Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Look Ahead: Fed Day

by Bill McBride on 6/19/2012 09:47:00 PM

For those suffering with insomnia, here is the G20 communiqué released tonight. There is no grand bond buying scheme mentioned as was rumored earlier in the day.

The decision of the FOMC tomorrow is very uncertain. Cardiff Garcia at Alphaville has an excellent overview: Problems with extending Twist, and one final preview

The WSJ argues there are several possible outcomes: Europe, Weak Economy Add to Pressure on Fed

Fed officials ... could extend a program known as "Operation Twist," in which the central bank sells short-term Treasury bills and notes and plows the proceeds into longer-term securities. They also could decide to shift the proceeds into mortgage- backed securities rather than long-term Treasury bonds.

Among other choices: launching a new round of bond-buying, known to some as quantitative easing, to expand the central bank's portfolio of assets. Or they could alter the way they describe their plans for interest rates with an assurance that short-term interest rates will stay near zero beyond 2014.

Policy makers also could stand pat but offer assurance that they stand ready to act if the economy gets weaker.
The consensus seems to be the FOMC will expand and extend Operation Twist, but anything - including QE3 - or doing nothing are possible.

And on Wednesday:

• At 7:00 AM ET, the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) will release the mortgage purchase applications index. Refinance activity has been increasing sharply, and it appears purchase activity is increasing too.

• At 12:30 PM, the FOMC statement will be released.

• At 2:00 PM, the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) participants' projections will be released.

• And at 2:15 PM, Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke will hold a press briefing.

• Also tomorrow, the AIA's Architecture Billings Index for May will be released (expect some weakness), and the LPS First Look Mortgage Report.

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