Market Outlook: The Game Has Changed

Posted by Eric Parell

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The game has changed for investment markets. Drawing to a close are the days of boundless monetary stimulus to support steadily increasing risk asset prices. In its place, a new path is now being put in place where securities will now be forced to do more of the heavy lifting to justify their valuations. While this is a most welcome development for the global economy and the long-term outlook for capital markets, the transition to what will ultimately be a profoundly different policy backdrop is almost certain to be accompanied by periods of heightened turbulence and short-term volatility along the way. Thus, it is worthwhile to plan accordingly now in anticipation of what could be a particularly challenging market to navigate in the months ahead.

So what exactly has changed in recent weeks? It is the monetary policy stance of the central banks of the two largest economies in the world. And the benchmark date we are all likely to reflect back upon years from now when everything officially changed is June 19, 2013.

The Events Of June 19, 2013

What specifically happened on this day?

The obvious first answer is the press conference that followed the conclusion of the U.S. Federal Reserve’s latest Federal Open Market Committee meeting where Chairman Ben Bernanke took to the podium and all but explicitly stated the Fed’s intent to begin scaling back on QE3 asset purchases in the months ahead. Suddenly, the Fed’s economic outlook was more sanguine and the necessary bounds for the U.S. economy to justify scaling back on stimulus had become more attainable.

And as it became increasingly clear as the press conference progressed that the monetary support that had soothed markets higher for so long was finally on the block to go away, investors reacted swiftly and violently. Over the final two hours of the trading day, the S&P 500 (SPY) shed -1.5%, the 10-Year U.S. Treasury yield tacked on 11 basis points to 2.31% and gold (GLD) declined by -1.9%

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