Bill Ackman sees the Fed moving rapidly on interest rate cuts

Bill Ackman sees the Fed moving rapidly on interest rate cuts

Bill Ackman, Pershing Square Capital Management CEO, speaking at the Delivering Alpha conference in New York City on Sept. 28, 2023.

Adam Jeffery | CNBC

Billionaire investor Bill Ackman expects the Federal Reserve to have to cut interest rates early and often in 2024, seemingly confirming the market outlook for much looser monetary policy.

“Right now, with inflation cooling very meaningfully, the real cost of money is very high rate now. So I think they’re going to have to move early,” the head of Pershing Square Capital Management said Friday morning during a CNBC “Squawk Box” interview. “We certainly could do more than three cuts.”

Following their December policy meeting, Fed officials indicated that they could enact three quarter-percentage-point rate cuts this year, followed by multiple other moves over the next couple of years in bringing short-term rates down to a neutral level.

However, markets have priced in a much more aggressive arc.

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Traders in the fed funds futures market anticipate six cuts this year, with an 83% probability that the first one happens in March, according to the CME Group’s FedWatch gauge.

However, there’s debate over whether that is an accurate view.

Larry Fink, CEO of asset management behemoth BlackRock, told CNBC earlier Friday that he thinks central bankers will be hesitant to move too quickly.

“I do believe the Federal Reserve is going to be more accommodative. I am not a believer that we’re going to see three easings coming up this year,” Fink said. “Unless we have some real significant change in the economic data, I think we probably should expect [the first rate cut] by June.”

Fed officials could decide to “ease a little bit and just see what happens,” he added.

Both Ackman and Fink said they think an easier Fed should benefit stocks.

“I think it’s good for equities as long as they bring rates down fast enough to avoid a meaningful recession,” Ackman said.

Watch CNBC's full interview with BlackRock CEO Larry Fink

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