What Have You NOT Done For Me Lately

It used to be a time not very long ago when the U.S. Federal Reserve was lavishly pampering investment markets. And if they weren’t flooding the financial system with massive liquidity injections from their daily Treasury purchases, they were out talking seeming all the time about how much more they were willing to do for the markets the moment trading turned lower into the red. But it seems that a critically important change for investment markets may have finally come to pass. The Fed is no longer providing stimulus to financial markets. Instead, they have finally raised interest rates for the first time since the financial crisis. Some contend the Fed will eventually return to their pampering ways, as the market turns more sour, while others contend that market neglect may finally be on the minds of Fed policy makers. Who’s right? And what are the implications for financial markets?

Please click on the link to read more of my article on Seeking Alpha.

After The Rise: Fed Policy Predictions For 2016

It’s finally done. Finally. For the first time since the depths of the financial crisis, the U.S. Federal Reserve has lifted interest rates off of the zero bound. And in the hours since the Fed announcement on Wednesday afternoon, the media has been filled with pundits sharing their predictions on the future path of interest rates now that the ice has finally been broken. But when it comes to interest rates, I for one like to look past the qualitative predictions and focus on the quantitative data. In short, what is the market now pricing in for its expectations for future interest rate hikes in the coming year? After taking a closer look, I have a decidedly different view.

Please click on the link to read more of my article on Seeking Alpha.

Ben Spoke And We Went Into A Dream

Many investors are understandably concerned. After nearly seven years in the third longest bull market in history, the U.S. stock market is looking like it may finally be drawing toward a peak. Corporate earnings growth has turned lower, margins are compressing and the economic outlook remains sluggishly mixed at best. In the midst of this bumpy environment, the U.S. Federal Reserve is showing long overdue determination to finally lift interest rates off of the zero bound. And with the high yield corporate bond space under increasing stress and the commodities complex collapsing lower, the threat of a liquidation event suddenly rocking the stock market is rising. All of this raises the following worthwhile question to consider. How much are the markets artificially inflated? And if the stock market were to unwind, what are at least the initial excesses that would need to be worked off?

Please click on the link to read more of my article on Seeking Alpha.

The Path To Normalization

The U.S. Federal Reserve stands at the ready to raise interest rates for the first time since the calming of the financial crisis nearly seven years ago. And while we are left to wait until next week to see if the Fed will actually follow through on the rate hike for which they have so carefully prepared the markets over the last several weeks, it is worthwhile to begin considering what we can expect if and when this first rate hike is finally behind us. While there is certainly no shortage of expert opinions on the path that we will see the Fed take with interest rates over the coming year, it is worthwhile to explore what is being implied by the market itself and whether it is something on which investors can capitalize.

Please click on the link to read more of my article on Seeking Alpha.

Fed Policy: Unsafe At Any Speed?

The Fed took the bait. On October 30, political activist Ralph Nader penned an open letter from “the Savers of America” to Chair Janet Yellen at the U.S. Federal Reserve to share his dissenting views on monetary policy. And on November 23, Ms. Yellen submitted her open letter response to Mr. Nader. A notable exchange to say the least that warrants a closer review, particularly the response from Chair Yellen.

Please click on the link to read more of my article on Seeking Alpha.

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