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Fed Seen Backing Away From 'Clumsy' Bernanke Comments

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Comments from Federal Reserve officials Monday reflect attempts to soften the impact of statements by Chairman Ben Bernanke last week, according to a research note published Tuesday.

"What we are hearing is that the Fed is not happy with the violence or magnitude of the rate increase and ancillary action in other markets and is attempting to offer some caution and clarification to what the [Federal Open Markets Committee's] message should have been," wrote CRT Capital Group head of government bond strategy David Ader in a note published Tuesday.

Following Bernanke's statements last week that the Fed could slow its $85 billion in monthly bond purchases this year, stock markets have tumbled, while 10-year Treasury yields have gone from 2.10% to more than 2.6%, though they stabilized Monday to just above 2.5%.

CRT's Ader pointed to comments by New York Fed chief William Dudley, Narayana Kocherlakota, president of the Minneapolis Fed, and their Dallas counterpart Richard Fisher which, he argued, "stabilized the market" and caused a rebound in 10-year Treasuries midday Monday.

Dudley's "more germane comments were that for years monetary policy has not been stimulative enough and the Fed has fallen short on its jobs and inflation goals," Ader wrote. He also noted "two main points" in a statement from Kocherlakota: that bond buying by the central bank should continue until unemployment is below 7% and as long as inflation remains below 2.5%. Unemployment was 7.6% in May.

It was Fisher, however, who drew the most attention, if only for the evocativeness of his language. "I do believe that big money does organize itself somewhat like feral hogs. If they detect weakness or a bad scent, they'll go after it," the Dallas Fed President told the Financial Times.

All three statements, according to Ader, "clarify an otherwise clumsy effort by Bernanke to at once alert the markets that tapering can start while assuring the markets that the Fed remains easy."

-- Written by Dan Freed in New York.

Disclosure: TheStreet's editorial policy prohibits staff editors, reporters and analysts from holding positions in any individual stocks.

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