Interest Rate Roundup

Thursday, August 02, 2007

BOE, ECB take a pass ... plus some market thoughts

It's not a surprise, but both the Bank of England and European Central Bank took a pass on the interest rate front today. The BOE left its benchmark rate at 5.75%, while the ECB kept its key short-term rate at 4%. Both of those rates are six-year highs. Economists generally expect the BOE to keep rates at these levels for now, though they're expecting at least one more ECB hike in September.

Meanwhile, capital markets are trying to find some stability after the wild swings of the past few days. We've seen gigantic moves up and down in everything from stock prices to bond prices to credit default swaps and more. Those betting the worst is over are dueling with those betting there's more chaos to come. I'm in the second camp -- in fact, today's market environment looks a lot like 1998 to me both technically and fundamentally. I wouldn't be surprised to see some sizable earnings hits and lending problems, just like we did back then when Long-Term Capital Management blew up. We'll see...


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