Mario Draghi’s “whatever it takes” pledge in July 2012 came at a time of extreme market dislocation and it completely changed the market’s expectations. Last week, in another unprecedented move, the European Central Bank (ECB) cut the overnight deposit rate to below zero and announced a new round of liquidity inducing measures. The ECB has a tough job to change expectations for future growth and inflation and this is where the challenge lies. For now, Draghi has done enough to buy time and keep deflationists at bay without announcing an overt Quantitative Easing (QE) program. In the US, house prices have risen, the Standard & Poor’s (SPX) 500 index has tripled from its 2009 lows and the US has recouped all of the 8.7 million jobs it lost during the last recession. Yet, the GDP growth rate is not back to its pre-crisis level. The rally in equities is not over, but we are seeing early signs that the US corporate profit margin cycle has begun to turn down. Separately, it’s almost time for the Football World Cup and I pick Argentina to win.
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