Best of the Week
Most Popular
1. Best Cash ISA Savings Account for Soaring UK Inflation - February 2018 - Nadeem_Walayat
2.Gold Price Forecast 2018 - February Update - Nadeem_Walayat
3.Bitcoin Crypto Currencies Crash 2018, Are We Near the Bottom? - Nadeem_Walayat
4.Trump Bubble Bursts, Stock Market Panic Dow 1175 Point Crash Analysis - Nadeem_Walayat
5.Gold Corrects, Bitcoin Markets Crash, Whilst Stocks Plunge - Nadeem_Walayat
6.US Treasury Bonds: Fuse to Light the Bonfire - Jim_Willie_CB
7.Dow Falls 666 Points As Cryptocurrencies Crash And Krugman Emerges From His Van - Jeff_Berwick
8.Stock Market Roller Coaster Crash Ride Down to Dow Forecast 23,000 - Nadeem_Walayat
9.Trading the Shadows - Oil, Dollar, Stocks, Gold Trend Analysis - B.R. Hollister
10.Stock Market Analysis: Baying for Blood - Abalgorithm
Last 7 days
The Latest US Debt Blow - 22nd Feb 18
6 Tips For Seamless Business Foreign Exchange - 22nd Feb 18
How to Anticipate Stock Market Trend Changes - 21st Feb 18
Gold Miners’ Rally? What Rally? Watch Out for More Fake Moves! - 21st Feb 18
5 Big Drivers of Higher Inflation Rates Ahead - 21st Feb 18
Goofy Indictments Divert Attention from Criminal Abuses at the FBI and DOJ - 21st Feb 18
Bitcoin or British Pound ‘Pretty Much Failed’ As Currency? - 21st Feb 18
Stock Market Waiting for the Fed - 21st Feb 18
National Identity Demands Restrictive Immigration - 21st Feb 18
Best Opportunities for Freelance Technical Writing Jobs - 21st Feb 18
4% US 10-year Treasury Note Yield Will Be a Floor Not a Ceiling - 20th Feb 18
Governments Are LYING about Their Gold Activities while Mining Companies Cower - 20th Feb 18
No Silver Lining Here - 20th Feb 18
Semi Conductor Stocks SEMI Bearish? - 20th Feb 18
The Prisoner Promised Land - 20th Feb 18
Best Car Dash Cam Review: Z-Edge S3 Dual Dash Cam - UNBOXING (1) - 20th Feb 18
How Inflation Reduces The Real Value Of Social Security Net Of Medicare Premiums - 19th Feb 18
Could Stellar Lumens be a Challenger to Bitcoin for International Payments? - 19th Feb 18
US-China Trade War Escalates As Further Measures Are Taken - 19th Feb 18
How To Trade Gold Stocks with Momentum - 19th Feb 18
Is a New Gold Bull Market on the Horizon? - 19th Feb 18
Stock Market Decision Point! - 19th Feb 18
An Inflation Indicator to Watch, Part 1 - 18th Feb 18
Get on Top Of Debt Before It Gets on Top of You - 18th Feb 18
Will the Stock Market Make a Double Bottom? - 18th Feb 18
5 Reasons Why Commodities Are the Investment Place to be in 2018 - 18th Feb 18
1 Week Later, Stock, Bond Market Risk Remains ‘On’ as 2 of 3 Amigos Ride On - 17th Feb 18
Crude Oil Prices: A Case of Dueling Narratives? - 17th Feb 18
Free 1000 Youtube Subscribers Services - YTpals, Subpals, SubmeNow Test - 17th Feb 18
How to Trade as We Near March Stock Market Top - 16th Feb 18
Bitcoin as Poison - 16th Feb 18
GDX Gold ETF Weathers Stock Market Selloff - 16th Feb 18
Casino Statistics and Demographics - 16th Feb 18
IS Today Thee Stock Market Turn Day? - 16th Feb 18
Huge SMIGGLE Shopping HAUL, Pencil Cases, Drinks Bottles, Back Packs, Toys.... - 16th Feb 18
Tesla Cash Keeps Burning at $320 a Share - 15th Feb 18
Big Conflict Ahead in the Financial Markets - 15th Feb 18
Stocks Extend Rally Off Friday's Low, But Short-Term Exhaustion Near - 15th Feb 18
Stock Market Out on a Limb... - 15th Feb 18
Things Only a True Friend Would Say About Gold - 14th Feb 18
Global Debt Crisis II Cometh - 14th Feb 18
Understanding Crude Oil Behavior - 14th Feb 18
Stock Market is Getting Scary... - 14th Feb 18

Market Oracle FREE Newsletter

Urgent Stock Market Message

Why Are Stocks Going Berserk? It’s All About Expectations

Stock-Markets / Stock Markets 2015 Sep 13, 2015 - 02:28 PM GMT

By: Mike_Whitney

Stock-Markets

If you’ve been following the markets for the last three weeks, you’ve probably figured out that something is wrong. The markets are no longer behaving the way they should, and that has people worried. Very worried. In the last 15 trading days, the Dow Jones has experienced an unprecedented 13 triple-digit days, which means that stocks have been sharply rising and falling without any rhyme or reason. The financial media has tried to explain-away the extreme volatility by pointing to slower growth in China, troubles in the Emerging Markets or various dismal data-points. But none of these adequately explain what’s going on.


What’s really going on is a tug-of-war between current high stock valuations–which are the product of Fed intervention–and much lower valuations, which are based on fundamentals. Some analysts think that the volatility indicates that the Fed’s zero rates policy has damaged the market’s price-setting mechanism, that six years of overmedication has spawned an unresponsive, drug-addled system that can no longer perform its primary function. This is a persuasive argument, but it’s wrong. In fact, stock valuations are not really inflated at all given the colossal amount of support they’ve gotten from QE and zirp. (Zero interest rate policy) Since 2009, the Fed has made it clear that it is committed to asset-price inflation as a way create the “wealth effect” which is supposed to stimulate growth. Naturally, investors followed the Fed’s lead and took on more credit risk, reached for more yield, and loaded up on stocks and bonds confident that the Fed had their back. And the Fed did have their back. The “Bernanke Put” is a term that reflects investors confidence that the Fed would prevent stocks from falling too fast or too sharply. And the Fed has honored that commitment. Stocks have more than doubled in a six year, Fed-fueled “monster” rally.

The point is, the Fed’s policy is the issue not the market. The market is not a sentient being. It merely responds to input, the buying and selling of paper and the reporting of prices. But the market DOES send signals, and the signal it’s sending now is that there is a vast disparity between stock prices with Fed support and stock prices without Fed support. You see, investors are still uncertain about the way this is all going to shake out. Is the Fed going launch a cycle of rate hikes or keep rates at zero? That’s what everyone wants to know.

One group of investors think the Fed will move ahead and start to “normalize” rates while the other thinks the Fed will stand pat. The group that anticipates a rate hike, thinks stocks are overpriced and will drop precipitously. Conversely, the group that thinks the Fed will stand pat, believes stocks are fairly priced and could go higher still. It’s the competing expectations of these two main groups that’s causing the extreme volatility. Each group thinks they know what stocks are worth, but they’ve based their calculations on ‘what they think the Fed will do’.

Does the Fed understand this? Does the Fed realize that investors have already repriced stocks according to their own assumptions about rate hikes? Does the Fed see the vast disparity between stock prices “with” a rate increase and stock prices “without” a rate increase? And is the Fed prepared to initiate a cycle of rate increases (in the name of “normalization”) that could send stocks plunging by 50 or 60 percent?

I don’t think so. The Fed is so blinded by fear, it doesn’t seem to know whether its coming or going. Sure, they talk about normalization, but are they really going to end the meddling and allow the markets to function according to normal supply-demand dynamics?

Not a chance. What the Fed wants is normalization on its own terms, that is, permanent high stock valuations and a free market where prices are determined by fundamentals. Unfortunately, the two are mutually exclusive, which is why the Fed is in such a quandary. There’s simply no way to undo the extreme accommodating policies that tripled the value of stocks and created the biggest bond bubble in history without reversing their impact on the market. The Fed isn’t prepared for that. No one is. So there’s not going to be any return to normal, not in the foreseeable future at least.

Yes, the Fed can (probably) safely raise rates by a .25 basis points without too much risk. But if the Fed indicates its determination to normalize rates via a cycle of rate increases, the stock market will crash before the increases ever go into effect. That much is certain.

The Fed is probably aware that its meddling has greatly effected the credibility of US markets, but it simply doesn’t have the guts to put things back in order. The pain would just be too much to bear.

That’s why the volatility will persist while more and more investors head for the exits.

By Mike Whitney

Email: fergiewhitney@msn.com

Mike Whitney lives in Washington state. He is a contributor to Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion (AK Press). Hopeless is also available in a Kindle edition. He can be reached at fergiewhitney@msn.com.

© 2015 Copyright Mike Whitney - All Rights Reserved Disclaimer: The above is a matter of opinion provided for general information purposes only and is not intended as investment advice. Information and analysis above are derived from sources and utilising methods believed to be reliable, but we cannot accept responsibility for any losses you may incur as a result of this analysis. Individuals should consult with their personal financial advisors.

Mike Whitney Archive

© 2005-2018 http://www.MarketOracle.co.uk - The Market Oracle is a FREE Daily Financial Markets Analysis & Forecasting online publication.


Post Comment

Only logged in users are allowed to post comments. Register/ Log in

6 Critical Money Making Rules