Fed Speak Market Tumbles

John Ransom
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Posted: Mar 03, 2011 9:08 AM
Fed Speak Market Tumbles

Ok, so two bad things happened to the markets Tuesday: Ben Bernanke spoke and so did Barrack Obama.

People thought perhaps that Obama was channeling his inner Ronald Reagan when he ordered  two ships, the amphibious assault vessel Kearsarge and the dock ship Ponce into the Mediterranean off the waters of Libya. But it’s more likely he summoned his inner Thomas Jefferson, another pusillanimous president.

The US has a carrier fleet deployed nearby in the Red Sea that could enforce a no-fly zone over Libya in support of rebel forces seeking to topple Gaddafi. Pentagon leaders however are already pushing back against that idea warning that the logistics might be too tough.

I was sitting next to a Navy commander on the Metro today, as he peered over someone’s shoulder to read the Post headline about Navy deployments to Libya. I told him, as I nodded towards the paper, “Good luck with that.” He just shook his head and sighed before getting off at the Pentagon stop.

Maybe instead Obama can deploy some SEIU folks to hold a sit-in in Tripoli.

Look liberals can’t even agree on how to spell the name Gaddafi. I’ve seen it spelled Kadafi, Gaddafi, Qaddafi, el-Qaddafi in authoritative liberal papers. Getting the resources to invade another country might be too much even for them.        

It doesn’t matter how Bernanke spells it, the markets will always interpret whatever he says as bad news.

Yesterday, Ben tried to reassure the markets that oil prices would not adversely affect the recovery. It was lost in translation though. Bernanke started speaking and the market started sinking.

In part that was because Bernanke was trying to thread the needle between those who think we should cut spending now and those who warn the world will come to end if we cut $60 billion or so from a $1.4 trillion budget.

The Fed chairman did agree with a group of economists that the single biggest long-term threat to our economy was the size of the federal budget deficit.

Ignore the futures again today. This is a market that is looking for reasons to flee to quality. We’re giving the market plenty of excuses for their flight too.

Today, I’d buy Apple, Inc. the computer company (Symbol: AAPL; NEWS; CHART).

Apple has pulled back just a wee bit from a high around $353. I’d love the company under $340. I’d super, duper love it under $330. But I would buy some now and then buy some more later if it gets cheaper.

Apple clearly is leading the pack again in changing the way people look at personal computing. I think there are plenty of sales out there for the IPad.   

John Ransom is the Finance Editor for Townhall Finance and may have a long or short position in the securities discussed in this article.