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

Stocks End Lower After Fed Raises Rates

Stocks closed lower yesterday after the Fed raised rates by 75 basis points.

The decision to raise the Fed Funds rate by 75 bps, which brings the midpoint to 3.13%, was widely expected.

What caught the market by surprise was the forecast that rates might need to get as high as 4.40% by year's end. And hit 4.60% in 2023 before holding it there for a while.

Previously, the Fed had said they see the target rate getting to 3-3.5% by year's end, while other members recently said they see it getting above 4% by early next year.

The accelerated timeline to 4.4% within the next 3 months, and 4.6% shortly thereafter, while not a monumental difference size-wise or time-wise, than what was previously expected, did underscore the seriousness of the need to get inflation under control, and the commitment of the Fed to do so.

Stocks were up right before the announcement. Then they sank on the news. But then rallied to new intraday highs, before finally tumbling into the close.

To reach 4.4% by year's end will require another 1.25% between the next two Fed meetings in November and December. (I'm sure speculation will grow about the possibility of doing an intra-meeting hike as well. If the Fed is that intent on raising to 4.4% so quickly, why wait out the month of October before raising by another 50 or 75 bps in November?) Absence an intra-meeting hike, that would mean another 75 bps at one of the next two meetings, and 50 bps at the other.

The Fed did say they will continue to look at the data. And will take each meeting as it comes. Nonetheless, their estimated target rate has increased, and has been moved up on the calendar.

Additionally, they lowered their growth forecast for all of 2022 to 0.2% from their previous estimate of 1.7%. And they put 2023 at 1.8%.

They also expect to see the unemployment rate increase to 4.4% next year vs. the current 3.7% it is now.

We will see how the market reacts to this news today, after letting it digest overnight. (It would not be uncommon to see the market head in the opposite direction vs. what they did on the day of the announcement.) We shall see.

For now, the June lows continue to hold.

And nothing is a bad as the forecasts we had in June when people were predicting a deep recession.

True, growth has slowed. And 0.2% for the full year is hardly robust. But it's far less dire than what was once predicted. And 1.8% next year is a notable increase.

In the meantime, it remains a stock pickers market.

In spite of the market's struggles this year, there are hundreds and hundreds of stocks up double-digits this year. In fact, there's 898 stocks up 10% this year; 626 up more than 20%; 278 up more than 50%; and 112 stocks up over 100% this year.

And with so many spectacular companies on the move, it just goes to show you don't need to be as good as Warren Buffett to make money in the market.

But reading about how he does it can't hurt.

To learn three secrets that Warren Buffett uses to find profitable value stocks, be sure to read our latest commentary...

How to Pick Great Value Stocks Like Warren Buffett


Kevin Matras

Executive Vice President, Zacks Investment Research


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