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JP Morgan strategist: Fed is 'fundamentally making a mistake' by cutting rates

Key Points
  • David Kelly, the chief global strategist at J.P. Morgan Asset Management, told CNBC's "Power Lunch" that he doesn't think rate cuts by the Federal Reserve will boost the U.S. economy.
  • Kelly said the Federal Reserve seems "obsessed" with inflation.
  • "Chairman Powell admits that really it is fiscal policy that has any possibility at all of stimulating the economy," Kelly said.
VIDEO5:1705:17
Why this economist believes the Fed doesn't need to cut rates now

A top strategist at J.P. Morgan Asset Management said on CNBC Wednesday that the Federal Reserve is "fundamentally making a mistake" with its anticipated rate cut at the end of the month.

David Kelly, the chief global strategist at J.P. Morgan Asset Management, said on CNBC's "Power Lunch" that he doesn't think rate cuts will boost the U.S. economy and that the expected cut is in part due to political pressure from the Trump administration on Fed Chair Jerome Powell.

"Chairman Powell admits that really it is fiscal policy that has any possibility at all of stimulating the economy," Kelly said. "Not, by the way, that you need to stimulate the economy when you've got a 3.7% unemployment rate."

President Donald Trump has reportedly discussed attempting to remove Powell from his position. Powell reiterated on Wednesday during a Congressional hearing that he intends to serve his entire term and said "my answer would be no" to an attempt by Trump to fire him.

"I think they're worried about independence. I think they're worried about getting too criticized by the administration," Kelly said.

VIDEO2:2102:21
Guggenheim's Minerd: Fed will cut 75 basis points by end of year

On "Closing Bell," Guggenheim global chief investment officer Scott Minerd said he thinks the Fed will do three rate cuts this year, but shared Kelly's concerns about the rate cuts going too far.

"I think that perhaps the Fed is being overly aggressive here. In all likelihood, the economy is not doing as poorly as some people think, and we're probably going to overshoot in terms of providing too much stimulus," Minerd said.

Kelly also said members of the Fed "seem obsessed" with inflation, which has remained below the target rate of 2%.

"That's a slippery slope. We may not get to 2% inflation. Does that justify October? Does that justify December? You could go all the way down to zero on the Federal Funds Rate and not get to 2% inflation," Kelly said.

The overwhelming expectation in the market is for the Fed to cut interest rates at its meeting on July 30 and 31.The S&P 500 reached record highs on Wednesday when it became clear that Powell would not try to dissuade the market of that expectation in his Congressional testimony.

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