Jumping bank stocks push United States indexes higher; bond yields rise

Jumping bank stocks push United States indexes higher; bond yields rise

Jumping bank stocks push United States indexes higher; bond yields rise

"At our upcoming meetings", the Fed chair said, the central bank "will evaluate whether employment and inflation are continuing to evolve in line with (the Fed's) expectations, in which case a further adjustment of the federal funds rate would likely be appropriate".

US stocks traded near intraday highs on Tuesday after Federal Reserve Chairwoman Janet Yellen concluded her testimony before the Senate Banking Committee, signaling the central bank could gradually raise interest rates sooner than later.

Yellen said the Fed did not increase the rate earlier this month "but reiterated that it expects the evolution of the economy to warrant further gradual increases in the federal funds rate to achieve and maintain its employment and inflation objectives". In September, he told CNBC that Yellen should be "ashamed" of herself.

The Fed chair says there is "considerable uncertainty" about the economic outlook because of possible changes in government spending, taxes, productivity growth, and developments overseas.

While Yellen's testimony didn't detract from earlier statements from the central bank, the door is still open for a March rate hike to stick to the Fed's target of three rate hikes this year, said Mark Kepner, managing director of sales and trading at Themis Trading, in an interview.

On Jan. 31, Rep. Patrick T. McHenry (R-N.C.), the vice chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, sent a scathing letter to Yellen criticizing the Federal Reserve for "negotiating worldwide regulatory standards for financial institutions among global bureaucrats in foreign lands without transparency, accountability, or the authority to do so".

Markets are not predicting a rate rise at the Fed's policy meeting next month, but that hasn't stopped hawkish speculation.

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While Wall Street was closely tuned in to what the Fed chief discussed, they also parsed her testimony for meaning in the words she didn't say.

The Fed signaled in December that it expected to raise rates three times in 2017. Bond yields jumped immediately afterward and fed through to shares of banks, which can benefit from higher rates by charging more for loans.

The flurry of economic reports slated for release this week include the NFIB small business optimism index and producer price index, due Tuesday; consumer price index, retail sales, Empire State manufacturing survey, and industrial production, due Wednesday; housing starts, weekly jobless claims, and the Philadelphia Fed outlook survey, due Thursday; as well as leading indicators, due Friday.

Yellen gave them little to work with other than an upbeat view of the economy.

Other proposals by Congress have suggested tying the Fed's monetary policy decisions to a mathematical formula.

"I believe we would have a much weaker economy if, in the last several years, we followed the dictates of that rule". The Fed chair said it was too early to say how Trump's plans to cut taxes and spur growth would affect the economy but warned that U.S. debt was already on an "unsustainable" trajectory.

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