Finance

Bond king Jeffrey Gundlach says he expects one more Fed rate hike

DoubleLine Capital CEO Jeffrey Gundlach said he sees one additional rate hike from the Federal Reserve before the central bank ends its tightening cycle.

“I think one more,” Gundlach said Wednesday on CNBC’s “Closing Bell: Overtime.” “I think it’s tough to make the statement ‘ongoing increases’ with an ‘s’ at the end of the word ‘increase’ and do zero unless you had very substantial change in economic conditions.”

The Fed on Wednesday raised its benchmark interest rate by a quarter percentage point, taking its target range to 4.5%-4.75%, the highest since October 2007. The Fed’s statement included language noting that the central bank still sees the need for “ongoing increases in the target range.”

The so-called bond king said Fed Chairman Jerome Powell had a “clarifying” statement at the press conference Wednesday, saying the real yields are positive across the curve. Gundlach said he was referring to the Treasury Inflation-Protected Securities (TIPS), whose yields have stopped their ascent.

“He’s looking at the TIPS market, which had a huge increase in yields last year. That was a major headwind for risk assets in the stock market,” Gundlach said. “They’ve stopped going up and I have a feeling that real yields are going to not go up in the first part of this year. So that keeps a little bit of runway, I think.”

Stocks staged a big comeback in January, led by beaten-down technology names. The S&P 500 rallied 6.2% in January, notching its best start of the year since 2019. The tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite jumped 10.7% last month for its best monthly performance since July.

In Powell’s press conference, the Fed chief said the central bank could conduct a few more rate hikes to bring inflation down to its target.

“We’ve raised rates four and a half percentage points, and we’re talking about a couple of more rate hikes to get to that level we think is appropriately restrictive,” Powell said. “Why do we think that’s probably necessary? We think because inflation is still running very hot.”

Asked if Gundlach sees the Fed cutting rates this year, he said it’s a coin flip, depending on the incoming inflation data.

“I kind of think that they’ll cut rates in the second half of the year, but I’m not really committed to that idea firmly at all,” Gundlach said.

The widely followed investor also said he believes the odds for a recession this year have decreased, but they are still above 50%.

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