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President Donald Trump has criticized the Fed chief for raising interest rates and Bloomberg News reported December 21 that the president had discussed firing Powell.

A new jobs report on Friday showed USA employers added more than 300,000 jobs in December - well above expectations.

"Despite this dovish tone, we are sceptical", Schenker said in a note.

By Rich MillerFederal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell has managed to assuage fickle financial markets by muddying the central bank's monetary message.

The Fed raised its benchmark interest rate four times in 2018, with the latest announced on December 19, when Powell said his institution's policy decisions are "not on a preset course". The week was a volatile one for stocks.

Both of those messages cheered stock market investors who had been anxious about Trump's repeated attacks on his hand-picked choice to lead the nation's central bank and also the Fed's seemingly inexorable march to higher rates.

"The upcoming earnings season will likely see managements reset 2019 earnings expectations to something close to flat versus 2018", said Colas in note on Friday, adding that stocks could push higher in the year even if January is a month of losses. But some investors have anxious that that process could push long-term rates higher at a time when the economy was slowing.

Kim Jong Un warns North Korea could consider change of tack
Kim's New Year's Day address - his seventh since taking power - is set to air on North Korea's state-run television network. Last year's speech set the country on an unprecedented path of global diplomacy with South Korea and the US.

"There is no pre-set path for policy", Powell said during an appearance at a conference of economists in Atlanta. Under the law that governs the Federal Reserve, a president can only remove a Fed chairman for cause.

Overall, she said she felt the Fed was in a "really good spot". Powell responded with a terse "No" when asked if he would resign if Trump requested him to do so.

On Friday, Powell said, "We are always prepared to shift the stance of policy and to shift it significantly if necessary" to meet the goals of maximum employment and stable prices.

"I found it actually quite surprising how benign markets were for such a long time, despite the risks of trade wars and other things that were going on", Bernanke said in an observation that's shared privately by some Fed officials. "On the other hand the economic fundamentals and today's labour market report supports a view that the US economy is still on sound footing".

The Fed's tightening cycle includes both rate hikes and the gradual shedding of its more than $4 trillion in assets.

In Atlanta, Powell said Fed policy is flexible and the central bank is "listening carefully" to markets.

"We are in a new world", Mester said, where the obvious need to raise rates has given way to a situation where economic growth is expected to slow, wages are rising on the basis of low unemployment, interest rate sensitive sectors of the economy like housing have ebbed, and the unemployment rate has roughly "stabilized" at a low level.