As corporate earnings dribble in and the results of the Federal Reserve’s next policy meeting are more than a week away, it’s a good time for a reality check across a few key areas:
Get ready for the first Fed rate hike of 2018. Newly minted Fed Chair Jerome Powell will preside over this week’s two-day meeting, where officials will also release their updated economic projections and future rate hikes. Analysts at Capital Economics believe that Fed “consensus is shifting from three to four rate hikes this year.”
Get ready for a Fed interest rate hike this week. The February jobs report showed that the US economy added a larger than expected 235,000 jobs, the unemployment rate edged down to 4.7 percent and annual wage growth bounced back from a revised 2.6 percent in January to 2.8 percent, ahead of the 2.7 percent average seen in the second half of last year. The increase in wages demonstrates that the labor market is tightening and that state-level minimum wage hikes are filtering through the economy.
Get ready for the Trump administration’s next shakeup…the Federal Reserve. As Fed Chair Janet Yellen heads into her semi-annual testimony before Congress this week, she knows the score--this is probably the penultimate appearance at what is likely to be a historically short term for a Fed Chair. Yellen’s term as Chair expires in February 2018 and during the campaign, candidate Trump said that he would “most likely” replace her, because “She is not a Republican."