The weekend has come and gone, yet a lot has remained the same in terms of the capital markets.
The S&P 500 is indicated modestly higher; Treasuries are little changed; the U.S. Dollar Index remains on the defensive; and oil prices ($58.67, +$0.15, +0.3%) are up.
Many key story lines remain the same, too.
The stock of Boeing (BA), which is down 2.5% this morning, is still reeling from the effects of the 737 MAX grounding, which has reportedly triggered a Dept. of Transportation investigation; there has been no resolution to the Brexit plan; there is talk a trade deal summit between President Trump and President Xi may not happen now until June, according to the South China Morning Post; and Japan reported its third consecutive year-over-year decline in exports (-1.2%) for February.
Oh, and for good measure, China's Shanghai Composite surged 2.5% today, bolstered reportedly by comforting thoughts Chinese authorities will use stimulus measures to support the economy.
And one last thing -- not that the market cares much about it -- FactSet informs us that the first quarter earnings growth estimate has been lowered again and now calls for a 3.6% decline versus a 3.4% decline previously.
What has changed?
OPEC canceled its April meeting, content to leave current production cuts in place until June as it worries about the market being oversupplied in the first half of the year and waits to see what effect sanctions on Iran and Venezuela will have on inventory levels.
There has been some change in the M&A market. Fidelity National Information Services (FIS) is acquiring Worldplay (WP) for $43 billion in cash and stock; Deutsche Bank (DB) confirmed it is holding merger talks with Commerzbank (CRZBY); and there is speculation, according to Reuters, that Eldorado Resorts (ERI) and Caesars Entertainment (CZR) are considering a merger.
There is one change that hasn't happened yet, but which everyone is waiting to see. They'll be waiting until Wednesday, though, which is when the Federal Reserve will make its latest policy announcement and provide updated economic and interest rate path projections.
The latter is key. The market has basically priced out any rate hike in 2019 and has started to price in a rate cut in 2020. The last dot-plot provided in December, however, held out the prospect of the Fed raising rates two times in 2019.
What everyone is waiting to see, then, is whether the dot plot falls in-line with the market's outlook or keeps the market looking out for a potential rate hike (or two) before the year is done. Separately, everyone is also waiting to hear if the Fed provides any guidance on the timing of when it expects to end its balance sheet runoff.
Whether the capital markets change after the FOMC meeting and press conference by Fed Chair Powell remains to be seen. Today, more things have changed, yet everything is mostly the same.