Bernanke Jackson Hole speech
Investors are eagerly waiting to hear if U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke will announce QE3 this week. Bernanke speaks Thursday at the conclusion of the two-day Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meeting and many expect him to announce some form of stimulus to revive the struggling U.S. economy.
But there's another huge event scheduled this week, one that could provide a tool other than printing money for boosting U.S. gross domestic product (GDP).
Believe it or not, analysts at JPMorgan Chase & Co. (NSYE: JPM) estimate that the Apple iPhone 5, expected to be unveiled tomorrow (Wednesday) afternoon and on sale by the end of this month, will raise GDP by 0.5% in the fourth quarter of this year.
Money Morning Chief Investment Strategist Keith Fitz-Gerald appeared on Fox Business' "Varney & Co." program Tuesday morning to discuss the possibility of this iPhone effect and what it implies.
QE3 Still on Table, Bernanke Says in Jackson Hole Speech
The Federal Reserve is looking at more action to prop up the lagging U.S. economy, including a third round of quantitative easing (QE3), Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke said in a speech today (Friday).
Much of the speech, delivered at the Fed's annual retreat at Jackson Hole, WY, made a case for the effectiveness of the central bank's easy-money policies since 2007, including "nontraditional" actions such as QE1, QE2, and Operation Twist.
The Fed chairman said that the stimulus purchases "have provided meaningful support to the economic recovery while mitigating deflationary risks."
And in a hint to expect more of the same -- namely, QE3 -- Bernanke said that the costs of such policies, "appear manageable, implying that we should not rule out the further use of such policies if economic conditions warrant."
Bernanke also voiced concern over the sluggish economic recovery, and in particular the "painfully slow" improvement of the U.S. unemployment rate, which has changed little in 2012.
That's the sort of bad economic news that has pushed the Fed to take action in the past.
Stock Market Today: Markets See-Saw on Bernanke Speech
Jackson Hole Speech: Fed Can't Fix Economy Without Washington's Help
The U.S. Federal Reserve has exhausted nearly all of its resources in trying to help the U.S. economy, Chairman Ben S. Bernanke said in a speech Friday at Jackson Hole, WY.
Now it's up to the federal government to do its part by fixing U.S. fiscal policy.
"Most of the economic policies that support robust economic growth in the long run are outside the province of the central bank," Bernanke said in his address to the annual conference in sponsored by the Kansas City Fed.
Some analysts thought Bernanke would hint at a third round of quantitative easing, but instead he handed off responsibility for reviving the economy to Congress and the White House.
The absence of any policy changes at first disappointed Wall Street - the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 220 points immediately following the speech - but the negative sentiment didn't last. The Dow closed up 134.72 points, or 1.21%, while the Standard & Poor's 500 Index rose 17.53 points, or 1.51%.
"The Federal Reserve Chairman may have left the door open for more easing measures, but he has given the markets nothing concrete this morning," John Kilduff, a partner at Again Capital LLC, told Reuters. "It appears the Fed has stepped back, leaving us to await efforts from the White House and Congress, if any, to bolster theeconomy. This is a bearish development."
The only tidbit of fresh information Bernanke offered in his Jackson Hole speech was the extension of the Federal Open Market Committee's (FOMC) September meeting from one day to two (Sept. 20-21), "to allow a fuller discussion" of the "merits and costs" of the Fed's policy options.
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