By Todd Bunton (Zacks Investment Research | Original Link)
The Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) holds its much-anticipated meeting on Wednesday and Thursday of this week. The question on everyone’s mind is whether or not they will announce a third round of quantitative easing.
At its last meeting, the FOMC seemed pretty clear that unless economic conditions improved, QE3 was coming soon. And for the most part, up until last Friday’s sub-100K jobs report, the data hadimproved. Retail sales reversed a trend of 3 straight monthly losses, for instance, and the July jobs report came in much better than expected with +163K jobs added (although this was revised lower to +141K).
But the latest jobs report increased the odds of further monetary stimulus. After all, the Fed’s stated objective is for maximum employment and stable prices. And with inflation relatively tame and the unemployment rate still above 8% more than three years after the official end of the last recession, the door seems open.
So what do you think the odds are of a QE3 announcement this week? I’d guess about 60% myself.
There are two things that concern me though. First, the market seems to have already priced in QE3. So if it is not announced, we could see a decent pullback later this week.
Secondly, even if the Fed does announce QE3, I’m skeptical that it will have much of an impact on the overall economy with the 10-year Treasury note already yielding just 1.7%. But maybe we’ll have that discussion later in the week.
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