Market Preview: Placing Bets on QE3
NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- In keeping with the "not if but when" shift in sentiment of late about additional monetary stimulus, the predictions about what QE3 may entail are starting to roll in.
Bank of America Merrill Lynch, for one, is expecting the Federal Reserve to go pretty big at its Sept. 12-13 meeting. Here's the firm's characterization of the central bank's thought process: "In our view, the Fed will move when it is comfortable that the growth slowdown is likely to persist."
With the data still pointing in that direction -- Thursday's drop in weekly initial jobless claims aside -- B of A revised its expectations of QE3's parameters to reflect a more aggressive move than previously predicted.
"We now believe that the Fed will extend its forward guidance to "at least through late-2015" on August 1, rather than through 'mid-2015.' We also expect the announcement of a $600bn QE program in Treasuries and MBS
B of A also offered up some color on the Fed's "nuclear options," which are measures it says "will be much harder to implement, but would likely be much more effective."
"These include imposing a ceiling on yields; open ended asset purchases until certain mandate triggers are met (mandate targeting); FX intervention to weaken the dollar; money financed fiscal expansion and raising the inflation target above 2%," the firm said. "In our view, the nuclear options become likely if the Fed believes the economy is sliding into recession or sees high risk of deflation."
Meantime, Scott Wren, senior equity strategist at Wells Fargo, backed the firm's year-end target range for the S&P 500 of 1400-1450 late Wednesday and offered up some advice on how to play the volatility that's likely to crop up in August when many of Wall Street's heavy hitters are on vacation and Europe basically shuts down.
"We would not advise investors to chase the market on any rally toward the highs seen in earlier in the year but those investors with a 9+ month outlook can continue to build positions in quality companies," he said.