Fast forward to today, and you can see that the Fed is going to have some tough decisions to make in the near future. Since it looks like the economy is going to get weaker again, judging by the recent jobs report and U.S. housing data, then it's more likely that the Fed will continue to do more QE. The Fed might be better off letting the economy take its medicine instead of injecting more liquidity into the system. That medicine would probably come in the form of deflation, which Fed Chair Ben Bernanke doesn't want to see.
The $64,000 question is how the market will react to more QE. From my end, I think the market would be in far better shape if QE were stopped, because it would mean that the economy was finally back on track -- or at worst it would mean the Fed was going to allow free markets to work themselves out. That said, a third round of quantitative easing, or QE3, might be seen as a desperate move by the markets, since QE2 has failed to show any significant economic gains.
The Fed has really painted itself into a corner here. I wouldn't expect stocks to rise unabated again if we do get a third round of QE. If the fed decides to do more QE, we could easily end up with an environment where inflation for the things we need to buy takes off again and we still get little job growth.
Here's a look at some
stocks that investors can play off an end to QE2
-- as well as a few stocks for the possibility of QE3.
If the economy slips back into a deflationary environment as it likely would with the end of quantitative easing, then investors should look for companies that are able to maintain prices even if assets prices are dropping. One of the best sectors for this is
. There have been plenty of studies that have shown that smoking increases during bad economic times, and we all know that cigarette makers don't need to lower prices due to the addictive nature of their product.