Dollar Traders Ready For The Fed

There were few indicators gracing the economic calendar this morning; and none of them had much hope of generating any considerable price action on their own in any case. However, even if there was a top tier report on deck, it would likely have been washed out by the overbearing FOMC rate decision and statement expected to hit the wires in the afternoon of the US session. Over the past 12 hours, the majors have seen little action as traders hedge their risk ahead of the central bank risk.

EURUSD pulled back from its swing low and is now back within its 45-point range below 1.3485, setting up the components of a possible breakout. The same was true of USDCHF which is now in day four of its own 45-point range that is finding resistance at 1.2310. The British pound has pushed its own bounds by forcing its way 70 points higher from overnight lows to 2.0045, effectively eroding the influence the even-2.0 level has for technicians. Finally, USDJPY was the big mover overnight as the yen gave up most of its gains from the previous two sessions. Recently, the pair had trimmed its boundaries to a mere 30 points above 122.75.
Fundamental event risk was held down to a minimum this morning, with only a few indicators of note even crossing the ticker. Perhaps the most significant - but by no means the most promising for possible price action - was the final reading on first quarter GDP. According to the Commerce Department, growth in the world?s largest economy over the first three months of the year was a modest 0.7 percent. This was only slightly above preliminary number and a little below expectations. Regardless of the modest change though, the growth report is still a blazing reminder of the economy?s weakened state. Breaking headline number down, the big rebound in personal spending could come under pressure in the second quarter read as gasoline prices divert discretionary spending and consumer sentiment closes pocket books. On the other side of the equation, gross investment notched up its quarterly loss with a 9.6 percent contraction. With housing prices and sales falling, there in recent data, few are expecting this sector to fill the void on its own. A few big unknowns are factory and exports sector?s contributions to expansion. The value of total inventories contracted $4.2 billion over the period, suggesting firms would move in to restock and manufacturers would respond by ramping up production. The exports reading turned positive after initially recording contractions. With the dollar hovering near multi-year lows and strong global growth padding foreign demand, this may be one of the key donors to the US economy going forward.
These recent GDP numbers will certainly fit in as the remaining puzzle pieces for the Fed?s rate decision. In their previous statement, the Board of Governors stuck with their projections of downside risks to growth highlighted by a warning that ‘elevated? inflation was keeping their hands tied. Looking ahead to this decision and statement, the market will be looking to see how the members treat the inflation rhetoric since core price growth has cooled significantly in recent reports. Looking beyond the rate decision, tomorrow?s docket is pretty well stocked; but most of the indicators are not tried-and-true market movers. Readings on personal income, spending, Chicago area manufacturing and construction spending on average generate little interest. However, if volatility is stocked today, a hypersensitive market could amplify the price action in the wake of tomorrow?s numbers.
Equity investors were just as transfixed on the Federal Reserve?s announcement as currency and interest rate traders. By 15:20 GMT, the Nasdaq Composite was the only index putting up a recordable change with a 0.19 percent climb to 2,610.26. The S&P 500 was marginally higher at 1,506.59 while the Dow slipped fractionally to 13,426.99 by the same time. Despite the hesitation in most stocks, there were still a number of outperformers taking their place on the top mover?s lists. From the blue chip crew, automaker General Motors? shares were enjoying a 2.5 percent mover higher to $38.34 by midday. A rush of bids flooded in when the firm announced it was selling Allison Transmission for $5.6 billion to the Carlyle Group. In corporate news, retailer Bed Bath & Beyond lowered its earnings and sales forecast. Shares of BBB dropped $1.62 or 4.2 percent to $35.94 since last night?s announcement.
With the Fed expected to wrap up its two day meeting in only a few hours, it was no surprise treasuries were anchored Thursday morning. The ten-year note was off only 1/32nd at 95-16 with a yield unchanged at 5.084 by 15:20 GMT. The thirty-year bond was unchanged at 93-10 with a yield of 5.193.