Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Entry for 10/29/08

As usual, I do like to comment on the Fed Reserve. I must say again, I am disappointed in decision making policy coming from the US federal reserve. Another rash decision of cutting rates pushing rates to 1%, I find this quite rediculous. People argue the Fed is doing this for lidiquity I may give some leeway to that arguement, but I will not accept the fact that the Fed is doing this to "restore confidence" for investors. The Fed Reserve has strayed far from its jurisdiction to an extent, though, yes indeed this is systemic, but should they be taking the lead in trying to fix this mess we are ?

What needs to be changed is underlying fundmentals, real change in the structure of systems in place. All the systems need to be reassesed in order to find a better solution to the current "crisis" we are in. Dumping lots of money into markets with a bunch of skiddish investors will solve no problems. With a sound system in place that people can trust will take some what years to accomplish. I feel that many investors (middle class investors) have been scarred from event from the early 2000's, and feel they are reliving the past. Many pension funds and 401ks are taking hard hits, while some are holding cash now some are biting the bullet and waiting it out (though if there are a large number of people in cash positions, this may have large implications to come in the future, but I will have to discuss this later) After the 2000 crash, Sentiment probably wasn't restored about 2 and half years later after the crash as this is reflected in Fed Fund rate cuts shown against performance of the S&P500.

If one were to follow previous Fed policy in the past we will see that Janurary 3rd 2000, Fed Fund rate was cut from 6% to 5 and 1/2. Soon after that 1 about year later on Dec 11 Fed Funds rates were cut to 1 3/4. This was not even enough to restore confidence in investors as the S&P500 continued its slide all the way up until around march 2003. Prior to March before the S&P500 started its 4 and 1/2 - 5 year rally, the Fed Fund rate was cut to 1.00. Considering long trends, cutting rates so low was quite ineffective. Some will argue that Greenspan was at fault for our current situation from such policy decisions. Though, I do not suscribe to such a belief, there is some truth to it. From what I can tell 1.00 in the Fed Fund rate is way below the average (though I would have to calculate the averages from all the times the Feds Changed rates which the available data ranges from 1971 - 2008, which I have not done. Wheather or not this is an acurate average or a statistical blunder I am not sure, though Im sure we can pull some general truths from it). 1.00 is below the average and has been only seen at times when there have been crisis. If indeed, people want to believe that Greenspan is at fault for our current situation, I think everyone should be extremely worried now. Whereas in it took about 2 and half years to reach 1.00 Fed Fund rate from 6.00 from the 2000 crash. Bernake may manage to get rates from 5.25 June, 29 2006 (the begginings of the subprime problem)to 1.00 in 2.3 years. If one were to actually use the more dramatic effects of the credit crisis as a starting point, the rate at which bernake has cut rates has been much higher than greenspans cuts. Also, I would like to note that over the 2 and half years of cutting, the S&P500 has a more gradual down trend, while in 2006 to 2008 we have an uptrend, and then from the start of 2008 to october 2008 we have a sharp drop. The different trend patterns may suggest that one cannot compare the two crisis accurately in order to predict market performance. Though it is possible to gauge investor behavoir based of policy.

As we saw in the past crisis of 2000, investor confidence may not have been restored based off rate cuts and may have been something that needed to be fixed over time. This may suggest Bernake should not be cutting rates at this point, as it will be ineffective, in a matter of time fundamentals will improve themseleves. From a historical perspective Fed Fund rates at 1.00 maybe too much and something below the average (whatever that may calculated to be) and holding rates there might be more effective as it might stave off uncessary future crises since rates would not be extremely low at the point of causes future crises.

Though on considering the difference performances in the S&P500, such a fast drop in the index may mean a faster recovery. Though this will have to be examined at a different time...

** I will have to reorganize or summarize this later as my arguement may not be clear or organized well enough for comprehension.

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