One more 40-year record number for the national consumer price index at 8.6%, which was released last Friday, also greatly contributed to the overall negative sentiment.
After this almost 95% of market traders switched their expectations for the Fed's meeting by betting that the financial regulator may deliver a 0.75% interest rate hike in June.
Previously, the overwhelming majority of investors assumed another scenario that now could be perceived as a milder path, implying consecutive rate-raising decisions by 0.5% each time in June, July and in September. However, Esperio analysts suggest that it is quite possible that the latest trick to be performed by the Fed is precisely to inspire worst worries about its allegedly hawkish plans before actually making a hawkish step by 50 basis points so it may be better accepted by the market.
Assuming the worst hypothesis of a very painful prospect just to soften everybody's sufferings later on was always one of the best methods of political and economic medicine. In addition, the decision could be well flavoured with the Fed's castle building dreams of the so-called "soft landing" where the Chairman Jerome Powell and his colleagues could show off as the heroes to save the nation and the world against the dragon of inflation.
With exorbitant prices on energy, food, and a significant price rally on a variety of goods and services, when many people now have to postpone their plans to purchase durable goods like laundry machines, other household appliances or consumer electronics, this would form at least some positive contrast with the disappointing words of the U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen. She said she did not expect such a large number of dangerous virus strains which were then followed by Russia's invasion of Ukraine, adding the sacramental phrase: "I do expect inflation to remain high although I do very much hope it will be coming down now".
What else other than hope remains for ordinary people and the market community? That's why investors and traders still bide their time mostly waiting for lower quotes for stock assets, if not fresh confirmation of a subtle economic recovery into a recession spiral which may provoke a new round of sell-offs. While the European Central Bank's policymakers are holding an unscheduled meeting to discuss high borrowing costs for more indebted southern nations of the Eurozone to lessen the chance of repeating the debt crisis, the U.S. Dollar is in demand as perhaps the only potentially safe-haven asset, especially when everybody sees the Fed's interest hikes plans.
A short break with one or two days of more or less chaotic market turbulence may be possible following the final results of the meetings of both central banks, which could interrupt the current one-way cash flow out from most stocks and into the U.S. Treasury bonds, but it is not only likely that this trend may remain intact, but that it may also rapidly accelerate in the second half of June.
Alex Boltyan, senior analyst of Esperio company