The big news in the markets this week revolves around the Fed’s mid-week decision on interest rate policy, although a vast majority of prognosticators see a hold at the current 5.25-5.50% range — already the highest Fed funds rate in more than 20 years. Despite recent hotter-than-expected economic data over the past couple weeks, the smart money is on the Fed being patient and allowing these high rates work over inflation in the medium/long-term, instead of twisting too tight and cracking what otherwise might be a soft economic landing.
The United Autoworkers union (UAW) rejected the latest proposal from Stellantis (STLA), which means the workers strike against the Detroit 3 automakers continues. Stellantis, owner of the Chrysler brand, among others, offered a 21% pay increase, in line with Ford’s (F) +21% and General Motors’ (GM) +20%. The UAW has come down from 40% to 36%, but looks to be holding firm at this level, at least for now.
After 40+ years of rolling back union membership in the U.S. economy overall — with less than 10% of U.S. workforce currently unionized — we’re seeing a clear push-back against the ownership class. The Writers Guild and SAG/AFTA actors unions’ strike in Hollywood, which began more than three months ago, still shows no signs of abating. Same here with the UAW.
So while the Fed does everything it can to land the economic plane toward optimum 2% inflation levels without tipping into a deep recession, outside forces in flux with labor management add another headwind to the mix, which already included possible recessionary conditions in parts of Europe and elsewhere. The White House is sending a team of negotiators to Detroit with the hopes of bringing the autoworkers’ impasse to a close, and they go with President Biden’s history of being perhaps the most pro-union president of the last half-century.
In other news, Zacks Rank #2 (Buy)-rated FedEx (FDX) reports its fiscal Q1 earnings results mid-week, along with fellow Zacks Rank #2-rated KB Home (KBH). Beyond this, Instacart and Klaviyo plan their long-awaited IPOs this week, following last week’s Arm Holdings (ARM) launch last week. So we’ve got plenty of stuff going on beyond the pending Fed decision and labor strikes in the Great Lakes and West Coast. So even though we’re still pre-earnings season, we should have plenty of grist for the mill.
At this hour, three of the four major indices are down, with only the small-cap Russell 2000 in the green. Futures have stagnated, however, with the Dow still -25 points, the S&P 500 -5 and the Nasdaq -37 points. Friday trading took these indices lower through last week, though all four remain in the green at this hour over the past month — from +0.20% on the Russell to +4.19% on the Nasdaq.
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Ford Motor Company (F): Free Stock Analysis Report
ARM Holdings PLC (ARM): Free Stock Analysis Report
General Motors Company (GM): Free Stock Analysis Report
FedEx Corporation (FDX): Free Stock Analysis Report
KB Home (KBH): Free Stock Analysis Report
Stellantis N.V. (STLA): Free Stock Analysis Report