Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange.
Wall Street veteran Art Cashin told CNBC on Thursday that investors continue to worry about the Federal Reserve’s handle on the bond market, leading to choppy trading.
“It doesn’t matter whether they lost control or not. If the market believes they lost control, that’s just as dangerous and damning,” Cashin, the director of floor operations for UBS, said on “Squawk on the Street.”
Cashin’s comments came before Fed Chair Jerome Powell appeared at The Wall Street Journal Jobs Summit around noon Thursday.
“I don’t think he can have a magic wand,” Cashin said, but he stressed investors wanted assurance from Powell that the Fed would be able to “maintain control” of bond yields and inflation expectations.
Indeed, U.S. equity indexes fell Thursday afternoon as yields rose during Powell’s interview. The move in yields came after Powell did not make a strong hint that the central bank would change its asset purchases.
Cashin mentioned before Powell’s appearance that the Fed chair may be able to assuage trader worries if he discussed a potential “Operation Twist,” in which it sells short-term bills and buys longer-duration bonds.