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By early afternoon in New York, stocks were off their lows, but the major US stock index benchmarks remain on course for their worst week since June. The Dow Jones was down 0.52% or 81 points at 15,417, while the S&P 500 lost 0.23%. The NASDAQ 100 fared a little better, dropping just 0.11%.
The week has been thin on major catalysts to spark buying, and with anxieties mounting about how imminently the Fed will begin tapering its stimulus, share prices have retreated from the highs we saw struck in recent weeks.
Richard Fisher, President of the Dallas Fed, was the latest voice from the Fed to join the chorus warning that tapering may be on its way as early as September in an interview given late last night.
‘If things go as the committee expected, then I would expect us to dial back,’ he said. ‘We'll have to see what the data and the feeling is between now and the time we next meet in September.’
These are perhaps the strongest comments yet pointing toward the September FOMC meeting as the introductory point for tapering. Although Fisher made familiar comments about the decision being based on data, the implication was that unless something unexpected happens, tapering is likely to be on its way. Of course, Fisher is not speaking for the whole committee, but it is fairly clear which way he will be voting come September, barring the economy hitting a bump between now and then. As well as the timing of when tapering happens, there is also a big question mark over how much the FOMC will decide to scale back on their purchases.