Almost half of US investors say Fed rate hikes 'bad' for economy – survey

by Francis Monfort19 Dec 2018

A majority of US investors think the Federal Reserve should stop raising interest rates, indicating a lack of support among investors of further rate hikes, according to the fourth-quarter Wells Fargo Investor and Retirement Optimism Index survey.

The survey found that 61% said the Fed should not continue to raise rates, up from 46% in the May survey. Nearly half of the investors (48%) said that raising rates would be “bad” for the economy. Thirty-seven percent said increased “won’t make much of a difference,” and only 16% said hikes would be beneficial.

The Wells Fargo Investment Institute expects a rate hike at the Federal Open Market Committee meeting that concludes today.

“Our current outlook is for three additional rate hikes over next year before the Fed ends its current rate-hike cycle,” said Brian Rehling, co-head of global fixed-income strategy for the institute.

The survey further found that half of the investors consider the current US economy as “solid.” Only 11% described it as “booming,” and a significant minority of 39% described it as “shaky” or “weak.”

Separately, the poll found that more than six in 10 investors perceive the economy to be about as strong as it has been reported to be (40%) or stronger than reported (23%). Meanwhile, 37% said the economy is “not as strong” as reported.

The survey was conducted Nov. 12-20 and is based on 1,022 US adults with $10,000 or more invested in stocks, bonds, or mutual funds.