The August report bolsters the case for another quarter-point interest rate cut when the Federal Reserve meets on September 17-18. Officials will cite the slowdown in job growth and softening manufacturing data, but will also likely reiterate that the economy remains on solid footing overall.
For the first time in a decade, the Federal Reserve is likely to cut interest rates. Citing the “crosscurrents” of slowing global growth, uncertainty over trade policy, and static prices, the central bank will preemptively shave 0.25 percent from the fed funds rate, putting the new range at 2-2.25 percent.
Dow 27K! S&P 500 3K! NASDAQ 8200! Just months after the bull market in stocks and the current expansion each became the longest on record, U.S. equity indexes reached more milestones last week. Sure, the economy is expanding, but you can thank one person for the recent leg up in the bull market rally: Fed Chairman Jerome Powell.
Stocks reversed multi-week losses and you can thank Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell. The week began with hand wringing over the potential Mexican tariffs. On Tuesday, Powell announced that the central bank was keeping an eye on trade developments, their impact on the U.S. economy, and would “act as appropriate to sustain the expansion.”
Welcome to the third government shutdown of 2018! Did you forget about the first two? In January, there was a three-day closure, and then in February, there was the one-day sequel. In both of those instances, investors shrugged off the news and stocks actually edged up during those days-long shutdowns.
Two words from Fed Chair Jerome Powell moved markets last week: “JUST BELOW.” He was talking about short-term interest rates, which are just below neutral, a Goldilocks level that is designed to neither speed up-nor slow down-economic growth. Powell’s assessment was a change from a comment he made in early October, when he said rates were a “long way” from neutral.
President Trump is not happy with the Federal Reserve. In an interview with CNBC, he said that while he put a “very good man” at the helm of the central bank (Jerome Powell), he’s “not thrilled” that interest rates are rising. The remarks got a lot of attention, because for the past twenty years or so, presidents and administration officials have abstained from commenting on the Fed’s monetary policy to preserve the central bank’s independence from partisan pressure.(For more on the complicated relationship between the Fed and Congress, check out my interview with author and Fed expert, Mark Spindel.)