On Tuesday, it was Federal Reserve presidents Loretta Mester, Mary Daly and Charles Evans furiously pushing back against the "Fed pivot," the idea pushed by bulls that the central bank was near the end of its tightening cycle and would start cutting rates in early 2023. The message: They are going to keep hiking rates until there are consistent signs inflation is declining toward the 2% target. On Wednesday, it was St. Louis Fed President James Bullard, who said on " Squawk Box " he wanted rates to get to 3.75%-4% this year. That would be a higher range than the current hope for 3.25%-3.5%. All that furious lobbying is driving up bond yields again today: at 2.78% on the 10-year Treasury, we are a full quarter point higher than this time Tuesday morning. "The better bet is that it will take a while for inflation to come back," Bullard told our Steve Liesman. "I think we'll probably have to be higher for longer in order to get the evidence" that inflation is indeed moderating. Starbucks showing consumer strength If you're looking for signs that the consumer is pulling back, you won't see it at Starbucks. As expected, there was a big decline (43%) in comparable store sales in China due to Covid-19 lockdowns, but North America sales were still strong: up 9%, consisting of an 8% increase in average ticket (cold beverages now account for roughly 75% of total beverage sales in U.S. company-operated stores, and consumers tend to order more expensive add-ons) and a 1% increase in transactions. You could argue that transactions, up only 1%, was a disappointment — but given the ongoing Covid variations and the fact that many people are still not back to work it is perhaps understandable. "It's critically important that you all understand we are not currently seeing any measurable reduction in customer spending or any evidence of customers trading down," interim CEO Howard Schultz told analysts on the conference call.