Interesting opining re late day rebound

Futures were opening ugly this am, compounded by news that IBM, Texas Instruments and Goldman (couldn't happen to a better bunch of fell'as) missed earnings estimates. Then late today we saw some capital flows moving into stocks. One of the factors that may be fuelling speculation is a story out of NY that the Fed is going to announce they will stop paying interest on bank reserves where they are currently paying .25%. Here is Peter Bockvar's assessment on The Big Picture blog this aft:

This would be the Fed’s attempt to force banks to lend money instead of parking it at the Fed. In my opinion, this is the last bullet in the gun of the Fed and therefore is not going to be used so soon. An ISM going from 59 to 56.2 or the ISM services going from 55.4 to 53.8 for example is not going to move the Fed into such a dramatic phase of their policy. While I have no doubt that Bernanke will eventually go down this path, I think there is no way it happens for a while as the data is going to have to be really bad for them to spend their last shot in terms of shock, awe and impact.

This would be the Fed trying to basically smoke loan capital out of the banks and force lending into the economy (encore). My take is this intervention will be just as unsuccessful at stimulating lasting growth as any of the other emergency measures taken to date. You can't force a full person to eat. Consumers gorged on credit the past few years. They are full of it. They don't wish to borrow more, they wish to spend less, reduce debt and build up savings. Corporations are not interested in borrowing more or parting with their cash reserves to increase their capacity and production at a time when the world is so clearly drowning in over-capacity. The sooner we accept and re-price for a lower growth reality and stop wasting tax dollars on stop gap deferrals, the better we will be.

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3 Responses to Interesting opining re late day rebound

  1. Anonymous says:

    You have to be careful about confusing debt levels with debt servicing levels. It's no different than comparing stocks by their prices rather than their valuations.
    I personally have more than enough debt for my comfort with my mortgage alone, but I'd be happy to add more to it at the right interest rates. Or to use it to consolidate higher interest rate debts. The level of debt doesn't really matter as long as the cash flow needed to service the debt is manageable.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Wow…totally disagree. From a risk management perspective, levels of debt are the issue. Life, cash flows and interest rates can be highly unpredictable, what you want is to be self-sufficient in the sense of being able to maintain your assets even if you experience an interruption in income.
    Having cash flow is not nearly as good as having net worth.

  3. Anonymous says:

    If risk management means taking no risk, I agree with you. But I believe risk management means taking calculated risks, and passing up Fed-forced lifetime lows in interest rates after the brunt of the contraction is behind us (talking fundamentals, not market prices) is passing up on a good opportunity.
    You can't force a full person to eat, but I'd be happy to take frozen items and store them away in my freezer if you're giving them away for free.
    You've done a great job protecting your clients' assets through the downturn and for the most part I agree with much of your approach. But just because you wouldn't recommend your clients take on more debt doesn't mean the Fed's move to stop paying interest on reserves won't work.
    If the last downturn taught us anything, it's that the Fed will ultimately get what it wants, especially when the people start begging for it. We aren't there yet, but if stopping interest payments on reserves doesn't work, they'll have something else up their sleeves the market hasn't considered yet.

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