15 to 13, and slightly positive on the NASDAQ despite the big upside move in the index. Apple (AAPL) kept the Dow in positive territory while helping the NASDAQ to appear stronger than it actually was. Facebook (FB) announced earnings after the close yesterday and is up only slightly this morning.
Weakness has been spreading into previously leading areas of the market, such as airlines and steels. Some of these, such as X, have turned into short-sale targets. X reversed at its 50-day moving average yesterday and posted a big outside reversal on heavy volume.
The Federal Reserve on Wednesday kept interest rates unchanged. The Fed’s policy committee vote was unanimous. The Fed said the economy was still on a moderate growth path notwithstanding a surge in consumer and business confidence since the election.
In December, the Fed signaled it wants to raise interest rates three times this year. Yesterday's Fed statement was not particularly hawkish, thus the market expects two rate hikes, with the first coming in June when CME Fed Futures jump above 50%. Current odds show a 70% chance of a rate hike in June.
The Bank of England kept its key rate and purchase program unchanged at their respective 0.25% and £435 billion, but did raise its growth outlook for 2017 to 2.0% from 1.4%. The UK and Europe both appear to have economies that are slowly strengthening, though growth remains sluggish. Nevertheless, this gives more room for interest rates to move higher on a global basis after being stuck at unprecedented lows for a number of years.