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Fed chairman Jerome Powell prepares to speak at a news conference after the Board's two-day meeting. Photo: Mark Wilson/Getty Images
Fed chair Jerome Powell made clear at the Fed's June policy meeting that the U.S. central bank is ready to cut interest rates — just not yet.
What it means: Powell looks to be facing pressure from all sides — President Trump, other central banks and even members of the Fed's rate-setting committee — to lower interest rates. His press conference suggested that his heart's not in it, but he's ready to go.
Why it matters: The cut itself is inconsequential, analysts say. With the Fed funds rate still barely above the rate of inflation, cutting it 25 basis points makes little to no difference to the economy.
Without the Fed taking any concrete policy action, the yield on the 10-year U.S. Treasury note has fallen to its lowest in 2 years, dragging U.S. mortgage rates to near record lows.
What he said: "Uncertainties about this outlook have increased.... The Committee will closely monitor the implications of incoming information … and will act as appropriate to sustain the expansion."
Between the lines: "The Fed left rates on hold but sent a clear message — the next move is a cut. The only question now is the timing," analysts at Bank of America-Merrill-Lynch wrote in a note to clients.
Of note: As with the shift away from central bank policy tightening at the beginning of the year, Powell is following, not leading, the charge. European Central Bank President Mario Draghi has cleared the path for both policy pivots globally, as Europe's steadily weakening economy has led deteriorating figures on trade from the U.S.
Fed chair Powell has made FOMC statements shorter and spoken more often, but he hasn't actually spoken more plainly — at least not when compared to predecessors Ben Bernanke and Alan Greenspan.
Be smart: A 2014 report from the St. Louis Fed found that what increased the complexity of the reports was the Fed's quantitative easing program.
About the Flesch-Kincaid index: St. Louis Fed researchers explain, it "combines two measures of text complexity — average word length and average sentence length — to generate a reading level that corresponds to a U.S. grade level or the number of years of education generally required to understand the text."
While China's most well-known equity indexes have underperformed this year, its onshore stocks — so-called A-shares — have driven returns well above the U.S. and index maker MSCI's all-world stock index.
What it means: The A-shares are primarily domestic companies and therefore less exposed to the U.S.-China trade war.
What's happening: Researchers at the IMF reported Wednesday that aggregate portfolio inflows to China had more than tripled to $159 billion in 2018 from $50 billion in 2016, with overseas purchases of A-shares "especially strong."
Argentina's economy is falling apart, further evidenced by its second straight quarter of negative GDP growth.
Driving the news: The country's GDP fell 5.8% in the first quarter after a 6.2% fall in the fourth quarter of 2018.
What's happening: Under Macri Argentina has seen record high inflation and poverty rates and its peso currency has fallen to what is by far the lowest level on record.
Former Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez was the keynote speaker for EisnerAmper's Alternative Investment Summit in New York Wednesday.
While he spent most of his time onstage crushing softballs Eisner's CEO lobbed to him, Rodriguez, now chief executive of investment firm A-Rod Corp, did make a particularly interesting observation about the state of the market.
"The one thing you don't need today is capital because everybody has it. There's more liquidity out there than ever before chasing deals, so I think we are the scarce asset, we have opportunities and then we'll go out there and be strategic."
Rodriguez said its A-Rod Corp's ability to leverage both his and partner Jennifer Lopez's social media reach and "global impact" as well as the firm's experience and wealth of diverse perspectives that have allowed the much smaller company to " beat out Blackstone, KKR, Starwood," and other massive private equity shops for deals.
Editor's note: Situational awareness has been corrected to reflect that Slack's listing is today (not tomorrow).