Wednesday was another light day for economic news, but the market was anticipating the 2PM release of the FOMC minutes for the June 18-19 meeting, the one that, together with Chairman Bernanke's post-meeting press conference, sent the markets into a selloff on taper anxieties. Predictably enough, the S&P 500 gave us a tempest in a teapot at 2PM sharp. The index had spent most of the day in the shallow red, but it jumped to its 0.34% intraday high at exactly 2:04 PM. The rally was brief, and 34 minutes later the index was back in the red. Forty-five minutes after the peak it hit its -0.28% intraday low. At that point the tempest was concluded and the index rallied fractionally above Tuesday's close stretch its rally to five days by a tiny squeak of 0.02%.
A quick read of the Fed minutes shows why the market was confused. Click the link and count the number of occurrences of the words "several" and "many" to express the vague headcount of conflicting opinions.
Here's a 10-minute look at the week so far with Wednesday's mini-drama highlighted.
What did the bond market think about Wednesday's FOMC minutes? The 10-year Treasury yield rose 5 bps to 2.70%, 3 bps below its interim high on July 5th.
Despite yesterday's Fed tizzy, volume was light. On a daily chart we see that the 500 closed about where it was before the June 19th selloff.
The S&P 500 is now up 15.88% for 2013 and a mere 0.99% below the all-time closing high of May 21.
For a better sense of how these declines figure into a larger historical context, here's a long-term view of secular bull and bear markets in the S&P Composite since 1871.