Every time I hear or read that a market “has” to do something, I think about the consequences if it doesn’t behave as expected. The market doesn’t have to do anything, no matter what the fundamentals or technicals or historical intermarket relationships or logic or any other factors suggest.
This comes to mind again as the prevailing stream of thought seems to be that if gold prices are rising, the U.S. dollar should be declining – or vice versa. Gold is on the verge of breaking above its 2006 highs on one of its rare trips above $700 an ounce, and the dollar is on the edge of what may be a plunge to who knows where. Crude oil and some other commodity futures prices are making new highs, which some see as additional signs the dollar is doomed.
Well, maybe it isn’t. Admittedly, the Fed is in a tough spot but will it sacrifice the dollar by reducing the Fed funds rate – futures suggest by 50 basis points – next Tuesday in an effort to “save” the economy and the stock market after the miserable jobs and housing numbers lately? Assuming the Fed can make a difference in guiding the economic future to avoid a recession, what if it decides to maintain the status quo and leave interest rates where they are? What are the ramifications for gold and all those higher commodity prices that feed off the dollar?
Like the markets, the Fed doesn’t have to do anything. Odds are it will not be able to resist tinkering with the system. But what if it doesn’t?