StockFetcher Forums · General Discussion · The Fed<< >>Post Follow-up
johnpaulca
10,080 posts
msg #59038
Ignore johnpaulca
1/16/2008 11:56:31 AM

From Big Trend

2008 has swooned to levels not seen since August 2007 and March 2007 prior to that. Much blame is placed at the door of the consumer, with a forced belt-tightening after the home ATM and credit cards have dried up. Retail sales for December turned in an awful performance after such high expectations for a great xmas shopping season.
The Fed has not made things any easier, taking the more sanguine approach (which flies in the face of their aggressive talk). As a result, the Fed has made themselves impotent and without much firepower remaining. Sure, they can slam the markets with a blunt strike of multiple rate cuts, but it's probably too little too late. Banks all over have started to crater and the worst may be in front of them. The disconnect between the Fed and the bond market is stunning, to say the least.

Markets

A warning shot that has nearly pierced the bull, or was there contact? It's clear the economy is slowing down, perhaps recession...perhaps not. Whatever the case, the markets have told us this was coming for months. Look no further than last summer's drop and steady rise in volatility. In a year, volatility has doubled from roughly 12% to where it is today at 24%, while the markets are modestly lower. The reaction so far is cloudy and will like take some kind of miracle to change the bearish sentiment.

Future Trouble for Mastercard

Mastercard has been one of our favorite names to play. It offers a great deal of momentum and rich rewards if you get the direction and timing right. One statistic caught my eye that may foretell trouble for Mastercard and the upcoming Visa IPO.
Let's understand, these companies have virtually NO credit risk. Banks issue credit to consumers and businesses and absorb the risk. Mastercard and Visa make money on transactions. With the internet becoming a highly-used vehicle for transactions, more is great for the card issuers, and web spending is not slowing down.
What can stop these giants from becoming behemoths? CONTRACTION. What do we mean? A trend in banking has begun: cancelling accounts with zero balances, closing accounts and reducing limits. Fewer cards mean fewer transactions, lower limits mean less runup. The banks are right to do this, of course...to protect their interests with tough times on the horizon. They don't want to get stuck paying the bill. Some issuers such as Capital One, JP Morgan and Wells Fargo have already warned about this and may take severe writedowns.
Bottom line, watch for this trend to continue if the prospects for the economy get worse, and the impact on Mastercard (along with AXP and DFS) going forward.


nikoschopen
2,824 posts
msg #59039
Ignore nikoschopen
1/16/2008 12:49:36 PM

Fed's Beige Book will get thrown in the market for the traders to chew on at 14:00. With so much hemorrhages recently, it prolly won't have much impact on the market. The market, after all, thinks it's entitled to a minimum of 50-basis point cut at the next Fed policy meeting.

Forget about the why's behind the market action and stick strictly to prices and you'll come out fine. On a separate note, there's a growing consensus on Wall Street that it's time for Bernanke to go. I say we send M4M to the chairmanship. No doubt, she will bail out the economy with her crystal ball, or rather RSI(2).

curmudgeon
103 posts
msg #59041
Ignore curmudgeon
1/16/2008 2:43:31 PM

It's hard to imagine anyone lending credibility to the fed as anything except another monopoly looking out for its own interest. Of all the monopolies you can be in can you think of a better one to be than banking? You ARE the framework that all others must rely on.

You can be certain somewhere in all this mess, that the actions taken along the way will produce the desired effect down the line.

Whether it be selling gold to the East at the top of the market or some Malthusian outcome from crop mismanagement...the boys will bring the bacon home. However, you also have to keep in mind that they will toss the US down like a rag doll when we cease to be a useful vessel for world domination.

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