Fed Gives Stocks a Q1 Lyft – Ep. 455

May 13 – 15, 2019

A Gift from the Federal Reserve

The Dow Jones closed out its best quarter since 1998 with a 211 point gain: 25,928.68 was the close.  The Dow, on the quarter up 10.3% – the broader averages doing even better.  The S&P 500 rose 12.3% on the quarter. The Russell 2000 – 13.8%, and the NASDAQ 15.6% gain on the quarter.  of course, the entire rally was a gift from the Federal Reserve. Had the Federal Reserve stayed on its course, indicating that more rate hikes were coming; 3 or 4 this year; had the Fed continued with its planned auto-pilot reduction in the size of its enormous balance sheet, the stock market would be considerably lower.  In fact, we probably would have added to the losses experienced in the 4th quarter of last year with additional losses this year. But the Fed, as I had been predicting for many years, reacted to the weakness in the stock market and the weakness in the economy by reversing course.

Bigger Cuts Ahead then the Market is Currently Pricing In

Now the Fed hasn’t actually cut rates yet, although the markets are already anticipating rate cuts and not additional rate hikes. Where the markets got it wrong is that there will be much bigger cuts than what the market is currently pricing in.  I think the market is looking at maybe 25 or 50 basis points of cuts. In fact, we’re going all the way back to zero. A reduction in interest rates of 25 basis points or 50 basis points would do absolutely nothing.

Quackery: Substituting a Bubble for the Illusion of Economic Growth

I think the Fed, again, is going to have to go all the way down to zero once it decides that’s what it’s going to do. But had the Fed not changed course, the markets and the economy would be quite a bit weaker. Although not weaker – more air would have come out of the bubble. That’s all the Fed has been doing with its monetary policy is sustaining a bubble.  Allowing the bubble to get bigger and bigger, while preventing the underlying structural problems from being solved.  Even though those solutions involve some short-term pain, as a trade-off for long-term gain, it is a very healthy process that would be good for the economy in the long run.  But, instead, the Fed has interfered with the market’s medicine and substituted its own quackery – substituting a bubble to create the illusion of economic growth as the economy is actually worsening.