The fed-funds futures market thinks it, the press thinks it, and the vast majority of primary dealers think it. When the Federal Open Market Committee emerges from its latest meeting tomorrow afternoon, a 25-basis-point rate cut down to 4.5% is almost a foregone conclusion ... or is it?
In the Wall Street Journal's MarketBeat blog, David Gaffen points out that policymakers themselves are not convinced of a rate hike. Gaffen quotes fellow Journal scribe Greg Ip, who notes the decision is between the quarter-point reduction and no cut at all among policy makers. For those hoping for a second cut of 50 basis points, it's quite a long shot and unlikely to get serious consideration from Fed officials.
While this dose of realism may be true, it won't be enough to curb expectations a mere 24 hours before the rate announcement. Most still expect another rate cut, and if the Fed doesn't deliver, their inaction will almost certainly have an immediate and negative reaction on the market, which could continue through to the end of the week.
Overseas markets are already showing signs of skittishness ahead of this important report, with European indices breaking a 4-day winning streak.