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Stock Volume Blew Up as Powell Explained His ‘Telegraphed’ Shift

  • Stocks drop as investors fear policy makers unsure of message
  • ‘The Fed is the one and probably only factor’ driving assets
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Powell Calls Fed Rate Move a 'Mid-Cycle Adjustment'
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The rate cut itself may have been telegraphed, but Jerome Powell’s press conference Wednesday clearly came as a shock to stock traders.

Volume exploded as he spoke. About 549,000 of the most popular S&P 500 futures contracts changed hands between 2 p.m. and 3 p.m. New York time, the most for any hour this year. At its worst level, the cash index was down 1.8%, an intraday drop that dwarfs any on the day of a meeting since Dec. 19, when the Federal Reserve was raising rates.