Flight to Cash and Utilities Following Fed Announcement

Posted by Gordon Scott

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If the Fed cuts interest rates, it means more money would flow into the economy and find its way to banks, individuals, and corporations (in that order), or so goes the traditional macroeconomic thinking. So why did investors not instantly embrace the news of the Fed cut by immediately plowing into growth assets, and instead flee all asset classes in favor of cash during the first hour after the announcement today?

Perhaps because not everyone in the professional financial community was prepared to take in the 0.25% rate cut the Fed announced – at least not immediately after the news. How these professional investors eventually responded may speak volumes about their upcoming investment strategy.

The major U.S. stock indexes ended the day essentially unchanged, but only after selling off significantly in the first hour after the Fed explained its reason for the cut. Curiously, it wasn’t just stocks, but all asset classes sold off during that hour, with the exception of the U.S. dollar (see chart below). U.S. dollar futures rallied notably during the hour, suggesting that in the immediate wake of the announcement Wall Street pros had to regroup and take the measure of the environment they were now in….CLICK for complete article