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The End of the Bernanke Put?

Posted By Barry Ritholtz On September 22, 2011 @ 10:21 am In Bailouts,Federal Reserve,Markets,Trading | Comments Disabled

Go figure:

The US central bank discusses a slowing economy, and makes it plain to speculators that they are on their own, that there will no imminent rescue, no bail out, perhaps even the end of the Bernanke Put.

Markets throw a two day, 5% hissy fit.

The question surrounding this whackage that traders should be asking themselves is simple: Is this the beginning of a deeper sell off, or is this the end of a correction that began in the spring and has taken US markets down nearly 20%?

The parallels between 2010 and 2011 are obvious: Coming off a big Fed-induced equity rally, the slowing economy begins to make investors wonder about an earnings peak and potential reversal. A market sell-off of almost 20% gets the Fed chairman’s attention.

In 2010, a Jackson Hole speech leads to a broad based liquidity program, aka QE2. Its rocket fuel, and gets blamed for the next leg up of the equity rally, the gold rally, food inflation, and even the Arab Spring.

The difference, of course, is that there is no QE3.

Global equities plummet 5%; Copper gets shellacked, Gold and especially silver see sellers. Bernanke gets criticized, but so was Volcker (unjustly) lambasted, as was Greenspan (deservedly so).

The question all of this raises in my mind is this: Has Bernanke recognized the moral hazard of the Fed guarantee to traders formerly-known-as-the-Greenspan Put?

Asked differently, is the Bernanke Put now dead . . . ?


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