While some of America’s top banking CEOs discuss a new rescue plan and the Federal Reserve kicks off its two-day meeting, one market expert has warned of a “very dire situation” dependent on fiscal policy.
“If the Fed can’t keep rates high, if they can’t keep raising as they need be, and we have persistently high inflation, we are in a very, very, very, very dire situation,” Michael Lee Strategy founder Mike Lee said on “Mornings with Maria” Tuesday.
“So I think the Fed goes 25 basis points. I think how the market reacts depends 100% on what Powell says and reacts to the questions and how the market absorbs that,” he continued. “But what I see is not so much as a contagion from banks or some sort of massive solvency crisis, it’s what do we do if the Fed can’t raise any more, can’t keep tightening? It has to ease, so there’s no systemic shocks from the banking system.”
With a strong market rally underway Tuesday morning, the Fed began discussing its latest interest rate decision. Sixty-two percent of investors expect the policymakers to continue hiking rates, which would mark the ninth straight increase, while 38% expect no change, according to CME’s FedWatch.
While the Fed under Chairman Jerome Powell has embarked on its most aggressive rate hike path since the 1980s to combat stubbornly high inflation, a recent report written by U.S. economists indicates if history is destined to repeat itself, then the Fed will “find it hard” to avoid a recession later this year.
The central bank is also navigating bank-run contagion fears this week, after the recent insolvencies of Silicon Valley Bank and Signature Bank, and potentially First Republic Bank.
Lee signaled the banking and rate hike dilemmas are ones of “confidence,” as opposed to structural issues.
“No matter how good the banking laws are, no matter how good the oversight is, no matter how strong your balance sheet is, nobody can withstand a 20 to 25% deposit base withdrawal in a single day, as happened with Silicon Valley Bank,” Lee explained.
“So I think the upshot of what just happened is lending standards are most likely going to increase, further slowing the economy,” he added.
Also joining the “Word on Wall Street” panel, Bulltick Capital’s chief market strategist Kathryn Rooney Vera agreed with Lee that the Fed will likely raise rates by 25 basis points Wednesday.
“It has to hike 25 basis points. It has a dual mandate, 2% inflation and full employment, it has to comply with that. If they do not hike this week, tomorrow, this is going to be a huge additional shock to credibility and they’re very focused on that,” Rooney Vera said. “So they have to recoup credibility. If they do not hike 25, I think it will be poorly received by the markets.”
Michael Wilson, the chief U.S. equity strategist at Morgan Stanley and a longtime Wall Street bear, said in an analyst note on Monday that the stock market is in the early and painful stages of exiting the bear market than began in the summer.
“The last part of the bear can be vicious and highly correlated,” he said. “Prices fall sharply via an equity risk premium spike that is very hard to prevent or defend in one’s portfolio.”
FOX Business’ Megan Henney contributed to this report.