"Et tu, Charles," Ben Bernanke must have uttered when he learned of Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia president Charles Plosser's comments today. Speaking on the invitation of the CFA Society of Philadelphia and the Bond Club of Philadelphia, Plosser criticized the Fed's decision to launch a new round of quantitative easing (bond-buying), saying, "We are unlikely to see much benefit to growth or unemployment."
Pundits are fingering Plosser as the cause of today's three-quarters-of-a-percentage-point decline in the Dow Jones Industrial Average
One Dow stock that underperformed today was construction and mining equipment Caterpillar
Caterpillar's news is consistent with the notion of an "earnings recession" that I think will weigh on stocks over the next couple of quarters. Over the past month, the consensus earnings estimate for next fiscal year has fallen for almost half of the stocks in the Dow (13 of 30, to be precise). When one looks at the top-line (revenue) estimate, that proportion increases to two-thirds.