The Federal Reserve’s first meeting under Jerome Powell’s leadership will likely end Wednesday (March 20) with an announcement that the Fed will resume its modest interest rate hikes.
But, according to an Associated Press report, investors will be most attuned to what Powell signals at his first news conference about whether and how he might steer the Fed’s policymaking differently from his predecessor, Janet Yellen. Will he, for example, be inclined to step up the pace of Fed rate hikes?
Powell hasn’t yet tipped his hand. Speaking to Congress last month, the new chairman said his “personal outlook” on the economy had strengthened since December, when the Fed’s policymakers collectively forecast three rate hikes for 2018, the same as in 2017.
That comment helped send stocks tumbling because it suggested that the Fed might be about to accelerate the gradual pace it had pursued under Yellen. More aggressive rate increases would likely slow the economy and make stocks less appealing.
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