Fed Chair Jerome Powell gave a highly anticipated speech last Thursday in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, with markets riveted on the current view and forward strategy for Fed policy.
The essence of Powell’s speech was that gradual rate hikes remain appropriate, as he expects strong economic performance to continue and he doesn’t see risk of the economy or inflation overheating. These reassuring comments are giving a nice lift to stocks in the early going today and give ammunition for the bulls to keep allocating capital to leading stocks.
Powell’s bullish commentary was just what the market needed, following a week of negative news surrounding the troubling reports of former associates of President Trump and fresh trade talks with a Chinese delegation in Washington that failed to produce any progress. Headlines of a plea bargain by President Donald Trump’s former personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, came as he stated he has “knowledge” about computer hacking and collusion that may interest Special Counsel Robert Mueller in his investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election.
Just after the Cohen report aired, former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort was convicted on eight counts of tax and bank fraud charges. Both developments stoke the ongoing investigation by Robert Mueller that diverted investor attention away from robust economic data, but only from briefly before Powell’s speech added fresh fuel to what has been a surprisingly strong August rally.
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