June 16, 2021

From crypto to crude, markets flatline ahead of today’s monumental Fed meeting

[Fortune, Getty Images]

It’s Fed day, investors. Here’s what you’ll need to know.

Good morning.

Global stocks and U.S. futures are pretty steady ahead of today’s big Fed decision—or, more likely, lack of one. Either way, there will still be plenty of fireworks as Jerome Powell gets grilled on inflation, growth, the labor market and bond-buying. That part goes down at 2 p.m. ET.

The other big event is happening lakeside in Geneva with a historic meeting between presidents Joe Biden and Vladimir Putin. Hacking, election meddling, sanctions and the Nord Stream 2 pipeline will no doubt be on the agenda.

Let’s see what else is moving the markets.

Markets update


  • The major Asia indexes are in the red in afternoon trading with the Nikkei down 0.5%.
  • Alarmed by spiking commodity prices, China will put some of its vast stockpile of base metals—including copper, aluminum and zinc—on the market for export, Bloomberg reports. Any takers?
  • The days of cheap oil are just about over with some suggesting a super cycle could push crude to 100 bucks/barrel.


  • The European bourses are about as meh as the mood in Germany this morning (after a 1-nil, own-goal defeat to Les Bleus in last night’s European Championship soccer match). Germany’s DAX is down nearly 0.2% in early trading.
  • Luxury goods brand LVMH is up more than 30% so far this year, making billionaire Bernard Arnault the world’s richest man, knocking off a number of tech titans.
  • Limoncello fans, good news. The U.S.-EU truce struck over aircraft subsidies means a shopping list of European goods resume trading under normal (translation: cheaper) terms. That includes the lemony liqueur that is banned from casa Warner (following a much smaller international incident some years ago.)


  • U.S. futures are mixed this morning. The major averages fell on Tuesday, snapping a four-day winning streak on the S&P 500.
  • Shares in Draft Kings sunk more than 4% yesterday, after plunging as much 12%. That’s after Hindenburg Research (yes, them again) revealed it’s opened up a big short position against the popular gambling platform.
  • Lousy retail sales figures dented investor confidence, but we shouldn’t be that surprised. People are buying less stuff now that they can go out and travel a bit (and put something on their Instagram feed).


  • Gold is up, trading around $1,860/ounce.
  • The dollar is flat.
  • Crude is up a touch with Brent heading above $74/barrel.
  • Bitcoin is trading around $40,000.


Move over, Bitcoin

The new “most crowded trade” is… “long commodities,” supplanting crypto. So says the latest BofA Securities fund manager survey.


Impermanence forever

The big question: does the Fed agree?

The Fed, and house prices

The most obvious starting point for the Federal Reserve to eventually begin paring back its stimulus is the $40 billion monthly purchases of mortgage-backed securities. Ultra-low mortgage rates have helped feed a frenzy in housing, especially on the part of investors who are leveraging up. Home prices are up well beyond what is affordable, especially for entry level buyers. The Fed is mandated to make policy “in the public interest” and it is failing on this commitment as its policy is a direct source of overheated home prices.

—Danielle DiMartino Booth, CEO and chief strategist of Quill Intelligence

Closing the gap

After a lousy start, Europe is catching up in the vaccine drive. This has been driving up the euro and is attracting overseas investors for European stocks.


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