Editor's Note: This weekend edition may be the last Money Daily posting until Thursday of this week as incredibly bad weather has persisted in our neck of the woods, a recent windstorm knocking out power to over a quarter million of our neighbors immediately to the West. Bone-chilling temperatures and a major snowstorm are predicted for the early part of this coming week. Money Daily will return to a regular daily posting once weather conditions permit.
Investors took Friday's non-farm payroll (NFP) report of 235,000 net new jobs added to the US economy in February as genuine good news, despite the nearly foregone conclusion that the robust figure would make the case for a federal funds rate increase by the FOMC of the Federal Reserve a fait acommpli. The gains snapped a recent string of losing sessions on the major indices.
In reality, the idea of a rate increase of 25 basis points shouldn't be worrying to anybody, especially with the federal funds overnight rate remaining at or below zero for 14 of the past 17 years and the last eight straight.
A 0.25% increase would move the rate to 0.75-1.00, a number that the Fed has been apprehensive of since the Great Financial Crisis of 2008. Since then, they and their fellow travelers in central banking have added trillions in liquidity to the fractured system, saving it from complete collapse.
In the process, however, they have managed to dilute the currencies of most nations, notably those of Japan and the European Union. While rate increases by the US may be a panacea, they could impact other nationas and the global economy in a variety of ways. As the last crisis was liquidity-driven, expect any future crises to be based upon sovereign solvency or faith in national currencies, all of which are backed by nothing more than the faith and (ahem) credit of the issuing country.
The globe is one giant Ponzi scheme, in which everybody buys each others currencies, hoping beyond hope that nobody defaults in a messy manner. Thus far, central banking institutions have managed to avoid large-scale default, but there's no guarantee that such benign conditions will avail themselves indefinitely.
On the other hand, with the ability to conjure dollars, euros and yen out of thin air at their whim, the central bankers are holding all the cards, even though they're bluffing into their sleeves. The system may fail at some point, but it's more likely that gradualism will prevail, making the case that the most important aspect of one's finances may not be generation of income or growth, but preservation of what one already owns.
At The Close, Friday, March 9, 2017:
Dow: 20,902.98, +44.79 (0.21%)
NASDAQ: 5,861.73, +22.92 (0.39%)
S&P 500: 2,372.60, +7.73 (0.33%)
NYSE Composite: 11,500.76, +43.12 (0.38%)
For the Week:
Dow: -102.73 (-0.49%)
NASDAQ: -9.03 (-0.15%)
S&P 500: -10.52 (-0.44%)
NYSE Composite: -97.61 (-0.84%)