Is Bullard Front-Running Powell?

James Bullard, President of the St. Louis Fed and non-voting member of the FOMC, just got through telling Bloomberg News that observers should not put too much weight on what the Committee might or might not do when they meet later this month. Does he really think they won’t? The reason behind his suggestion is that he doesn’t think it’s very likely that much more will be known about the coronavirus and it’s economic damage. Traditionally one of the more dovish Committee members, Mr. Bullard has rarely seen a rate-cut he didn’t like and yesterday’s emergency, inter-meeting fifty-basis-point slash to the policy rate was no exception. Mr. Bullard’s outlook differs markedly from the outlook of investors in Fed Funds Futures, where contract characteristics reflect a 169% probability of a quarter-point cut on March 18. Could this me a messaging attempt to avoid disappointing equity markets that love rate cuts even more than Mr. Bullard? Today, stocks have rebounded handsomely after yesterday’s counter-culture sell-off while Treasury prices also manage to drift slightly upwards. The Ten-Year’s is perched just below 1% at around 97 American basis points.