Bonds fall before Fed decision

Stocks wavered while bonds fell as investors braced for the biggest Federal Reserve hike since 2000 and awaited more clues on how aggressively the central bank will tackle inflation.

Key for markets will be whether Fed Chair Jerome Powell’s commentary contains any hawkish surprises that could stoke concerns about a U.S. economic slowdown. Swap traders have trimmed the odds of a precipitous June hike from the Fed, suggesting around a one-in-three chance of a 75 basis-point increase next month. That would follow the 50-basis-point that is widely tipped to be implemented Wednesday.

The Federal Open Market Committee is also expected to announce plans to reduce the size of its bloated $8.9 trillion balance sheet. The panel will issue its statement at 2 p.m. in Washington. Powell will hold his first in-person press conference in two years 30 minutes later.

Jamie Dimon said the Fed should have moved quicker to raise rates as inflation hits the global economy. “We’re a little late,” the JPMorgan Chase & Co. chief executive officer told Bloomberg Television. “The sooner they move the better.”