Now the Fed joins the Pols on the sidelines in DC, stocks will soar

Fed chief Janet Yellen slammed on the brakes Wednesday when announcing a pause in rate hikes.

The move sent markets into a spasm for a brief moment as the VIX (or fear index) fell to its all-time lowest level and bond yields jerked higher before leveling off. Stocks had the most muted reaction moving slowly higher.

So now we have all of Washington on stand still as stocks will move higher. Nothing coming from Congress to worry equities and the Fed will not be able to raise rates again this year.

As far as paring back its balance sheet, we will see what happens there on Friday.

The feds will release the first look at Q2 GDP, which by most estimates will come in at 2% plus or minus a tenth of a point. This is not the growth Trump is looking for, but since none of his economic initiatives have been implemented or really discussed it’s just more of the same for the last eight years.

Since I’m a betting man, I believe the Q2 GDP will come in at 1.7% and be revised down in the coming months. There’s just no reason to believe that Americans are spending their meager salaries on anything but the essentials.

But let’s look at the latest White House/Russia/Election news story, which will be covered by the NY Times or Washington Post, and let the Dow, S&P and Nasdaq hit a new all-time high. Keep Trump on the defensive, bottle him up in a Cabinet pissing match, so the rest of America can continue to suffer from neglect.

No need for stimulus or middle class tax cut or infrastructure spending. No, keep Washington on the sidelines and Wall Street will reward the 1 percenters with higher returns.

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Fed’s rate hike hurts the ailing US consumer

I stand corrected. The Federal Reserve raised rates by 0.25 points Wednesday.

However, that does not mean it was correct to do so.

If you look at the US economy right now we have a slowing economy as GDP projections of +3% for the quarter are being pulled back to sub 2%. We also have inflation targets that are well below the Fed’s 2% target. Right now it’s at 1.6%.

The US has credit constriction you don’t have to look any future than look at the retail sector to see that the cost of cash is rising and more difficult to attain.

The growing asset bubbles are no longer the sure-fire collateral for extending credit.

So into this environment, the Fed takes it funds rate to a range between 1% and 1.25%. We already see that the consumer has tapped out on credit card usage with available credit at a years low-level, while outstanding balances hit all-time highs.

Student loan debt also at all-time high levels and mortgages for new and existing homes have been flat to slightly lower as rates rise. Car loans are persona non grata for originations and resale in the market due to low quality (think NINJA mortgages) and high quantity.

So why would the Fed raise rates at this time? To put another bullet in the chamber in case it needs to lower them again. To also tell Wall Street to tighten its reigns on credit and bring the bond market inline with other asset classes.

However this rates rise only affects us on the downside. We will pay more for credit and still get little to no interest on our savings.

And how the markets reacted tells you there is little change in either stocks or bonds. It was expected.

Now the Fed also announced the beginning of a plan to unwind its $4.5 trillion balance sheet. These were toxic mortgages and other troubled assets along with plenty of treasury bills and notes.

Now the Fed reinvest those proceeds as they mature, next year it will pare back the reinvestment according to a schedule that will be phased in.

There are lots to say about this and I will address it in the near future, but let’s just say I don’t believe the unwinding will be able to be pulled off beginning in 2018 for reasons I will address later.