Based on the recent direction of the U.S. economy and the drop in Treasury bond yields to six-month lows, it would appear that the Federal Reserve may have been a little too hasty in raising interest rates and ending monetary accommodation. So how will the markets – both stocks and bonds – react if the Fed has to swallow its pride and need to stuff the genie back in the bottle?
As we know, since Donald Trump was elected last November, the Fed has raised the federal funds rate twice, plus promised at least two more increases by the end of this year. At the same time, it’s also said that it plans to start trimming its massive $4.5 trillion securities portfolio before year-end. All of that action has been predicated on the economy growing and potentially over-heating – i.e., causing too much inflation – under President Trump’s stimulative policies, including tax cuts, deregulation and repealing and replacing Obamacare.
But what happens if those assumptions don’t actually become a reality, which is what seems to be happening right now? Will the Fed suddenly start lowering interest rates again, or at least put off its plans for future rate increases? And will it also put on hold its balance sheet reduction plan? [Read more...]