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Bets are increasing that the Fed will cut interest rates

Jerome Powell
Fed Chair Jerome Powell. Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images

Investors are raising their expectations that the Federal Reserve will cut rates at least once this year, ahead of today's Fed policy meeting.

Driving the news: Fed funds futures prices show traders see a 65% chance the Fed cuts rates at least once this year and a greater than 20% chance of 2 rate cuts, according to CME Group's FedWatch tool. Bets on more than 1 rate hike have picked up notably over the past month.

  • "Markets have frequently underestimated Federal Reserve actions over the last few years, but lately the skepticism has been striking," LPL Financial chief investment strategist John Lynch said in a note to clients.

Flashback: The Fed forecast raising rates 3 times coming into 2019 and had predicted 2 rate increases as recently as January.

  • Axios reported in March that White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow wanted the Fed to cut U.S. interest rates by 50 basis points. Trump has ratcheted up those calls ever since.

The bottom line: Most investors say they don't believe Trump's pressure is going to influence the Fed, but bets have risen that the Fed will cut rates as Trump has increased calls for them.

Go deeper: The Federal Reserve looks to be laying the groundwork for interest rate cuts