Ok, here comes the Fed Pivot, what's next?

TVC:SPX   S&P 500 Index
With all the chatter on the Fed Pivot, we think it’s worth exploring, what happens after a Fed Pivot or Fed Pause. Let’s break down the discussion into two camps, a Fed Pause, defined as a pause in policy rate hikes, and a Fed Pivot, loosely defined as reversal of policy rates aka rate cuts.

To keep things in context, we will look at the effect of the Fed’s Pause/ Pivots on Major Indices, the Dollar and Inflation rates.

First let’s review where we are at now. The recent release of the October CPI numbers has spurred 3 notable things:

1) It knocked the dollars off its unprecedented rally since the start of the year.
2) It has given a little more credibility to the slight downward shift in inflation, with 2 consecutive lower readings.
3) It marked a local low in major equities indices

Naturally, the question is, have we bottomed? Or is this a slight breather on the elevator down…

To answer this question, we look at 2 similar periods in the past, where the fed pauses, then cut rates after. These past examples could be useful in providing some clues as to where markets might be headed next.

Dot Com Period in 2000

Between June 1999 and May 2000, rates were raised before taking a 7-month pause, following which rate cuts ensued in Jan 2001.

During this period, equities turned lower, with the DJI falling another 30% while the S&P & Nasdaq another 40% before finding the bottom.

The bottom was only in when the dollar clearly broke its uptrend, inflation peaked & turned lower and after rounds of rate cuts. In fact, and somewhat eerily, the dollar broke close to the 108 level, almost exactly where the dollar broke its current uptrend.

The Great Inflation of the 1970s

In the 1970s episode, rate hikes were paused from Aug 1973 to Feb 1974 before a cut in 1974. Untamed inflation forced the fed into another hiking cycle from March 1974 before the final onslaught of cuts from July 1974 onwards. This rate pause was then followed by another over 30% decline in equities.

Again, we find that the bottom was only in after Inflation peaked and the Dollar clearly broke its uptrend, while the Fed cut rates.

If this framework of using the Dollar, Peak Inflation & Rate levels holds, a keen observer might note the similarities with what we are looking at now. So, if the current dollar break holds and Inflation truly peaks, then the Fed Pivot will be the last piece of the puzzle to mark the bottom. So, when will the Fed Pivot you might ask?

Using the CME FedWatch Tool, we see the market implied probability of a fed pause starting in May 2023, followed by a pivot in September 2023.

In our view, this is still quite far away and if historical precedence holds, there are still ways to go before we are close to call the bottom. Additionally, market timing and expectation of a rate pause and cut have continually been re-priced higher and further over the past year. We will not be surprised if the timing and level of pause and cut get repriced unfavorably again after the FOMC minutes release this week.

From a price action perspective, the S&P seems to be near the upper band of the channel in which it has been trading since the downtrend started. This could once again prove to be an area of resistance, which could present an attractive short compared with the other 2 indices.

The average of the past 3 declines from the upper to lower band range, took roughly 54 days and 700 points. Taking that as a benchmark, we set our stops at 4150 index points, close to the previous levels of resistance, and a profit target at 3500 index points, close to the average of the past declines and lower band of the channel. Each Index point is 50$ on the CME E-Mini S&P500 Futures contract and $5 on the CME Micro E-Mini S&P500 Futures.

We will watch with keen eyes if the Dollar breakdown holds and listen for any change in the Fed’s timeline. If history is any guide, we remain bearish on equities, given the uncanny level of dollar index, inflation peak and Fed's policy path as we see now.

The charts above were generated using CME’s Real-Time data available on TradingView. Inspirante Trading Solutions is subscribed to both TradingView Premium and CME Real-time Market Data which allows us to identify trading set-ups in real-time and express our market opinions. If you have futures in your trading portfolio, you can check out on CME Group data plans available that suit your trading needs

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