The Federal Reserve’s decision to continue $85 billion per month of Treasury bond and mortgage-backed security purchases amounts to “un-stimulus”, according to Kenneth Fisher.
In a piece on Fisher Investments’ MarketMinder, the firm’s Editorial Staff says that, while Fisher and his firm believe that the Fed’s easing policies during and immediately after the 2008 financial crisis were appropriate, the Fed is now going to far. “Our CEO, Ken Fisher, has been rather skeptical of the Fed’s direction for a while,” the piece says, laying out the Fed’s QE2, QE3, and Operation Twist policies. “It’s these later rounds of easing we question. Particularly given some economic realities, not least of which is an economy that has actually been growing for some time now. Then, too, it doesn’t seem as though the more recent rounds of easing have had that much of an impact. Sure, rates have remained relatively low, so if that’s the primary aim, job well done! But as the Fed’s expressed numerous times now, it isn’t their only goal — helping create conditions that likely lower unemployment is seemingly currently the biggie, and if that’s the case, you’ll forgive our skepticism.”
The piece lays out a number of signs that the economy was improving even before QE2 was put into place. And it says that the Fed’s programs have actually led to drag on the economy: It has caused banks to hoard cash rather than lend it out.
The bottom line, according to Fisher’s firm: “A more normal monetary policy — with a more stable Fed balance sheet and rates higher than 0% — isn’t to be feared. It’s the eventual and welcome result of a healthy economy.”