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Fed Chair Jerome Powell's two-day testimony in front of the House and the Senate this week was decidedly hawkish. In retrospect, there was nothing new in his statements, but for some reason the markets were willing to listen. 

Overall sentiment in the markets has turned cautious and for some downright bearish once again after the January rally in stocks. Recession fears are once again taking center stage for many although there is still not enough evidence to prove it definitively.

I was expecting that January's bounce in the averages would reverse in February. So far, I have been wrong. I did provide some caveats. For example, I recognized that my forecast had become the consensus view, and that made me uncomfortable.

Both wages and jobs data thus far seem unaffected by higher interest rates and the Fed's attempt to slow the economy. That may change soon since we are seeing more and more companies announce layoffs and other cost-cutting actions.