Wednesday, July 01, 2009

The Missing 'Cap and Trade' Market Reaction

The House passed a carbon 'cap and trade' bill Friday afternoon by just a 7 vote margin.

Funny how it missed the major news feeds, isn't it?

By scheduling the vote prior to a weekend, and the July 4th holiday recess, the House virtually guaranteed that the average American wouldn't notice the vote. The unplanned coincidence of Michael Jackson's death that afternoon virtually assured the vote's disappearance from major coverage over the weekend.

What has mystified me, though, is the lack of apparent reaction in equity markets of institutional investors. This bill, as currently written, constitutes the most massive tax and wealth transfer probably ever proposed by the US Congress.

Perhaps the lack of investor reaction is due to the Senate's not yet passing a compromised version into law.

Still, I'm just amazed that such a huge tax increase and energy policy rewrite which will radically shift fortunes among US business sectors and regions is only one chamber away from passage, with no observable sign of distress among professional equity investors.

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