Stocks took a breather last week after signs of cooling in China, and what some investors saw as a possible change in FED policies. The Nikkei, which has soared since last November on hopes of economic revival, was the hardest hit with Thursday’s 7,32 % fall. Other Asian and European markets dropped as well, but not so dramatically, raising questions whether the bull market has come to an end.
Some investors blame FED-chairman, Ben Bernanke for the turmoil. Others point to a seeming difference between Bernanke and the board’s published minutes for late April. Investors might, however, blame themselves for unrealistic expectations and their gamble on a change in FED’s policies.
Investors have different motives in their bet for a change. Some are appalled by FED’s money printing and that there is no predicted hyperinflation. Others hoped that Bernanke’s monetary experiments would be abandoned. Such abandonment would have meant that President Obama’s entire economic policy had failed. The third and biggest group of Wall Street investors simply blame themselves for missing out on the stock rally. The general indexes have beaten the hedge funds three times since January.
No wonder many of them are frustrated. Fat bonuses this year might hang on their own wishful thinking for a quick change. Change depends, however, on objective analysis, and a correct reading of Bernanke’s careful wording. In his testimony last week, Bernanke repeated word for word what he stated since last September.
FED will continue to buy 85 billion of bonds monthly till the 6,5 % target for unemployment and a steady growth is established. The US economy is not quite there yet. It might well take another 8 – 12 months. The grunting from dissatisfied FED board members is not something new.Their hopes for a change in policies have been reflected in the last eight FED minutes.
There will, of course, be a change. But the timing will be decided by economic data and FED’s consideration. Investors lost billions of dollars last week on a wrong bet on the timing for a change. By now, they have hopefully swallowed their anger and are ready to meet markets which are hopefully back on track, ready for rallies and continued new highs.
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