The stock market can provide some head-scratching moments, which is why I like Warren Buffet’s quote, “...don’t watch the market closely.”
Stocks have been strong this year, and they rallied sharply before and after the recent Fed meeting, which ended Wednesday, February 1. But the following day, after the market closed, a handful of Wall Street’s most influential companies reported ho-hum Q4 earnings.
Then the next day, before the market opened, we learned that 517,000 jobs were created in January – nearly 3x the forecast. Stocks waffled on Friday as investors digested the poor earnings and worried that the stunning jobs report might force the Fed to be more aggressive with interest rates.
So what’s up? Is a new bullish trend emerging this year, or is it 2022 all over again with the Fed in the driver’s seat?
Fed Chair Powell began his post-meeting Q&A session saying the same stuff, including that the Fed has more work to do with interest rates. But then he said something almost no one expected to hear, “...the disinflationary process has started.”
The meeting transcript shows that Powell said “disinflation” 13 times in his press conference. He never said it once eight weeks earlier at the December Fed meeting.
When Wall Street is managing through a crosscurrent of news and reports, it can be an excellent time to follow Warren’s words of wisdom. And remember, it takes time for trends to emerge. Sometimes, it’s best not to draw any hasty conclusions.