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Fed Intervention Could Lead to 'Flash Crash': Strategist

Monday, 11 Oct 2010 | 5:30 AM ET

The stock market is at risk of another flash crash because of the Federal Reserve's liquidity-boosting measures, Robin Griffiths, technical strategist at Cazenove Capital, told CNBC Monday.

CNBC.com

"I'm not gaining any confidence from what the Fed has been doing here. I actually think you're going to be talking about a flash cash — they've set it up, we're vulnerable to another one," Griffiths said.

Dollar weakness means that European investors should be cautious of buying into dollar assets and should have been clear for the past decade, according to Griffiths.

"If we had at any stage in the last ten years bought America, we would be down 54 percent at this moment. It really is for losers," he said.

The Fed's Permanent Open Market Operations POMOs, which control the supply of short-term money into the financial system, are distorting the normal market seasonality, according to Griffiths.

The central bank has signaled its willingness to pump more money into the system in a bid to further stimulate growth, in addition to keeping interest rates at a record low for an extended period.

"This has happened before and you'll easily remember the last time this has happened because it was 2007. In 2007 the market rallied 15 percent in September, carried on to the 16th of October and then crashed, wiping out some of the world's largest financial institutions," he said.

Griffiths thinks that current liquidity measures from the central bank are risking a re-run of that devastating period.

Risk of 'Flash Crash': Strategist
The stock market is at risk of another flash crash because of the Federal Reserve's liquidity-boosting measures, Robin Griffiths, technical strategist at Cazenove Capital, told CNBC Monday.

A growing number of market watchers have suggested that the Fed's quantitative easing moves won't benefit the actual economy. Guy Monson, managing partner & CIO of Sarasin & Partners, told CNBC that the liquidity is inflating investment markets, but giving little other benefit.

Peter Toogood, head of investment at Old Broad Street Research, said that more liquidityisn't helping to boost bank lending, which could improve general economic conditions.

Gold Record Highs?

Griffiths also pointed out that the open market operations had boosted dollar-denominated assets classes, such as the S&P 500 and gold, by reducing the value of the greenback. Because of the falling relative value of the dollar, such markets appeared to be making new all-time highs, but this was not always the case.

If the S&P were to be calculated in another currency such as the euro, then the index actually peaked on the 9th of September and has been in a downtrend ever since, he said.

"What's happening is the Fed is juicing its (stock) market up, but it's destroying the dollar at a quicker rate; the market can't rise," Griffiths said.

Gold is in fact not at a new high if calculated in other currencies, despite posting record dollar price tags in recent weeks, and is overbought and could be due for a period of consolidation, he added.

The strong rally in gold prices has led many investors to jump into the precious metal, but the market may not continue upwards without problems. Joe Foster, portfolio manager at Van Eck International Gold Fund, told CNBC that gold will reach $1,700 within 2 years, but could fall in the short term.

Meanwhile, the Fed's liquidity is having some unintended beneficiaries outside of the U.S. Emerging market assets, such as India's Sensex index, are getting a boost from the Fed's liquidity.

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