It’s fed time again, states Michael Paulenoff of

Wednesday, the Powell Fed is supposed to hike the Fed funds rate by 25 bps (from zero to 0.25%) while inflation is running at nearly 8% on an annualized basis. If Powell does what the markets expect, announce a 25 bp rate hike, confirm the end of QE, and update investors on the Fed's intention to reduce its balance sheet obligations, will investors breathe easier, will the equity markets take off to the upside from their extremely oversold condition, or will they be "disappointed" that the Fed isn't tighter, or more vigilant about its commitment to fight inflation? 

Who knows?

My sense is that his ability to define current inflation could go a long way towards determining the reaction of the equity markets.


Because if Powell defines current inflation as a consequence of supply shocks and commodity price "spikes," he will "sound" like he is back in the "transitory camp" again, expecting inflationary pressures to moderate significantly later in 2022, and will opt for a lighter, more wait-and-see approach to a new rate hike cycle (bullish for the equity markets).

However, if he otherwise gives investors the impression that current inflation could prove to be more stubborn, and either is or could morph into the classic demand-pull variety (that we learned about in our Samuelson textbooks way back when) even after the supply shocks and commodity spikes moderate—then investors might find themselves hunkering down for a prolonged period of rate hike pressures that will elicit fears of recession (like the yield curve appears to be forecasting), lower earnings, and narrower profit margins.

It is with the foregoing in mind that we look at the near and intermediate term technical set up of JP Morgan (JPM) this AM because it should be an example of a company that will take advantage of rising rates within a "reopening" post-pandemic environment.

My daily chart on JPM shows that the stock's performance lately has been anything but a positive reaction to the advent of the first rate hike cycle in years. In fact, as of last Tuesday (3/08), JPM had declined 26.5% from its ATH at 172.96 last October 25, and is behaving as though any benefit from increased earnings derived from wider margins on its mortgage businesses is being overshadowed by fears and expectations of a sharp downturn in business activity (aka recession).

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Unsurprisingly, my Pattern and Momentum work argue that JPM still has unfinished business on the downside, into an optimal technical target zone in the vicinity of 116.50, where the stock will have satisfied a 32% correction off of its ATH, and retraced a "healthy" 60% of the entire advance from the March 2020 pandemic low at 76.91 to the October 2021 ATH at 172.96.

Only a sustained climb above 137.60 accompanied by a rally that exhibits bullish form will morph my technical work into a "friendlier" technical view of JPM. Let's see if whatever Jay Powell has in store for investors on Wednesday afternoon puts a floor under JPM and the banks, or does the opposite, exacerbates uncertainty, in which case my target zone becomes 103-105...last is 130.03-130.50.

Mike Paulenoff is co-founder of, a live Trading Room featuring his analysis of equity indices, commodities, cryptocurrencies, and trending stocks and ETFs.