Fed Chief Bernanke Ups Interest Rates 1.25% "Just To Mess With People's Heads"

New York, January 30, 2008 -- In a surprise move that has left market analysts worldwide scratching their heads, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke raised, rather than lowered, the discount and fed funds rates by an unprecedented 1.25% this afternoon.

Fed Chief Ben BernankeFed Chief Ben Bernanke

Most analysts had been predicting interest rate cuts of between 25 and 50 basis points, an expectation that has already been fully priced into worldwide stock markets. The long-term repercussions of Bernanke's maverick maneuver are, at this point, anyone's guess.

“That guy is tripping,” Skip Pringle, a fund manager with Errol Watts Equities in New York, said. “Who the hell appointed him, anyway?”

Mr. Bernanke announced the interest rate increase in a brief statement released today at 2:15 PM, eastern time.

“Dear stock markets and hopeful investors of the world,” the statement read. “Surprise! The Federal Reserve hereby raises the federal funds and discount rates by 125 basis points to 4.75% and 5.25% respectively. Hahahahaha! Suckers.”

The move was highly unexpected by investors, particularly given the 75 basis point reduction announced by the Federal Reserve a mere week ago and the unimpressive growth figures revealed this morning.

Mr. Bernanke and members of the Federal Reserve Board remained sequestered and unavailable for comment following the announcement.

“I think Mr. Bernanke just likes to mess with people's heads,” a source with ties to the Federal Reserve Chairman said. “He's always had a mischievous streak beneath that nerdy college professor exterior. At the club, he likes to serve tennis balls directly at his opponent's face. This is sort of the same thing.”

Stock markets remained in a rare, paralytic state for almost 30 minutes following Mr. Bernanke's discount rate announcement. Trading volume overall was precisely 11 shares, the result of 13-year-old Jeff Bernstein of South Orange, New Jersey, cashing in his bar mitzvah present. Following that, stock markets plummeted almost 23% in fourteen seconds before emergency safeguards shut down the system.

“Ben's never liked to feel pressured or pushed around, you know,” another source with close connections to the Federal Reserve Chairman said. “I think all the howling from worried traders just got to him and he snapped. I wouldn't worry about it too much. In a week or two, he'll probably send out a new, one-word release: Kidding!. I bet that'll keep him chortling for months.”

By Ion Zwitter, Avant News Financial Analyst

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