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Expand chart
Data: CME FedWatch Tool; Note: Data as of Nov. 13 at 5:44pm CT; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

Fed chair Jerome Powell again laid out his rose-colored view of the U.S. economy on Wednesday, telling the congressional Joint Economic Committee that he sees the U.S. as “being in a good place." He reiterated that a "material reassessment" of the economic outlook would be required for the Fed to raise or cut interest rates any time soon.

Why it matters: Powell's testimony was the cherry on top of the good news sundae that has sent traders' appetite for risk soaring over the last two weeks, and priced out expectations for further U.S. interest rate cuts through the end of next year.

What we're hearing: "It's amazing the collective wisdom of the market," says Gautam Khanna, senior portfolio manager at BNY Mellon, which manages at least $1.3 trillion in assets.

  • When the Fed raised rates in December, "the market said the Fed was making a mistake. 'Europe is slowing, we're facing a trade war, there's Brexit,' and it reacted. The Fed has since [cut interest rates three times] and the market is happy with that," Khanna tells Axios.

Powell has maintained this rosy outlook all along, "but the market needed to see the rate cuts," Lale Akoner, BNY Mellon's global market strategist, adds.

  • "Now that the market has received those rate cuts, financial conditions have eased, which will avoid a hard crash" for the economy.

Watch this space: Akoner says she expects the Fed to remain on pause through the end of next year and for U.S. Treasury yields to rise by around 100 basis points in the near future.

Between the lines: Fed fund futures pricing has shown investors consistently betting the economy would deteriorate this year and into 2020, forcing the Fed to continue to cut rates at least two more times by June.

  • Over the past month the market has reversed those bets, and now is pricing in a less than 5% chance of a cut before year-end and less than a 50% chance of a rate cut by December 2020.

Quick take: “Looking ahead, my colleagues and I see a sustained expansion of economic activity, a strong labor market, and inflation near our symmetric 2% objective as most likely,” Powell told the congressional committee Wednesday.

  • "This favorable baseline partly reflects the policy adjustments that we have made to provide support for the economy.”

What's next: Investors will be closely watching U.S. economic data to see if that is the case.

Go deeper: Recession fears have vanished

Go deeper

Updated 45 mins ago - Health

WHO: Delta health measures help fight Omicron

Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images

Health measures taken to combat COVID-19 before the emergence of Omicron would also help against the new variant of concern, World Health Organization officials said Friday.

What they're saying: Takeshi Kasai, WHO regional director for the Western Pacific, said during a virtual briefing broadcast from Manila, Philippines, that border controls imposed by the U.S. and other nations can "buy time" to deal with the variant, but warned "every country and every community must prepare for new surges in cases."

2 hours ago - Health

Nevada to impose insurance surcharge on unvaccinated state workers

Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak. Photo: Ethan Miller/Getty Images

Nevada's Public Employees' Benefit Program Board voted Thursday to charge workers enrolled in public employee health insurance plans a surcharge of up to $55 a month if they're not vaccinated against COVID-19, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reports.

Why it matters: Nevada is the first state to announce such a move, per AP.

Oklahoma sues Biden administration over Pentagon vaccine mandate

Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin testifies before a House Armed Services Committee hearing on Sept. 29 in Washington, D.C. Photo: Olivier Douliery/Pool via Getty Images

The state of Oklahoma filed a lawsuit against the Biden administration on Thursday in an attempt to block the enforcement of its vaccine mandate for federal employees.

Why it matters: The move comes one day after Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin denied Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt's (R) request to exempt the state's National Guard from the mandate.