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Global Growth Concerns Linger, Fed Still Open to September Liftoff   July 27 - July 31
Fri, 31 Jul 04:27 PM EST/09:27 PM GMT
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US equity markets recovered some ground this week and the Shanghai Composite appeared to stabilize after another round of government pledges. The DJIA is looking a little shaky, weighed on by pain in the commodities related industrials, but the S&P500 is within sight of the recent all-time highs, notching a 1.2% gain on the week. Despite pledging hundreds of billions to prop up its market, China's stocks sunk another 8.5% on Monday - the biggest one-day drop since 2007 - drawing another promise from the China Securities Finance Corporation(CSFC) to boost its stock purchases. The FOMC statement kept expectations of a September rate hike alive without pre-committing, while Thursday's upward revisions to past core PCE readings and a hotter than expect initial Q2 core PCE print only supported that notion. Short term US Treasury yields backed up to levels not seen since early June as traders rotated into the US long bond, likely on the belief that rates can only rise very gradually under the current subdued growth outlook. The US Q2 employment cost index threw markets a bit of a curve ball on Friday, unwinding some of the week's earlier bets the Fed was on the precipice of raising rates for the first time since 2006. The prospect of a Puerto Rico bond default over the weekend also dampened sentiment.

The semantic tweaks made to the FOMC statement released on Wednesday did not include any overt signals that rate hikes were imminent. However, Fed watchers characterized several minor changes as a hint that Fed officials see the economy closer than ever to full employment. For several meetings, the language talked about the need to see "additional" improvement in the labor market, but this was changed to "some" additional improvement. A related section stated that slack in the labor market had diminished, striking an earlier qualification that slack had diminished "somewhat." On the inflation front, the statement dropped reference to "stabilized" energy prices, given that oil prices are rete ...
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