Federal Reserve

Janet Yellen Sticks to the Script (Here's What It Means for Investors)

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Janet Yellen made her debut before Congress Tuesday as the new head of the Fed...

And just like they did for her predecessors, the markets hung on every single word.

Except in this case, nobody (and I mean nobody) expected any major fireworks. What they were looking for instead was a confirmation that it would be "business as usual."

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This Has Been Making Investors Rich for 140 Years

People 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

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...

What a QE Taper Means for Markets and the Next Fed Chair

People Bernake praying

On Tuesday, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago President Charles Evans announced that he wouldn't be surprised if the central bank begins to taper its $85 billion monthly bond-buying program in September.

Evans is the third official this week to signal a QE taper. Richard Fisher, president of the Dallas Fed, and Dennis Lockhart, president of the Atlanta Fed, parroted Evans' sentiment.

While Fisher indicated he would prefer to cut back bond purchases in August, Lockhart stated a preference for a September QE taper, although the Fed could wait longer if economic growth and unemployment trends reverse.

But it is Evans' announcement that is the most important. Evans is a member of the activist wing of the Federal Reserve. These members strongly support unconventional monetary policies such as bond buying, which are designed to reduce borrowing costs to spur aggregate demand and hiring across the country.

His views reflect those of the majority of members of the FOMC, the Fed's monetary policy committee.

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Exclusive: Obama Tells Money Morning Why He Just Loves Larry Summers…

Says Obama:
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...

Another Big Fed Week: The Bernanke Monetary Policy Testimony to Congress

People Bernake praying

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?

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You can Figure out When the Fed Might Start Tapering

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Although you might think the markets simply respond any time Ben Bernanke sneezes, his "cold cycle" is not one of the indicators that will spell the slowing

and eventual cessation of the printing press at the Fed.

There actually is a mathematical formula used by the Federal Reserve to determine when to stop the presses.

I could give you the formula and it would look like this:

POP2 = [1-(%POP) m*m] *POP1.

Or, I could share the link to the Federal Reserve's Jobs Calculator in Atlanta.

This is the same calculator used by the Fed to determine when the jobs market and the unemployment rate will align properly. And when they do, it will signal to the Federal Reserve that it might be a good time to start tapering its $85 billion a month bond buying program.

This is what needs to happen: The economy will have to show new job growth.

The Fed is looking for the creation of 150,000 to 200,000 new jobs each month for 6 months. This is how we look now:

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