Fed Chair Powell could ‘walk back’ aggressive rate comments

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Mary F. Calvert | Reuters

Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell testifies before a House Financial Services Committee hearing on the “Semiannual Monetary Policy Report to Congress,” at the Rayburn House Office Building in Washington, U.S., July 18, 2018. 

Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell could “walk back” his aggressive statements on interest rates, CNBC’s Jim Cramer predicted on Wednesday.

“All he has to do is say, ‘You know what, I think that everything is on the table,'” Cramer said on “Squawk on the Street.”

If Powell were to say, “I’m paying attention to all the data,” then we would rally, added Cramer as Wall Street opened lower, and shortly after took a sharp 1.5 percent leg lower.

The Fed didn’t immediately respond to CNBC’s request for comment.

Powell’s comments last week sent bond yields soaring to seven-year highs and put pressure on the stock market because higher rates make equities less valuable.

The Fed chief characterized monetary policy as a “long way” from neutral, signaling a possibly more aggressive path for rate hikes. The Fed already raised rates three times this year, with one more expected in December.

In recent days, Cramer has been critical of Powell, saying Monday the central bank’s shift from being data-dependent to being blinded by the desire to normalize rates could spell trouble for stocks.

President Donald Trump said Tuesday he does not like the Fed’s decision to continue to hike rates. He also said the U.S. economy does not have an inflation problem.

During a CNBC interview Wednesday, Kevin Hassett, chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers, said he would let the president’s comments expressing displeasure with the Fed hiking interest rates stand on their own.



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