So if inflation closes in on our 2.2% floor much faster, the possibility for QE5 -- or even more likely, an anti-taper -- is starting to look more probable than it has in a long while.
Do As I Say, Not As I Do
If it sounds like there's a disparity between a possibility of QE5 and what the Fed's been saying lately, it's because there is. But it's mind-boggling that some people think the Fed is in favor of full disclosure.
After all, talk is cheap, and QE isn't.
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I said back in June that the language chosen by the Fed in its first taper hints was carefully chosen as a tool to aid in the fight against inflation. Testing the market's reaction to QE moves is a lot more cost effective than actually doing it.
So no one should be surprised if Fed officials are starting to think about more easing at the same time they're telling the media that the taper is sticking. The two key words for Fed statements are "plausible deniability." And frankly, they should be. If the Fed can positively impact the markets without resorting to pumping money into the system, it should.
Meet the New Boss, Same as the Old Boss
Make no mistake, though, Yellen isn't some major change from Ben Bernanke's Fed. The new boss is very much the same as the old boss The biggest difference is that now Bernanke gets to wear his Hawaiian shirts again. The heat is off him for a change.
If anything, Yellen is more apt to hike quantitative easing than Bernanke was. That's worth remembering as inflation drifts down toward the 2.2% mark. Most important, it means that we're likely to remain in an environment that rewards stock investors.
To recap what I said back in June, stocks are still the most attractive asset class out there by virtue of the fact that investors have no other choice. Thats not the most exciting driver of a rally, but its reality. Broad market ETFs such as the SPDR S&P 500 ETF (SPY) and the PowerShares QQQ Trust (QQQ) remain some of the most attractive ways to get exposure to the trend right now. But this is still a stock-pickers market. Names with increasing relative strength will continue to be the best way to buy stocks in the near-and-long-term.