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Fed Mainly Mum as Market Turmoil Swirls

Wednesday, July 29, 2015
Money and Markets
YOUR BEST SOURCE FOR THE UNBIASED MARKET COMMENTARY YOU WON’T GET FROM WALL STREET
You can also access this issue on our website.
Fed Keeps Relatively Mum as Market Turmoil Swirls
Market Roundup
Dow +121.12 to 17,751.39
S&P +15.31 to 2,108.56
NASDAQ +22.53 to 5,111.73
10-YR Yield +0.029 to 2.279%
Gold -$0.70 to $1,095.50
Oil +$0.92 to $48.90

By Mike Larson

Today was the day for the Federal Reserve and Chairman Janet Yellen to sound off in a big way. But rather than give much guidance on what they’re going to do with interest rates, they largely kept mum.

There was no press conference this time. But in the limited post-meeting statement we did get, policymakers sounded fairly sanguine on the economy and job market.

They said, “Economic activity has been expanding moderately,” led by household spending and the housing sector. They also pointed to the fact the “labor market continued to improve, with solid job gains and declining unemployment.”

On the other hand, they devoted a substantial amount of statement real estate to lackluster inflation. Blaming everything from “Earlier declines in energy prices and decreasing prices of non-energy imports,” they said inflation is missing their targets.

Plus, they implied it won’t get up there unless the “transitory” drop in energy abates and the dollar stops going up. You don’t need to be a genius to see that those conditions haven’t been met. If anything, the dollar has been rallying further against a whole host of emerging-market and commodity-sensitive currencies … and energy prices are back near the low end of their recent range.

But the thing is, the markets aren’t sitting around and waiting for the ditherers on the Fed to do something. Indeed, the latest Fed meeting comes amid a market swept up by increasing turmoil – not just here, but abroad as well.

“The markets aren’t sitting around and waiting for the ditherers on the Fed to do something.”

Chinese stocks are tanking. Key U.S. sectors are slipping. Even strong, highly rated stocks are occasionally getting dragged through the mud.

At the same time, long-term bond prices have been declining throughout 2015. Emerging market debt has gotten whacked, while even supposedly ultra-safe municipals have taken hits – thanks to the dual combination of rising rates and increased credit risk.

This turmoil is all part of the Bloody Wednesday process – one I’ve been forecasting for some time now. We’ve seen an extraordinary, unprecedented bout of monetary stimulus thrown at the markets, a shot of financial morphine the likes of which no economy and no market has ever been dosed with.

Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen kept mainly mum about interest rates.

It stands to reason, then, that the withdrawal symptoms could be worse than anything we’ve ever seen. Increased volatility. Huge winner and huge losers. Wild swings in stocks, bonds, currencies, and commodities. You name it – it’s coming your way as the market’s autopilot system starts to fail!

It is no time to go it alone. So I urge you to keep your eye on Money and Markets and my Safe Money Report. That’s where you will get the absolute freshest, unbiased, hard-hitting advice on what to do to protect and grow your wealth.

In the meantime, let me know what you think of the Yellen Fed’s latest remarks. Are they obtuse? On target? Totally nuts? If so, why and how?

What are you doing, if anything, in response to the Bloody Wednesday market actions we’re witnessing with increasing frequency? Here’s the Money and Markets website to get you pointed in the right direction if you’d like to share – and I hope you do.

Our Readers Speak

Two topics dominated the online conversation overnight: The precarious state of the markets and the nuclear deal with Iran.

Starting with the first, Reader Mike said: “The more the central banks support low interest rates and the stock market, the more it means a bigger bust is coming. I will bet the Federal Reserve is very worried about this but is boxed into a corner.”

Reader Duane added: “They say ‘a rising tide lifts all boats.’ Well, I think that the steadily rising tide is ending and there isn’t much that central banks can do about it even if they decide to go ‘all guns a-blazin’.

“So if certain trends which have been working begin to stutter, it’s best not to play them anymore and shift around to newly emerging trends. That may mean playing the short side maybe with inverse ETFs. If there are no clear trends or too much confusion, there is always cash.”

Finally, Reader Billy all but proclaimed the six-year bull market dead and buried. He said: “We are seeing technical, cyclical, demographic, macroeconomic and geopolitical signals and canaries in the coal mine that suggest it is absolutely time to buckle up the seat belts. In fact, it is quite likely a major bear market has already begun!”

As for the Iran negotiations, Reader Robert A. said what Obama is seeking is the best option on the table. His view:

“I think that this deal will work. The other option is war. We can’t win another war. Work with the people of Iran to build a more open, friendly relationship. Talk is better than coffins.”

But Reader Jerry N. countered: “Iran is not trustworthy. Iran refers to America as the Great Satan and threatens all the time to destroy us. Iran is the direct sponsor of terrorism all over the world.

“How can you expect them to honor the agreement, especially if the inspections are not enforceable? Are our politicians too blind to see that this agreement is only for the benefit of Iran, and it does not protect the U.S. and the rest of the ‘Satans’ from their terrorist ambitions?”

Thanks for weighing in. I’ve shared my view of the Iran deal, and suffice it to say I am highly skeptical of its terms and the argument it will have a long-term positive impact in the region.

With regard to the markets, the Bloody Wednesday warnings I’ve been amping up over the past several months are coming to fruition. That’s why I’ve been recommending more ways for you to help you protect your capital. Riding the rising tide and avoiding most inverse ETFs has paid off for several years – but that could be changing now. So look for more guidance on ways to adapt right here in Money and Markets!

And as always, if you haven’t shared your thoughts yet, here’s the link where you can do so right now.

Other Developments of the Day

BulletShareholders of Twitter (TWTR) and Yelp (YELP) were tweeting and yelping about their pain today in the wake of disappointing results from both former social media darlings. Concerns about user growth, ad rates, and more helped tank their shares.

BulletMicrosoft (MSFT) launched its newest operating system, Windows 10. But the release came with very little company hype, not to mention a collective yawn from investors. It’s a huge difference from years past, reflecting how the mobile and tablet ecosystems have supplanted PCs in popularity.

BulletThe head of the Taliban movement in Afghanistan, Mullah Mohammad Omar, is dead, according to reports. The Taliban’s spiritual leader may have been dead for as long as two years, though there was no explanation of how he met his end or who will take his place.

BulletIs the Deflategate scandal finally over? One can only hope! NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell upheld New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady’s four-game suspension, citing non-cooperation with the investigation and other factors. Brady fired back that the NFL was full of beans. Whether he will serve it without fighting the NFL further in federal court remains to be seen.

Are you eager to buy a PC with Windows 10? Or could you care less? Are you sick of hearing about Deflategate, and just ready to draft your fantasy football team at this point? What about the “deflation” of former social media darlings … is it signaling broader problems for the tech-heavy Nasdaq? Let me know over at the website.

Until next time,

Mike Larson

Mike Larson
Mike Larson graduated from Boston University with a B.S. degree in Journalism and a B.A. degree in English in 1998, and went to work for Bankrate.com. There, he learned the mortgage and interest rates markets inside and out. Mike then joined Weiss Research in 2001. He is the editor of Safe Money Report. He is often quoted by the Washington Post, Reuters, Dow Jones Newswires, Orlando Sentinel, Palm Beach Post and Sun-Sentinel, and he has appeared on CNN, Bloomberg Television and CNBC.
The investment strategy and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author's and do not necessarily reflect those of any other editor at Weiss Research or the company as a whole.

For more information and archived issues, visit www.moneyandmarkets.com.

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