Fed to Equity Markets: Drop Dead
Everyone will have their theory about the market reaction to the statement from the Federal Open Markets Committee.
So here's mine: the market expected much, much more.
At the very least, many in the markets expected the Federal Reserve to explicitly take notice of the recent turmoil in markets. But the Fed not only did not promise any additional easing, it didn't even mention the condition of financial markets.
In 2007, the Fed explicitly lowered rates because "financial market conditions have deteriorated."
There's no reference to financial markets in today's statement. The equity market is reading that as a sign that the "Bernanke Put" is off the table for now. Or, as one trader put it to me, "Bernanke to Equity Markets: Drop Dead."
This is probably as it should be. There was something unseemly in the way that quantitative easing seemed to boost financial assets without giving much aid to the broader economy. The Fed now seems entirely focused on the economy, rather than the markets.
But that doesn't mean that markets have to like it.
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