Fasten your seat belts, this ride is getting interesting. Last week the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down more than 1,000 points, notching its worst weekly performance in four years. The sell-off took the Dow Jones down more than 10% from its peak valuations, thereby constituting the first official correction in four years. One third of all S&P 500 companies are already in bear market territory, having declined more than 20% from their peaks. Scarier still, the selling intensified as the week drew to a close, with the Dow losing 530 points on Friday, after falling 350 points on Thursday. The new week is even worse, with the Dow dropping almost 1,100 points near the open today before cutting its losses significantly. However, no one should expect that this selling is over. The correction may soon morph into a full-fledged bear market if the Fed makes good on its supposed intentions to raise interest rates this year. Have no illusions, while most market observers are quick to blame the sell-off on China, this market was given life by the Fed, and the Fed is the only force that will keep it alive.
Perhaps the Fed is preparing for a crisis of its own doing and a ‘natural disaster’ is a scapegoat.
Although, and admittedly to their credit, a natural disaster is looming as Mt. Saint Hellens is ready to blow at any moment and a mega earthquake is poised to sink half of California into the Pacific. The New Madrid Fault line is also a great concern at the moment. However, normally in the real world, it’s rather difficult and borderline asinine to try and make a connection between Fed rate hikes and natural disasters.
As the article notes, cyber attacks likely will also play a role in a new crisis.
(Reuters) – The New York branch of the U.S. Federal Reserve, wary that a natural disaster or other eventuality could shut down its market operations as it approaches an interest rate hike, has added staff and bulked up its satellite office in Chicago.
Some market technicians have transferred from New York and others were hired at the office housed in the Chicago Fed, according to several people familiar with the build-out that began about two years ago, after Hurricane Sandy struck Manhattan. Continue reading