Today is the big day. Investors are on the edges of their seats, waiting to find out what the Fed will do. Taper? No taper? Or maybe it will taper on the tapering off?
Our guess is the Fed will not commit to a serious program of reducing its support to the bond, equity and housing markets. It's too dangerous. Ben Bernanke – the man who didn't see the housing crash coming – won't want to see the stock market collapse just before he leaves office. He'll want to go out on a high note…
…and that means guaranteeing more liquidity.
Investors don't seem worried. On Monday, the Dow rose 130 points. Gold was up $10 an ounce. Most of the reports we read tell us the economy is improving. Unemployment is going down. Meanwhile, manufacturing levels are rising. Compared to Europe, the US is a powerhouse of growth and innovation, they say. Compared to emerging markets, it is a paragon of stability and confidence.
How much do investors love the US? Let us count the ways:
1. GDP per capita is running 7% – ahead of where it was in 2007. Among the world's major developed economies only Germany can boast of anything close. All the rest are falling behind.
2. The budget deficit – which was running at about 10% of GDP – is now down to just 4% of GDP.
3. Unemployment is going down, too. Heck, just 7 out of 100 Americans are officially jobless. Didn't Bernanke say he would tighten up when it hit that level?
4. And look at prices. Consumer price inflation is running at just 1% over the last 12 months. No threat from inflation, either.