Adobe Stock/sdecoret

The likelihood of four interest rate hikes in 2018 is becoming more apparent. And while investors are getting more comfortable with that reality, CNBC staffer Jeff Cox reports, that may change.

Rising rates will likely bring increased inflation pressures that “in turn could serve as a millstone for a market struggling to post meaningful gains even amid blockbuster corporate earnings,” Cox writes.

"If all that happens to make a fourth hike necessary, I'm not sure the market will be as comfortable as you see at the moment," said Jim Paulsen, chief investment strategist at the Leuthold Group. "It's the movement around it that shifts around your feet and makes the environment a lot more hostile."

While optimists believe strong economic growth accompanied by just “a dose” of inflation would push wages higher and increase quality of life without an outsized rise in prices, there is another side.

The other side is the bleak scenario, where long-dormant inflation rises and the Fed finds itself behind the curve after years of loose monetary policy. The central bank then has to move more quickly than the market anticipates, putting pressure on both stock and bond prices, which move inversely to yields.

Bull markets die because the Fed kills them, says economist from CNBC.

Read More