Bond manager Bill Gross said the Federal Reserve most likely will hike rates at its next meeting in June despite the nation being “close to the flatline in terms of economic growth."
"Goodness, this quarter, for almost the second quarter in a row, we're close to the flatline in terms of economic growth," Gross, who leads the Unconstrained Bond Fund at Janus Capital Group, told CNBC.
"But the jobs market seems to be doing better, and that's the one they emphasize first. As long as jobs keep going at 200,000 a month, I think the Fed is well on its way to a June hike."
The Federal Reserve opted to leave interest rates unchanged at its April meeting Wednesday, noting that the labor market had improved, despite the appearance of slowing economic activity and moderate household spending, CNBC reported.
"Usually I like to differ from the market or disagree with the market, but I think, in this case, one hike is probably where we're at," Gross said.
U.S. economic growth braked sharply in the first quarter to its slowest pace in two years as consumer spending softened and a strong dollar continued to undercut exports, but a pick-up in activity is anticipated given a buoyant labor market, Reuters
Gross domestic product increased at a 0.5 percent annual rate, the weakest since the first quarter of 2014, the Labor Department said on Thursday in its advance estimate. Growth was also held back by businesses stepping up efforts to reduce unwanted merchandise clogging up warehouses.
Cheap oil, which has pressured the profits of oil field companies like Schlumberger and Halliburton, remained a drag, sending business spending tumbling at its quickest pace since the second quarter of 2009, when the recession ended.
Almost all sectors of the economy weakened in the first quarter, with housing the lone star.
"The economy essentially stalled in the first quarter, but that doesn't mean it is faltering," said Newsmax Finance Insider Joel Naroff
, chief economist at Naroff Economic Advisors in Holland, Pennsylvania. "Some of the restraints to growth are dissipating. Growth is likely to accelerate going forward."
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