Friday, September 7, 2012

My letter to the Philadelphia Inquirer re: Are markets really "rejoicing"?

Subject: Are markets really "rejoicing"?
Date: Fri, 7 Sep 2012 12:40:54 -0400

Re: At last, a plan for Europe
Dear Sirs:
It is a misnomer to claim that markets "rejoice" due to interventions by monetary authorities, in this case by the European Central Bank (ECB), to drive down the interest rate artificially. True, the world's stock markets went up and the targeted interest rates did go down, but this is strictly the result of money printing and not the result of market fundamentals, such as increased profits. When a central bank intervenes to lower interest rates, it buys bonds at above market prices, which is the flip side of the interest rate; i.e., when bond prices rise, interest rates go down (and vice versa, of course). One may view this as nothing more than a counterfeiter paying more for a good than the free market price; there is no market force involved. Consequently, when bond interest rates are forced down by such action, these bonds become less attractive investment instruments. Money that would have been invested in bonds will now flow to stocks, where one may get a better yield. The resultant increase in stock prices is not some sort of rejoicing by the market, but simply arithmetic by investors who have nowhere else to go. This game of ever larger injections of funny money will come to an end when price inflation gets out of hand. Simply stopping the increase in the monetary spigot will cause the whole, corrupt house of cards to come crashing down.

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