“Fear of missing out” is driving this stage of the market rally. Fund managers were under allocated to equities at the start of the year and are now playing catch-up with the indexes. And since the consensus is that the Federal Reserve has the market’s back, there’s very little fear that playing catch up now carries significant risk.
The latest survey of fund managers from Bank of America shows that allocations to stocks are at their lowest since September 2016. That certainty implies that many fund managers have missed the 2019 rally and will be looking to catch up by putting more of their cash to work in stocks. The Standard & Poor’s 500 was up 3.3% in the last six sessions before today.
The day before the meeting of the Fed’s Open Market Committee on Wednesday, the belief is that the central bank’s dot plot will show an “official” drop in the number of projected interest rate increased for 2019 to one from the two interest rate increase projected in the December dot plot. And there’s peculation that the Fed will announce the timing of its plan to end the current $50 billion a month balance sheet run off.
If the financial markets get what they’re hoping for on Wednesday, you can expect FOMO to go into overdrive. At least until we hit the next big data event with the beginning of earnings season on April 12.As of 1:30 p.m. New York time the Standard & Poor’s 500 was up 0.41%, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was ahead 0.38, and the NASDAQ Composite had gained 0.48%. Only the small cap Russell 2000 was lower and that by a scant 0.04%.
The CBEO S&P 500 Volatility Index (VIX) was up 2.14% to 13.38 on market worries that China might walk back its “offer” to buy enough U.S. goods to eliminate the U.S. trade deficit with China. Earlier, at 12:30 p.m., the VIX had been down 2.14% to 12.82.