Friday, August 26, 2011
What can Ben do for you?
Ben Bernanke delivered what the street expected Friday and that was a whole lot of nothing. I think expectations were low about what Bernanke could do to stimulate the economy. He reiterated that the Fed was to keep interest rates at extremely low levels for the next two years but that a new round of bond buying was not on the table at this time. He also said the Fed has numerous tools to aid the economy if needed.
“In addition to refining our forward guidance, the Federal Reserve has a range of tools that could be used to provide additional monetary stimulus,” Bernanke said in a speech to economists and policy makers gathered in Jackson Hole, Wyoming.
Bernanke also sought to prod policymakers in Washington to come up with a job growth strategy.
Bernanke said the “extraordinarily high level of long- term unemployment” adds urgency to the need to boost jobs but that the Fed can’t do it alone: “Most of the economic policies that support robust economic growth in the long run are outside the province of the central bank.”
Bernanke reiterated that economic fundamentals of the US are still sound.
“Although important problems certainly exist, the growth fundamentals of the US do not appear to have been permanently altered by the shocks of the past four years. It may take some time, but we can reasonably expect to see a return to growth rates and employment levels consistent with those underlying fundamentals.”
The markets seemed to like what he had to say at it has risen from its lows of the day after a head fake when Bernanke said he was not going to provide more QE at this time. Markets were down over 100 pts early on but are now in positive territory with the Dow up and the NASDAQ up even more.