Nomura’s Janjuah: Yellen, Bernanke’s Likely Successor, Is a ‘Loose Cannon’

Friday, 05 Apr 2013 10:07 AM

By Michael Kling

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Janet Yellen, Ben Bernanke’s likely successor as Federal Reserve chairman, may scare the bond markets, says Nomura strategist Bob Janjuah.

“A client said to me a few weeks ago that if Karl Marx was in charge of the world, he’d have Janet Yellen as his central bank governor. She is far looser or more dovish than Bernanke,” Janjuah told CNBC.

“My issue with somebody like Yellen is that she’s potentially perceived as such a loose cannon — so loose that it would scare the bond market, whereas Bernanke has built up a certain level of credibility with the market.”

Editor's Note: Economist Unapologetically Calls Out Bernanke, Obama for Mishandling Economy. See What They Did

Yellen, now the Federal Reserve’s vice chairman, has a reputation as a monetary dove. She has advocated continuing the Fed’s bond purchasing program even as the other Fed board members have pushed for winding it down.

She is widely seen as the leading candidate to replace Bernanke, whose term expires at the end of the year.

The stock market rally may end with Bernanke, Janjuah said.

The market faces risk when a Fed chairman is replaced. For instance, stocks plunged 35 percent when Alan Greenspan replaced Paul Volcker in 1987.

“The message from me is that anyone who is different is a risk for the market,” Janjuah noted. “When we transition from one Fed chairman to another, things tend to happen.”

However, Julia Coronado, chief economist at BNP Paribas, told CNBC that Janjuah’s perception of Yellen is incorrect.

“I couldn’t disagree with Bob Janjuah more — to call Janet Yellen a ‘loose cannon’, I don’t know which Janet Yellen he knows,” she said.

Yellen is not the “crazy dove that sometimes people make her out to be,” Coronado stated, adding that Yellen’s speeches and track record show her to be measured and experienced and that she is clearly highly qualified and markets should have confidence in her.

Bernanke is scheduled to step down in January, but has not announced his retirement, leading some to speculate that he might serve another term.

Laurence Meyer, a former Fed governor, has said Yellen is the best possible choice.

“Yes, Janet is a dove today,” Meyer wrote for the Macroadvisers blog. “But this is so principally because she passionately believes in the dual mandate (price stability and full employment). It could be said that she simply believes in following the law of the land, in this case the Federal Reserve Act!”

Editor's Note: Economist Unapologetically Calls Out Bernanke, Obama for Mishandling Economy. See What They Did

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