Featured StoryPeople are viewing the end of stimulus as a sunset. "My, what a wonderful day we've had," they say.
What they should be doing is investing for tomorrow's dawn - the turmoil we're seeing now as part of Yellen's arrival is actually par for the course.
It's also a great time to lock your sights on four companies that will lead the way when the smoke clears... Full Story
Federal Reserve System
This Chart Will Save You from a Dangerously Popular Delusion
There's a very dangerous meme making the rounds.
It goes something like this:
The economy is improving, therefore the Fed's going to taper... and, when it does, the economy is strong enough to endure the withdrawals that will come with it.
Don't fall for it.
Nothing could be farther from the truth. Any amount of stimulus reduction will indeed trigger a "taper tantrum."
This chart is all the proof we need...
Why the Fed's 100th Birthday Could Be Its Last
On December 23rd, the Federal Reserve will turn 100 years old.
We can look back on its few successes... but its many failures far outweigh any positives it may have achieved.
What's at stake now is the Fed's future. And it looks bleak.
In fact, the Fed won't even exist in 100 years...
Time to Buy These "Out of Print" Assets
From the Editor: We've been tracking this threat for years, ever since Keith Fitz-Gerald brought it to your attention back in January 2010. Today, Resources Specialist Peter Krauth weighs in on some recent developments in this story, because three of the commodities he covers can protect you. The Fed can't print these things... Here's Peter:
Central banks may have foolish policies, but central bankers are no dummies.
They know exactly what they're doing. They even comprehend a few of the implications, too.
Which is why it's interesting that some American central bankers have suggested doing away with the debt ceiling altogether.
Famed investor Marc Faber recently said, "The question is not tapering. The question is at what point will they increase the asset purchases to say $150 [billion], $200 [billion], a trillion dollars a month."
Faber expects the Fed's current QE4 to become "QE4-ever."
That could mean years of money printing and ultra-low rates.
Even bond king Bill Gross recently chimed in his latest monthly outlook that "The United States (and global economy) may have to get used to financially repressive - and therefore low policy rates - for decades to come."
Either way, don't depend on the Fed to save you. You can save yourself
And now you'll need to...
Fed Strategy from Mohammed Ali
Bernanke's actions last week - failing to taper, yet still trying to maintain the illusion that QE is a good thing - are setting up a one-two punch that's not unlike boxing champion Mohammed Ali's famous "float like a butterfly, sting like a bee" approach.
If you recall, Ali was a master of the combination - some say the best ever. He loved to bring his opponents in close. Ali could see through the duplicity of his opponents' strategy and land punches that won decisively.
Ali did that using combinations that were based in fighting terms on two contrasts: high-low or short-long, or even left and right. He pressed every advantage he could find, even when others thought there were none to be had. Knowing he wanted to go the full 15 rounds, Ali developed a strategy that would become known as the "rope-a-dope" as a means of tiring out his opponents early on, then vanquishing them in later rounds when the fight really began.
I think we should take a page from Ali's playbook and split the "fight" Bernanke's presented us with into two distinct time zones: the current "round," and those that happen down the line. One short. One long.
Is that possible?
Absolutely. What's more, it's easy to do.
First, though, put yourself in Bernanke's place...
How the Fed QE Taper Will Affect Foreign Markets
Hints from the U.S. Federal Reserve this week that the quantitative easing taper is near ruffled feathers on Wall Street last week - but the idea of less Fed stimulus has caused much more turmoil in certain overseas markets. Here are the places getting hit the hardest.
Read more... Read More...
- Keith Fitz-Gerald: What Ben Bernanke is Doing to the Markets http://moneymorning.com/wp-admin/post.php?post=100375&action=edit# Read More...
What's So "Open" About the Federal Open Market Committee?
Don't you just love how some things are named?
Like the Federal Reserve System, for instance. It's a central bank that was conceived in the private study of a private hunting lodge on a private island by a bunch of private bankers who didn't want to use the word "bank" in its name to fool taxpayers who thought it was a "system" to safeguard the public... from the very bankers who conceived it.
I don't know about you, but the feeling of safety I have is just overwhelming... NOT.
Then there's the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC). That's a committee of top plotters that meets in private to discuss what's going on in "free" markets so they can figure out how to manipulate them.
The Open Market Committee, or the Old Boys Club (they have a woman on the committee, but she's just a token "dove" who plays "Follow the Beard"), meets today and Wednesday to check on how their manipulations have stopped unruly free markets from sinking the banks that secretly run the Fed (you know it's not a secret, but there are a whole lot of taxpayers who don't).
To continue reading, please click here...Read More...
Do We Really Need the Federal Reserve System?
Abolishing the Federal Reserve System might seem like a drastic idea, but not when you get the full story...
You see, Congress created the U.S. Federal Reserve System to restore public confidence, provide the banking system a source of liquidity that would prevent its collapse and protect the public against inflation.
A century later, the banking system is so big its risks dwarf the Fed's liquidity capacity, and what cost a buck back then now will set you back $21.
That's why we asked Money Morning Chief Investment Strategist Keith Fitz-Gerald to explain how the Federal Reserve System actually helps a country's economy.
Most importantly, we wanted to know if the United States - or any country - even needs the Fed anymore.Read More...
- What You Absolutely Need to Know About Money (Part 8) Shah Gilani explains how the "extend and pretend" game became an institutionalized national treasure... Read more... Read More...
- What You Absolutely Need to Know About Money (Part 7) By the start of the 1960s, banking in America was in a state of flux. And as Shah Gilani explains it got ugly fast. Read more... Read More...
The New Crisis Warning Just Issued to the Federal Reserve
Before the housing market crash, economists warned that record low-interest and mortgage rates were fueling a housing bubble.
Unfortunately, those fears were both overlooked and underestimated.
Now, an advisory council to the U.S. Federal Reserve is warning the Fed that its record $85 billon-a-month stimulus and ultra-low interest rates are fueling new bubbles in student loans and farmland.
"Recent growth in student-loan debt, to nearly $1 trillion, now exceeds credit-card outstandings and has parallels to the housing crisis," according to minutes of the council's Feb. 8 meeting.Read More...
In addition, "agricultural land prices are veering further from what makes sense," the council said. "Members believe the run-up in agriculture land prices is a bubble resulting from persistently low interest rates."
5 Things the Federal Reserve Hopes You'll Never Find Out
Most Americans assume the U.S. Federal Reserve is a powerful government institution that seeks only to safeguard the dollar, boost the economy and drive employment higher.
That's what the Fed wants you to think.
The illusion of the Fed as a stabilizing, positive government entity has more or less existed since its creation under dubious circumstances in 1913.
"It not only avoided the word bank, it cleverly implied federal, or government, control over the establishment of a pool of reserves that would backstop the new banking 'system,'" said Money Morning Capital Wave Strategist Shah Gilani.Read More...
Stock Market Today: What's Next After Dow at 15,000
After record rallies last week took benchmarks to fresh highs, the stock market today took a breather.
Just before noon, the Dow Jones Industrial Average gave back 18.70, or 0.12%, to 14,955.26. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index inched higher by 1.55, or 0.10%, at 1,615.96. The Nasdaq eked out a 0.28%, or 9 -point gain, at 3,388.14.
Stocks surged Friday after the April jobs report handily beat expectations. The Dow broke 15,000 for the first time, and the S&P surpassed and finished above 1,600. For the week, the Dow added 261 points, or 1.8%, at 14,973.96. The S&P tacked on 32 points, or 2%, at 1,614.42. Helped by tech, the Nasdaq gained 99 points, or 3%, at 3,378.63.
"I think investors got a lift in their step from Friday's jobs report," Mark Luschini, chief investment strategist for Janney Montgomery Scott told CNN Money. "[But] this week, we're absent anything newsworthy."
Indeed, the week's economic calendar is quiet, and earning season is winding down. Notable reports this week include The Walt Disney Co. (NYSE: DIS) on Tuesday; Dish Network Corp. (Nasdaq: DISH) and Groupon Inc. (Nasdaq: GRPN) on Wednesday; and Priceline.com Inc. (Nasdaq: PCLN) on Thursday.
While the number of companies that have reported this season nearly doubled from 855 in 2009 to 1,655, the percentage that have beaten estimates remains at the same 59%. Moreover, just 52% have beaten revenue estimates, compared to the average of 60% since the bull market began in 2009, data from Bespoke Investment Group reveals.
That supports the consensus view that the Fed's market-friendly stimulus measures are driving stocks.
But will the gains stick?
For just the sixth time in 30 years, markets were up in January, February, March and April, according to Schaffer Investment Research. May got off to a robust start, but a cache of analysts are warning of a looming pullback.Read More...
The Real Reason Government Is Paying Down the National Debt
After six years of non-stop deficit spending that has added $8.2 trillion to the national debt, the U.S. Treasury has announced that it expects to reduce the country's debt by $35 billion this quarter.
Given that national debt growth has rocketed past $16.7 trillion and is on track to exceed $17 trillion at some point in the fall, a $35 billion reduction is laughably tiny. It's just 0.02% of what we as a nation owe.
And in the very same statement, the Treasury admitted that in the following quarter it expects to be back to borrowing as usual - $223 billion worth, more than six times the amount it plans to pay down this quarter.
So why bother?
"I don't believe in coincidences," said Money Morning Chief Investment Strategist Keith Fitz-Gerald. "Our leaders in Washington on both sides of the aisle are terribly under pressure from the American public right now, and I think this is a very convenient announcement to say, "Hey, we're doing the right thing, keep us all in office for a little while longer.'"
And apart from any political motivations, Fitz-Gerald wonders whether the plan to pay down $35 billion of the national debt can even be considered legitimate, given the way the government borrows money from itself.
"It's like taking blood from the left arm and putting in in the right arm and calling it a transfusion," Fitz-Gerald said.Read More...
Why JPMorgan Wants to See More Americans on Food Stamps
Every time an American signs up for food stamps in one of 23 states, JPMorgan Chase & Co. (NYSE: JPM) adds to its revenue stream.
That because JPMorgan Chase contracts to operate as the processor of the Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) cards in those states. JPMorgan earns a fee for each recipient, ranging from 31 cents to $2.30, depending on the state, every month for the term of the contract.
JPMorgan's seven-year Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, the official name for the federal food stamp program) contract with New York state, for example, brought in more than $126 million of revenue to the big bank.
Florida has paid JPMorgan more than $90 million since 2007. Pennsylvania's seven-year contract exceeded $112 million.
It brings a whole new meaning to "corporate welfare."Read More...