June 23, 2011
The Federal Reserve’s $600 billion program of “quantitative easing” has been great for Wall Street.
The flood of cheap money has helped the big banks rake in profits hand over fist. (Last quarter, Goldman Sachs Group Inc. made trading profits every single day.) Commodity speculators have grown rich. And the stock market has boomed, at least when measured in paper dollars. Since Ben Bernanke unveiled QE2 last August, the S&P 500 Index /quotes/zigman/3870025 SPX -0.65% has jumped about 24%.
But how much benefit has been seen by Main Street investors?
To get one idea, I contacted the Investment Company Institute, the trade organization of the mutual-fund industry. They monitor comprehensive data on how much money ordinary investors are putting into mutual funds.