This article was originally published on ETFTrends.com.
U.S. markets and stock exchange traded funds were stuck in languid trading Wednesday as investors waited on the latest comments from the Federal Reserve on its monetary policy and hints of progress in trade talks between the U.S. and China.
Many anticipated the Fed to pause interest rate hikes this year and outline a plan to wind down its balance-sheet runoff program as a way to bolster confidence in the U.S. economy and markets, the Wall Street Journal reports.
“With the Fed, investors will be focusing on the growth outlook for 2019. The market is definitely laser-focused on the Fed for the next few hours,” Eric Marshall, portfolio manager at Hodges Funds, told Reuters.
Meanwhile, optimism over the U.S.-China trade talks have helped buoy markets on hopes that an agreement could stabilize stagnant economic growth around the world. Negotiators on both sides of the table have scheduled new trade talks to be held in Beijing and Washington next week with a target finalized deal by late April.
However, the markets retreated Wednesday on reports that President Donald Trump said China tariffs will stay in play until Beijing complies with a potential agreement.
“We’re cautious,” Gene Goldman, chief investment officer at Cetera Investment Management, told the WSJ, noting that much of the positive news about trade and central-bank policy is being factored in by investors. “You’re not all of a sudden going to see data turn around.”
Investors are also taking a more cautious tone as many try to prognosticate how much longer this decade-lone bull can run, with S&P 500 profit growth expected to slow this year after the impact of the Trump administration's tax policies wane.
“At the same time you saw an administration provide all this fiscal stimulus, they basically offset it by launching a trade war,” Liz Ann Sonders, chief investment strategist at Charles Schwab, told the WSJ. “So we’re in uncharted territory in trying to gauge the impact it’s going to have on earnings, the economy, on animal spirits and confidence.”
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