Jerome Powell’s testimony last week offered no pushback against rate-cut expectations, and if anything, actually stoked the fire. Bets of a 50 basis point cut, as opposed to 25, rose, indicating the market shifted to an even more dovish stance.
Article Category: Federal Reserve
As you most likely know, last Friday’s strong jobs report – which showed 224,000 jobs created in June – has caused a bit of unease across the market. With investors now salivating over the prospect of a rate cut, robust economic data has come to be viewed with disdain. After all, who wants a strong economy when we can have asset-price juicing stimulus instead?
Imagine you’re huddled down in a bunker, with the enemy approaching, and you only have nine bullets left. Do you fire a preemptive shot or two, hoping it will deter the enemy? Or do you save those bullets and wait patiently until you’re sure an attack is imminent? That’s the situation the Federal Reserve is facing right now.
It’s frankly astounding to me how much power the Federal Reserve holds over the psychology of market participants. One reassuring comment from Jay Powell can send the market 5% higher in a week, while an offhand comment, such as we saw in October, can throw the market into a severe correction.
I’ve used this analogy before, but on days like today, one can’t help but feel like investors are nothing more than Pavlov’s dogs, salivating for the inevitable treat they’ve been conditioned to expect. As for Pavlov, he is of course played by Fed Chairman Jerome Powell, also known as the Wizard of Oz.