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Yellen and Global Uncertainty

Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen appears to have said everything that folks on Wall Street were wanting to hear yesterday as she basically green-lighted a little more asset price inflation at the cost of lower interest rates for just a little bit longer.

Like previous Fed chairs Bernanke and Greenspan, “too low for too long” is not really much of a concern. See also:

For someone who will turn 90 this Sunday, he seems pretty sharp…

The Fed Chairman they once called Maestro thinks that negative interest rates “warp” investor behavior (something that you just don’t say when you’re sitting at the head of the big table at the Eccles Building) and that he hasn’t been optimistic in “quite a while”.

They’ll Probably Ask About This…

Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen just released her semi-annual Monetary Policy Report to Congress and will soon trudge up to Capitol Hill where, based on the chart below, she’ll have some ’splainin’ to do.

Question number one for those elected officials who aren’t otherwise preoccupied with such things as auditing the Fed will likely be, “Do you regret raising interest rates two months ago?”, for which Yellen will surely have an eloquent prepared response.

Global QE on a Grand Scale

Among the many other interesting (and, to varying degrees, alarming) graphics in Jeff Gundlach’s monthly commentary at Doubleline Capital is the chart below depicting the global, multi-year money printing extravaganza offered up by the world’s central banks.

Of course, the headlines this report is generating involve the predicted “real carnage” in junk bonds per Reuters and a holiday metaphor for the Fed getting cold feet next week, “It’s possible the Fed pulls another Lucy and the football,” Gundlach said, referring to Peanuts character Lucy yanking a football away from Charlie Brown (as shown below).

(more…)

Yeah. This is Going to End Well.

From this Bloomberg story comes more evidence that corporate America and the financial industry continue to push further into uncharted territory with debt levels at big companies surging past previous record highs and an increasing share being used to finance such society-benefiting activities like share buybacks and acquisitions as shown below.

Of course, the Federal Reserve has nothing to do with this alarming trend and former Fed Chief Ben Bernanke would be the first to tell you so, as he did yesterday with William Cohen in this offering from the NY Times Deal Book blog:

“The low rate of interest isn’t something that God gave us here,” he explained. “It’s something that is a feature of the economy.”

“So”, in the words of Jesse Pinkman (and Walter White), “There’s that”.

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