Noon Market Notes

It looks like President Trump will nominate Jay Powell to be the next Fed chairman. I don’t have much to say about this choice except that Powell is very much an establishment pick.

He’s a registered Republican who was previously nominated by President Obama—twice, in fact. This would mean he’s been appointed to the Fed three times in five years.

Powell was approved in May 2012 by a vote of 74-21. He was approved again in June 2014 by a vote of 67-24. Given the two previous Senate votes, I think he’ll pass this time with ease.

The Federal Reserve meets today and tomorrow. Going by the futures market, there’s a 2% chance the Fed will hike rates now and a 98% chance they’ll hike in December.

This morning, the Conference Board reported that consumer confidence is at its highest level since 2000.

Consumer confidence rose to 125.9 in October, according to the Conference Board.

The index “increased to its highest level in almost 17 years,” Lynn Franco, Director of Economic Indicators at The Conference Board, said in a statement. That was in December 2000, when the index hit 128.6.

The economic weight of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma pulled down the spirits of U.S. consumers in September, when the index was relatively flat. In October, “consumers’ assessment of current conditions improved,” Franco said.

“[This was] boosted by the job market which had not received such favorable ratings since the summer of 2001,” Franco said.

The high level of confidence suggests the economy will continue to expand “at a solid pace” for the rest of 2017, Franco added.

Two quick stories to pass along. At InvestorPlace, Charles Payne says Snap-on (SNA) could reach $200 per share.

Also, Hormel Foods (HRL) bought Columbus Manufacturing for $850 million.

Columbus, which bills itself as a “millennial-focused brand,” makes premium salami and other meat products.

I’m not sure how salami can be millennial-focused, but there you go. Shares of HRL are up 3% today.

Finally, Fiserv (FISV) will report after the close.

Posted by on October 31st, 2017 at 12:02 pm

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