Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Boxed-in Fed Takes Baby Steps on QE2

To help support the economic recovery in a context of price stability, the Committee will keep constant the Federal Reserve's holdings of securities at their current level by reinvesting principal payments from agency debt and agency mortgage-backed securities in longer-term Treasury securities.1 The Committee will continue to roll over the Federal Reserve's holdings of Treasury securities as they mature.

Besides keeping interest rates at ZERO, that's the only important message from today's FOMC rate decision. Essentially, the Fed will continue to purchase Treasuries, as they have been, surreptitiously, for the past three to four months and above board, prior to that. They will roll over some of their mortgage (toxic) debt into shorter-dated and (supposedly) more stable Treasuries.

Nothing to see here. The Fed is essentially boxed-in, has been for some time and we are now Japan.

Stocks made an immediate jump - the Dow gained back 100 points - after the announcement, but it's nothing more than a knee-jerk reaction to meaningless story. The Fed can't do anything to improve the economy substantially except print and roll over debt.

Dow 10,644.25, -54.50 (0.51%)
NASDAQ 2,277.17, -28.52 (1.24%)
S&P 500 1,121.06, -6.73 (0.60%)
NYSE Composite 7,139.75, -48.55 (0.68%)

Declining issues smacked down advancers, 4829-1662, and new highs remained ahead of new lows, 342-118. Volume, the real story of the week, and the weak, remained at suppressed, almost laughable levels. More than ever it seems that the same stocks are just changing hands amongst the same people, with the Wall Street firms skimming at the margins.

NASDAQ Volume 1,906,714,625
NYSE Volume 4,524,408,000

Since the dollar was appreciably higher against the Euro and most other currencies, oil slipped, losing $1.23, to $80.25. Gold fell $4.50, to $1,196.20; silver dropped 8 cents, to $18.15, though both were marginally higher after the FOMC announcement.

The price/volume action in stocks is demonstrating a clearly-defined topping pattern, as mentioned yesterday. With no catalyst to move the economy forward, expectations for another corrective period are likely to be proven correct.

One other important note was a 0.9% drop in productivity in the 2nd quarter, along with a paltry gain of 0.2% in unit labor costs, more signs of a slowing economy and deflationary environment.

1 comment:

madonnalouise said...
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