Quantitative Easing

QE3 Is Strong Medicine for Dr. Copper

With QE3, Ben Bernanke just gave Dr. Copper a shot in the arm that should carry prices to new highs.

In fact, shortly after the U.S. Federal Reserve announced its decision to launch a third round of bond buying, copper rallied to $3.84 a pound on the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange, up from around $3.35 in mid-August.

But that is only part of the story...

As "the only metal with a Ph.D. in economics' because of its widespread use in industrial applications copper is an excellent bellwether for the state of global economic activity.

And right now copper is predicting a major global rebound.

"Investors' expectations for global economic growth in the fourth quarter are rising and Dr. Copper is rallying," Andrew Rosenberger, senior portfolio manager at Brinker Capital told MarketWatch.

"Copper and other assets which are linked to global growth are taking the approach of rally now, ask questions later," he said.

For investors, there are lots of reasons to like copper right now.

Let's take a look...

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Forget the Punch Bowl, With QE3 Ben's Party is Open Bar

Everything changed on September 13. It's the day Ben Bernanke promised not to take away the punch bowl.

Last Thursday, Helicopter Ben announced that the Fed would start buying $40 billion in mortgage-backed securities -- for as long as it takes. He also announced the Fed will keep rates between 0-0.25%, until mid-2015.

The goal is to keep supporting the mortgage bond market until the employment level improves "sufficiently."

But given that the last several rounds of multi-hundred billion dollar stimulus didn't accomplish that goal, it's hard to see why they'd expect this time to be any different.

Maybe it's just because Paul Krugman was right: They didn't spend enough the first two times (sarcasm intended). Or then again, maybe that's not really their goal...

Consider this: At Jackson Hole just a few weeks ago Bernanke said that, historically, there has only been limited experience with quantitative easing. Therefore central banks, including the Fed, "have been in the process of learning by doing."

Excuse me, but are you freaking kidding me?...

Did Ben skip all his history classes? Has he ever heard of the demise of Rome or Weimar Germany?

More recently, even Argentina and Zimbabwe have had plenty of experience with quantitative easing. Their zealous over-printing led to major devaluation and/or outright currency collapse.

Couldn't Bernanke have checked in with Cristina Kirchner or Robert Mugabe?

The only real difference, and I'll admit it's a substantial one, is that the U.S. dollar is the reserve currency for the world's central banks. But that won't change the outcome.

Instead it may just delay the day of reckoning. In the meantime, it's very likely going to make the situation much, much worse.

So what's the Fed really up to?

Well, here's what I think...

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QE3 Delivers Fresh Ammo for Both Romney and Obama

U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke never intended his latest stimulus program, QE3, to become an issue in the 2012 presidential election, but he had to know what would happen.

"We have tried very, very hard, and I think we've been successful...to be nonpartisan and apolitical," Bernanke said at a news conference Thursday after the official Fed announcement of QE3. "We make our decisions based entirely on the state of the economy....So we just don't take those [political] factors into account. And we think that's the best way to maintain our independence and maintain the trust of the public."

In case you missed it, the Fed's third round of quantitative easing entails the purchase of $40 billion of mortgage-backed securities each month until unemployment shows a marked improvement.

In other words, for as long as it takes.

But with QE3 arriving less than 60 days before a bitterly contested presidential election, the Fed move was bound to get caught up in the campaign.

Both sides reacted immediately, with Republicans criticizing QE3 as unnecessary while Democrats applauded.

A few Republicans even accused Bernanke of timing QE3 intentionally to boost President Obama's re-election chances.

For the record, Bernanke is himself a Republican, appointed chairman of the Federal Reserve by President George W. Bush in 2006 and re-appointed by President Obama in 2010.

But with the Fed becoming a GOP bogeyman in recent years (thanks largely to the attacks from Rep. Ron Paul, R-TX), QE3 was bound to become weaponized in this year's increasingly acrimonious campaign.

Don't be fooled when each political party throws out the following QE3-fueled lines to get your vote.

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How QE3 – Like QE1 and QE2 – Will Trigger Inflation

The traditional safe haven assets of gold (NYSE: GLD) and silver (NYSE: SLV) have surged in price due to the announcement of the latest round of quantitative easing, QE3 - but those aren't the only assets QE3 will push higher.

While QE3 might seem harmless to U.S. consumers, it is present every time they gas up their cars or buy food at the grocery store.

In fact, all three rounds of quantitative easing have led to higher priced commodities.

Whether you realize it or not, QE3 - same as the stimulus programs before it - is adding greatly to the costs of everyday life. QE3 is directly leading to higher prices for oil, food and the cost of imported goods.

Over time, that results in a tremendous consumer expense in all product and service categories.

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Jim Rogers On QE3, Gold, Silver and Oil

The U.S. Federal Reserve is ready to launch a third round of quantitative easing, dubbed QE3 or QE Forever - but legendary investor Jim Rogers is shaking his head.

In fact, Rogers said repeating the same program the Fed has already attempted will make policymakers "look like fools again."

In an interview with CNBC before the Fed's announcement, the chairman of Rogers Holdings said he was skeptical that additional stimulus measures could have any meaningful effect on the U.S. economy. He added that despite his reservations, he expected the Fed to unveil QE3.

The iconic financier also lashed out at the new developments in Europe, including a move from Germany last week to funnel taxpayer cash into the European Central Bank's OMT program, their own version of quantitative easing. Rogers maintained they are not addressing the root of the problems plaguing the Eurozone area.

On Europe's move to implement a euro version of QE, Rogers said it affords the Western world "unanimity towards mutual destruction."

Any relief will be temporary, warned Rogers.

"We're all going to pay a horrible price for this in a year or two or three," he said.

As for why the Fed will continue its ineffective stance of zero to 0.25% interest rates through at least mid-2015, and the tossing good money after bad, Rogers advised the reasons are simple.

It's an election year and "Mr. Bernanke wants to keep his job."

That's why Rogers is getting defensive with commodities.

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QE3 Becomes QE Forever

Welcome to unlimited quantitative easing, or QE Forever.

The U.S. Federal Reserve goosed equities, Treasury yields, gold, silver, oil, platinum, palladium and investor sentiment on Thursday when it announced additional stimulus to spur economic growth.

The central bank said it will continue to buy mortgage-related debt and other securities until the job market shows significant signs of improvement so long as inflation remains tame.

"The market got what it wanted. Stocks immediately shot up," James Meyer, chief investment officer at Tower Bridge Advisers told Reuters.

In fact, the markets got more than expected.

As part of the Fed's new scheme, a marked difference from the first two rounds of QE, it will buy $40 billion of mortgage debt per month. Additionally, the Fed reiterated its stance of keeping interest rates at historic low levels, extending the time frame out until at least the middle of 2015.

"This is definitely a significant shift in FOMC policy," Julia Coronado, chief economist for North America at BNP Paribas in New York and a former Fed economist told Bloomberg News.

Plus, the Fed said it would continue Operation Twist, its action to bring down long-term interest rates.

Collectively, the Fed moves will flood some $85 billion a month into the struggling U.S. economy for the rest of 2012.

The Fed has always set a determined amount of Fed purchases. This time, however, it let America know that easing will endure and no tightening will occur until confidence recovers.

That's why QE3 is a game-changing move for the U.S. economy.

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Fed Meeting Today: Are You Ready for QE3?

Investors have prepared for the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meeting today and tomorrow to end with the announcement of a third round of quantitative easing (QE3) - and that's a good bet to make.

Today's Fed meeting will likely end with more of the same information we've been hearing for months from U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke. It's been a year and a half since Bernanke first announced that short-term interest rates would remain near zero "for an extended period." That language will likely stay the same tomorrow, and the policy timelines could be drawn out even longer.

There is also no doubt that QE3 or some other meaningful economic stimulus measure is on its way.

Maury Harris, an analyst with UBS, declared in a recent note to clients that, "We now anticipate an announcement of another round of quantitative easing at the FOMC meeting on September 13th. We expect the easing will take the form of a six-month program of at least $500 billion, primarily focused on Treasuries."

Harris also added that, "We also expect the FOMC extends their rate guidance into 2015."

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QE3: Get Ahead of the Fed

The U.S. Federal Reserve has consistently pointed to high unemployment as a reason to deliver more stimulus, which makes this week a perfect time to announce quantitative easing, or QE3.

The Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meeting this week is fresh off Friday's Labor Department report that nonfarm payrolls increased by 96,000 jobs last month. Economists were hoping to see an increase of 125,000 jobs.

Unemployment fell to 8.1% from 8.3% as 368,000 people dropped out of the labor force.

The employment numbers were depressing - but for investors this was always a win-win situation.

If the jobs number had blown past 125,000 that would have been good for the markets - but so is a number that missed the mark.

That's because from whichever angle the Fed and Chairman Ben Bernanke look at this, the report is more fuel for the QE3 fire.

"This weak employment report, in jobs, wages, hours worked and participation is probably the last piece the Fed needs before launching another round of quantitative easing next week," Joseph Trevisani, chief market strategist at Worldwide Markets in Woodcliff Lake, NJ told Reuters last week.

Unemployment fell even though fewer jobs were added because the labor participation rate dropped to 63.5%, its lowest level in 30 years. The amount of underemployed and unemployed people is now above 25 million and the U-6 rate, the broad total unemployment rate which many consider to be a more accurate gauge of unemployment, stands at 14.7%.

With the rally the markets had last Thursday after the European Central Bank announced its new bond-buying plan, expect the markets to continue their bullish trend when Bernanke takes action.

That means now's the time for investors to prepare to profit from QE3.

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Today's FOMC Meeting: Fed Votes Operation Twist to Continue

Today's FOMC meeting - which started Tuesday - ended in a widely expected manner.

The Fed announced it will extend Operation Twist, which was set to expire at month's end, until the end of 2012, in an effort to keep interest rates low.

The Fed will expand Operation Twist, which replaces short-term bonds with longer-term debt, by $267 billion.

In a statement, the FOMC said the prolongation of Operation Twist "should put downward pressure on longer-term interest rates and help make broader financial conditions more accommodative."

The Fed pointed to the U.S. economy's poor recovery as reason for more "twist."

"Growth in employment has slowed in recent months and the unemployment rate remains elevated," the Fed reported. "Household spending appears to be rising at a slower pace than earlier in the year."

The lack of more intense stimulus, namely a third round of quantitative easing, sent the Dow Jones, which had been flat all day, plummeting some 50 points in just seconds. All three major indexes treaded lower following the report. Gold, hoping for QE3, sold off some $25 an ounce.

The yield on the 10-year Treasury note rose to 1.67% just after 1 p.m. in New York from 1.62% late yesterday.

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Quantitative Easing: The Real Reason the Fed May Go For QE3

Ben Bernanke has a secret.

And it's a secret that very likely terrifies him and his policymaking brethren at the U.S. Federal Reserve.

That secret has to do with his latest round of "quantitative easing," a liquidity-push known as "QE2."

What Bernanke & Co. don't want Americans to know is that painfully slow growth - or even a double-dip recession - isn't their greatest fear. Bernanke's greatest fear is that without this liquidity, one or more of the massive, already-bailed-out U.S. banks could stumble and once again undermine the global financial system.

And this time around, the outcome would be much, much uglier.

To discover the Fed's real objective, read on...

Why the Federal Reserve's Quantitative Easing Strategy Won't Save the US Economy

With a second round of "quantitative easing" underway, the U.S. Federal Reserve wants us to believe that it is doing its duty as the nation's central bank – promoting maximum employment, keeping a lid on inflation and making sure that long-term interest rates remain at reasonable levels.

This is known as the Fed's "dual mandate," since the inflation and interest-rate objectives are really the same goal.

But here's a shocker: The Federal Reserve's real dual mandate is to enrich the banks the central bank is created by and works for – and to cover Congress when its laws enrich banks at the expense of jobless American taxpayers.

Understanding how quantitative easing works is simple. Understanding how banks and Congress are manipulating this economic tool is just a tad more complicated. Understanding how quantitative easing will impact your life – and your financial future – is just a matter of understanding the facts

For additional insights on the Fed's true workings, please read on...

United States To Face Attacks on Quantitative Easing Policy at G20 Summit as Currency War Rages On

The United States will go on the defense at this week's Group of 20 (G20) meeting, having to explain its quantitative easing (QE2) policy to foreign leaders who have criticized the move as a currency war tactic to weaken the dollar and damage other countries' export-driven recoveries.

China, Brazil, Germany and South Africa all have spoken out against the U.S. Federal Reserve's announcement last week that it will buy $600 billion in U.S. Treasuries through June. Finance policymakers from around the globe say the move will depress the dollar and drive capital flows to emerging markets, creating asset bubbles.

Brazil's central bank president Henrique Meirelles said the extra liquidity in the U.S. economy would cause "risks for everyone," and German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble called the Fed's move "clueless."

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Stock Market Faces Critical Test This Week

Stocks rose gently like heat waves off a radiator over the past week, as traders guessed, assessed and processed the results of the midterm elections and the Federal Reserve's decision to try to light a fire under the U.S. economy by buying a $75-billion pile of fresh, new Treasury bonds every 30 days for the next eight months.

The major indexes rose 3.5% amid a set of sessions when banks finally found footing, as they were the best performing group, up 1%. Laggards were industrials and utilities, ending flat. Breadth was positive, favoring advancers by 2-1. And the number of new highs swelled to 1,200 while new lows also rose, to 80.

Click here to read why the market is at a critical juncture...

What to Expect from the Federal Reserve's Next Round of Quantitative Easing

The U.S. Federal Reserve today (Wednesday) is all but certain to announce a second round of quantitative easing - "QE2."

Most analysts believe the Fed will pledge to buy another $500 billion in U.S. Treasuries, but I think it will go even further. My expectation is that $500 billion in Treasury purchases over six months will be just a first step, and that the full amount contemplated - as much as $2 trillion - is much larger than consensus.

This view is based on an analysis by Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (NYSE: GS) chief domestic economist Jan Hatzius that suggests current interest rates, at 0% to 0.25%, are 700 basis points too high. In plain English, the Goldman analysis suggests that interest rates would have to be -7% to achieve the Fed's goals.

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Slow GDP Growth Sets Stage for Fed's Next Round of Quantitative Easing

The U.S. economy continued to struggle to grow in the third quarter, most likely giving government officials enough cover to pump more liquidity into the financial system to stimulate hiring.

Gross domestic product (GDP), the value of all goods and services produced, increased by 2% in the third quarter, the Commerce Department reported Friday. Economists polled by Dow Jones Newswires were expecting GDP to rise by 2.1% in the July to September period, The Wall Street Journal reported.

The gain was slightly more than the second quarter's 1.7% growth but not enough to revive a moribund job market, according to most economists.

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