Grumblings of Fed's Taper; What Will Happen in Wake of Today's FOMC Meeting?
By George Leong
The wait is over. The Federal Reserve will conclude its Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meeting today and, of course, all of you will know what Chairman Ben Bernanke’s current thinking will be.
We have been hearing grumblings from other Federal Reserve members across the nation about how the voting members should consider tapering the Fed’s bond buying.
While there has been no timeframe offered, the overall feeling, including mine, is that the Federal Reserve must have an exit strategy in place.
The economy is showing signs of improving in consumer spending, gross domestic product (GDP) growth, the housing market, and manufacturing; albeit, the jobs market is still not at the level that the Federal Reserve wants to see.
Yet, as many of you are aware, I have been concerned about the flow of easy money, a flow that has helped to drive the global economy and stock markets.
In my last article, I commented on the big Ponzi scheme created in Japan through the adoption of “Abenomics” by the country’s free-spending Prime Minister. The trillion-dollar stimulus plan drove up the Japanese Nikkei 225, but the rate was way overblown. Japan’s economy is showing signs of improving, but just like the U.S. economy, the Japanese economy is artificial.
Wait to see what happens once they start tapering the monetary stimulus. The potential result from this tapering is why stocks were under pressure leading up to today’s meeting. In Japan, when the Bank of Japan recently refrained from adding additional stimulus, stock traders ran for the exits.
Trust me: the same will happen here when the Federal Reserve announces its intentions, and it will be worse when they announce when the tapering might start. But this would only be the beginning of a potential stock market correction that will occur as interest rates and yields edge higher.
The Federal Reserve will not be able to print money forever. The stimulus will need to be tightened, but with advance warning and in an orderly manner.
With the inevitable rise in yields, it would be a good idea to revisit your investment strategy by taking some money off the table for your equities position and look to more defensive sectors.
I doubt the stock market will crash; however, I continue to believe that there will be good buying opportunities to accumulate stocks at lower prices.
If the Federal Reserve does a good job in tapering its stimulus, the impact on the economy and stock market won’t be that negative; however, the central bank must begin to provide an exit plan one day soon—and I hope today is that day. Otherwise, stocks will continue to trade nervously.
This article Mortgage Rates on the Rise; Repeat of Lead-Up to 2008? was originally published at Investment Contrarians