What it all starts adding up to is a replay of 2011, Roberts says: a decline in May, followed by a slight rally in June with a decline in July and August on its heels. At that point, the economy is growing at such a subpar rate, it isn't entirely implausible that the Federal Reserve could justify another bond-buying program, á la QEI and QEII, to stimulate the economy.
Right now the economy is struggling, barely growing at 2 percent, but it's not exactly careening toward a definite recession. That being said, the Fed really has no reason to launch another program to increase its balance sheet and infuse liquidity into the economy, especially given the hyper-political nature their role has taken on. The environment conducive to another Fed-led program would have to be one of negative sentiment, stock market declines, and a seriously slowing economy.
"Then they can hit the market with a jolt of cocaine and get a run," Roberts says.
Meg Handley is a business reporter for U.S. News & World Report. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow her on Twitter.