Stock traders have hit the pause button after President Trump's speech on Tuesday night prompted a big rally on Wednesday. Today, Dow futures are down 20 points in pre-opening trading, and there was no market-moving news overnight.
The 300-point move in the Dow yesterday seems like a very big reward for someone who basically managed to read a teleprompter. Trump still has to prove he can morph from the erratic character he portrayed before his speech to the steady, focused character we saw during it.
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In last week’s commentary, I said the March FOMC meeting was the best window for the Fed to make a move as long as Trump did not roil the markets this week. He did not.
March makes sense for a raise because the next Fed meeting is sandwiched in-between the two-part French election — and the Fed hates to risk anything around a foreign vote.
This week it seems Fed officials have all but said to expect a move in March, and the bond market has adjusted for that. Fed chair Janet Yellen will get a chance on Friday to either confirm or refute that impression. The bond market is ready for a confirmation.
Dwight Johnston is the chief economist of the California and Nevada Credit Union Leagues and president of Dwight Johnston Economics. He is the author of a popular commentary site and is a frequent speaker at credit union board planning sessions and industry conferences.