Is The FOMC About To Spark A Massive Stock Market Correction?

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Where Does The S&P 500 Go From Here?

Stock market action on Friday, Apr. 29, was very bearish for the major indices including the . The S&P 500 moved steadily lower throughout the day as on what was to come this week.

What comes this week is the and it is one the market should fear. As much prep as the FOMC has done, we don’t think the market is really pricing in what the Fed is about to do.

At least, not the average investor because price action has been looking .

The Fed, when it hikes rates on Wednesday, is going to hike rates by at least 50 basis points and continue to hike rates by at least 50 basis points per meeting until the end of the year or longer.

The CME’s Fedwatch Tool is pricing in at least 12 quarter-point hikes by the end of the year which will put rates over 3.0%—the highest level in over 15 years, from right before the Housing Bubble popped.

The jolt to the economy, an economy that was already fragile and feeling the impacts of inflation, will probably stall and could enter a deep recession. But, the more important factor is that S&P 500 earnings growth is probably over.

The S&P 500 Index Is At A Critical Juncture

The S&P 500 index is at a critical juncture. The price action on Friday was bearish with selling persisting into the close and leaving the index at the lowest level since February.

It was still technically above support, but price action was down in early trading on Monday and there was a lot of risk in the market. At time of writing, our support target was at the 4,100 level.

This was the lowest low of the correction so far. A move below that level would confirm at least the near-term downtrend, but there was a possibility of a much deeper correction.

SPX Chart

In that scenario, we would expect to see the market react fairly quickly and lead to a retest of 4,100 for resistance. If that level can’t be regained quickly the odds of a pullback to a deeper support level rise.

In that scenario, price action in the S&P 500 could pull all the way back to 3,700, 3,200, or even 2,800 depending on how bad the recession is.

As for recession, GDP has already ; all it takes is one more for that to be a reality. If the FOMC is overly aggressive, as in more aggressive than what is currently priced into the market, we favor the hard-landing scenario.

The Outlook For S&P 500 Earnings Isn’t As Good As It Looks

The is still producing earnings growth and the outlook is positive, but there are many red flags of which to be aware. The first is that Q1 results are tepid and growth is slowing on a YOY basis.

The average company is beating the consensus estimate, but fewer than average and by a very slim margin, only a few hundred basis points, which suggests to us what growth there is was priced in.

The second is that most of the growth and outperformance are really the . The is outperforming its very high 245% earnings growth consensus by double digits and the forward estimates are up strongly as well.

The takeaway is that “S&P 500” earnings growth is present, but mostly in the Energy sector. If the economy takes a hit from the FOMC, the average S&P 500 company could easily fall into an earnings recession.

The Technical Outlook: The S&P 500 Is Testing Support

The S&P 500 is testing support at 4,100 and might break through. If that happens after the FOMC announcement and the market doesn’t bounce back quickly, we think the market is in for a deep, deep correction.

The risk is in the FOMC however, and how the market takes the news, so we aren’t making any big trades before then.

ES1! Chart

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