Wednesday, August 31, 2011

August... What a month! Now what?

Today was the last market day of the bumpy month of August. We saw a ton of volatility in the beginning and a market rebound off the lows at the end of the month. Many have asked what are the reasons for the rebound and what is the near future outlook? Besides the traditional oversold bounce from such a violent move downward the market has been helped in my opinion by Ben Bernanke and the central bank signaling/hinting at major monetary stimulus. The minutes that came out recently and the debate during the meeting makes this more of a certainty.

Back in March I discussed my Thoughts on the End of QE2 and what would likely occur in the aftermath. It appears that my forecast has been accurate... so far. It certainly looks like there is high probability of a “QE3” or other major intervention into the markets. With those hints the markets have responded and are up 8% since Bernanke and the Fed met on August 9th. This is playing out eerily similar to what happened last year and could be beneficial to the stock markets believe it or not. However there are some factors out there that may not lead to the same repeat. Three factors that prevent me from getting out of defensive positioning at this point are: 1. that the economic numbers & 2. the European crisis are worse than this time last year. 3. The last monetary stimulus “medicine” was beginning to show some troubling side effects. Side effects like a run up on commodity prices and risky assets. The medicine didn’t prevent the weak economic numbers discussed in factor 1 that were showing up before the stimulus had been withdrawn (6/30/11). In addition I would like to see some technical breakout on the S&P 500 index to show that this August has been put behind us. Until then be careful out there because the bear doesn't look like its hibernated just yet.

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