As the devil-may-care bravado of Wall Street marches on, history warns that -- in the end -- there will be the devil to pay.
Bond investors still have the power to stifle the Fed, although they may do it much more quietly than had been expected.
As Japan's problems continue, investors worldwide are still largely convinced central bankers are in control. They're not. The market is.
Cracks have appeared in the Japanese bond market, and potentially ours as well, as the world's finances may be reaching critical stress-points.
While the blue chips come back from a 198-point loss, traders fear more declines ahead. Disney results cheer Street. Fossil tumbles after warning European sales are softening. McDonald's April sales disappoint. Oil briefly drops below $96.
But Amazon.com shares slump as revenue misses estimates. Chicago purchasing managers are less optimistic. Home prices drop to 2003 levels. Exxon and Radio Shack earnings disappoint. Mattel cheers.
A volatile 2011 may lead to a repeat performance in 2012. Investors may see some of that volatility in the week ahead. Important reports are due on jobs, manufacturing and auto sales.
The Federal Reserve's rate-making body will certainly promise Tuesday to keep rates low. It may hint at another program to boost the economy, but don't look for a blockbuster move.
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Serious issues like drought and the deterioration of the developed world spell opportunity for this industry leader.
The Market Dispatches column has been discontinued. Here's where to find the latest stock and business news on MSN Money, and the latest from market writer Charley Blaine.
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