“Wages have moved up. We welcome that,” he said. “We don’t find it troubling from an inflation standpoint.” He added that “this is a good time to be patient and watch and wait and see how the situation evolves.”
Powell’s latest comments come as U.S. equities finished 2018 as their worst year in over a decade. The Dow fell 5.6 percent, while the S&P 500 lost 6.2 percent and the Nasdaq Composite fell 4 percent.
Furthermore, December alone resulted in the Dow falling 8.7 percent and the S&P 500 losing 9 percent, making it the worst December since 1931. However, as evidenced by the latest mentions of patience, it appears the Fed is finally paying closer attention to the pulse of the markets.
“Financial markets became more volatile toward year-end, and financial conditions are now less supportive of growth than they were earlier last year,’’ the Fed chairman said. “Growth has slowed in some major foreign economies, particularly China and Europe.’’
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