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John Authers

How Big a Deal Is Powell’s Million-Dollar Stock Trade?

There’s no way that insider knowledge would have helped Jerome Powell’s one big stock trade. In fact, his timing was lousy.

Jerome Powell’s trade was badly timed, not sinister.

Jerome Powell’s trade was badly timed, not sinister.

Photographer: Al Drago-Pool/Getty Images

The American Prospect, a revered journal of the American progressive left, has published a piece highlighting that Jerome Powell, chairman of the Federal Reserve, sold between $1 million and $5 million in stock on Oct. 1 last year. He did so through a Vanguard fund that tracks the total market. How big a deal is this?

I would argue, not very. The full disclosure form can be found here. It looks like the Fed chairman, a rich man from his career in private equity, holds an impeccably dull investment portfolio, virtually all passive and spread across asset classes. He appears not to have done much trading last year, apart from small purchases and sales that look like either rebalancing, or the use of income to reinvest.