STEVE CHIOTAKIS: The Federal Reserve wraps up its two day policy meeting today. And Chairman Ben Bernanke will address how the Fed feels about the economy and about what happens after its stimulus program ends next week.
Tad Rivelle is Chief Investment Officer at the firm TCW in Los Angeles. And he’s with us now in our studio. Good morning.
TAD RIVELLE: Good morning.
CHIOTAKIS: There’s a lot of — it seems — pretty bad economic news out there. What kind of message are we going to hear from Chairmen Bernanke and from the Fed today?
RIVELLE: There is a lot of bad economic news out there. We’ve seen it with Greece and we’ve seen it with the weak economic data of recent months. And so Bernanke may characterize this recent period as simply transitory and something that we’re going to get over. Or potentially he might say that this is something more alarming and of deeper concern to the Fed. But more than likely it’s going to be the first, and not the second.
CHIOTAKIS: The Fed’s bond buying program — we know it as quantitative easing — is expected to wrap up at the end of the month. How are you and I going to be affected by that?
RIVELLE: Probably we’re not going to notice it at all.
RIVELLE: We don’t actually think that the bond buying program, as you characterize it, really has had much of an impact at all on the overall economy. But we’ll hear from Bernanke later on today as to whether or not he’s going to abide by that path to normalization.
CHIOTAKIS: All right, so we’re done with the bond buying. What can the Fed do?
RIVELLE: They’ve already done probably everything that they can do. We already are in an environment of zero interest rates, we’re in an environment where the Fed has bought, quite literally trillions of dollars worth of securities, and I think that we’re simply recognizing some limits to the extent to which monetary policy, interest rate policy can actually influence the course of events.
CHIOTAKIS: There’s so much going on these days — you mentioned Greece at the outset, the Fed’s stimulus program we just talked about. Congress and the President negotiating the debt ceiling — that’s going on. And it’s been pretty tumultuous there. As an investor, what are you most worried about?
RIVELLE: The fiscal situation is very unresolved, and so then the real question is: what extent is there going to be a game of brinksmanship that’s going to get played.
CHIOTAKIS: A game of chicken right? Who’s going to blink first?
RIVELLE: Right. And I think that it’s actually probably reasonable to think that both parties are going to have to show their constituents that they’ve gone right to the mat on this one. And so it’s going to spook the markets.
CHIOTAKIS: Tad Rivelle chief Investment Officer at TCW in Los Angeles. Tad, thank you.
RIVELLE: Thank you.
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