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A version of this story first appeared in CNN Business’ Before the Bell newsletter. Not a subscriber? You can sign up right here. You can listen to an audio version of the newsletter by clicking the same link.

Stocks are trading near record highs after Wall Street received long-awaited clarity on the path for inflation and interest rates. Can that last?

The market has been on a tear in 2024, driven higher by robust corporate earnings and the artificial intelligence boom. That rally has been challenged in recent months by a slew of hotter-than-expected inflation reports and economic data, which spurred concerns that the Federal Reserve would wait longer than expected to cut rates.

The S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite indexes both clinched several record closes last week as cooler-than-expected May Consumer and Producer Price Index reports raised Wall Street’s hopes that inflation is coming down again.

Still, the Fed held interest rates steady on Wednesday and signaled just one cut for this year, fewer than the three it previously projected. Traders expect the Fed to begin easing rates in September at the earliest, according to the CME FedWatch Tool.

If inflation is cooling down but the Fed is still expected to keep its key lending rate higher for longer, what does that mean for the stock market?

Before the Bell spoke with Jack Janasiewicz, lead portfolio strategist at Natixis Investment Managers Solutions, to discuss.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

Before the Bell: What is your biggest takeaway from last week?

Jack Janasiewicz: The bottom line … is that there’s a disinflationary impulse coming. I think [Fed Chair Jerome] Powell was right to sort of look at [hotter-than-expected] January, February, March inflation data as maybe a little bit of an anomaly or a pause but not a reversal of that trend that’s going to continue to head to that 2% target. So, again, heading in the right direction, it may be slower than people would like. But we’re going to 2%.

And then the other thing I would point to as well — the labor side of their mandate is becoming a little more focused. [The Fed] is one of the only central banks that has the dual mandate with price stability and full employment. It feels like the price stability side is coming into better focus. As the economy slows a little bit here, and you start to see the unemployment rate tick a little bit higher … the Fed [could start] to focus on making sure that the unemployment rate doesn’t start to rise.

That could be the trigger for rate cuts. So we’re not ruling out rate cuts by September. We could easily have a cut. The data will tell us that, but I think the big takeaway for us is [inflation] going in the right direction.

What is the implication for stocks?

This is sort of a Goldilocks scenario for stocks where we’ve got inflation trending lower, but it’s still a little bit elevated above the target, which is going to be good for corporate profits, and the economy is still growing above trend. And even if we slow, keep in mind where we’re starting from. You’re starting from an above-trend growth rate. So if you slow maybe we slow to trend. That’s a pretty good backdrop. That’s good for corporate earnings. And that’s, not surprisingly, why the market continues to hold up.

I wouldn’t be shocked if we get a pullback, but the underlying economy is still pretty strong, and we’re basically going to tell our clients that any pullback, you should be looking to add on. So if we get a 5% or 10% correction in equities over the next month or two, you should be putting money to work, not de-risking here, because the fundamentals are still very strong for the economy.

Do you expect some of the cash that’s on the sidelines to enter the stock market?

Some of that will come back in, but I don’t think you’re going to see all of it, only because you’re still earning a pretty good yield on money market accounts. People have cash as cash, and it’s kind of its own bucket. So swapping that bucket for an equity risk, it’s not quite the same.

But I think some of that will find its way back into the markets. We still have plenty of clients that are pretty defensively positioned because they don’t believe in this market rally, they think it’s overhyped, the economy is still going to slow. So there is room for some of that money to come back in, but some of it I think is still pretty sticky.

Anyone with half an eye on the housing market over the last two decades will know that in many countries, not least the United States, it’s become much more difficult to buy a home.

But a new report sums up the feeling of many potential home buyers by creating a category that labels some major cities as “impossibly unaffordable,” reports my colleague Hilary Whiteman.

The report compared average incomes with average home prices. It found that pandemic-driven demand for homes with outside space, land use policies aimed at limiting urban sprawl, and investors piling into markets had sent prices soaring.

US cities on the West Coast and Hawaii occupied five of the top 10 most unaffordable places, according to the annual Demographic International Housing Affordability report, which has been tracking house prices for 20 years.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the most expensive US cities to buy a home are in California, where San Jose, Los Angeles, San Francisco and San Diego have all made the top 10.

The Hawaiian capital of Honolulu also rates a mention in sixth place of 94 major markets surveyed in eight countries.

Australia is the only other country besides the US to dominate the “impossibly unaffordable” list, led by Sydney and the southern cities of Melbourne in Victoria and Adelaide in South Australia.

Read more here.

The complicated partnership between Apple and OpenAI

When OpenAI CEO Sam Altman attended Apple’s annual developer conference last week, he walked the campus, mingling with current and former executives, including Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak. Nearly an hour later, the iPhone maker announced a much-rumored partnership with OpenAI to bring its ChatGPT technology to devices this year.

But Altman, who has emerged as the poster child for generative AI in the 18 months since the launch of ChatGPT, was not featured in Apple’s formal presentation, neither in person nor via livestream, reports my colleague Samantha Murphy Kelly. Nor did he join Apple CEO Tim Cook and other executives in a private press event about privacy and security and the partnership between the two companies.

“I was not surprised Sam Altman did not appear on stage,” said Ben Wood, an analyst at market research firm CCS Insight in an interview with CNN. “Apple had to manage the message carefully. OpenAI is merely the vehicle to address broader AI-powered inquiries that are not core to the Apple experience. Having him in the livestream would have only created an unnecessary level of confusion.”

Earlier last week, Apple showed off a handful of AI-powered features coming to the iPhone, iPad and Mac in the fall — the majority of which are fueled by the company’s own proprietary technology, called Apple Intelligence.

The company will offer OpenAI’s viral ChatGPT tool in a limited capacity, usually only when Siri is activated and needs more assistance answering an inquiry.

The move to invite Altman to the announcement but not have him appear before the public also represents in some ways how Apple is cautiously moving forward with the partnership.

Read more here.

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