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Central Banks, The Stock Market, And Gold
March 10, 2019
When the pillars of the asset category that “must” be defended—the stock market—begin to crumble, the central banks always come in with policy guns a blazin’. And again, continuing with policies never imagined before—QEs, ZIRPS, and NIRPS. Game’s on. If you, as an investor or manager, thought CBs had plateaued in their policies of the recent decade, think again. Despite their academic nose-in-the air press conferences, the reality is that their stock markets must always remain inflated. Although couched in such language as “data sensitive” or Draghi’s “the persistence of uncertainties related to geopolitical factors, the threat of protectionism and vulnerabilities in emerging markets,” the CBs’ message is clear. Rattle their stock markets and they’ll intervene in asset pricing as best they can. And given the success of that artificial pricing over the past decade, they’re no doubt confident they’ll continue to succeed. And so do many investors.
On the financial channels, investors and talking heads consider a likely renewal of easy central bank policy “good for the stock market.” No doubt President Trump is also pleased by Powell’s sharp reversal.
The CBs know they must push the pedal to the metal again. But the problem is that investors aren’t likely to direct the flow into the inflated bubble that the CBs so desperately want to keep inflated—namely, the developed market stock indices. The Fed, ECB, and BOJ know what will happen if those plaster and plywood skyscrapers crumble and give back their false pricing gains (especially from late 2011 to 2018). Such a downturn in that category will generate on-the-ground desperation and fracturing beyond anything seen in 2008. And they know that, though don’t mention it in their press conferences. That’s why the Fed raised its white flag so rapidly and with such little encouragement in December, thus rejoining the “print into infinity” policy.
Nice. We know where they stand now.