Expect next week's policy meetings to signal that central bank stand ready to step in, once again, to maintain the disconnect between buoyant equity markets and sluggish economic conditions -- not as an end in itself but, given Congressional dysfunction, as virtually the only way today to support economic activity (and it is rather imperfect as the expected benefits come with growing costs and risks). Look for the Federal Reserve to alter the thrust of its policy narrative. Rather than advance its prior emphasis on tapering its monthly $85 billion purchases of market securities, it will seek to reassure markets by iterating its willingness to do more if needed. Across the Atlantic, the European Central Bank will face increasing pressure to cut its interest rate (currently at 0.75%) and liberalize the collateral requirements it imposes -- both meant to loosen monetary conditions.
Can't anybody here play this game? The Chicago Board Options Exchange, the biggest U.S. options exchange and one of the most important derivatives markets in the world, was shut down all of Thursday morning by what was apparently a software glitch.