Debt negotiations could offer buying opportunity
Since the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) surprised us by deciding not to start tapering its stimulus program, we're back somewhere between listening to what random Fed members say on the sidelines of various events and finding momentum elsewhere.
The two main areas in the near future to focus on are the European Central Bank's (ECB) next rate-setting meeting which is scheduled for October 2, and the impact of the U.S. funding negotiations.
(Read more: US shutdown may create buying opportunity)
Taking the last point first, before Washington sorts out its fiscal issues, it's fair to assume that major asset classes will stay somewhat range-bound.
The U.S. began its partial shutdown in 17 years late Monday after Congress failed to agree the country's budget. We didn't die. Markets didn't crash. In fact, as political negotiations continue, bear in mind that during previous, bigger U.S. government shutdowns (there were three shutdowns between November 1995 and January 1996), equity markets actually rose.
Sure, markets have come off a bit recently, but in the grander scheme of things, Europe and the U.S. are a lot more stable now than where we were a few years back.
The next crucial date for our diaries is October 17, when the U.S. Treasury is set to reach its $16.7 billion borrowing limit unless lawmakers agree to raise the debt ceiling allowed.
(Read More: As US shutdown looms, how will you trade S&P 500 ?)
On one hand, with a U.S. presidential election in 2016, it could be in the interest of both the Republican and the Democrats to take current negotiations as close to the wire as possible to make the opposing side look bad.
However, thinking back to the August 2011 debt ceiling crisis, lawmakers took negotiations so close to the brink that ratings agency Standard and Poor's in the end downgraded the U.S. credit rating.
If lawmakers fail to raise the debt ceiling during these current negotiations, and if the negotiations become severely drawn out, the U.S. credit rating could again be at risk.
On top of that, the public might also feel the impact of routine payments, like Medicare and military salaries, being scaled back.
(Read More: US budget uncertainty may limit gold's decline)
In the past, the U.S. dollar has also rallied when previous government sticking points were resolved…even with delays to the talks. All analysts I have spoken to think it is reasonable, once again, to expect an eleventh hour debt ceiling deal to be reached, and, if this happens, the dollar could rally a bit.
Europe also in focus
Putting U.S. politics aside, focus is now also squarely back on the ECB.
Following a recent spat of stronger economic data from the euro zone, nobody is expecting a change in rates. On top of that, many of my guests have been telling me they think the ECB has taken the upper hand to the Fed on forward guidance...even if it means erring on the side of caution and keeping forward guidance particularly vague.
The President of the ECB, Mario Draghi, recently left the door open to potential further LTROs (Long Term Refinancing Operations), so no doubt he will be asked about this during the ECB's regular press conference if he doesn't mention it himself.
With liquidity constraints continuing in the banking sector, the ECB may just decide that the promise of bond buying through the Outright Monetary Transactions (OMT) program isn't enough.
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