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The Fed hath spoken.
As we discussed yesterday, the Fed’s 75-basis-point move was basically a foregone conclusion. And the central bank delivered, announcing it would raise interest rates once again by three-quarters of a percentage point — its fourth straight move of that size since it began trying to tame inflation in earnest this spring.
So what did we learn from Chairman Jay Powell’s closely watched speech?
A few highlights:
Markets initially shot up when the Fed released its policy decision, which contained a new bit of verbiage that, in the wonky world of Fed-watching, counts as scintillating: “In determining the pace of future increases in the target range, the Committee will take into account the cumulative tightening of monetary policy, the lags with which monetary policy affects economic activity and inflation, and economic and financial developments.”
Traders seemed to read that as: Don’t worry, you guys, the worst is almost over…
But the party was short-lived.
Powell took the stage and promptly threw cold water on any Wall Street hopes for a near-term pivot toward monetary easing with statements like:
“It’s very premature in my view to be thinking about or talking about pausing our rate hike. We have a ways to go.”
The Dow ended the day down more than 500 points, or 1.6%. The S&P 500 sank 2.5%, and the Nasdaq fell 3.4%.
The Fed is operating on data that’s offered a murky view of the economy’s health in recent months. On one hand, the housing market is cooling off markedly, but higher borrowing costs so far haven’t made a dent in inflation. Part of the inflation problem, in the Fed’s view, is that the labor market is a little too strong, putting upward pressure on wages, which turn the heat up on demand.
Look ahead: On Friday, analysts will be poring over the government’s October jobs report, which is expected to show the economy added another 200,000 positions in October — down from the previous month but still historically high. That may reassure the Fed that there’s room to keep rate hikes going without triggering a recession.
NUMBER OF THE DAY: $10 BILLION
CVS and Walgreens have tentatively agreed to pay a combined $10 billion to settle lawsuits brought by states and local governments alleging the retailers mishandled prescriptions of opioid painkillers.
US states, cities and counties have filed more than 3,000 lawsuits against opioid manufacturers, distributors and pharmacies, accusing them of downplaying the addiction risk and failing to stop pills from being diverted for illegal use.
‘Tis the season for yet another edition of everyone’s favorite Nightcap nosh. Let’s dig in.
To the surprise of absolutely no one, Thanksgiving is going to be a lot more expensive this year. One market research firm puts the premium at 13.5% over last year’s.
Food inflation is no joke: Extreme weather, a highly contagious avian flu and the war in Ukraine have pushed grocery prices even higher, especially on Thanksgiving mainstays. Turkey prices vary by region, but in some cases are up more than 40% from last year. Potatoes are up 18%. Butter: 27%.
That may mean cutting back for some families. Maybe consider a potluck? Or focusing on the sides because honestly who needs the stress of cooking a whole turkey? According to Bloomberg, some cash-strapped Gen Zers are opting for soup, salad and pizza, and I fully support them.
One side you might want to consider adding: guacamole.
Yup. There is a glut of avocados in America and that’s triggered a steep drop in wholesale prices. After peaking in late June, wholesale prices on a carton of avos is down 67%. At the store level, prices are down some 2.6% from a year ago.
Whatever you decide to serve, remember the true meaning of the holiday —overindulging and arguing politics with your relatives.
Not many people know this, but Starbucks is now the official arbiter of the seasons. Fall now begins in August because that’s when Pumpkin Spice arrives. Winter begins immediately after Halloween because that’s when the holiday cups arrive. Don’t yell at me, I don’t make the rules…
Anyway, starting Thursday, it’s festive cup season, which Starbucks fans seem excited for. Here’s what the Bux had to say about them: “We have always talked about the cups as little gifts, and we hope they feel like a festive present to our customers and store partners.”
If anyone at Starbucks HQ had consulted me, I’d have said the better gift might be — like — free coffee or something. But what do I know?