Jerome Powell’s renomination to serve a second term as chairman of the Federal Reserve might have been a politically risky one by the Biden White House, and has gotten a mixed reaction from the markets, but retail investors were almost unanimous in their excitement that Uncle Jay will likely be staying in control of the money-printing machine.
Powell’s tenure so far has been marked by overtly accommodative policy toward markets, a stance that has earned him a lot of critics on Capitol Hill, Wall Street and Main Street.
But one place has maintained a “nothin’ but love” mentality toward the 68-year-old central banker. To retail investors of the meme-stock generation, Powell is the person who has kept the gravy train running, maintaining low rates and flooding the markets with liquidity to preserve an unprecedented bull market. He even doled out the stimulus checks that have been cited by many as a prime driver behind the surge in regular people flocking to zero-commission trading apps in 2020 as COVID-19 changed the world.
In fact, the most popular personification of Powell on social media is a meme that portrays him as an indiscriminate printer of money.
Jay Powell, retail traders are fond of saying, “makes the money machine go Brrrr.”
On Reddit, reports of Powell’s renomination were predictably met with overwhelming applause.
“Makes sense,” posted hotDamQc on subreddit r/Stocks. “JPOW knows how to operate the money printer at full power, no time to train a rookie.”
“Maybe Biden knows he’s gonna need a guy who has experience printing money for all our tendies?” mused Whole-Caterpillar-56 on r/GMEJungle, using the Apes’ preferred terminology for profits.
Others were more creative in their praise.
“You’ll never guess how much printer ink I just sold,” wrote yousirnaime on r/WallStreetBets, quoting an imaginary Staples employee. “You know that old guy who comes in here every week?”
On Twitter, the takes were more visual:
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But the clearest sign that meme-stock traders are down with Powell is that both GameStop
shares soared 8.3% on Monday and AMC Entertainment
stock spiked as high as 3.5%, before giving back much of that surge in the late fade that gripped the wider market.
GameStop might have also benefited from a renewed anger trade in the stock thanks to Ken Griffin trolling Apes by pipping a crowdfunded group to buy a copy of the U.S. Constitution for $43.2 million on Thursday.
There was some discussion of the fact that Powell was inheriting his own growing inflation crisis, and that he would likely have to turn more hawkish on interest rates if the economy can stay on a rebound pace into 2022, but like the rest of the stock market, meme traders were comforted by the fact that they will not be losing Powell’s known and steady hand on the money-printing machine — even if it might go “Brrrr” a little more quietly.
And speaking of things that might be not so potent in 2022, we spoke to Columbia Business School professor R.A. Farrokhnia about the possibly troubled future of Robinhood
on the latest episode of MemeMarkets: