We've finally come to it. The day everyone on Wall Street has been anticipating. June 30. Why is it so significant? One: Alan Greenspan tells us whether the Fed funds rate will be going up and by how much. Two: The second quarter ends and earnings expectations begin yet another round. (The third event that was supposed to happen that day -- the transfer of power from the U.S. to Iraq -- occurred prematurely, ruining the triple play.)
The financial media has been buzzing expectantly over these catalysts, examining each and every angle with a sharp set of intellectual compasses. What should the individual investor be looking for and, perhaps, expecting?
Well, my first name isn't Warren and I am not close to even sub-Oracle status, but I think the Fed may raise the Federal funds rate by 50 basis points. That's basically a gut feeling that will probably turn out to be incorrect since the market is anticipating a hike half that amount (Greenspan doesn't like to shock markets). I think the rate should be hiked by one half of a percent, however -- the economy could take it -- and it wouldn't be so bad if it shocked Wall Street and precipitated a bit of a sell-off. Know why? Buying opportunities.
Take a look at your long-term portfolio and see where you would add. Got some dividend-leaning blue chips like Johnson & Johnson
Of course, the market might act in an opposite fashion. In fact, a lot of pundits believe the indexes will see the start of a nice rally. I tend to be in this camp, especially if the hike is only 25 basis points. What I want to see is an unambiguous move in either direction; up or down, I don't care, so long as it is accompanied by lively volume. I follow many stocks, and the ones on my list at least have seen lackluster volume interest for a while now. I want that pattern broken.
Honestly, the worst thing that could happen is nothing. I don't expect that to be the case, but there is not one among us who can say for sure what June 30 will bring. We'll just have to sit tight and see. In the meantime, you can examine the flip side of rising interest rates and what it means for depositors and institutions such as Citigroup
Fool contributor Steven Mallas owns none of the companies mentioned above.