Ides of March 2017 – Fireworks or Dud?

Market prognosticators love to pin their predictions on specific dates. A correct general market trend prediction doesn’t give the putative clairvoyant the same pizzazz as a bang on market prediction or set of predictions made to coincide with a specific date or dates. The Ides of March (March 15) provide financial market gurus with plenty of historic and current events on which to base predictions, particularly this year. The Ides of March has ominous overtures because it was the date that Julius Caesar was assassinated as foretold by the soothsayer. The death of Caesar was a dramatic event that started the transformation of Rome from a Republic to an Empire. As such, the Ides of March is the perfect date for financial gurus to make their ‘turning point” gloom and doom calls.

This year, according to financial Armageddon types, there were four key events that were projected to fall on the Ides of March that might have spelled economic doom, or at least have given the financial markets a serious jolt, including the Federal Reserve’s interest rate decision, the expiration of the United States debt ceiling, the Dutch Election results and the triggering of Article 50 to start the exit of Great Britain from the European Union.

With the Ides of March past us, how are we holding up?

Key Events of March 15, 2017 Dud or Fireworks:

The Fed Interest Rate Decision

The Federal Reserve’s Open Market Committee Meeting had long been scheduled for March 14-15. A Fed decision to raise rates on the Ides of March was viewed by some as the straw that might break the bull market’s eight year back, leading to the beginning of a sharp market decline and eventual collapse.

On Wednesday, March 15, the Fed announced it was raising the Fed funds rate 25 basis points. The rate hike, however, was not a surprise as the Fed had conditioned the markets over the past month or so to expect it.

Dud or Fireworks? Dud. By the time the Fed announced its rate hike on March 15, market participants fully expected it. There was no massive sell off or panic on Wall Street.

There were fireworks, however, in the gold and silver markets. Both precious metals rose sharply on news of the Fed announcement.

Gold

bgasc gold price March 15 2017

The price of gold popped after the Fed announcement to raise interest rates a quarter of a point.

Silver

Bgasc silver price march 15 2017

Silver spiked soon after the Fed decision to raise interest rates.

The equity markets also rose in a manner as if there had been a rate cut.

U.S. Debt Ceiling

The United States federal government’s ability to…