Wikinvest Wire

The game of Economy

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Over at the WSJ MarketBeat blog, David Gaffen wonders what it would be like if this were all just a game and if the Fed's latest "Hallelujah Rally" will be just one more in a long string of moves that gets "steamrolled" by the markets.

If the major video game makers had gotten around to putting together some kind of game called “Economy,” where the player acts as the Federal Reserve, the gameplayer’s efforts to add liquidity during crises would probably include a chorus of “Hallelujah” and computer-generated dancing in the streets.

This euphoria would ultimately dissipate in the wake of dragons eating the townspeople or something.
But the market has seen this movie before, and so far, it hasn’t done the trick. Will this work? “If you define the problem as a purely irrational move in the credit markets, then you might think this is a panacea,” note analysts at Bianco Research.
However, they say, if housing prices — the underlying factor in this mess — continue to fall, this move may be yet another one that is steamrolled by the markets.

The first four moves were as such:
  • August 17: The Federal Reserve cuts the discount rate, narrowing its difference from the federal-funds rate to a half-percentage point, from a full percentage point. The news led to a 400-point rally in the Dow industrials over four trading sessions. The Dow remained buoyant until the middle of October, when it started to sink.

  • December 12: Prior to the market’s open, the Fed announces the creation of the Term Auction Facility. The market had declined by 300 points the day before, when the Fed cut rates by a mere 0.25 percentage point. The one-day rally on this news amounts to just 40 points, and the industrials never manage to gain any ground through the rest of the year.

  • January 23: As global economic worries engulf foreign markets, prior to the market open. The Fed surprises the market with a cut of 0.75 percentage point. That day, the Dow gains 300 points, beginning a fresh rally that lasts for another two weeks before fizzling out.

  • March 7: The Fed announces an increase in the TAF auction, along with a new 28-day repo, just before the jobs figure is released. In a bit of reverse psychology, the Dow falls by more than 100 points as investors wonder, “What does the Fed know?”
Extrapolating from the pattern above, where the frequency continues to increase, look for twice-daily Fed moves starting sometime next month.

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Anonymous said...

if only a dragon could eat the Fed!!!

tj & the bear said...

How do you "one up" this move? Direct purchase of equities using fed credit???

Very soon the markets will realize that calling in more fire trucks doesn't mean the blaze is under control.

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