The about face didn’t take long, did it? As I noted last week, markets weren’t expecting an actual rate cut at the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meeting June 18-19. And they didn’t get one.
Yet they received a gift almost as good and something I also have been harping about the past few weeks. Though chairman Jerome Powell would never say this, the Fed has changed its spots. The bias, if not the central bank’s stance, is now accommodative. (See page 1.) In two short months, the bank has made a 180 degree turn.
While the FOMC kept the Fed funds rate, now 2.25%-2.50%, unchanged, chairman Jerome Powell said “the case for a somewhat more accommodative policy has strengthened.” That’s all it took.
The stock market hit new highs and bonds rallied, too, as even the lagging DJIA joined in (see page one). And just in case you didn’t get that Fed message, on Friday the central bank’s vice chairman Richard Clarida said the Fed stands ready to curt rates if necessary.So it appears then that President Trump, who’s been haranguing Powell about cutting rates, has won the latest skirmish. (There was even a report leaked to Bloomberg that said the president looked into how to demote or fire Powell.) Was it the softening world growth data or was it the Trum...