Last week Mr. Bernanke also threw some cold water on things when he reminded us that his #1 concern remains inflation. That dashed the hopes of the rate-cut groupies who have been pumping up the markets on the hopes of cheaper money coming soon and more liquidity in the markets.
We also received mixed economic signals last week, with personal spending rising slightly faster than expected and corporate profits slower than estimates.
A study just out: Although sub-prime and housing remains a real threat, when you look at the bigger debt picture it's even scarier - the total debt load of American citizens is over $44 TRILLION, or a whopping 331% of GDP! That's huge - and much more in percentage of GDP terms than anytime in history, even during the great depression. The result is that too large of chunk of everybody's income (corporations and individuals) is going to debt service and less and less will be available for consumption going forward. That will amplify when all the adjustable loans on homes and businesses adjust upwards.
What could fuel a rally? Liquidity continues to remain the float under the market boat, and it may be enough to overcome all the potential bearish factors, at least for a while. Especially if the Iran situation calms down and we get some positive earnings surprises and well received economic numbers.
However, I believe the odds of a market move remain to the downside in the coming week.
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