Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell on Tuesday reaffirmed the U.S. central bank’s intent to encourage a “broad and inclusive” recovery of the job market, and not to raise interest rates too quickly based only on the fear of coming inflation.
“We will not raise interest rates preemptively because we fear the possible onset of inflation. We will wait for evidence of actual inflation or other imbalances,” Powell said in a hearing before a U.S. House of Representatives panel.
STOCKS: The S&P 500 extended modest gains after Powell’s testimony ended and unofficially closed up 0.52%. The Nasdaq ended up 0.79% at a record high.
BONDS: The 10-year U.S. Treasury note yield slipped to 1.465%; 2s were at 0.2301%
FOREX: The U.S. dollar index stayed heavy and was last off 0.2%
TIM GHRISKEY, CHIEF INVESTMENT STRATEGIST, INVERNESS COUNSEL, NEW YORK.
“Powell gives the market a lot confidence. He does this time and time again. He’s the voice of reason. I wouldn’t say anything he talked about was really new, but he just reassures the market. Saying interest rates will not be increased if unemployment is too high gives the market a lot of confidence. That was a new statement, from him, I don’t remember him actually saying that, but it makes sense. He wants the economy to recover.”
MICHAEL BROWN, SENIOR ANALYST AT PAYMENTS FIRM CAXTON, LONDON
“Not really much in there that we haven’t heard before.” “The reference to price pressures which are “larger and may persist longer than expected” suggests Powell is more attune to upside inflation risks than a few months ago.”
“The dollar has crept a little lower, but has been under pressure for much of the day so I’d put that down more to just a continuation of the existing trend.”
“The dollar index is still north of its 200-day moving average, however, so despite 2 days of losses all hope is not lost for dollar bulls.”
CHUCK TOMES, ASSOCIATE PORTFOLIO MANAGER, MANULIFE ASSET MANAGEMENT, BOSTON
“It seemed like it was pretty much a confirmation of the meeting last week.”
“Inflation pressures a little larger than expected on the back of the reopening, but the Fed still feels that a good majority of those pressures won’t be sustained.”
“It will be important to watch how the economic data unfolds going forward to get a gauge of what the could cause the Fed to change their tone a little more.”