How the Fed QE Taper Will Affect Foreign Markets
Hints from the U.S. Federal Reserve this week that the quantitative easing (QE) taper is near pushed the Dow down 105 points Wednesday - but the idea of less Fed stimulus has caused much more turmoil in certain overseas markets.
The problem: A corresponding hike in U.S. debt yields has fueled higher borrowing costs around the globe. This has led to the flight of cheap capital out of emerging currencies and markets.
That triggered the following reactions:
Check Out What the FOMC Meeting Minutes Did to the Stock Market Today
In one of the most highly anticipated releases of the year, the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meeting minutes from July 30-31 were released today (Wednesday).
They will be picked apart for days - but here's what you need to know.
FOMC Meeting: Fed Just Backtracked on QE Taper Talk
The Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meeting ended today (Wednesday) with word that the Fed plans to the stay the course on QE for now, backtracking from earlier hints it might begin tapering this fall.
"For all those looking for clear guidance on when quantitative easing will end, well, you will have to wait a little longer," Joel Naroff, president and chief economist at Naroff Economic Advisors Inc., wrote in a research note. "Indeed, there may have been some walking backwards today."
Money Morning Capital Wave Strategist Shah Gilani said it's no surprise the Fed has backed away from talk of tapering.
Exclusive: Obama Tells Money Morning Why He Just Loves Larry Summers…
Larry Summers for Fed Chief... He's got my vote. Absolutely!
Why? You just have to get to know the guy and you'll see he's perfectly qualified to head the Federal Reserve.
Here's just part of his resume.
From 1982-1983, Larry Summers was on staff at Ronald Reagan's Council of Economic Advisers. That's where Lawrence of Enablers earned his "Deregulate Everything" T-shirt.
After his brief stint on the Gipper's Council, where he was taught how real pros corral free markets for personal profit, the Enabler headed back to Harvard to teach kids (and himself) how to squeeze personal wealth out of mere economic theory.
He got his next shot at stardom as Chief Economist of the World Bank in 1991. He was there until 1993.
While there he wasted no time shining a light on himself.
In a 1991 interview he famously said:
Read on here...
Esther George on Why It's Time to Begin Adjusting QE
Kansas City Fed President Esther George hasn't changed her tune about the Fed's massive quantitative easing (QE) program, as she explained in an exclusive interview with FOX Business Network today (Tuesday).
"I think it is time to begin to adjust those purchases," she told FBN's Peter Barnes. "The labor market has shown now, for the last six months, pretty steady gains of close to 200,000 per month. That is a good indicator that there has been sustained improvement here and that I think it would be appropriate, given the size of our balance sheet, given the level of accommodation, that we begin to make adjustments that reflect that improvement as we go forward."
Launched last year, and dubbed QE Forever, the program is aimed at holding down long-term interest rates. It has fueled the recent housing rebound and record breaking stock-market rallies.
Another Big Fed Week: The Bernanke Monetary Policy Testimony to Congress
There's a key market-moving event this week investors can't miss: the semi-annual Ben Bernanke monetary policy testimony before Congress on Wednesday (House) and Thursday (Senate).
Congressional legislation known as Humphrey-Hawkins (now expired) required the Federal Reserve's Open Market Committee to report to Congress on both the state of the U.S. economy and monetary policy twice a year (February and July). The Fed Chairman testifies before Congress in conjunction with the report.
Traditionally, it had been one of the most important public appearances by the Fed Chairman, back when speeches were rare. But now with news conferences after many Fed meetings, these appearances are less important.
However, this time may be different, as it will be Ben Bernanke's last time in front of Congress before his term ends in 2014. The testimony may once again be a market moving event due to the market's recent concern about the Fed's 'tapering' of quantitative easing (QE).
Which Ben Will Deliver the Monetary Policy Testimony?
The markets have been confused lately by seemingly contradictory statements coming from various Fed members and particularly from Bernanke himself.
In fact, Bernanke's actions lately remind me of Batman villain Two-Face, aka former District Attorney Harvey Dent.
For example, one time he said that winding down QE may happen as soon as the middle of next year. But then, like last week, he flips saying the Fed will not taper the $85 billion a month bond purchasing plan until the U.S. economy is stronger.
He said, "highly accommodative monetary policy for the foreseeable future is what's needed [for the economy]."
Bernanke added that there would not be an automatic rise in interest rates either when the U.S. unemployment hit the Fed's target of 6.5%.
These statements sent the stock market solidly higher with both the S&P 500 and the Dow Industrials nearing their record highs. The S&P 500 and Dow Jones Industrial Average hit new record highs Monday closing at 1,682.50 and 15,484.26.
Traders believe the 'Bernanke put' was back in play. That is, Bernanke will do everything he can to keep stock prices higher.
So which Ben Bernanke will testify before Congress this week? Accommodative Ben or Tightening Ben?
Your Best Strategy for Playing This QE Rally
Don't worry. The bubble "Quantitative Easing" has built is still intact. For now.
However, even though there's breathing room, don't think it's time to breathe easy. There will be Hell to pay, just not now.
And I have found three opportunities to take advantage of the next phase in this unsettling market.
But let's gather some perspective first.
The news that the Fed might taper QE bond purchases gave the bond (and stock) markets a fit of the vapors and caused gold to careen toward $1,200 an ounce.