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The Eye of the Financial Hurricane

U.S. stock markets continue to bask in the eye of this financial hurricane.  Remember, we ended the hurricane following the September rate hike, and if you recall I titled my podcast, “The Hike that Broke the Camel’s Back”, and that’s what really began the sell-off in the market. We had this horrific fourth quarter, the worst December since 1931.  It may have ended up being the worst December ever had it not been saved by that last-minute Santa Claus rally – the biggest Boxing Day (Day after Christmas) rally ever, which followed the worst Christmas Eve in stock market history.

The Fed’s New Dovish Outlook

But we entered the eye when the Federal Reserve came out and rescued the markets by backtracking on their previously indicated path of continued rate hikes and quantitative tightening.  In fact, we had a lot of people come out this week from the Federal Reserve today, again, reiterating their new dovish outlook. Everybody is a dove. There are no more stock market hawks.  Like there are no atheists in a foxhole – in a bear market there are not hawks, there are only doves.  That included people who are no longer on the Federal Reserve. Fmr. Federal Reserve Chairperson Janet Yellen came out yesterday, and she said that she thinks it is very possible that the December rate hike is the last rate hike in the cycle. She’s right about that.  It’s not just very possible, it’s probable. Yesterday we had Fed Vice Chair Richard Clarida said that the Fed is going to raise rates fewer times than they had indicated in their most recent press conference.  Of course, by then, they had indicated two rate hikes. Now he is saying they are going to raise rates fewer than two, which could be one, but it could also be zero.