TD Securities' analysts expect Jerome Powell, chairman of the U.S. Federal Reserve, to maintain the central bank's patient stance, keeping all options open at Wednesday's post-FOMC meeting press conference.
Some downside risks have faded but the inflation outlook has softened, leaving Powell to stress the Fed remains ready to adjust policy as needed. We see risks skewed toward a more dovish tone, as Powell is likely to be asked repeatedly about the possibility of rate cuts this year.
We look for a minor drop in the ISM index as the regional Fed surveys suggest manufacturing activity is holding steady. Indeed, the average of the ISM-adjusted regional surveys remained unchanged at 54.2 in April, despite declines in three out of the four surveys published to date. Based on the regional data, we anticipate downward corrections in the employment and inventories components of the survey and a slight improvement in production. Additionally, new orders likely fell slightly. A recent pick-up in durable goods orders ex-transportation also puts a floor under downside risks for the April ISM print.
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