LTRO Part Deux

On February 29th the European Central Bank will release the results of its second Long Term Refinancing Operation (LTRO) which provides low-interest loans to Europeans banks. Since the announcement of the first LTRO in early December, the S&P 500 has rallied over 8%. Analysts estimate that $668 billion will be dished out, higher than the previous round. The impact on the market likely will be negligible as this announcement has been planned while the first announcement was a pleasant surprise. The ECB has indicated that this likely will be the final round of easing to avoid making regional banks dependent on cheap capital. If this is the case, then the market might be headed for a drop from their current highs as another catalyst will be needed to push markets higher. After previous central bank interventions between QE I and QE II and between the end of QE II and the start of first LTRO, the S&P has lost about 20% which is a trend that does not bode well for the market.

~ Ravi Tamboli