Tags: Fed | stocks | QE | markets

WSJ: Fed Still Holds the Cards for Financial Markets

Tuesday, 02 Jul 2013 10:45 AM

By Dan Weil

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Financial markets have turned extremely volatile over the last six weeks, as investors try to determine when the Federal Reserve will begin tapering its quantitative easing (QE).

The Fed's actions in the second half of the year will likely continue to dominate the markets, according to The Wall Street Journal.

Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke first indicated in May that the tapering may come soon. Then in June, he said the Fed will likely start curbing its QE later this year if economic growth meets the central bank's expectations.

Editor's Note:
Economist Warns: 50% Unemployment, 100% Inflation Possible

That sent markets into fits. "They went from thinking, 'What if the punch bowl is gradually taken away?' to 'What happens if the punch bowl is taken away rather abruptly?'" Jason Pride, director of investment strategy at money-management firm Glenmede, told The Journal.

"The market reaction suggests there was a bit more speculation going on than maybe people had thought," said Jason Trennert, chief investment strategist at Strategas Research Partners.

So now investors are trying to figure out how they can make money in a more treacherous environment. The "perilous search for yield continues," Vadim Zlotnikov, chief market strategist at AllianceBernstein, told the paper.

Pride recommends stocks with strong profit margins that can both raise their dividends and reinvest in their own businesses.

Meanwhile, one of the main factors determining whether the drop in "risky assets" continues "is whether the Fed will truly exit from QE as quickly as it signaled," New York University economist Nouriel Roubini wrote in an article for Project Syndicate.

"There is a strong likelihood that weaker U.S. growth and lower inflation will force it to slow the pace of its withdrawal of liquidity support."

Editor's Note: Economist Warns: 50% Unemployment, 100% Inflation Possible

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