Mike O’Rourke at JonesTrading sums up what a lot of traders are feeling right now about the Fed (still easing), the stock market (making new highs) and the economy (seemingly weakening a bit) in one paragraph that will make you uneasy.
Right now, the FOMC has “a tiger by its tail” – it has lost control of monetary policy. The Fed can’t stop buying assets because interest rates will rise and choke the recovery. In short, today’s decision not to taper was driven by unimpressive economic data, the fear of a 3% yield on the 10 year Treasury and gridlock in Washington. If the economy cannot handle a 3% yield on the 10 year, then the S&P 500 should not be north of 1700. It is remarkable that the equity market continued to buy into easy money over economic growth. QE3 has been ongoing for nearly a year and the economy is not strong enough to ease off the accelerator (forget about applying the brake). Simultaneously, the S&P 500 is up 21% year to date and the average share gain in the index is over 25%. Maybe today’s action will turn out to be short covering, but if it was not then paying continually higher prices for equities in a potentially weakening economy is a very dangerous proposition.