Macro Briefing: 26 February 2024

* Fed’s favorite inflation gauge expected to rise most in a year
* Business economists expect rate cuts starting in June: NABE survey
* Is rising US stock market a factor that will delay interest rate cuts?
* Key chip maker TSMC opens first plant in Japan
* Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway reports strong rise in operating earnings, but…
* Berkshire’s size implies stock will only slightly outperform in years ahead: Buffett

Economists are expecting core PCE inflation — considered to be the Fed’s primary inflation metric — to accelerate to a 0.4% month-over-month change for January in Thursday’s release (Feb. 29), up from 0.2% previously. If correct, the monthly gain would be the strongest in a year. “The stage is set for monthly PCE inflation to jump following hot CPI and PPI reports. While that certainly won’t put the Fed at ease, we think policymakers will largely look through the January increase,” advises Bloomberg Economics. “Temporary factors — including residual seasonality and the increase in prices of portfolio-management services — serve as critical drivers behind the January increase. Similarly, some of the expected gain in personal income comes from cost-of-living adjustments and an unsustainably high nonfarm-payroll print.”