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Y2K pessimists are approaching their moment of truth In seven weeks the world will or will not run into more trouble than most people think Investors will or will not suffer last-minute jitters as the millennium draws nearYes yes I knowits not yet the millennium from a technical point of view As a stern band of readers likes to remind me only morons believe the millennium falls on Jan 1 The 1000-year span actually ends on the years last day Dec 31 2000Well that may be their millennium but its not mine Im partying now A more interesting question than calendar dates is whether the stock and bond markets will be partying too Has the Y2K selling already happened as I believe or will it erupt in the final days If theres the usual year-end rallyand last Friday looked goodwill we wake up with a hangoverWhen you read this the Federal Reserve will probably have made its latest decision about interest rates its open-market committee meets on Tuesday Nov 16 Either resultrates up or rates flatshould be good for stocks says economist Irwin Kellner of Hofstra University in Hempstead NY Investors will feel more secure for the next few months The markets dont expect the Fed to raise rates in December on Y2K eve or in early 2000 when business conditions might be distorted by the millennial bumpRate hike After that investor concern about interest-rate increases may resume The Fed wants the economy to slow to ward off the inflation that could arise from tight labor markets and global growth Youre seeing some cooling already in housing and auto sales but perhaps not enough Were thinking one or two modest rate hikes over six to nine months says economist Allen Sinai president of Primark Decision Economics in New YorkEven so hardly anyone mentions the R word A recession could always arise from an unexpected shock but none of the conventional signals are flashing red By
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