The Federal Reserve triggered an afternoon rally in the stock market Wednesday after officials looked past inflation fears and kept rates unchanged. CNBC’s Jim Cramer said it was exactly the right call.
The central bank raised its economic growth and inflation forecasts, but stopped short of signaling forthcoming rate hikes. That may mean that consumer prices run even higher, Cramer said, but that’s the least of his worries as long as businesses are hiring more employees.
“Pay no attention to the inflation behind the curtain,” Cramer said on “Mad Money” after the market closed. “Fed Chief Jay Powell took a page from the Wizard of Oz playbook today and, unlike in the movie, he was dead right.”
The Fed has kept its benchmark interest rate near zero for the length of the coronavirus pandemic.
Stocks had traded lower earlier in the day in anticipation of a potential shift from the Fed. After the announcement, the Dow Jones and S&P 500 indexes both finished the trading day in record territory. The blue-chip average added 189 points to close at 33,015.37 for a gain of 0.58%. The benchmark advanced .29% to 3,974.12. The tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite had the biggest swing from its intraday lows to close up .4% at 13,525.20.
Despite an improving outlook, including projected gross domestic product growth of 6.5% in 2021 and an improving employment environment, the Fed maintained that it does not expect to raise borrowing rates through 2023.
Last month the U.S. saw nonfarm payroll employment improve by 379,000, but the unemployment rate was little changed at 6.2% and remained elevated from pre-pandemic levels.
Cramer said investors worried about inflation are “missing out on some very big stock moves.”
Money managers, who often take their cues from the bond market, and baby boomers scarred by the high inflation rates of decades ago, ended up on the wrong side of the trade, he said.
“If, instead, you recognize that the Fed is the stock market’s friend, you’ll catch those moves,” he said. “We’ve got all these new investors who pay no attention to the Fed or the bond market at all … they’re making out like bandits. You might not like it, but in this market ignorance it is bliss.”