The world’s biggest bond market remained under pressure, the dollar rose and stocks wavered after Jerome Powell signaled policymakers are in no rush to cut interest rates.

Speaking Tuesday, the U.S. Federal Reserve chief said it will likely take longer to have confidence on inflation — given the recent lack of progress. Powell also said it’s appropriate to give the Fed’s restrictive policy further time to work. Treasury yields climbed to fresh 2024 highs — with those on two-year notes hovering near the 5 per cent mark. Equities struggled after their worst back-to-back selloff in more than a year.

To Jeffrey Roach at LPL Financial, Powell’s comments signal the Fed will likely stay on hold for longer than originally planned.

“Powell speaking hawkishly... moving rate cuts further out the curve,” said Andrew Brenner at NatAlliance Securities. “He needs to see the data.”

The S&P 500 hovered near 5,050. Bank of America Corp. sank as charge-off for soured loans topped estimates, while Morgan Stanley climbed as traders delivered solid revenue. UnitedHealth Group Inc. led gains in the Dow Jones Industrial Average after its results.

Treasury 10-year yields climbed seven basis points to 4.67 per cent. The greenback rose against all of its developed-market counterparts.

Powell’s remarks represent a shift in his message following a third straight month in which a key measure of inflation exceeded analyst forecasts. It also shows officials see little urgency to cut rates and suggests that any reductions in 2024 may come relatively late in the year, if at all.

Policymakers around the world are struggling to confront a surging greenback and lofty US interest rates, according to Mohamed El-Erian.

“Authorities are a little bit frozen around the world as to how do you react to a generalized dollar strengthening?” El-Erian, the president of Queens’ College, Cambridge and a Bloomberg Opinion columnist, told Bloomberg Television Tuesday. “How do you react to a generalized increase in interest rates in the U.S.?”

Fed Vice Chair Philip Jefferson said Tuesday that while there has been considerable progress in lowering inflation, the Fed’s task of sustainably restoring 2 per cent inflation is “not yet done.” His San Francisco counterpart Mary Daly reiterated late Monday there’s no urgency to adjust interest rates, pointing to solid economic growth, a strong labor market and still-elevated inflation.

After starting the year by pricing in as many as six rate cuts in 2024, or 1.5 percentage points of easing, traders are now doubtful there will even be a half point of reductions. Most Wall Street economists have dialed back forecasts as well, setting up a dour scenario for US yields including a possible repeat of maturities breaching 5 per cent as they did last October.

Amid all the anxiety, the widely watched MOVE index, an options-based measure of expected volatility in Treasuries, spiked to the highest since January.

State Street Global Advisors is standing by a contrarian call for the Fed to cut interest rate as soon as June despite a string of hot economic data that has spurred most traders to push back bets to later in the year.

The asset manager remains convinced the central bank will start monetary easing well before the US presidential election in November to avoid being seen influencing the result, according to Chief Investment Officer Lori Heinel. The inflation backdrop still supports this move given policy works with a long lag and the quality of recent data prints has been low, she said.

Exposure to stocks is now so high that any weakness is likely to set off a bigger slump once investors start to cut back on their long positions, according to top Wall Street strategists.

There are $52 billion of long positions on the S&P 500 and 88 per cent of them are in a loss, a situation that Citigroup strategist Chris Montagu sees as a risk for the market.

A BofA survey showed that investors have raised their allocation to equities to net 34 per cent overweight — the biggest since January 2022 — in a poll conducted from April 5-11 among 224 participants with $638 billion in assets under management.

A separate note showed BofA clients were net sellers of U.S. equities for a third consecutive week.

Clients pulled a net $800 million from US stocks in the five-day period through April 12 as the S&P 500 Index slumped for the week, quantitative strategists led by Jill Carey Hall said Tuesday in a note.

“A stock-market correction is unfolding right now triggered by Middle East tensions, rising bond yields and worries about delayed Fed rate cuts,” said James Demmert at Main Street Research. “Stocks have been due for a pullback for quite some time.”

BlackRock Inc.’s Robert Kapito says the stock market is poised to benefit as investors deploy their outsized holdings of cash.

There’s almost $9 trillion sitting in money market funds and the same amount in cash alternatives at banks, Kapito, president of the world’s largest asset manager, said at the Asia Pacific Financial and Innovation Symposium in Melbourne on Tuesday.

“Rising bond yields are a sign that the global economy and corporate profits are strong and resilient,” said Demmert at Main Street Research. “While this economic and corporate strength may result in fewer than expected or even no rate cuts for the foreseeable future, that isn’t something that will ruin this new bull market.”

“In the early phase of a new business cycle, it’s earnings — not the Fed - that drive stocks. Earnings have been far better than expected and we envision a similar outcome as earnings season is once again in full swing,” he concluded.

Corporate highlights:

  • PNC Financial Services Group Inc. missed estimates for net interest income in the first quarter, a sign that the Pittsburgh-based lender has continued to grapple with muted loan growth.
  • The Bank of New York Mellon Corp. reported first-quarter revenue that topped estimates as the oldest U.S. lender benefited from higher market values and increased client activity.
  • UnitedHealth Group Inc. beat Wall Street’s profit expectations and affirmed its outlook for the year, despite the costs associated with a cyberattack on one of its subsidiaries that has roiled the health-care industry.
  • Johnson & Johnson’s first-quarter drug sales narrowly outpaced Wall Street expectations as the company beat profit estimates, a step towards boosting profitability after the spinoff of its consumer division.
  • LVMH sales growth slowed at the start of the year as wealthy consumers reined in spending on pricey Louis Vuitton handbags and Hennessy Cognac.
  • Adidas AG raised its profit target for the year amid strong demand for classic sneakers like the Samba and a boost from sales of its diminishing stockpile of Yeezy footwear

Key events this week:

  • Eurozone CPI, Wednesday
  • Fed issues its Beige Book, Wednesday
  • Cleveland Fed President Loretta Mester speaks, Wednesday
  • Fed Governor Michelle Bowman speaks, Wednesday
  • BOE Governor Andrew Bailey speaks, Wednesday
  • Taiwan Semiconductor earnings, Thursday
  • US Conf. Board leading index, existing home sales, initial jobless claims, Thursday
  • Fed Governor Michelle Bowman speaks, Thursday
  • New York Fed President John Williams speaks, Thursday
  • Atlanta Fed President Raphael Bostic speaks, Thursday
  • BOE Deputy Governor Dave Ramsden and ECB Governing Council member Joachim Nagel speak, Friday
  • Chicago Fed President Austan Goolsbee speaks, Friday

Some of the main moves in markets:


  • The S&P 500 fell 0.2 per cent as of 2:01 p.m. New York time
  • The Nasdaq 100 was little changed
  • The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.2 per cent
  • The MSCI World index fell 0.8 per cent


  • The Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index rose 0.3 per cent
  • The euro was little changed at $1.0618
  • The British pound fell 0.1 per cent to $1.2428
  • The Japanese yen fell 0.3 per cent to 154.73 per dollar


  • Bitcoin fell 1 per cent to $62,511.4
  • Ether fell 1.4 per cent to $3,041.3


  • The yield on 10-year Treasuries advanced seven basis points to 4.67 per cent
  • Germany’s 10-year yield advanced five basis points to 2.49 per cent
  • Britain’s 10-year yield advanced six basis points to 4.30 per cent


  • West Texas Intermediate crude was little changed
  • Spot gold was little changed

This story was produced with the assistance of Bloomberg Automation.