Stocks rallied on Tuesday as the Federal Reserve kicked off its latest two-day FOMC meeting, with the Fed set to announce its latest monetary policy decision on Wednesday afternoon.
First, the scoreboard:
- Dow: 17,134.70,+100.8, (+0.6%)
- S&P 500: 1,999.40, +15.3,(+0.8%)
- Nasdaq: 4,554.38, +35.5,(+0.8%)
And now, the top stories on Tuesday:
1. On Tuesday morning, we got the August report on producer prices, which showed prices were flat in August and up 0.1% excluding food and energy. This was in-line with expectations. On a year-over-year basis, prices were up 1.8% both including and excluding the cost of food and gas. Following the report, Ian Shepherdson at Pantheon Macro said, “In one line: No near-term inflation threat… The headline was held down by A 1.5% drop in energy prices, including a 4.5 drop in natural gas utilities and a 1.5% dip in gasoline… Retail and wholesale margins — called “trade services” in the report — were unchanged after three significant increases, but overall the trend in FD services is hovering around the 2% mark. These data do not pose a significant threat to tomorrow’s core CPI, but we will be watching the margin numbers very closely over the next few months.”
2. We’re now just two days away from Thursday’s Scottish vote on independence, and analysts at Goldman Sachs wrote in a note to clients that they expect the vote to be a “No” for one simple reason: “…we continue to think that a ‘Yes’ vote is unlikely: we suspect that more Scots will vote for the ‘safe’ status quo in the official vote than have indicated in opinion polls — on the eve of Quebec’s independence referendum in 1995, opinion polls suggested that the ‘Yes’ vote would win 53% to 47% but it ultimately lost 49% to 51%.”
3. A report in The Financial Times on Tuesday, citing a US senior official, said that a vote for Scottish Independence “is our nightmare — Scottish independence followed by a British exit from the EU.”
4. Back in 2011, rare earth elements were one of the hottest trades on Wall Street, and considered by many to a “can’t lose” investment. Molycorp, one of the largest rare earth miners in the world, is down more than 97% from its 2011 highs, and in 2014 alone, the stock has fallen more than 70%. A look at the price of rare earth elements, as seen in this chart, tells you everything you need to know about the bubble that quickly inflated and popped just a few years ago.
5. Apple shares were down about 0.5% on Tuesday, but opened the day down more than 1.5% as rumours out of China suggested that the company’s iPhone 6 won’t be available in China until 2015. The rumour was based on a short report in the 21st Century Business Herald, but as Business Insider’s Jay Yarow noted, even if the release of iPhone 6 is delayed in China, demand for the phone is still huge and the effect would likely still be seen, just in a later earnings period than might currently be expected.
6. Tesla shares were up about 2.5% on Tuesday after falling 9% on Monday, and Business Insider’s Matthew DeBord reported that analysts at Morningstar see Tesla’s competition is the entire auto industry. In a note, Morningstar wrote, “we consider Tesla’s competition to be the entire auto industry rather than just EVs. There are far too many automakers all over the world for us to claim that Tesla’s market is effectively served by a small number of players.”
7. Ultrasonic, a German-based shoe company, said in a statement that its CEO and COO have disappeared and are currently untraceable. The company’s CFO, who last week said he was going to leave the company at the end of September, said the company’s cash funds have been transferred are no longer “in the company’s range of influence.” Shares of Ultrasonic listed in Frankfurt, Germany, fell more than 75% on Tuesday.
8. The Federal Reserve kicked off its two-day monetary policy meeting on Tuesday, with the Fed set to announce its latest policy decision on Wednesday afternoon at 2:00 pm ET. Fed Chair Janet Yellen is then set to hold a press conference scheduled for 2:30 pm ET. Expectations are for the Fed to take another $US10 billion off its QE program and keep interest rates at 0%-0.25%. You can read Business Insider’s full preview here.