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  5. Interest-rate cuts could be coming this fall, adding another wrinkle to an election set to focus on the economy

Interest-rate cuts could be coming this fall, adding another wrinkle to an election set to focus on the economy

Dan DeFrancesco   

Interest-rate cuts could be coming this fall, adding another wrinkle to an election set to focus on the economy
  • This post originally appeared in the Insider Today newsletter.

Almost Friday! Distance makes the heart grow fonder, but don't let it fool you into thinking the old TV bundle was a good deal. Navigating streaming services is a better bet than getting stuck with a take-it-or-leave-it package.

In today's big story, inflation is cooling just in time for a US presidential election that will likely focus heavily on the economy.

What's on deck:

But first, cool (inflation) for the summer.

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The big story

The economy and the election

Sometimes, the biggest surprise is when there isn't one at all.

Market experts haven't seemed much like "experts" this year, with their economic predictions mostly missing the mark. Nowhere is that more obvious than their recent inflation estimates, which have been off target.

Both sides finally connected on Wednesday, as April's inflation report aligned with what experts expected. The Consumer Price Index increased 3.4%, a slight cooling from March's 3.5% year-over-year increase, writes Business Insider's Madison Hoff.

But don't start counting your summer interest-rate cuts before they're announced. As much as investors are begging for the Fed's policy to loosen up, rushing things could spell trouble, writes BI's Jennifer Sor.

Market vet Ed Yardeni warned a June or July rate cut would create a market "meltup." Think of it like a sugar high: Stocks surge initially from the relief but eventually suffer a steep drop.

The first cut seems more likely to come in the fall. After all, Fed Chair Jerome Powell hasn't indicated he's in a rush.

CME's FedWatch Tool seems to agree, with interest-rate traders viewing the September Fed meeting as the favorite for rates to drop.

That timeline means the first rate cut will precede the US presidential election.

Powell has said the election won't influence the central bank's decision. And he does have ties to both candidates — former President Donald Trump nominated him, President Joe Biden renominated him. But it's hard not to see how lowering rates for the first time so close to the election couldn't have an impact.

The economy always weighs heavy on the mind of the American voter, but even more so now. Inflation, home prices, and the cost of education and healthcare are top concerns for many voters heading into November.

On Wednesday, Biden and Trump agreed to face off in two debates, the first coming in June. But you don't have to wait to see where they stand on these economic topics.

BI's economy and politics team detailed Biden and Trump's plans across eight major economic categories by analyzing their time in the White House and their campaign promises.

While the two are far apart on some issues (student-loan debt) there is common ground (tax cuts for low- and middle-income households).

Still, chasms exist between both sides' perceptions of how their candidate ran the economy.

Take a KFF poll, which found 91% of Democratic voters believe Biden has done more to address healthcare costs.

Meanwhile, 91% of Republicans believe Trump did better while in office.

3 things in markets

  1. Roaring Kitty's back, but it's all starting to feel weird. Keith Gill's return sparked a massive rally among meme stocks in what felt like a revival of 2021's wild short squeeze. But as the stocks fall back down to Earth, the random video compilations he's been posting feel more like a mid-life crisis than a return to the glory days.
  2. Quant hedge funds' April report cards are in. Renaissance Technologies, whose founder Jim Simons passed away earlier this month, saw its largest fund up 1.8% in April. Meanwhile, other quantitative giants like Two Sigma and D.E. Shaw had more modest gains. Check them all out here.
  3. Stocks have peaked for the year, Goldman Sachs says. The equity-market rally has run its course and the S&P 500 won't end 2024 above its current level, according to the bank's chief US equity strategist David Kostin. There's no economic, valuation, or earnings argument for further upside right now, he said in an interview with Bloomberg TV.

3 things in tech

  1. AI is changing the battle between Android and iPhone. Sameer Samat, Google's Android chief, said AI marks a massive opportunity for the Android ecosystem — ultimately reinventing what smartphones can do.
  2. How Google reshuffled its top ranks to get ahead in AI. CEO Sundar Pichai redesigned his leadership team with a mixture of long-timers and established leaders to speed up decisions. Now he has 18 direct reports, according to an internal org chart seen by Business Insider.
  3. AI companies are pivoting away from the largest, most-advanced models. Microsoft, Google, Apple, and OpenAI all recently released smaller, cheaper AI tools. They're likely betting that enterprise customers will prioritize affordability over cutting-edge technology.

3 things in business

  1. Getting a job is getting really weird. On the business side, AI is being used to write job descriptions, judge applicants' skills, and rate candidates' responses. On the applicant side, people are using AI to write their résumés and apply to hundreds of jobs at a time. It's total chaos — and only getting worse.
  2. Netflix just solidified your Christmas plans. The streamer inked a three-year deal with the NFL to show its football games, two of which will be aired on Christmas this year. While the deal is a boost for the streamer, it's also another subscription fans will need to pay for to catch games.
  3. Meet AWS's new "bulldozer" boss. Matt Garman will become the new CEO of Amazon's cloud division in June. The 18-year veteran is known for being direct and earlier this year completed a major organizational shake-up that eliminated overlapping roles and redundancy.

In other news

What's happening today

  • Today's earnings: Walmart is among the companies reporting.

The Insider Today team: Dan DeFrancesco, deputy editor and anchor, in New York. Jordan Parker Erb, editor, in New York. Hallam Bullock, senior editor, in London. George Glover, reporter, in London.

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