Groundhog Day in December: World Awaits Fed, Again

Wayne Ellis

[Marriner S. Eccles Federal Reserve Board Building]

Groundhog Day in December: World Awaits Fed, Again (Reuters)

It is like a scene from the Bill Murray movie, Groundhog Day.  Every month, the same thing happens: world markets almost come to a standstill awaiting word from the Federal Reserve on when tapering of U.S. monetary stimulus will begin. While this enormous decision looms, other seemingly meaningful events almost get swept under the rug. The latest good news to get the broom treatment is that Germans are now more confident in their economy than they have been in the last 20 months. If you were an investor in Germany-based companies or in European stocks at all, this news should have had a highly positive impact on the value of your shares.  But, it didn’t, because King Fed’s decision still looms. Instead, investors saw the tiniest of reactions from European markets, exemplified by the multi-regional FTSEurofirst 300 posting gains of just 0.8 percent on the German data. That modest uptick leaves investors in a familiar place, awaiting Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke’s pronouncement that the tapering will wait until U.S. unemployment falls further.

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