Three rate hikes by the Fed in 2018 would be problematic for markets, expert says

  • The current bull run in markets would be derailed if the Federal Reserve hikes rates three times this year, investing expert Michael Yoshikami says
  • The Federal Open Market Committee indicated three rate hikes for 2018 in its latest projections, but markets have priced in only two increases, he said

The current bull run in markets would be derailed if the U.S. Federal Reserve hikes rates three times this year, investing expert Michael Yoshikami told CNBC on Wednesday.

That prediction comes after the latest projections from the Federal Open Market Committee indicate three rate hikes for 2018. For one, Cleveland Fed President Loretta Mester, who will be a voting member on the FOMC this year, said she believes three to four hikes would be appropriate.

But Yoshikami, founder and CEO of Destination Wealth Management, said quicker normalization of rates in the U.S. would be "problematic" for markets, which have priced in only two increases.

"I think if you go to three or four, it is going to be problematic for the market. That's one of the things we're watching very carefully and that might be what provides a correct in this bull run that we're seeing," he said.

Stock markets in the U.S. rallied for much of 2017, with the three major indexes — the Dow Jones industrial average, the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq composite — hitting multiple record-high levels. That optimism has continued into this year.

The more hawkish Fed members have argued that an overly accommodative environment could cause bubbles. Some market watchers also warned of acceleration in inflation given the stronger economy and low unemployment.

But Yoshikami said he doesn't think inflation will rise at a faster pace this year.

"I'm a little suspect that we're actually going to see that kind of acceleration," he said.