*(I may update this list as the year progresses, as various scenarios become clearer, and as new events unfold.)
"MONEY PRINTING" and "EASY MONEY"
- the Fed's "QUANTITATIVE EASING" program ("QE") of buying bonds and mortgage-backed securities
- the Fed (and other Central Bankers around the world) provides low interest-rate loans to Banks
- Banks are supposed to make this money available to companies and individuals at low rates that they deem appropriate (however, as demand for loans picks up, no doubt the Banks will raise interest rates, even though the Fed may not...a risk that will have to be factored into a company's costs)
- the Fed's "DUAL MANDATE" monetary policy -- to reduce the unemployment rate while maintaining an inflation target of 2%
- the Fed's goal is to produce a "WEALTH EFFECT" (precisely who will benefit remains to be seen)
- the ECB's secondary and sovereign bond-buying program (there is still some debate as to its legality) from the implementation of its "ESM" and "EFSF" bailout programs -- UPDATE January 14, 2015 (courtesy of ZeroHedge article): "European Top Court finds ECB's OMT 'May Be Legal' but must meet conditions"
- through the use of its money market operations (for the purposes of reflating its economy)
- wholesale and retail prices of goods and services
- price of stocks, commodities, etc.
- home prices
- interest rates (and, thus, the nest eggs of 'savers')
- market volatility
- the value of currencies (e.g., the Yen)
"COMPANY SHAREHOLDER PERKS"
- introduce company share buy-back programs
- increase dividends
- offer or enhance preferred-share programs
- issue or enhance corporate bond programs
- production and distribution of goods and services
- costs of goods and services
- employee/goods/services performance
- the benefits (to the consumer) of the goods and services
- the housing sector (the Fed's desire)
- short-sellers of national and international holdings
- short-sellers of commodities
- short-sellers of beaten-down stocks
- savers (and, in some cases, seize savings)
- this phrase does not seem to exist in this current environment where most (U.S.) markets are at/near either 4-year highs or all-time highs
"BAD ECONOMIC NEWS/DATA"
- is being ignored
"SOCIAL MEDIA CYBER ATTACKS"
- a new phenomenon and risk, in addition to other types of global cyber attacks that we've seen recently
Companies will need to effectively balance their "SHAREHOLDER PERKS" with their cost-cutting measures against demand for their products/services to ensure that, in offering these perks (while protecting against domestic and global risks), they don't go from cash-rich to debt-ridden in short order. As always, it's up to each investor to determine just how "TRANSPARENT" these "RISKS vs. REWARDS" are, as presented by companies, so they can make informed decisions before buying (or continuing to hold) shares.
The risks of a "VALUE" company in this kind of environment may very well be much greater because of its low-growth nature; whereas, a "GROWTH" company's risks may be lower. However, if demand is not there, they will all become "value" plays (or worse) in the end, as their risks increase. In the long run, all of this will only work if consumer demand for goods and services keeps pace with, and outpaces the ultimate costs of the company's "ADDED RISKS" and "INFLATION."
We'll see how 2013 ends and how well global Central Bank policy has worked. Stay tuned...