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Fed officials are pushing back against the market rally, and recession talk


You knew the pushback was coming. With the S & P up 9.1% in July, Federal Reserve officials are pushing back against the two main market narratives: the Fed “pivot” and “we are in a recession.” Neil Kashkari, the president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, suggested on Friday in a New York Times interview that the market had gotten ahead of itself in anticipating that the Fed would end its rate hike program, saying that the Fed was “united in our determination to get inflation back to 2 percent … and we are a long way from doing that.” For two weeks, bulls have been pushing the “pivot” narrative: that rate hikes are all front-end loaded, that the Fed will begin winding down increases by the end of the year, that the Fed will on net cut rates in 2023, and that now is the time to get ahead and buy growth stocks. Fed Chairman Jerome Powell tried to push back on this narrative at his press conference last week , where he noted that the Fed is still expected to raise rates in 2023, not lower them. But the bulls don’t want to listen. There’s also pushback on the inflation narrative Atlanta Fed President Raphael Bostic told the Wall Street Journal “I don’t think we’re in a recession,” the same thing Powell said. Bostic noted the strong jobs growth, “which suggests to me there’s a lot of momentum in the economy.” It may not matter. Kashkari made yet another appearance this weekend, this time Sunday on CBS’s “Face the Nation,” where he said, “We’re going to do everything we can to avoid a recession, but we are committed to bringing inflation down, and we are going to do what we need to do,” he said. “We are a long way away from achieving an economy that is back at 2% inflation. And that’s where we need to get to.” Others are simply discouraging everyone from using the “R” word, suggesting this current set of economic circumstances is, well, just a bit weird. “This is likely the weirdest economy any of us have ever seen or will ever see again in our lifetimes,” Ben Carlson from Ritholtz Wealth Management said over the weekend. “Covid crashed the economy, then we had all of that stimulus give us a sugar high and now comes the hangover. We just don’t know if this is the type of hangover that simply requires some greasy food to get over or if it’s a Las Vegas hangover where you feel like crap for three days afterward.” We’ll see. Chicago Fed President Charles Evans, Cleveland Fed President Loretta Mester, and St. Louis Fed President James Bullard all make public appearances on Tuesday. July was an active month for traders Preliminary fund flow data for ETFs indicate some sizeable inflows into bond funds of all types, including government (iShares U.S. Treasury Bond ETF ( GOVT )), corporate (iShares Investment Grade ETF ( LQD )), and even high yield (iShares Broad High Yield Corporate ( USHY )). Dividend ETFs remain popular as a defensive way to play the market (Invesco High Dividend Low Volatility ( SPHD )). Find out more about ETF flows in July on ETF Edge this Monday at 1 p.m. when our guests will be Ben Slavin, global head of ETFs at BNY Mellon, and Andrew McOrmond, managing director at WallachBeth Capital.

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