Here's the latest stock-market trading issue involving a Fed official

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By Steve Goldstein

Another day, another trading scandal?

This time the focus is on Vice Chair Richard Clarida. Citing financial disclosure forms, Bloomberg News reported he shifted funds from a Pimco bond fund into two stock-market funds — a day ahead of a statement from Chair Jerome Powell about possible policy action as the pandemic worsened. Clarida’s trades were worth between $1 million and $5 million.

The Fed said the transactions were a preplanned rebalancing, and the funds were chosen with prior approval of an ethics official. The transactions also declined in value after Clarida’s trades, as the stock market slumped as the coronavirus pandemic spread outside of China.

“It was exactly the kind of autopilot trade public officials are supposed to make. Unfortunately for Clarida, it’s not clear anyone cares. The timing, coincidence or not, stinks,” said Chris Low, chief economist at FHN Financial, in a note to clients.

Two Fed regional presidents resigned in the wake of their trading activities. Disclosure forms reveal the two, Eric Rosengren and Robert Kaplan, made repeated transactions.

The revelations of Clarida’s trading comes as the White House decides whether to re-nominate Jerome Powell as chair of the institution, as a key Democrat, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, said she would not support such a move.

“Wouldn’t it be handy to have a Fed aligned with White House stimulus economics? I’m not saying, I’m asking: because speculating on what the Fed is going to do involves knowing who the Fed will be,” said Michael Every, global strategist at Rabobank.

-Steve Goldstein

 

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

10-04-21 0742ET

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