Federal Reserve

The Federal Reserve has squandered an opportunity, former Dallas Fed advisor says

Fed rate hike coming in March?

If the Federal Reserve wants to hike rates three times this year, as it has said it wants to do, it needs to get moving soon, a former advisor to the Dallas Federal Reserve told CNBC on Wednesday.

In fact, she believes the central bank should have been stronger in its statement on Wednesday to prepare investors for a possible increase during its next meeting in March.

"In order for them to really move the needle on expectations for March, Janet Yellen herself is going to have to come out in the next few weeks and be much, much more hawkish," Danielle DiMartino Booth said in an interview with "Power Lunch."

"I think they squandered this opportunity."

Janet Yellen
Tom Williams | CQ Roll Call | Getty Images

At the conclusion of its two-day meeting on Wednesday, the Federal Open Market Committee said it is not raising rates, but noted that optimism is growing among the business community and consumers. It also said it expected inflation to rise to 2 percent.

To Scott Minerd, global chief investment officer at Guggenheim Partners, the Fed telegraphed on Wednesday that it is not expecting to move in March.

And the longer the Fed delays those hikes, the more trouble there may be in the bond market, he told "Power Lunch."

"They're setting themselves up that when they start to talk about things like reducing the size of the balance sheet, I don't think the market is ready to absorb a reduction in reinvestments, because at the same time we're taking about a reduction of reinvestments we're talking about an increase in fiscal stimulus, which is going to increase deficits," he said.

"So all of a sudden we're going to have a change in supply in the yield curve and I don't think the market is pricing for that right now."

David Kelly, chief global strategist at JPMorgan Funds, has a different take on the Fed's statement. He thinks the deliberate mention of higher inflationary pressure means the central bank is raising expectations of a March hike.

"What they don't want to do is go into the March meeting with nobody expecting a rate hike and then having to battle expectations," he told "Power Lunch."

He anticipates an increase at every meeting where a press conference follows, unless there is a crisis.

However, Booth said that doesn't give them much time.

"They've already said that they want three rate hikes in 2017. They're going to have to get going because they'll only hike rates when there is a press conference, which only gives them four opportunities," she said.

— CNBC's Jeff Cox contributed to this report.

Fed is years behind the curve: Former Fed Gov