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Janet Yellen, chair of the U.S. Federal Reserve, listens during a House Financial Services Committee hearing in Washington.
The stock market climbed Wednesday with the Dow Jones industrial average hitting a record after Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen delivered testimony to Congress that lacked any real surprises.
Wall Street has speculated on the course of Fed interest rate hikes this year and when it would unwind its balance sheet. She did not offer many details on when the central bank would start to sell the bonds it acquired during the financial crisis other than saying it would begin later this year.
Instead, Yellen said rate increases and balance sheet reduction would be gradual.
“I think what Chair Yellen said today was basically the Goldilocks testimony where she gave salve to maybe anybody who’s thinking the economy is not tracking well or that they were going to raise rates quicker than they’ve said or they were suddenly going to unleash all the bonds onto the bonds on the market,” Keith Bliss, senior vice president at Cuttone & Co., told CNBC’s “Closing Bell” on Wednesday.
Michael Farr, president of Farr, Miller & Washington, said he does not think Yellen was dovish in her testimony Wednesday. He said he would be surprised if the Fed does not raise interest rates again this year.
“I think she wants to do it before the next chairman comes in,” Farr said on “Closing Bell.” “I think she wants to start that ball rolling.”
There has been speculation on Wall Street that President Donald Trump will not nominate Yellen to another term and may instead pick Gary Cohn, head of the National Economic Council and former COO of Goldman Sachs.
The economy has shown signals of improvement, Bliss said, with signs of capital expenditures and hiring in the goods producing sector that are equal to the service producing sector. Implementing tax cuts would only accelerate that growth, he said.
“That’ll unleash every economic beast out there, and then you will have the Fed looking at a really normal interest rate policy moving forward,” Bliss said.
But the stock market is still waiting for the Trump administration to deliver on tax cuts. There have been conflicting reports on when it will start to focus on reforms as the health-care debate continues.