The Fed, Stocks & Chimichurri

The Fed, Stocks & Chimichurri
David R. Kotok
January 25, 2012

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The Fed has extended its low-interest-rate forecast to 2014.  In addition, it indicated a continuing commitment to extend the maturity of the Fed’s portfolio.  In other words, excess reserves and huge liquidity provisions are here for longer than many previously thought.

How long they persist will actually depend on many factors.  However, the intention of the Fed, as long as Bernanke is Chairman, is clear.

The same approach is at work at the other major central banks of the world.  We track this on Cumberland’s website, www.cumber.com.  The aggregate size of the combined G4 central bank balance sheets is about 9 trillion US dollars equivalent and is rising.  G4 is the US Fed, the Bank of England, the Bank of Japan and the European Central Bank.

Massive liquidity is likely to encourage more risk taking over time.  It will fuel a further rally in stock prices.  It will encourage higher prices in precious metals.  It will encourage acquisition of financeable assets of all types.

We remain fully invested in our US stock market ETF portfolios.  Our international portfolios are overweight the US and underweight Europe and Japan.

Now to a tasty tidbit.

While in South America we picked up this item from our chef at the Alto Puelo Lodge.  Alejandro is a skilled chef from Buenos Aries who travels to the fishing lodge when there are guests.  He is responsible for an added few pounds which I now must struggle to remove.

He makes his version of a spicy mix that is used in various dishes and especially on an asado, or barbecue.  We asked him if he knew the origins of the mix.

He said it all started with the British, who were in La Pampa province, near Buenos Aires.  They were eating an asado. My fishing colleague Michael Azeez verified the location personally.  He has been there.

Anyway.  The British asked, “Give me curry” to their cook, who was a Gaucho.  The gaucho did not understand the precise nature of the Brits’ request, so he made up a spice mixture.  He had dry oregano, dry peppers, garlic, and salt.  Some hot oil and Chimichurri was born.  Not in Patagonia but in La Pampa. Now there are a thousand recipes.  Alejandro’s version at the Alto Puelo Lodge was terrific.

We are back.  The bull market continues.  The Fed continues.  I need to plan another fishing trip.

Final musing: I know there are some FOMC members who like chimichurri.  I wonder if Bernanke likes it.

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David R. Kotok, Chairman and Chief Investment Officer

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