Stock Losses Take a Breather

Yesterday at lunch, when stocks were down more than three percent, I was reading market analysis and one analyst said that investors were disappointed by the ‘lack of policy response.’

That really struck me because markets were off sharply and it hadn’t occurred to me that the Federal Reserve hadn’t said anything material this year that might shore up stocks.

Although we are steeped in losses very early in the year, I actually felt good that there was no policy response.  There is a time for government intervention, but we aren’t even close to that.

So I was disappointed yesterday when European Central Bank (ECB) President Mario Draghi strongly hinted that it is working on a policy response saying that, ‘we will review and therefore possibly reconsider our monetary policy stance at our next meeting in March.’

While I like the market rally (and the break from the selloff), I would prefer for bad news to stay bad news.  In the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis, markets treated bad economic news as good for stocks because it meant more stimulus from central banks.

We are clearly in a period where bad news is bad news – and that’s healthy!  The whole idea behind interest rate normalization is to get back to normal and, hopefully, market dependence on central bank policy won’t become the new normal again.