Yellen’s task: Soothe market’s frayed nerves

February 10, 2016 10:54 AM

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It has been downhill for financial markets ever since the Federal Reserve moved in mid-December to raise interest rates off zero for the first time in nearly a decade. The Dow Jones industrial average has shed more than 1,700 points since the hike. Stocks in Germany and Japan have tumbled more than 15%. And U.S.-produced crude has plunged about 25%. No wonder investors have been flocking to perceived havens, such as the 10-year Treasury note, which has jumped in price, resulting in a drop in its yield of more than half of a percentage point. Gold, another haven in tough times, is up more than 10%.

The world Fed Chair Janet Yellen was living in in December is much different than the one she’s dealing with today. That’s why Wall Street will be listening closely to Yellen’s testimony before Congress on Wednesday and Thursday to see if she will reassure markets the Fed’s hoped-for pace of four qu...

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