Interest Rate Roundup

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Fed economic worry kneecaps the market

Talk about a "nothing" set of Federal Open Market Committee comments creating havoc in the markets! At 2 p.m. today, FOMC minutes from the December 12, 2006 meeting were released. They looked fairly standard to me -- officials saying inflation was still the "predominant concern" and all that.

But apparently, stock traders didn't like a few statements, including one that "the downside risks to economic growth in the near term had increased a little and become a bit more broadly based than previously thought." The Dow managed to shed all of a 100+ point gain. Talk about a jittery bunch! Bond traders were much more subdued, buying the market lightly in the wake of the news.

The other economic news of the day? ADP says the economy LOST 40,000 jobs in December ... the ISM manufacturing index ticked up to 51.4 in December from 49.5 in November ... and construction spending dropped for the fourth month out of the past five. The problem? You guessed it -- spending on residential buildings. It's down eight months in a row.


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