There’s been a seismic shift in investor perspective: Bad news is no longer good news.
For the past year, Wall Street has hoped for cool monthly economic data that would encourage the Federal Reserve to halt its aggressive pace of interest rate hikes to tame inflation.
But at its March meeting — just days after a series of bank failures raised concerns about the economy’s stability — the central bank signaled that it plans to pause raising rates sometime this year. With an end to interest rate hikes in sight, investors have stopped attempting to guess the Fed’s next move and have turned instead to the health of the economy.
This means that, whereas softening economic data used to signal good news — that the Fed could potentially stop raising rates — now, cooling economic prints simply suggest the economy is weakening. That makes investors worried that the slowing economy could fall into a recession.