Insider Today: Fed's decision day looms
- This post originally appeared in the Insider Today newsletter.
Hiya! Not everyone loves the rise of influencers, but we all can support Teddy Siegel's efforts to help people find a rare commodity: public bathrooms in New York City.
In today's big story, we're looking at the Fed's upcoming decision about interest rates and when experts think it will start making cuts.
What's on deck:
- Markets: The stock market's best fear gauge has remained low.
- Tech: Amazon is thinking about new subscription plans in grocery and healthcare.
- Business: Digital screens covering stores' coolers are driving some people up the wall.
But first, to raise, cut, or pause? That is the question.
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The big story
When will the Federal Reserve stop hiking rates?
It's a question that has gripped the US for over a year. Whether you're a trader, business owner, or just desperate to buy a home (guilty), the Fed's meetings to decide what to do with rates have become a major focus.
Today marks the start of the latest installment, with the Fed announcing its decision on Wednesday. It's lost some anticipation, as a pause in hikes seems almost inevitable. Insider's Ayelet Sheffey, Madison Hoff, and Noah Sheidlower explain why a pause seems so likely.
But when the Fed will start cutting rates isn't as straightforward.
Insider's Jacob Zinkula compiled predictions from nine experts on when they expect the Fed to start cutting interest rates. The projections span from as early as this year to as late as later next year.
So much of the issue stems from inflation's unpredictability over the past few years.
As Insider's Linette Lopez puts it, the Fed and economists getting a handle on inflation is the equivalent of trying to catch a greased pig: Even when you think you have it in your grasp, it can still slip away.
The Fed also can't be too forthcoming about potential cuts because it'll risk undoing all of its work up to this point. If everyone knows rate cuts are around the corner, spending could spike back up and push inflation even higher.
As a result, we're left in a weird limbo waiting for a cut we think is on the way at some point. The result has been industries stuck in a holding pattern.
The housing market is the best example of this. Now that the average rate for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage is over 7%, people have all but given up hope on buying a home. Even US homebuilders are feeling bummed out, with an index judging their sentiment dropping into negative territory for the first time since April.
Of course, this could all be part of Fed Reserve Chair Jerome Powell's big plan. A so-called soft landing, whereby inflation is snuffed out without pushing the US economy into a recession, has long been pitched as a realistic outcome.
But if things drag on, that'll only cause more uncertainty and finger-pointing, as Linette points out, and that's no good for anyone.
3 things in markets
1. Oil prices keep rising. Brent crude, the international benchmark, hovered near $95 a barrel and could climb higher. But don't worry, the economy can handle oil trending toward $100 a barrel, according to the CEO of one of America's largest oil companies.
2. Meanwhile, the stock market doesn't seem worried about things. Despite all the causes for concern in the economy, the CBOE Volatility Index reached a post-pandemic low last week. The stock market's fear gauge has trended downward since spiking in March.
3. The great crypto cash out. Crypto funds have seen $455 million in outflows over the past nine weeks, according to CoinShares. That's despite the crypto market notching a big win towards its efforts to launch a bitcoin ETF.
3 things in tech
1. Kia EV6 vs. Hyundai Ioniq 5 vs. Genesis GV60. These car companies are making some of the best EVs on the market right now and are the strongest Tesla rivals. Choosing between them depends on whether you prefer style, luxury, or performance.
2. Amazon is considering making new subscriptions for groceries and healthcare. It's caused a hot, internal debate at Amazon. Adding benefits to Prime could make it too expensive for some users. Meanwhile, standalone subscriptions could dilute the Prime brand.
3. Google's massive AI algorithm could be a rare launch as the industry heads toward a downsizing period. The search giant is about to launch its LLM (large language model) called Gemini. But as the industry braces for downsizing, LLMs will likely be more company-specific than one-size-fits-all.
3 things in business
1. Digital screens are covering cooler doors at stores like CVS, Kroger, and Walgreens. The screens let advertisers target customers with ads for specific products. But some customers complain that the techie, not-see-through doors are making shopping harder.
2. The United Auto Workers strike is costing GM and Ford a lot. Goldman Sachs estimates the work stoppage could cost the Detroit automakers between $100 million to $125 million in revenue per week.
3. Parents and child-free people discuss whether friendships can survive kids. A group of editors sat down to chat about why the friendship transition is so difficult to deal with. Barriers discussed included cost, lack of community, and infertility.
In other news
A timeline of Russell Brand's many controversies as new allegations surface.
The golden years for New York City Airbnb hosts are officially over.
Aussie man tried suing a hospital for $643 million over claims of psychological damage after the hospital allegedly "encouraged" him to watch his wife's c-section.
Behind-the-scenes of PricewaterhouseCoopers' push to train its workers on AI.
Apple CEO Tim Cook says the Vision Pro is on track for an early 2024 release.
The US is around two weeks away from a possible government shutdown.
A missing F35 stealth fighter might have continued flying after its pilot ejected during a mishap.
TikTok Shop is blocking merchants from selling homemade food items.
What's happening today
The Latin Grammy Awards nominations are announced. The 24th annual ceremony will happen in Sevilla, Spain on November 16.
Walk, walk, fashion baby: Milan Fashion Week kicks off, while London Fashion Week concludes. Designers will show off their Spring/Summer 2024 women's collections. Brands scheduled to show their collections include Tom Ford, Gucci, Prada, Boss, Versace, and Bally.
Yo ho ho! It's International Talk Like a Pirate Day. Krispy Kreme will give out free doughnuts to anyone who talks like a pirate. Plus, they'll give you a free dozen if you're dressed in a full pirate costume — blimey!
For your bookmarks
Gen Z interior designer
A Gen Z interior designer revealed four trends she loves and four she thinks are dated. Thrifted furniture? Slay. Animal print? Nay.
The Insider Today team: Dan DeFrancesco, senior editor and anchor, in New York City. Diamond Naga Siu, senior reporter, in San Diego. Hallam Bullock, editor, in London. Lisa Ryan, executive editor, in New York.
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