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Why stock-market investors keep falling for Fed ‘pivot’ talk — and what it will take to put in a bottom

The right answer likely hinges on whether or not the Federal Reserve follows through with plans to raise its benchmark interest rate to 4.5% or higher, as market-based indicators and the Fed’s latest batch of projections anticipate. Global markets are on edge about the possibility of an emerging-markets crisis resulting from higher interest rates and a U.S. dollar at a 20 year high, or a slump in the housing market due to rising mortgage rates, or the collapse of a financial institution due to the worst bond market chaos in a generation. Fears that the Fed could cause something in the global economy or financial system to “break” have inspired some to question whether the Fed can successfully whip inflation by hiking interest rates by the most aggressive pace in decades without causing collateral damage.

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