Markets Flat as Fed Remarks Already Priced Into Equities


Now that we have the outcome of the two-day FOMC meetings, the markets can absorb the expectations of a continuation of Operation Twist. The announcement from the Federal Reserve is in line with expectations and despite a sudden drop after the announcement, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEX: ^DJI) quickly made up ground, trading down slightly on the day. The nonreaction to today's news justifies the short rally the broad markets have experienced since the middle of last week, as investors increased their purchasing based on the assumption that the Fed would decide to extend Operation Twist, which was set to expire at the end of the month.

Instead of immediately lowering interest rates at already near-record lows, the strategy the Fed is employing to bolster the struggling economy is selling short-term bonds and taking the proceeds to purchase long-term bonds, which in theory lowers long-term interest rates.

Only time will tell if the extension of Operation Twist will correct a distraught economy, but with European debt problems countering attempts to infuse money into the markets, it is unlikely we will experience less volatility and fear.

What's good?
Chase (NYS: JPM) is continuing its exceptional week, up 3.6% today. This will bring the bank up to a 6% increase so far this week as it reduced some of its credit exposure by the tune of $50 billion, according to The Wall Street Journal.

Also in the Dow, there is a tale of two companies, with Procter & Gamble (NYS: PG) expecting the fourth quarter to be mainly level as sales are expected to flatline. P&G is tipping its hand about the headwinds the company is facing as global economies continue to slow; the firm is down 3.46%. Cisco Systems (NAS: CSCO) , on the other hand, is up 1.63%, as BMO Capital expects the networking and communications equipment maker to outperform the market based on improving results in its key businesses as well as data center growth potential.

Outside the Dow, the Whopper makes it back to Wall Street as Burger King (NYS: BKW) returns to the NYSE after going private a year and a half ago. The second-largest U.S. hamburger joint's repatriation to the Street was well received by investors as the share price is up 4% so far today.

Take a long-term view
With two of the three market-changing meetings now in the books, the volatile markets now focus on the European Council meeting taking place next week. The markets will not make a speedy recovery, meaning now is as important as ever to find outstanding companies that can outperform in the long run as well as supply healthy dividends in the volatile near future. For this reason, The Motley Fool has released a new free report detailing three Dow stocks dividend investors need. This report is free, but it will only be offered for a limited time, so get your copy now.

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Joel South owns shares of no company listed above. The Motley Fool owns shares of Cisco Systems and JPMorgan Chase. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of Procter & Gamble. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days.

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