Fed Chair Jay Powell often finds himself the subject of criticism for his dour pronouncements about the economy and his bearish tone. The thing is, this is bullish for asset prices.
When an executive goes in front of a board asking for money for a project, the executive is unlikely to succeed if he saunters in with a message that ‘it would be cool to have this, but it’s no big deal if we don’t.' I think Powell is a much better salesman than he gets credit for. In laying out the case to the Senate yesterday that the economy needs continued fiscal and monetary support, Powell had to strike a serious tone. This not only gives him cover but it also gives Congress cover. Forgive my jadedness, but there is no small element of Kabuki theater to all this.
There will be bi-partisan support for more stimulus measures once everyone has covered their bases and extracted as much as they can for their constituents.
Obviously, the economy needs help. Unemployment benefits will soon start to expire, and the need for more action, plus measures such as eviction protection and the need to prop up state and local governments to prevent public sector layoffs will be coming to the forefront. Industries such as travel, leisure and hotels are still going to need help.
Lastly, and potentially importantly, there are reports of an infrastructure proposal from the White House to could be a large as $1 trillion, though details remain scarce. However, reports suggest the proposal would cover surface transportation and include broadband access/IG adoption.
On the monetary side, the Fed is considering yield curve, according to Powell. Powell indicated that Fed governors had been briefed on yield curve control at their last meeting—they basically received a history lesson on how the Fed implemented yield curve control after World War 2 and into the 1950s. The thinking is that by controlling rates at the short end of the curve, the Fed could act if long rates rise or if short rates start going negative.
Any opinions are those of Burke Koonce and not necessarily those of Raymond James. There is no guarantee that these statements, opinions or forecasts provided herein will prove to be correct. Any information is not a complete summary or statement of all available data necessary for making an investment decision and does not constitute a recommendation. Burke Koonce is a financial advisor at Raymond James & Associates, Inc., member New York Stock Exchange, member SIPC.