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Dysfunctional Credit Markets – Still Waiting on the Fed

As the week ended, U.S. credit markets appeared confused, if not outright dysfunctional.  The 10-Year Treasury yield began February at 1.09% and reached an interim peak of 1.54% on February 25.  Then it retreated to 1.42% as markets thought the rise had simply been overdone.  But Fed Chair Powell’s refusal to assure financial markets regarding the Fed’s intentions at the Wall Street Journal’s Jobs Summit (as detailed in last week’s …Read More

Will the Fed Cause Another Recession?

The Fed raised the Federal Funds Rate by 25 basis points (a quarter of a percentage point) to 1.0%.  This is the anchor rate on the yield curve, and, most other rates respond to it, with shorter rates today responding more than longer rates.  It appears from their communications that they intend to hike rates several more times over the next 12-18 months. While I don’t see a recession over …Read More

Market Melt-Up: Caution – Sentiment in Nosebleed Territory

Since my last column, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) did indeed hit 20,000 and has since gone well beyond.  Most of the post-election run-up initially appeared to have occurred in the November 8th to December 20th period when the index went from 18,333 to 19,975, a rise of 1,642 points (7.9%).  Over the next 44 days, until February 2, the DJIA was flat, actually losing 116 points.  But since …Read More

The Specter of Rising Rates

Suddenly, out of the blue, August’s data came in well below expectations; the economy now appears to be sputtering as we end the third quarter.  Yet the Fed has put the markets on notice that it intends to soon raise interest rates, or at least that is what the market thinks given the hawkish speeches from some Fed officials.  Raising rates into a weakening economy is ordinarily unthinkable.  As a …Read More

Assessing the market now that recession fears have disappeared

With recession fears now nowhere to be found, the market averages have raced their way back to a positive return for the year, a much-welcomed development considering where they were on Feb. 11. The bears have retired to their caves, and the negativism in the media has all but disappeared. The rising price of oil It is counterintuitive to look at the rising price of oil as a positive for …Read More

The Fed — deer in the headlights?

When they walked into the meeting on Wednesday, Sept. 16, it is likely that the FOMC members (Federal Open Market Committee, the rate-setting committee of the Fed) did not know the interest rate decision they would make on Thursday. We had Jeff Lacker (Richmond Fed), Dennis Lockhart (Atlanta Fed), and John C. Williams (SF Fed) all saying recently that they thought that interest rates should rise before year end. You …Read More