Fortunately, President Bush decided not to throw us a curve ball today with his appointment of Ben Bernanke as the next Fed Chair. Recent history clearly had the market a bit spooked with Greenspan’s successor yet to be named, but a relief rally on Wall Street is underway. Bernanke really has only been in the spotlight in recent months, as potential replacements were discussed. Nonetheless, his credentials are strong and I think the market was hoping he’d be Bush’s top choice.
I still believe Greenspan wants to “finish what he started” and will likely bring Fed Funds up to 4.5% before he moves on in late January. If this view proves true, and Bernanke doesn’t continue boosting short-term rates, we could see a nice market rally back to the upper end of the trading range between now and sometime in the first quarter, as the rate hike barrage would be over. That would certainly be welcomed by investors, myself included.