The U.S. economy has continued to falter since the housing bubble burst. Virtually every part of the economy has worsened, and continues to do so. This is also true on a global scale. Whether discussing unemployment, housing, inflation, GDP, retail sales, etc., the picture is clear, we are still in a depression. Even though the economic picture is bleak, the stock markets have continued to go up in value during this period. Why is this happening? After the market collapse of 2008 and 2009, where losses were generally around 55%, the markets have gone up substantially. During that same period were QE1 and QE2. This is no coincidence. Bernanke took full credit for the rise in the stock markets, and for good reason.
The "Quantitative Easing" programs were structured to transfer money (out of thin air) from the New York Fed to its primary dealer banks. This is done when the Fed purchases treasury bonds from these dealers, some of which include Goldman Sachs and J.P. Morgan, along with 18 others. This process infuses the banks receiving this money with instant liquidity. During QE2 for example, from November 3rd of 2010 through June 30th of 2011, the New York Fed bought from its primary dealers $770 billion worth of treasuries, not the $600 billion it claimed. These banks acquired many of these treasuries during the bailouts by trading worthless securities for full value treasuries. This was, by the way, at taxpayer expense.
There is a direct correlation between these bond purchases and stock market performance. When QE1 ended, after an increase of approximately 90% in the markets, the markets began to fall. After falling about 23% from those highs, QE2 was announced, and began in November of 2010. The markets proceeded to go up again until QE2 ended in June of 2011. After the money stopped flowing, there was a sudden drop of over 18% from July through September of this year.
Now it gets even more interesting. In just the past two weeks, the stock markets have gone up about 11%. During that same time frame, the Fed has purchased $39.9 billion of treasuries from its dealer banks, in the same manner as it did during QE1 and QE2. If continued, this is an $85 billion a month pace, similar to that of QE2. But remember, there is no announced QE3, and no report that I’ve seen has mentioned anything about this bond buying, but it is going on nonetheless.