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To JPM, Both A Rate Hike And A Delay Would Be Bullish For Stocks

Worried how stocks will react to the Fed's announcement this Thursday? Well don't, because no matter what the Fed announces, the outcome will be favorable. At least that is JPM's pitch.

The reason: according to equity strategist Mislav Matejka, either announcement should "be received well" by the market. To wit:

The eagerly awaited Fed meeting is upon us. Regardless of the actual decision, we suggest that the market impact could end up being positive. If the Fed does raise rates, but at the same time reassures the market that this will be a gradual process, it would be received well. If, on the other hand, the Fed delays the move, this could be interpreted as a signal that the Fed is aware of and is responding to recent market concerns. A delay could dampen the link between the DXY and commodity prices.

To be sure, JPM realizes that a rate delay is confirmation that not all is well with the economy, and that another big chunk of Fed credibility will be lost, but who cares: at the end of the day, it is all about stocks or as Goldman calls it "risk management."

Even though inaction might be seen as prolonging market anxiety, the key in our view is that investors get to know what the new Fed’s reaction function is. One of the main current investor concerns is over the lack of clarity from central banks. We believe that the policymakers are still on the side of the risky assets and will act supportively; the ECB opening the doors to QE2 is a case in point.

This takes us back to what Bank of America's Michael Hartnett said ten days ago happens if the Fed does not hike. Among his key observations, the bolded one is key:

  • It’s an admission that Wall Street threatens to reverse the recovery on Main Street
  • It will lead to a short-term relief rally on Wall Street
  • It will be relatively positive for EM/commodities/resources, as it unwinds the higher US growth/rates/dollar narrative
  • It will be positive for higher-yielding assets
  • It will be positive for growth > value, as the Fed is confirming the deflationary recovery

As we said, the bolded one is the only relevant one - it means that not only is the Fed entirely on the side of the market versus the economy despite its pompous rhetoric and endless bluster, not to mention Yellen's repeated "overvaluation" comments, but that Goldman - which has been at the forefront of calling for a delay in the rate hike for months - is the true president of the Fed.

Finally, those wondering if this is the same Matejka who last week gave 4 reasons not to go long US stocks and that "upside is limited at this stage of cycle, but too early to position for recession" the answer is yes, yes it is. So?