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Stocks fall on Fed uncertainty

by LLB Editor
23rd Mar 23 9:24 am

Before the collapse of SVB, signs the Federal Reserve was nearing the end of its rate hiking cycle would have been cause for the market to put on its party hat and set off some fireworks.

AJ Bell investment director Russ Mould said: “Now everyone is feeling a little bit edgy and the shift in tone from the Fed to ‘some policy firming may be appropriate’ from the previous line of ‘ongoing hikes’ has just led to more uncertainty and concern the Fed sees further vulnerabilities in the financial system which are still to be tested.

“In other words, this is no-one’s idea of the soft landing investors were hoping for when stocks made a big recovery around the turn of the year.

“It is the Bank of England’s turn later on and it finds itself in even more of a bind than the Fed, potentially because the latest inflation data confounded expectations with an increase. Can it treat this reading as noise, driven principally by a surge in the cost of salad and vegetable produce thanks to poor growing conditions in Spain and Morocco?

“We’ve moved from a situation where there was at least a measure of clarity from central banks to one where even they must be second guessing themselves.

“Banking shares slid, which didn’t help sentiment, as any kind of blanket insurance for bank deposits in the US was ruled out. It appears there could be further to go in the regional banking crisis in the US.

“A better period for the cryptocurrency world, with bitcoin enjoying some strong gains, was interrupted by news the US regulator is threatening to sue crypto exchange platform Coinbase over some of its products.”

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