There are many who believe that the Fed made a mistake by not raising rates at their September meeting and that crowd now seems convinced that action at the December meeting is a forgone conclusion.
Not everyone agrees, however. DoubleLine's Jeff Gundlach might just be the most prominent of the dissenters. This week, he cautioned that certain parts of the market are flashing yellow lights and asking the Fed to pump the brakes on a rate move. For one, he highlighted the high yield bond market. He observed that recently the rate of credit-rating downgrades were outpacing credit-rating upgrades. When this ratio has gone inverted like this in the past it has preceded some of the market's more volatile periods.
His worry here is that if the Fed does choose to hike in December it could spark some degree volatility and force them to loosen again down the road. A messy ordeal no doubt.
The US dollar is another area where Gundlach has been vocal. He's argued frequently that continued strength in the USD could wipe out any Fed plans for a hike. "If the dollar gets any stronger, we may see further volatility in markets, which might get the Fed nervous." He's watching the DXY and thinks that if it goes above 100 and closes there for more than a couple of days, it could cause the Fed to delay.
All that being said, it does appear as if Fed officials are eager to rip the band-aid off and get the first move out of the way. This is what their recent language suggests albeit they've left themselves some wiggle room in nearly every statement.
If they do indeed initiate lift-off on December 16th, Convergex's Nick Colas suggests that Financials could be one area poised to rally. In his words:
Compelling arguments are coming from both the hawks and the doves on this issue. It will be interesting to see how the market reacts to the various reports and shifts in tone over the next month. Move or no move, a pick up in volatility should be prepared for. We have no bias in which way the market ultimately resolves itself off of this event but we will be prepared for added fluctuations.