While most investors are currently fixated on the
"fiscal-cliff" talks, the market will also be impacted by the
November jobs report due Friday and then the outcome of the
Federal Reserve's FOMC meeting next week.
Even though jobs numbers are likely to be impacted by
Super-storm Sandy; this report will still be a factor in the
outcome of FOMC's last meeting of 2012.
Operation Twist-which involves buying longer-term bonds and
selling a like amount of shorter-term treasuries-is expiring at
the end of this month.
Additionally, Fed buys 40 billion of agency mortgage-backed
securities each month, under QE3. QE3 is an open-ended program,
implying the Fed will continue to buy bonds until they see a
substantial improvement in the job market.
In all, Fed buys about $85 billion of long-term bonds each
month under the two programs.
Several FOMC members have indicated that they support
additional bond purchases. Some of them have suggested adopting
specific thresholds for unemployment and inflation and continuing
asset purchases until those thresholds are hit.
On the other hand, some members are not in favor of extending
Twist or thresholds.
What do you think the Fed will decide in the next meeting?
1) Ramp up QE3 to buy $85 billion of
mortgage backed securities
2) Start outright purchase of long-term
treasury bonds to make up for the Twist shortfall
3) Start outright purchase but scale down
the amount as outright purchases are more "stimulative" than
swapping the shorter-term securitiies for longer-term
4) Do nothing now and act later in case the
economy actually goes over the cliff
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