Emerging Markets Frown on Bernanke’s Taper

Last Wednesday, the Fed announced its decision to taper its bond buying program by $10 billion a month, or 12% of its prior monthly ante of $85 billion. That surprised many, who speculated nothing would happen until 2014 when Ben Bernanke passed the torch to Janet Yellen.

This of course prompted much noodling and jabbering about a host of implications…

Is it a trial balloon, testing the market’s reaction, in preparation for further cuts?

Is Bernanke just trying to ensure he can say he started the taper on his watch?

Will Yellen make further cuts, or increase stimulus at the first sign of economic weakness?

Truth is, it’s probably too early (and futile) to speculate too much. And from my perspective, I’d rather just observe how global markets reacted to the news.

On Wednesday, U.S. stock markets surged higher, closing the day up about 1.75%. Emerging markets (EEM) closed the day 1.3% higher and European stocks (VGK) almost 1% higher.

Interestingly though, emerging markets dropped sharply the following day. That sharp sell-off prompted me to review a chart I’ve shared with you before.

Here’s the comparison between emerging markets (EEM) and European stocks (VGK), each compared to the S&P 500 (SPY):

See larger image

As you can see, emerging markets (EEM:SPY, in yellow) continue to slide lower, breaking below their July low. At the same time, European markets (VGK:SPY, in white) have held up better and appear to be ticking higher.

Both emerging market and European stocks trailed U.S. stocks dramatically since the start of 2013, so the recent divergence between EEM and VGK is an interesting development that I’ll continue to watch closely.

If a 12% reduction in U.S. central bank stimulus is enough to scare investors out of emerging markets… it could turn ugly fast if further cuts are made in 2014. Stay tuned.

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Categories: Markets

About Author

Adam O'Dell has one purpose in mind: to find and bring to subscribers investment opportunities that return the maximum profit with the minimum risk. Adam has worked as a Prop Trader for a spot Forex firm. While there, he learned the fundamentals of trading in the world’s largest market. He excelled at trading the volatile currency markets by seeking out low-risk entry points for trades with high profit potential. An MBA graduate and Affiliate Member of the Market Technicians Association, Adam is a lifelong student of the markets. He is editor of our hugely successful trading service, Cycle 9 Alert.