Parsing Federal Reserve speak has always been a bit of a parlor game for the financial news media and investors.
That’s because understanding what the Fed thinks and does reveals a great deal about expectations for economic growth. And if you have a 401(k), grasping what the Fed and Wall Street are thinking about the economy matters a great deal to your retirement savings.
So when Fed Chairman Jerome Powell gave his maiden testimony before Congress in February 2018, many people fell over themselves to declare him the first straight-talking Fed chairman. Admittedly, I was among the enthusiasts.
Since then Powell has sent conflicting messages to investors and abruptly reversed course, raising rates into December of last year due to a strong economy, then cutting them over concerns of a global slowdown. Quite the monetary plot twist if ever there was one.