The dovish U.S. Federal Reserve left rates unchanged last week and markets celebrated. Across the globe, national stock market indices finished the week higher. In the United States, the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index and NASDAQ gained more than 1 percent.
Not everyone was thrilled with the decision, however. Three Federal Reserve presidents cast dissenting votes. All believed interest rates should move higher. That’s the most dissents since December 2014 when even the dissenters were divided about what should happen.
Proceeding with caution is the right approach, according to Barron’s:
“A rate hike is usually aimed at preventing an economy from overheating, and there’s no sign of that – not even close. Housing activity has been disappointing, wholesale inflation is weak, retail sales are declining, and manufacturing activity is slowing. Such a confluence of negative data has never stopped the Fed from tightening rates – the central bank did so in December, even though the economic data looked even worse than it does now – but it isn’t exactly screaming for immediate action.”
While that may be true, Financial Times suggested markets are coming to the conclusion the influence of central banks may be limited, and those limits may be near.
We’ll find out eventually. In the United States, the new consensus is we’ll have a rate hike for the holidays, according to CNBC.com.
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* “Fed Resistes Urge to Raise Rates”
http://www.barrons.com/mdc/public/page/9_3063-economicCalendar.html?mod=BOL_Nav_MAR_other (Click on U.S. & Intl Recaps, “The BoJ and Fed have spoken”, then scroll down to the Global Stock Market Recap chart)