Recent events have challenged traditional economic theory about low (and negative) interest rates. Is it a brief aberration or the beginning of an unfamiliar and potentially treacherous new normal?
As I write this, US Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen and the Fed Board of Governors are ensconced in another two-day meeting. They will make a statement at the end. That statement will either move markets or bore them, but as a professional investor I will be waiting for exactly one thing: certainty about the path interest rates will take.
US stocks reached a notable milestone earlier this week when the bull market turned six years old. As Charlie Bilello of Pension Partners notes, only twice in its history has the S&P 500 Index recorded a better six-year stretch.
The documentary film Money for Nothing: Inside the Federal Reserve is a critical evaluation of the policies pursued by the US Federal Reserve over the years. Released in the United States in 2013 and set amid the context of the global financial crisis, it explores what has become a rather familiar paradox: more debt is both the problem and the solution in pursuing economic growth.
Mohamed El-Erian believes that the tipping point into catastrophe or growth will happen within the next three years, and in Europe before the United States.
Up until last week’s wild ride for stocks, volatility had been largely absent from the market, but the cumulative effect of ongoing geopolitical chaos, spreading Ebola anxiety, and uninspiring economic data, combined with the rumored unwinding of some leveraged positions by hedge funds, at least temporarily jolted global equity markets. Complacency was quickly replaced with panic and we got a reminder of what happens when everyone heads for the exit at the same time.
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