Risk Marches On

Weekly Market Commentary

The latest data releases pointing to weak U.S. new home sales and manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) have investors guessing about the possible messaging coming out of this week’s Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meeting. (For more on the FOMC, see today’s Weekly Economic Commentary, “A Weak Week?”). We expect a data-dependent Federal Reserve (Fed) will likely acknowledge temporary factors such as harsh winter weather and the West Coast port strike, as well as the negative impacts of a stronger dollar and a depressed energy sector on growth and employment. But the odds are against the Fed conveying a meaningful change in attitude — data from CBOE fed fund futures indicate a gradual hiking of the fed funds rate and imply a better than 50% probability of a hike later in 2015 — and our view of a September 2015 rate hike remains intact

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