Dow Futures Slide but Bill Gates Is Still Bullish as Hell

Journalist:
Ben Brown
September 18, 2019

Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) futures slid lower in pre-market trading Wednesday. The stock market is in wait-and-see mode ahead of the Federal Reserve’s interest rate decision this afternoon. But Bill Gates is shrugging off any uncertainty. In an interview with Bloomberg, the billionaire Microsoft founder said he’s still bullish on the US economy and heavily invested in stocks.

“I’m bullish on, you know, the US businesses, global businesses so we’re not, you know in some defensive posture where we’re mostly in cash, or anything like that. The strategy that’s been used on the investments is to be over 60% in equities.”

Dow futures slide ahead of Fed interest rate decision

At 5.55 am ET, Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) futures slipped a minor 25 points, pointing to a cautious stock market open on Wednesday.

Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) futures struggled for traction ahead of the Fed’s interest rate decision on Wednesday. Source: Yahoo Finance

S&P 500 futures fell 0.15% while Nasdaq Composite futures slid 0.2% as traders brace for a 25 basis point cut in the Federal Reserve target interest rate.

Bill Gates unfazed by recession warnings

Pressure on the Fed to cut rates has grown in recent months as recession warnings flashed in the US and abroad. The loudest of which is the infamous yield curve inversion. But Gates cautioned investors on trying to predict recessive periods.

“Calling market turns is a very tough thing to do. You can make the case that the yields are very high, but that’s true across all asset classes.”

Instead, his investment team, led by Michael Larson, is still overweight equities. The analysis chimes with the opinion of Citigroup strategist Bill O’Donnell who sees little reason to panic.

“Right now stocks are still not far from their record highs, the labor market looks to be in really solid condition and the US economy is still doing fine.”

Dow driven by Fed interest rate decision

Bill Gates might have a positive outlook, but Fed chairman Jerome Powell isn’t convinced. His assessment?

“It’s gloomy out there.”

After cutting rates for the first time in a decade in July, the Federal Reserve looks set to loosen the reigns further today. The market expects a conservative 25 basis point cut on Wednesday, although President Donald Trump has called for as much as 100.

Of course, the real action will come in Powell’s testimony. Traders will read between the lines to discern the central bank’s roadmap for future rate cuts. As you can see in the Reuters image below, however, support for further easing has fallen among the Fed’s voting members.

The Federal Reserve remains split over the future path of interest rate policy. Source: Reuters

This article was edited by Samburaj Das.

Ben Brown

Ben is a journalist with a decade of experience covering financial markets. Based in London, UK, his writing has appeared in The Huffington Post and he was Chief Editor at Block Explorer, the world's longest-running source of Blockchain data. Reach him at benjamin-brown.uk or on Twitter at _Ben_Brown. Email ben @ benjamin-brown.uk.