Bernanke Reign Begins

The markets really aren’t reacting much, if at all, after newly appointed FOMC Chairman Ben Bernake answered questions on Capitol Hill today. Aside from Bernanke’s preference to avoid partisanship, his answers and views on the economy were very similar to Greenspan’s. As far as interest rates go, I continue to think we’ll see 5% Fed Funds this year.

Implications for the stock market aren’t very bullish in such a scenario. Stocks tend to be flat to slightly down after the last hike of a rate tightening cycle, and any move above 5% Fed Funds would indicate inflation is fierce enough to further crimp corporate profit growth. All in all, there are many excellent investment opportunities out there, but index funds won’t fall into that category in the short-to-intermediate term, in my view.