Major averages finished mixed on mixed volume at the low end of their respective trading ranges. All the major indexes reversed off their opening gap-up highs to close near the lows of their intraday trading ranges, with the NASDAQ trading heavier volume. The Market Direction Model remains on a sell signal which was first issued on February 2nd.
While markets were disappointed in Federal Reserve Chairwoman Janet Yellen's somewhat hawkish stance on Wednesday regarding the future direction of interest rates, she conceded Wednesday that negative interest rates are a possibility but that any legal issues would need to be cleared up. Still, she didn’t think any serious legal roadblocks existed.
Several of Europe’s central banks have cut key interest rates below zero and kept them there for more than a year but it has done nothing to help spur growth. And now Japan is trying it.
The idea is that negative rates would push banks to lend thus spurring economic growth. But forcing banks to make loans seems unwise, so the banks may just pass the negative rates onto its customers instead.
Negative rates smack of desperation as the Fed paints itself into a tighter and tighter corner. The Fed can choose to be dovish and eventually push rates into negative territory, or they can be hawkish and lean on higher rates in the future. Either way, markets seem displeased. Futures are off about -1.5% at the time of this writing.
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