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What the Fed is Going On Here?


So FED Chairwoman Janet Yellen, what, thinks she’s Alan Greenspan (remember Greenspan’s “irrational exuberance” comment several years ago)?
 
This week she decided to open her powerful (but undistinguished, in my opinion) mouth, to indicate that equity valuations were high.  No kidding, Sherlock!  How did they get there?
 
Perhaps she forgot QE1, QE2, QE3, Operation Twist, Zero Interest Rates, and all the gyrations the FED has imposed on our supposedly-free markets for several years.  Guess why the stock market is high?  Nowhere else to put your money come to mind?
 
But that begs the question, “Is the market way overvalued?”  Not so much.  Earnings are OK.  Granted, sales (revenues) are weak, and companies are buying back stock big time.  Many analysts are sour on the “bad earnings” in the market; i.e. those due to stock buybacks, layoffs, etc.  But think about it.
 
Suppose that you were the CEO of a Fortune 100 Company, and your charge was to make the wealth of your shareholder grow so that your personal wealth and esteem rose (and, of course, your value as a CEO).  Now suppose that your government acted in a manner that suppressed growth through higher taxes, higher overhead on labor (ObamaCare), and restricted free trade.  Wouldn’t you do whatever you could to enhance shareholder value?  I would.
 
So, who’s the goat here?  And what should we expect?
 
I could make an argument for a market crash, a veritable free-falling rocket down like 2007-2009.  But that’s not the scenario we face today.  Nor is it (in my opinion) coming back after only a few years.  Today’s CEOs are a bright group.  Companies are loaded with cash.  We are starting to analyze replacements for the current Administration, and may well wind up with a more business-friendly environment.  Housing values are rising, the “Wealth Effect” is creating good news in the Consumer Discretionary markets, and restaurants are crowded.  Is it 2008?  I don’t think so.
 
“Sell in May and go away?”  Look at the past 2 years.  The 6 months beginning in May are supposed to stink up the market.  In 2014, during this period the DJIA rose 1,111 points, and in 2013 it rose 970 points.  Should we all sell?  The data doesn’t support a move like that.
 
The news from all the 24-hour talking heads is gloom and doom.  It is said to be caused by rising interest rates, and the bond market is getting slammed.  But the FED hasn’t raised rates, and isn’t about to, with the mixed data from the jobs market (more news coming there tomorrow).  How far will rates rise without FED backing?  The yield curve will change, but there are ways to capitalize on that a little later.
 
The DJIA closed 1 point lower on April 30 than the close yesterday.  Perspective matters.
 
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