Wall Street is at least beginning to entertain the thought that rates may rise a time or two this year, though fear of the Fed remains low.
Prior to Wednesday's release of the April Federal Open Market Committee minutes, the Street was skeptical that some of the recent tough talk would lead to action.
The prevailing sentiment was that all of the Fed jawboning was likely just that — talk, trying to make sure the market doesn't get too complacent about the possibility of tightening at some point this year, according to multiple experts on the Street who believe the likelihood of a June move remains low.
The minutes indicated a sentiment on the FOMC that should economic data continue to progress, a June hike would be "appropriate." However, the market's heard that chorus from the Fed before — that policymakers are "data dependent" and will react as conditions warrant.
Market experts believe that economic reports between now and the June 14-15 FOMC meeting would have to be pretty much pristine to move the prevailing dovish voting bloc off its position.
"If every single one of those was a report that was way stronger than expectations and showed the slack in the economy had been taken up at a rapid pace here in the second quarter, then all else being equal the Fed would probably raise rates in June and sit back and wait. That's barring any kind of January- or February-like global disruptions," John Canally, chief economic strategist at LPL Financial, said in an interview. "Do I think that's likely to happen? No."
The hawkish contingent of Fed members would like investors to believe otherwise. FOMC members John Williams, Loretta Mester and James Bullard have been pushing the theory that conditions are ripe for at least two hikes this year.
So what gives?