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MARKET GURU USES 'R' WORD

Vince Farrell doesn't expect the stock market to go wild over today's widely expected interest rate cut by the Federal Reserve.

"I don't think the market is going to react to it, because you had 250 basis points of cuts, yet the economy is still sluggish and earnings are still falling apart," said Farrell, a market expert, during a visit to Buffalo on Tuesday. He spoke at a luncheon sponsored by McDonald Investments, a Key Corp. company.

"I think the market is going to wait to see evidence of an earnings upturn," he said. "I don't think rate cuts will do it. They want to see tangible evidence."

Farrell is chairman of Victory Capital Management, which is a Key Corp. subsidiary. He's a frequent guest on business television talk shows such as "Squawk Box" on CNBC and "Moneyline" on CNN.

Farrell expects the Fed to cut rates by 50 basis points today, and says such cuts are needed to rejuvenate the economy, even if they don't spur the stock market.

"You need to cut the rates to get the economy going," he said. "But what we want is, we want the market to get going, and the Fed can't care about that. The Fed has to care about the economy. The market will do whatever it's supposed to do."

Meanwhile, he offers this blunt assessment of the national economy: it's in a recession.

"Nobody wants to admit it, but what's the big deal?," Farrell said. "Because in a recession, what you want is the Fed to lower rates. Well, the Fed is lowering rates. The Fed is doing everything it's supposed to do."

Still, he expects the economy to rebound next year. "I think the prescription is being baked in the cake right now for a better market going forward. I don't think we're there quite yet," he said.

Farrell said it usually takes 12 months for a Federal Reserve action to make its way through the economy. He noted the Fed stopped raising interest rates in May 2000.

"I really think at the earliest, you'll see the economy turn up at the beginning of next year, one year after the Fed started to cut rates," he said. "The reason it might be a little later is we have such a glut of capacity on the corporate side."

The comeback will have to be led by consumer spending, instead of corporate investment, since many companies have already spent so much on plants and equipment, he said.

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