Bernanke Does the Expected and Then Some

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- The Federal Reserve expanded its money madness on Thursday. The Federal Reserve Open Market Trading Desk has been instructed to purchase agency mortgage-backed securities at a pace of $40 billion a month, with a prorated amount of $23 billion being bought during the remainder of September.

This quantitative easing program, or QE3, is open-ended and without a ceiling to the total expansion of the Fed's balance sheet. Operation Twist, where the Federal Reserve extends the maturities of its holdings will continue until the end of the year at $35 billion per month. The mortgage-backed securities program and Twist thus total $85 billion per month through December.

The Federal Reserve will also continue reinvesting the principal amounts of maturing issues of agency debt and mortgage-backed securities into new agency mortgage-backed securities. Finally the zero to 0.25% federal funds rate will be extended until at least mid-2015.

The expert consensus calls I discussed Thursday in my post What to Focus On After the Fed Statement included the open-ended commitment and the focus on purchasing mortgage-backed securities. The FOMC expects its new policy actions to "put downward pressure on longer-term interest rates, support mortgage markets, and help to make broader financial conditions more accommodative."

In my opinion the FOMC just added another ridiculous program that helps Wall Street while ignoring Main Street.

The initial reaction in the U.S. capital markets was back and forth market gyrations until the moves I expected occurred, except for the U.S. Treasury 10-year yield. The purpose of this bold monetary policy move was to bring down longer-term US Treasury yields, but instead the yield on the 10-Year US Treasury note tested its 200-day simple moving average at 1.832% with the yield on the 30-Year US Treasury bond above 3.00% this morning.

Comex gold extended its rally to $1,780.2 the Troy ounce this morning, which is between my monthly risky level now a pivot at $1753.7 and my quarterly risky level at $1805.8. Nymex crude oil cleared its 200-day simple moving average at $96.61 and traded above the $100 per barrel mark this morning.

The euro vs. the dollar closed above my semiannual pivot at 1.2917. The new Fed policy has given commodities traders a renewed license to speculate, while Main Street faces higher prices at the gas pump.

In the major equity averages, the Dow Industrial Average, S&P 500 and Nasdaq reached new multi-year highs at 13,495.65, 1,455.43 and 3,158.19 respectively. Dow Transports lagged, but remained solidly above its key five-week modified moving average at 5094 with its July 2011 all time high at 5627.85. The Russell 2000 had a solid gain and its May 2011 all time high at 868.57 is now on the radar screen.

Higher stock prices and the higher 30-Year bond yield continue to make stocks less undervalued and more overvalued. This morning www.ValuEngine.com shows that only 50.1% of all stocks are undervalued. At the June 4 market lows, 81.0% of all stocks were undervalued.

Thirteen of 16 sectors are overvalued and next week I will cover the five most overvalued sectors; utilities is overvalued by 17.7%, Retail-Wholesale by 14.1%, Finance by 13.6%, Consumer Staples by 13.5% and Medical by 13.4%.

Analysis of the Yield on the 10-Year Treasury Note (1.739): The weekly chart for the U.S. Treasury 10-year still favors a rising trend for yields if today's close is above the five-week modified moving average at 1.637%. Even so, this yield should remain between my semiannual and quarterly value levels at 1.853%/1.869% and my semiannual risky level at 1.389% with my monthly pivot at 1.645%. This week's pivot at 1.756% was a stabilizing influence after this yield tested and held its 200-day simple moving average at 1.832% in reaction to the Fed Statement.

Analysis of Comex Gold ($1,768.2): The weekly chart for gold is now positive but overbought with the five-week modified moving average at $1,655.7. My semiannual pivots are now value levels at $1,702.5 and $1,643.3 with my monthly pivot at $1,753.7 and my quarterly risky level at $1,805.8 at which I recommend some profit-taking.

Analysis of Nymex Crude Oil ($98.10): The weekly chart for crude oil is now positive but overbought with the five-week modified moving average at $93.58. My monthly value level is $93.30 per barrel with my annual and quarterly risky levels at $103.58 and $107.63. I have been tracking the battle to break out above its 200-day simple moving average at $96.61 and this occurred after the Fed statement as expected.

Analysis of the euro vs. the dollar (1.2987): The weekly chart stays positive today with a close above the five-week modified moving average at 1.2513. My semiannual and monthly pivots are 1.2917 and 1.2714 with a quarterly risky level at 1.3215. The euro popped above 1.2917 after the Fed Statement as expected.

The Dow Industrial Average, S&P 500 and Nasdaq were setting new multi-year highs in anticipation of QE3, and followed with higher highs in reaction to the Fed statement. My focus on Thursday was the Dow Transports, which needed to follow with a weekly close above its five-week modified moving average at 5094 today, which now seems like a sure thing following the reaction to the Fed statement.

Analysis of the Dow Industrial Average (13,540): The weekly chart is now positive but overbought with the five-week modified moving average at 13,098. My annual value level is 12,312 with monthly, annual and quarterly risky levels at 13,666, 14,032 and 14,493. The October 2007 all time high at 14,198.10 is only 5.13% away.

Analysis of the Dow Transportation Average (5202): The weekly chart for the Dow Transports shifts to positive on a close today above its five-week modified moving average at 5094. My monthly risky level is 5279 with a quarterly risky level at 5410. A Dow Theory Buy signal will be confirmed by a daily close on the Dow Transports above its March 19 closing high at 5360.04. Transports set its all-time high at 5627.85 on July 7, 2011, and would have to rally another 8.19% to test that level.

Analysis of the S&P 500 (1460.0): The weekly chart remains positive but overbought with a close Friday above the five-week modified moving average at 1400.4. My annual value level is 1363.2 with monthly, quarterly and annual risky levels at 1486.7, 1539.8 and 1562.9. The October 2007 all time high at 1576.06 is still 7.95% away.

Chart Courtesy of Thomson / Reuters

Analysis of the Nasdaq (3156): The weekly chart remains positive but overbought with a close Friday above the five-week modified moving average at 3033. My annual value level is 2698 with annual, monthly and quarterly risky levels at 3232, 3340 and 3348. The monthly chart above shows that the Nasdaq is 10.29% above its October 2007 high, and is within the trading range at the base of the 1999-2000 Tech Bubble. Note that monthly momentum is overbought.

Analysis of the Russell 2000 (856.11): The weekly chart is now positive but overbought with the five-week modified moving average at 810.33. My annual pivot is 836.15 and my monthly risky level at 864.06. The all-time high was set at 868.57 on May 2, 2011 and is just 1.46% away.

The bottom line that the U.S. capital markets are performing as expected after the Fed statement except that longer-term U.S. Treasury yields are higher. Speculation has renewed in Comex gold and Nymex crude oil as the euro moves higher vs. the dollar.

All major equity averages are higher with the Dow Industrials, S&P 500 and NASDAQ setting multi-year highs, with the Russell 2000 nearing an all time high, and with Dow Transports following the moves higher.

It's not the intent of Federal Reserve Policy to license commodity speculation, but it does. It is not the intent of Fed policy to prop up the stock market, but it does.

With stocks shifting to being overvalued fundamentally and overbought technically, investing in the equity markets is now speculative as well. Fed policy continues to help Wall Street, while hurting Main Street with a higher cost of living and without specific and targeted help to the mortgage market, which is the key to an economic recovery and job creation.

I think that Fed chief Bernanke gave Governor Romney the finger Thursday right after his press conference.

This article is commentary by an independent contributor, separate from TheStreet's regular news coverage.

Richard Suttmeier has an engineering degree from Georgia Tech and a master of science from Brooklyn Poly. He began his career in the financial services industry in 1972 trading U.S. Treasury securities in the primary dealer community. In 1981 he formed the Government Bond Department at LF Rothschild and helped establish that firm as a primary dealer in 1986. Richard began writing market research in 1984 and held positions as market strategist at firms such as Smith Barney, William R Hough, Joseph Stevens, and Rightside Advisors. He joined www.ValuEngine.com in 2008 producing newsletters covering the U.S. capital markets, and a universe of more than 7,000 stocks. Richard employs a "buy and trade" investment strategy and can be reached at RSuttmeier@Gmail.com.

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