Wall Street’s next make or break moment for stocks may come from 2,000 miles away.
Federal Reserve chief Jerome Powell will deliver opening remarks at the Jackson Hole Economic Policy Symposium on Thursday.
If Powell doesn’t address the stock market’s wild swings and recent bearish bond yield inversion, market researcher James Bianco warns the reaction will be violent.
“We could see another plunge in rates. We could see further movement down in yields and the yield curve and more volatility and problems in the markets. He should move aggressively,” the Bianco Research president said Friday on CNBC’s “Trading Nation. “
Despite Friday’s strong rally, the major indexes still saw their third negative week in a row. The Dow, S&P 500 and Nasdaq are now at least 5% below their all-time highs.
Last week’s stock market turmoil was in response to the 10-year Treasury yield breaking below the 2-year rate for the first time since 2007. It’s often seen as a harbinger of a recession.
According to Bianco, the Street is desperately looking for a sign that a deep cut is coming because U.S. rates are too high in relationship with other developing nations in the throes of economic slowdowns.
“We’re the only place on the planet now you can get more than a 2% yield among developed countries,” Bianco said. “Powell should probably open the door for the possibility of a 50 basis point cut at the September meeting.”
It wouldn’t be unprecedented for Powell to try to calm the market during his Jackson Hole welcome speech. He soothed the Street in early January and June in opening remarks at events by signaling the Fed would act more accomodative.
Bianco hopes Powell does it again, adding it would be a big mistake for him to generically welcome attendees to the conference and avoid the market’s issues.
“That could be the worst thing,” he said. “The next worst thing is he makes comments that are interpreted as ‘we’re only going to move 25 basis points. Then, we’re going to wait and see if we’re going to move some more.’ The market rolls its eyes and says ‘you’re not getting it. We want you to move faster.'”
For now, Bianco is holding out for the best case scenario, and that’s an indication a sizable cut is coming in next month.
“If he does move more aggressively with a 50 basis point cut, I think the market will respond most positive to that,” Bianco said.