Will the Fed kick off an equities correction next week?
Time and price seem to be converging as the FOMC meeting approaches.
Something that's always been fascinating to me over the years is the way the price charts often lead the news. I can't tell you how many times I've looked at a chart and projected a strong move would follow, only to have a news announcement hit later that day and seemingly "drive" price right to my targets.
The big question in my mind is whether this is "real" dissention, or simply the flip side of a coin we've seen from this Fed before. For the past several years, when we've been in-between QE programs, the public-relations strategy was clearly to "keep hope alive" for new QE programs. Of course we don't need to talk hope anymore, because now we have QE-Infinity.The Fed knows they're playing a dangerous game by pumping this much liquidity into the market. While they are getting the best of both worlds right now (a stock rally and some economic growth, without rampant speculation in commodities), it's a delicate equation, and the Fed cannot afford for it to flip the other direction. If speculators begin driving up commodity prices again, that will raise the costs of doing business and further harm consumers. This would dampen (and possibly crush) the little bit of economic benefit we're currently getting from Bernanke's tireless printing press.
As a result, the present problem faced by the Fed is no longer "how do we keep hope alive?" Instead, the problem they face is how to gain control of the monster they've created, and how to put the brakes on rampant speculation.
So I suspect that at the March 20 press conference, the Fed will put on their frowny faces and make another show of heartfelt-moral-conscience-brow-furrowing about QE3, as if they were lying awake at night wracked with guilt and tears. In the end, though, they will "reluctantly" continue it... "for now." But I think they're going to have to keep scaring us along the way, to keep commodity traders from getting too bold and killing their manufactured recovery.
Of course, I can't guarantee anything, as this is simply raw speculation -- but when we look at the hourly chart at Minyanville (click here to view the chart), we can see that the week of the FOMC meeting coincides nicely with the wave structure and the potential peak in blue wave 5.
For the past couple weeks, my expectation has been that we are now in the fifth (and final) wave of this particular wave sequence, and yesterday the market reached the first of my target zones for this wave (1,558 to 1,565). When targets are reached, it's not necessary that the market reverse immediately (or even that it reverse at all), but it does become a zone of higher probability for a reversal. With that, I must note that this first zone is not the "final" target for the entire wave, but only the target for red wave 3 of blue wave 5 -- the final target is 1,570 to 1,580. The market is only a few points away from that zone now, and though it has shown no signs of reversal yet, I would keep a very close watch on this rally heading forward.
(If you're new to Elliott Wave Theory and all these numbers on the chart make little sense, I have written a primer article for Minyanville on the subject, which will aid in understanding what these types of charts actually mean.)
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An interest rate tease in The Wall Street Journal sends the market into an optimistic tizzy -- but one that doesn't end quite at the top.
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