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Guggenheim investment chief Minerd predicts there's a 50% chance the Fed cuts rates next year

Key Points
  • There's a 50 percent chance that the Federal reserve cuts interest rates in 2019, Guggenheim's Scott Minerd says.
  • "I would be looking to selectively pick up some, what I think, some cheap assets that are out there because I think inevitably the Fed's going to have to react to this," he says.
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50 percent chance of a rate cut next year, says Guggenheim's Scott Minerd

There's a 50 percent chance that the Federal Reserve reverses strategy and instead cuts interest rates next year, Guggenheim's head of investing told CNBC on Wednesday.

"Historically ... when we've had this kind of a pullback in stocks, the Federal Reserve reacts — they at least pause," Scott Minerd said on "Fast Money Halftime Report." "About half of the time they go on and do a rate cut."

Minerd thinks Jerome Powell has "exceeded expectations" in his role as Fed chair, but said a "series of missteps" by government officials -- from Powell's "autopilot" policy to President Donald Trump's ongoing attacks on his appointed Fed leader to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin's Monday call with bank CEOs -- has caused markets to slide and that additional carnage would push the central bank to take action.

The Fed could decide to pause on a potential rate hike in March 2019, he says.

"We're close enough to a bottom [in the equity market] that investors should be stepping in," Minerd added.

Minerd, who in April predicted a recession is looming and said stocks would fall 40 percent, pointed to the crash of 1987 and the Asian financial crisis of 1997 as precedents for where the market presented opportunities to "step up and buy." The major indexes are working to stage a comeback after experiencing their worst December since the Great Depression.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average was up nearly 700 points at one juncture Wednesday after suffering its worst Christmas Eve ever Monday. The S&P 500 was trading up 2.6 percent for the day and the Nasdaq Composite was up 3.6 percent, erasing their Monday losses.

The S&P 500, which is considered to be the best measure of large-cap equities, closed down more than 20 percent from a year-to-date high in September.

"I would be looking to selectively pick up some ... cheap assets that are out there because I think inevitably the Fed's going to have to react to this," he said.

The Fed last week raised interest rates for a fourth time this year, as expected, and lowered its rate hike projection for 2019 from three to two.