From the moment that the Fed's August meeting minutes came out last week, it was widely known that they were more reflective of the past than of the future. Even James Bullard, head of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, called the implied message in the minutes "a bit stale," going on to say how unusual it would be for the Fed to act (or to ease) under the current ''data constellation."
Fast forward a week. We are now marching toward the weekend economic symposium in Jackson Hole, and investors are still trying to handicap a way that Bernanke might be able to move forward with — or at least move closer to — QE3, despite the fact that there has not been a data implosion. "Substantial and sustainable" improvement hasn't materialized either.
Still, investors like Drew Kanaly, CEO of Kanaly Trust, aren't ruling it out.
"If you watch the price of gold, it looks like the market is betting that you're going to get some easing," he says of the precious metals' sudden surge to a four-month high, in the attached video.
From his viewpoint in Houston, "Things are softening up here. You're not seeing the job growth," he says, adding that ultimately, "economic reality is going to force their hand" and prompt the Fed to do something "sooner rather than later."
Of course, plenty of other market watchers can't see more easing coming, especially with stocks and gasoline up and just over two months to go before the election.
As much as the Jackson Hole meeting has been used as backdrop for action in recent years, its outsized importance looks unwarranted this time around since the case for more easing just isn't happening.
Or to use the words that Johnny Cash and June Carter Cash sang of another Jackson, "We've been talkin' 'bout Jackson, ever since the fire went out."