In what turned out to be one of the most volatile weeks for equities in over five years, investors found themselves a bit befuddled as there really was no fundamental reason for any of the violent market action last week. Fears over the Ebola virus, weakening economic conditions in Europe and some saber-rattling by Mr. Putin in Russia were all part of the cause, however strong corporate earnings releases and decent U.S. economic data should have abated concerns. Instead, it was the Fed that came to the rescue of investors, as St. Louis Fed President James Bullard indicated on Thursday afternoon that he was in favor of the Central Bank continuing its bond purchases. While many interpreted this to mean that the Fed might be contemplating another round of quantitative easing, QE 4, we believe Dr. Bullard’s statement was taken out of context, as he most likely meant to indicate that the ending of QE hardly signified a deleveraging of the bank balance sheet or the end of easy monetary policy (see our post from last Friday for further explanation). Dr. Yellen clarified and to some extent reiterated Dr. Bullard’s comments on Friday morning. This, coupled with much lower (better) than expected jobless claims, helped markets rally over 1%.
Corporate earnings and economic data will be the rain-makers this week, as blue-chip stocks such as IBM, Apple, McDonalds, Elli Lilly and Microsoft are among some 300 companies releasing earnings this week. On the economic front, manufacturing and industrial production figures from China and Japan along with Housing data in the United States are likely to be the key drivers of activity. We suspect investors are wise to keep their seatbelts fastened and expect a bit more volatility – after all, it is hurricane season, and there is a monsoon of activity heading our way.
Make sure to tune into CNBC this Thursday afternoon at 3:45 PM when our President, Oliver Pursche, joins Bill Griffith on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange to discuss our latest market views. And tune into Money Matters with Gary Goldberg this Saturday at 2:00 PM and Sunday at 11:00 AM on WOR 710 AM Radio to hear our complete economic analysis and market commentary. Visit our website www.ggfs.com for details.