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Kevin Matras   
Profit from the Pros
By Kevin Matras
Executive Vice President
Zacks Investment Research

Stocks Mixed As Fed Reaffirms Low Interest Rates Amid Upbeat Economic Outlook

Stocks closed mixed yesterday after the Fed left interest rates unchanged and reaffirmed their commitment to support the economy.

Fed Chair Jerome Powell, in yesterday's press conference, acknowledged the economy has made 'progress' towards their goals of maximum employment and price stability, but will keep interest rates near zero, and will continue their quantitative easing policies which includes the purchase of $120 billion a month in bonds.

The 'progress' line suggests they could begin tapering later this year. But that should not come as a surprise as that's what they hinted at last time.

He reiterated the Fed's belief that higher rates of inflation could continue for another few months due to supply disruptions, but then should begin to moderate as those bottlenecks ease.

He pointed to the strength of the labor market, but acknowledged it still has a ways to go.

He also noted the strength in household spending, saying it has been "rising at an especially rapid pace." He noted the "very strong" housing sector. And the "solid pace" of increasing business investment.

All in all, it was an upbeat, but unsurprising assessment of the economy. We all pretty much knew this going in as the economic reports have been showing us just how strong the economy has been. And the Fed has been very clear in their outlook for their policy. And that's the way the market likes it.

That was underscored by the State Street Investor Confidence Index which rose 4 points to 100.6. North America saw the biggest increase with 9.3 points at 105.1. Europe rose 1.8 points to 92.8. Although the Asian component was down -4.8 points at 87.0.

Earnings season continues to impress as well. We've got another 590 companies still on deck to report this week. And another 1,895 next week.

It's always exciting during earnings season since stocks typically go up during this time.

Then add in all of the bullish news about the reopening (we're on pace for the fastest full-year GDP growth in 37 years), and it's easy to see why we could be looking at a multiyear boom in both the economy and the market.

Of course, after last year's gains and such a fantastic first-half performance to this year, some are concerned if this rally can continue.

I think the preponderance of data suggests it can and will.

In our latest commentary, we delve into three points in particular that supports this view, and why we feel confident that there's a lot more upside to go. So be sure to read our latest commentary...

Can the Rally Continue?


Kevin Matras

Executive Vice President, Zacks Investment Research


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