Fed Policy Change Unlikely, Market May Slip

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NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- The market has a tendency to pause and reconsider its direction immediately following a policy announcement by the Federal Reserve, cautioned an analyst ahead of Chairman Ben Bernanke's press conference on Wednesday.

The S&P 500 rises 63% of the time heading into a Fed pronouncement, posting an average gain of 0.4%, according to Rob Leiphart, an analyst at Westport, Conn.-based market research firm Birinyi Associates.

But in 62% of these instances, the market actually sheds 42 basis points on average on the day after the announcement, his report said.

The Fed concludes its two-day policy meeting Wednesday and is expected to stand pat on interest rates and other policies.

Although the U.S. economic outlook has exhibited signs of improvement since the central bank's Jan. 30 meeting, Jan Hatzius and Jari Stehn, economists at Goldman Sachs in New York, said in a note published Tuesday evening that they expect the Fed's asset purchases to continue until the third quarter of 2014 and do not project a rate hike until early 2016.

Bernanke is scheduled to hold a press conference at 2:30 p.m. EDT after the announcement at 2 p.m.

While U.S. unemployment has improved, there must be a clear signs of a labor market before the Fed might curb its bond-buying program, said Randy Cain, manager of the ASTON/Herndon Large Cap Value Fund that oversees about $90 million within Aston's $11 billion under management.

"And then with the geopolitical issues that are taking place particularly in Europe, it's highly unlikely that the time is correct for the Fed to take a change in policy direction," he said.

Written by Andrea Tse in New York

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