Commodities Drop, Rally in Dollar, Stocks Vindicate Bernanke

As reported in Bloomberg.com 

By Pham-Duy Nguyen

March 21 (Bloomberg) — The biggest commodity collapse in at least five decades may signal Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke has revived confidence in U.S. financial firms.

The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index posted its first weekly gain in a month, and the dollar leapt from its lowest level since 1973 after the Fed stepped in March 16 to rescue Bear Stearns Cos., the fifth-largest U.S. securities firm, and expanded its role as lender of last resort to embrace the biggest dealers in Treasury notes.

Investors who had poured money into gold, oil and corn, seeking a hedge against inflation and a weak dollar, sold commodities to raise cash or buy stocks. The Reuters/Jefferies CRB Index of 19 commodities tumbled 8.3 percent this week, the most since at least 1956, after touching a record on Feb. 29.

“Bernanke took care of the commodity bubble,” said Ron Goodis, the retail trading director at Equidex Brokerage Group Inc. in Closter, New Jersey. “Commodities are coming back to earth. The stock market looks OK, and Bernanke is starting to look a little better.”

Concern that the central bank would let inflation get out of control eased after the Fed cut its key interest rate by 0.75 percentage point on March 18, less than the reduction of at least 1 point that investors had expected.

“Clearly they’ve gotten some stability,” said Keith Hembre, a former Fed researcher and chief economist at FAF Advisors Inc. in Minneapolis, which oversees more than $107 billion in assets. “You have to stand back and say, for the time being, it looks to be a pretty successful combination of moves that have worked.”

 Our perspective

This seems like good news. We have all been looking for some sort of stability. However the market is so fickle and the current volatility urges us to proceed with caution.

Let’s see how things shake out over the next couple of weeks.

Will energy prices stabilize and start to drop? Natural gas prices are still inflated, reserves are still at an all time high. Temperatures continue to be moderate.

Let us know your thoughts. You can reach us @

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