May 2, 2014

Can QE deliver the results the Fed is seeking

Share prices have obviously benefited from massive liquidity and a zero interest-rate policy. The recent high-beta earthquake in which stocks sold off was probably the first shot across the bow. Increasingly, the market seems to be realizing that each progressive quantitative easing is having a more restrained impact on growth. 

With rates at zero, QE has become a blunt tool. The Federal Reserve has built a bridge to growth, but it can't deliver the destination on its own. And the flattening of the yield curve tells a story of slowing growth. There is about a 230 basis point [2.3 percentage points] spread between two- and 10-year Treasuries, compared with almost 270 bps at the end of last year. That's signaling muted economic growth.