Despite covering a meeting from six weeks ago, and coupled with the large volume of commentary from Fed officials since then, the minutes of FOMC meetings always garner attention from investors and the financial media, if for no other reason than they are something to focus on. At the risk of piling on to the crowd and putting too much emphasis on the FOMC minutes, in the table below we have provided a summary of the S&P 500’s returns on the day of and day after prior releases of FOMC meeting minutes since the taper was fully wound down in late 2014.
On both a median and average basis, intraday S&P 500 returns leading up to the release of the minutes have been non-eventful with the S&P 500 posting returns right near 0% and gains half of the time. After the release of the minutes, though, returns have been biased toward the positive side with the S&P 500 averaging a gain of 0.16% (median: +0.04%) and positive returns ten out of twelve times. For the entire day, the S&P 500 has averaged a gain of 0.21% (median: 0.12%) with positive returns half of the time. While the day of the release is skewed positive, the day after has trended the other way with the S&P 500 averaging a decline of 0.28% (median: -0.02%) and positive returns half of the time. More recently, next day returns have been even weaker with four straight declines the day after.