Stocks finished the trading week of November 13 with massive selloff. For the week, the DJIA lost 665 points or 3.71% while the S&P 500 lost 76 points or 3.63%. The Nasdaq was lower by 219 points or 4.26% and the Russell 2000 lost 53 points or 4.43%.
The selloff this week can be directly attributed to the Federal Reserve governors, who continue the interest rate increase rhetoric for December.
The latest was Cleveland Fed President Loretta Mester, who said in a speech on Friday "my own assessment is that with the economic progress we have made and that I expect to continue, the economy can handle an increase in the fed-funds rate." Also, "if economic information continues to come in consistent with the outlook, then there will be a strong case that the conditions for liftoff have been met."
The only problem that I see with that analysis is that the current economic data is not very good. The latest being that U.S. retail sales rose 0.1% in October versus 0.3% rise expected with data that was released on Friday. And this from Nordstrom CFO Mike Koppel: "it appears that there has been a slowdown in the overall demand for the customer that is purchasing what we sell."
If the Fed is truly data-dependent, it will not raise interest rates.
And, finally, Janet Yellen, in a speech that she gave this past May, said that the triggers for an interest rate increase was 2.2% growth, 5.2% unemployment, and 2% core inflation, with all three trending higher. It would appear that she has one of the three triggers.
The Fed may be jawboning the markets lower with the threat of higher interest rates. The world economy is in a global slowdown and a global deflationary spiral. As our dollar continues to get strong with the threat of increasing rate, the U.S. has become the magnet for importing deflation just when the Fed wants inflation.
This article is commentary by an independent contributor. At the time of publication, the author held INTC.