Running out of steam

The euphoria in markets over recent days appears to be fading but only after a fairly solid rally in equities amounting to around 20% in some stock indices from their lows. Financials have led the gains over recent weeks helped more recently by a warm reception to US Treasury Secretary Geithner’s plans to fix banks.

Although I am doubtful about the staying power of the recent improvement in market sentiment I have to admit that there are clearly positive steps in action in the US both from the Fed and the US Treasury.  In fact the US authorites have gone all out to get things turned round.  This appears to have put a floor under risk appetite for now. 

Ok there are still a lot of questions to be asked such as how quickly the Geithner’s bank plan will work or whether banks will be unwilling to offload toxic debt at a significant loss or whether the deal is a raw one for US tax payers who seem to be bearing most of the downside and not too much upside if things go well.  All of that aside something is better than nothing even with its faults.

As for equity markets this still smells like a bear market rally or put another way a dead cat bounce.   I could be wrong and will be happily eat my words but I can’t see how the rally can be justified given the struggle ahead for both banks and the economy.   At best, what to expect is a period of high volatility before a real recovery arrives. 

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