Proof that a little surprise can be quite big.
Ahead of the Federal Reserve’s decision on more quantitative easing there were three possible outcomes that could have threatened what is becoming a strong global equity rally. In short:
— Meeting expectations could have been seen as boring, leading to a sell off
— Not meeting expectations could have been seen as widely disappointing, leading to a sell off
— Exceeding expectations could have been seen as a sign that the U.S. economy is in worst shape than feared, leading to a selloff.
In the event, the Fed’s $600 billion by June was a tad more than expected but not enough to spook the horses. “Slightly pleasantly surprising,” is how Jonathan Schiessl of wealth managers Ashburton put it.
As for the markets. MSCI’s benchmark gauge of global stocks decided it was a good day to rise above where it was when Lehman Brothers collapsed, the seminal event that turned a bear market into a rout.