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FOMC Minutes Help Clarify Fed Funds Forecasts


Today's financial recap and tomorrow's financial outlook.

The Fed released the minutes of its last FOMC meeting in March this afternoon. The minutes furthered the previous speeches given by a number of Fed officials over the past few weeks that indicated the market was overreacting to the change in the committee's Fed funds forecasts. However, a number of FOMC members said that their updated rate projections reflected improvement in the labor market outlook. This suggests that the hawkish members of the committee are seeing an improvement in the economic outlook, which would be consistent with rate hikes next year.

US equities continued their rally after the minutes were released. The S&P 500 (INDEXSP:.INX) rose an additional twelve points after 2 p.m. EDT, completing the session up 1.09%. Beaten-down tech stocks in the cloud, biotech, and frontier sectors all gained the most. The February release of wholesale inventories showed a 0.5% month-over-month gain, in line with expectations, and the prior month's gains were revised up by 0.1%. The positive revision was enough for economists to modestly increase their first-quarter GDP projections.

General Motors (NYSE:GM) was downgraded by Morgan Stanley (NYSE:MS) this morning, seeing increased competition from Ford (NYSE:F) and Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA) and profits that were too dependent on China. Citigroup (NYSE:C) defended the stock, saying that the sell-off is a buying opportunity and that the threats of new technology in the auto space would not impact 2015 estimates.

Tomorrow's Financial Outlook

Tomorrow, weekly jobless claims will be released. Economists expect claims will be 320,000 for last week, which trends back toward their four-week moving average of 319,500. March import prices are expected to decline at a 0.9% annual rate after dropping 1.1% in the month prior. The last economic report of the day, the March Treasury budget, is expected to narrow to a deficit of $36 billion after a deficit of $106.5 billion in February.

The major news event tomorrow globally is the rate decision by the Bank of England, scheduled for 7:00 a.m. EDT. The modest rise in the UK's unemployment rate last month should give the central bank cover to be less hawkish in its message. Also scheduled to be reported are Chinese new credit growth and Australia's employment change from March. Both should have an effect on the Aussie dollar.

Family Dollar (NYSE:FDO) and Rite Aid (NYSE:RAD) are scheduled to report earnings tomorrow morning.

Twitter: @Minyanville

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