Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Cyprus Still an Issue; Fed Statement a Snoozer

For some reason known only to those who choose to follow rather than lead, everything market-related hinged upon the release of the FOMC policy statement on federal funds rates, which, as almost everyone in the civilized world already knew, would remain unchanged.

Nonetheless, the bearded chairman and his scholarly cohorts ripped Cyprus from the front pages of economic news for the day and delivered their usual hokum statement about "moderate growth", "targeted inflation" and other assorted word-bites designed to make the markets kowtow to their planned economic dictums.

The committee also released forecasts on economic growth and unemployment for the remainder of 2013, 2104 and 2015 - forecasts which are generally nothing but flights of fancy and will almost certainly miss their marks widely.

And, there was a press conference and question and answer period, in which chairman Bernanke reread the aforementioned statement, added a few humorless remarks and fielded a number of softball questions from the drooling press pool.

It was enough to lull babies and pets to sleep.

Meanwhile, the ECB and IMF continue to wrestle with the issue of what to do about Cyprus, which is still unsettled and operating without banks being open for a fifth straight day. Today's announcement was that Cypriot banks will remain closed until Tuesday of next week, as the government expects massive bank runs once they are open for business.

Imagine the grand, self-important EU ministers losing any remaining credibility over what amounts to a three to six billion euro matter. Incredible as it sounds, that's what's happening.

Party on, America.

Party on, Europe.

Dow 14,511.73, +55.91 (0.39%)
NASDAQ 3,254.19, +25.09 (0.78%)
S&P 500 1,558.71, +10.37 (0.67%)
NYSE Composite 9,081.09, +63.42 (0.70%)
NASDAQ Volume 1,605,044,125
NYSE Volume 3,682,038,000
Combined NYSE & NASDAQ Advance - Decline: 4657-1782
Combined NYSE & NASDAQ New highs - New lows: 506-37
WTI crude oil: 92.96, +0.80
Gold: 1,607.50, -3.80
Silver: 28.82, -0.026

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