Back on October 17, 2014, the market was in free fall mode, when out of the blue during an interview with Bloomberg TV, one of the Fed's alleged biggest hawks hinted that the Fed could do QE4 if the rout continued. The rest, as they say was history, and the Dow soared 400 points higher to close at 16,350....
... exactly where the Dow Jones surged to moments ago, 14 months later.
Fast forward to this morning when as we showed earlier, the familiar pattern of "selling the rip" appeared and stocks, especially the Nasdaq, were in free fall when Bullard once again spoke. What he said basically suggested that for the Fed, current energy prices are too low, and thus unacceptable. To wit:
- BULLARD:MKT INFL EXPECTATIONS BECOMING 'WORRISOME'
- BULLARD: OIL PRICES UNDULY IMPACTING MKT-BASED INFL EXPECTATIONS
- BULLARD: FURTHER OIL PRICE DECLINE DELAYS INFL STABILIZATION
- BULLARD: IF OIL STAB AT $20 IN JUNE, WON'T REACH 2% TIL MID'17
And then this:
- BULLARD: HAVE TO HIT A BOTTOM ON OIL PRICES 'SOMETIME'
While not as explicit a warning as his October 2014 "QE4" hint, algos quickly read between the lines, and realized that if the Fed were to escalate a line of though in which only low oil prices are preventing the Fed from achieving its energy mandate, then it is quite possible that the NY Fed trading desk would simply enter the energy market, and push oil to the "appropriate level."
To be sure, we joked that Bullard bailed out the market again, but as of moments ago it is no longer a laughing matter because in a note released by Jefferies' economist Thomas Simons, it was the Bullard comments that were again laid out as the catalyst for the ramp.
According to Simons, while Bullard had been "quite hawkish recently", his comments today "represent a significant turn in his opinion." Jefferies adds that "Bullard is acknowledging that risks to higher inflation are quiet low given the recent developments in commodity markets."
Jefferies concludses by saying that comments suggest that FOMC’s 2016 voters "might not be quite as hawkish as we thought."
In other words, Bullard may have just hinted at the first Q(ommodity) Easing.
So does that mean that the Fed is willing to sacrifice its last shred of credibility to support and prop up commodities (read oil) and thus stocks? We don't know, but we do know that there is an uncanny resemblance between the market's action before Bullard's October 2014 "QE4" comment, and the market over the past few weeks.
But the real question is what happens next, because if October 2014 is any indication then we are in for a massive "rip your face off" rally as the market once again prices in another "Fed intervention" round.
... unless of course Bullard once again "misspoke", or worse, the Fed is now shooting VWAP blanks.
If it is the latter, then watch out below.