The Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meets next week on Tuesday and Wednesday, March 21‒22. A week ago, investors were fretting over whether the FOMC might speed up its rate hikes. Now, some are saying the FOMC might cut rates. What’s changed in such a short time? Things are breaking, that’s what.
Category: Economic Analysis
We had some pretty wild data releases over the past few weeks. From November through December, retail sales declined each month, and so did manufacturing activity. Then, we had a bit of a recovery in January. Nonfarm payroll growth was astonishingly high throughout that whole three-month period. How can investors make sense out of the mixed macroeconomic messages?
The Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) hiked the federal funds rate by 25 basis points (bps; 100 bps equal 1.00%).
For some Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meetings, the result seems obvious ahead of time to just about everyone. This was one of them. When the result is obvious, the market shouldn’t react much because there’s little room for a surprise to push prices around. But this time, the market did react. Why? It’s simple: The FOMC is splintering into factions, and that makes the outcomes from future meetings much less obvious.
The people have spoken (at least those who voted), and 2023 and 2024 will be host to a divided government. The conventional wisdom is that a divided government is a good thing for markets. That’s not always, or even often, the case.
Surprising no one, the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) voted to hike its policy rate by 75 basis points (bps; 100 bps equal 1.00%) to a range of 3.75% to 4.00%.
September’s Consumer Price Index (CPI) from the Bureau of Labor Statistics said inflation was 8.2% year over year, hotter than many expected. This inflation report solidifies our expectation that the Federal Reserve (Fed) will likely hike the federal funds rate by 75 basis points (bps; 100 bps = 1.00%) in November and by another 75 bps in December.
The Federal Open Market Committee just hiked its federal funds rate target another 75 basis points (bps; 100 bps equal 1.00%), to a range between 3.00% and 3.25%. Hiking rates aggressively is risky when housing is already struggling and when what the Federal Reserve (Fed) does today might not be fully felt for dozens of months into the future.
The old saying is that “talk is cheap.” It certainly isn’t if you’re a central banker. Investors hang on a central banker’s every word. Whether the Federal Reserve (Fed) hikes by 75 basis points (bps; 100 bps equal 1.00%) or 50 bps is probably less relevant than what Fed officials say with their Summary of Economic Projections (their guesses about what they’ll do in the future and how the economy may evolve).
Federal Reserve (Fed) Chair Jerome Powell gave a short and sweet speech at the Jackson Hole Economic Symposium on August 25, but the market took it as being brief and bitter. Since then, the Institute for Supply Management released its manufacturing and services indexes. Manufacturing activity has moderated, and services activity has been shockingly strong.