The Secret about This “Rate Hike” Panic

The October jobs report was good enough to convince markets that a rate hike is coming in December.

And that was enough to throw volatility (as measured by the VIX) into high gear, up some 15% yesterday.

It also seems to have capped the rally that sent the S&P 500 up 8% in October on hopes that the Fed would do just the opposite and not raise rates in December – go figure!

Now the financial world, which seemingly consists of little more than wits and wags, is holding its breath waiting to see if the Fed will actually decide to raise interest rates by a measly 25 basis points for the first time in nine years! This is pathetic.

Have you listened to what Fed governors are saying? Actually, you are far better off if you haven’t, but some of us have to listen to them for a living. This is the most disorganized bunch of kangaroos we’ve ever had jumping around the Marriner S. Eccles Office Building, which is where the Fed does its work. These yahoos run around giving speeches that contradict each other regarding whether the Fed should raise rates or not. And their fearless leader Janet Yellen just lets them run around with no constraint while she plays Hamlet and changes her mind every five minutes about whether the economy can withstand a miniscule interest rate increase.

I’m going to let you in on a secret.

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This One Number Makes Me Think the Rally Is Over

This week I heard from a reader with a question I bet is on every investor’s lips.

Q: Michael, Excellent written article … However, I am curious on your “take” as we move into fall and December – What about the notorious “Christmas rally”? ~ James B.

A: James, the S&P 500 has rallied a remarkable 13% in the last five weeks, recapturing all of its summer losses. The Dow Jones Industrial Average jumped by 8.5%, while the S&P 500 soared by 8%, and the Nasdaq Composite Index outdid them both with a 9.38% performance. Even more noteworthy is that the three major indices have done this in the face of unrelentingly poor economic data. (More on that in a minute.)

So it’s no surprise you’re wondering, as we sit here in the first week of November, whether Santa Claus came early or whether the market will keep “melting up” through the end of the year. And I bet you’re not the only one.

Here’s the number I’m looking at…

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