Yesterday’s Fed decision and comments from Fed Chair Powell gave markets plenty to chew on.  As we discussed in last night’s Closer and today’s Morning Lineup, there have been a number of conflicting statements from officials and confusing reactions in various assets over the past 24 hours.  In spite of all that uncertainty, the S&P 500’s path yesterday pretty much followed the usual script.  In the charts below we show the S&P’s average intraday pattern across all Fed days since Powell has been chair (first chart) and the intraday chart of the S&P yesterday (second chart).  As shown, the market’s pattern yesterday, especially after the 2 PM ET rate decision and the 2:30 PM press conference, closely resembled the average path that the market has followed across all Powell Fed Days since 2018.

The S&P saw a modest bounce after the 2 PM Fed decision and then a further rally right after Powell’s presser began at 2:30 PM.  That initial post-presser spike proved to be a pump-fake, as markets ultimately sold off hard with a near 2% decline from 2:30 PM to the 4 PM close.

So what typically happens in the week after Fed days?  Since 1994 when the Fed began announcing policy decisions on the same day as its meeting, the S&P has averaged a decline of 10 basis points over the next week.  During the current tightening cycle that began about a year ago, market performance in the week after Fed days has been even worse with the S&P averaging a decline of 0.99%.  However, when the S&P has been down over 1% on Fed days (like yesterday), performance over the next week has been positive with an average gain of 0.64%.  As always, past performance is no guarantee of future results.

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