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Need to Know: The Fed has succeeded in one way — it’s reduced wealth inequality, this analysis finds

Maybe Santa hasn’t totally given up on the idea of visiting Wall Street. After all, on a day of the final central bank surprise for 2022, courtesy of the Bank of Japan widening its bond yield target, the S&P 500 SPX, +0.10% still managed a (tiny) gain. Still, the outlook at least for early next


Maybe Santa hasn’t totally given up on the idea of visiting Wall Street. After all, on a day of the final central bank surprise for 2022, courtesy of the Bank of Japan widening its bond yield target, the S&P 500 SPX, +0.10% still managed a (tiny) gain.

Still, the outlook at least for early next year isn’t great. “The Fed and the BOE aren’t done hiking rates, the ECB is turning up the pressure, and the BOJ is just getting started. The global top of this cycle still lies ahead,” says Tim Duy, chief U.S. economist at SGH Macro Advisors.

There’s some good news, from the Fed’s rate hike campaign so far. As Wolf Richter of the Wolf Street blog points out, wealth inequality has been reduced.

Drawing on data both from the Federal Reserve and the Commerce Department, he calculated the change in average wealth per household, from the end of 2021 through the third quarter.

Wealth category Average wealth Change in dollars Change in %
Top 0.1% $132.4 million -$13 million -9%
Remaining 1% $19.3 million -$2.4 million -11.2%
Next 9% $4.4 million -$269,000 -5.8%
Next 40% $768,000 -$16,500 -2.1%
Bottom 50% $70,800 +$10,800 +18.1%

“The Bottom 50% own almost no stocks and mutual funds, which is why a stock-market swoon doesn’t faze them. Most of their assets are their home and ‘consumer durables.’ Consumer durables are things like cars, appliances, electronics, etc., whose value depreciates,” says Richter.

Granted, he said, the Fed helped fuel inequality in the first place. “The Fed’s reversal of QE and interest-rate repression in 2022 is deflating the Everything Bubble and is thereby narrowing the horrendous wealth disparity that the Fed had wrought with its easy-money policies in the prior years,” said Richter.

It’s worth reading his full analysis here.

The market

U.S. stock futures ES00, +0.66%   NQ00, +0.47% were pointing to a second day of gains. Oil futures CL.1, +2.41% rose. The yield on the 10-year Treasury TMUBMUSD10Y, 3.656% was 3.66%.

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For more market updates plus actionable trade ideas for stocks, options and crypto, subscribe to MarketDiem by Investor’s Business Daily.

The buzz

FedEx FDX, -2.62% shares climbed 5% in premarket trade as the delivery service promised an extra $1 billion in cost cuts. Year-over-year, volumes fell by 12.7% for U.S. overnight deliveries, but revenue growth in that segment was nearly flat thanks to price rises.

Nike NKE, +0.16% shares surged 13% after the apparel maker’s earnings and sales beat expectations as it showed signs of getting inventory under control.

Tesla TSLA, -8.05% rose 2% in early premarket trade, after ending 8% lower on Tuesday. Tesla CEO Elon Musk said he’ll resign as Twitter CEO when he finds a replacement.

Existing home sales data is due for release at 10 a.m. Eastern, with the Conference Board’s consumer confidence report due at the same time.

Starbucks SBUX, -0.31% was downgraded to hold from buy at Jefferies after the coffee retailer’s 40% rally from its lows in May has the stock approaching the broker’s $100 price target.

Six Flags Entertainment SIX, +0.58% jumped 6% after a report an activist shareholder wants the theme-park operator to sell land.

Alphabet’s GOOGL, +0.66% YouTube is in talks to get the rights to the NFL’s Sunday Ticket program from DirecTV, which is owned by AT&T T, +1.18% and TPG, The Wall Street Journal reported.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky is due to meet with President Joe Biden and to address Congress in his first known trip outside the country since Russia’s invasion.

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The bumpy road to alternative energy: a German city is giving up on hydrogen fuel-cell buses after just a year.

Top tickers

Here are the most active stock market tickers as of 6 a.m. Eastern.

Ticker Security name
TSLA, -8.05% Tesla
GME, +1.71% GameStop
AMC, +3.89% AMC Entertainment
NIO, +0.27% Nio
AAPL, -0.05% Apple
CEI, -0.55% Camber Energy
COSM, +15.42% Cosmos Health
MULN, -16.65% Mullen Automotive
APE, +0.25% AMC Entertainment preferreds
NKE, +0.16% Nike
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It’s winter solstice day, and here are five practices that honor that dark time of year. 

A Banksy mural worth over £1 million ($1.2 million) may be destroyed to make way for new housing.

An Idaho man set a record with 710 baubles — in his beard.

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Listen to the Best New Ideas in Money podcast with MarketWatch reporter Charles Passy and economist Stephanie Kelton.

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