The source of this week's major stock market disruption is still up for debate but many have pointed fingers at the Federal Reserve.
As inflation and employment readings late last week signaled a strong economy that could bear interest rate hikes, the market became convinced the Fed would raise rates quicker than originally anticipated. That sent investors into a tailspin.
But according to analysts from BofA Merrill Lynch Global Research, Fed action as a result of inflation won't come unless other foreign powers make the first move.
"Apart from leading to day-to-day volatility we continue to be comfortable with U.S. inflation moving up because the lack of foreign inflation prevents the Fed from engaging in a too rapid rate-hiking cycle, as the resulting much stronger dollar would be very deflationary through imports and commodities," BofA wrote in the Feb. 6 note.
"Additionally, with still ultra-low yields abroad foreign inflows to U.S. fixed income are very stabilizing for corporate yields," analysts said.
With that, there's no real need for Wall Street to get too concerned with domestic inflation just yet.
"Hence the big risk we are concerned about is higher foreign inflation leading to a re-pricing of the (European Central Bank) and (Bank of Japan) and big increases in foreign interest rates with a corresponding loss of foreign inflows to U.S. fixed income," they noted.
That would allow the Fed to get more aggressive with rate hikes, leading to a potential rate shock and "big outflows" from bond funds and exchange-traded funds, analysts suggested. If that were to happen, credit spreads would widen for an "extended period of time."
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If that's not yet convincing enough, consider that a very similar situation to today played out 24 years ago in 1994, BofA submitted. The economy took off and the Fed implemented surprise rate hikes as soon as February of that year.
"Instead of reacting to the improved fundamentals, equities fell 9% from the then-recent peak and remained volatile throughout 1994 before finally taking off in 1995 in line with the improved fundamentals," the analysts said.