Stocks May Be Volatile as Fed Ditches Media Minutes Prep Period

(Bloomberg) -- Investors may want to brace for greater-than-usual markets volatility as the Federal Reserve changed how it will release the minutes of its latest meeting. Thanks to a winter storm, news organizations won’t be able to review the minutes before they’re publicly available.

That means there’s “some potential for increased volatility in the absence of a carefully crafted news story to give the traders a quick take of the tone of the Fed communication,” Bloomberg economists Carl Riccadonna and Yelena Shulyatyeva said.

“This particular set of minutes will already receive greater market scrutiny than usual in light of a sharp pivot in Fed messaging between December and January,” Riccadonna and Shulyatyeva said. “It will be interesting.”

Watch rates-sensitive and defensive sectors including consumer staples, financials, real estate and utilities. REITs and consumer staples were trading near a session low in late Wednesday morning trading, with the Bloomberg U.S. REIT Index down as much as 1.3 percent and the S&P 500 Consumer Staples Index down as much as 0.4 percent.

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