30 Apr 2018

Cheap Rates

It finally happened. For the first time since 2014, the yield on the 10yr Treasury just traded over 3.0%. For months, many have proclaimed that 3.0% is the Maginot Line that, if crossed, spells impending doom for the markets. While it is easy to get excited about round numbers, the reality is that the economic impact of 3.0% is no different than 2.99%. The Treasury rate that I really find… Read More

12 Mar 2018

Busting Another Wall Street Myth

Over the last few months, I’ve read multiple articles making the claim that the correlation between stocks and bonds is shifting and that the new relationship will negatively impact portfolios. One recent Bloomberg article, titled ‘Easy Allocation Models ‘Doomed’ as Diversification Breaks Down’ really set me off and caused me to take a closer look at some of these claims. The thrust of the claim is that the recent negative… Read More

5 Feb 2018

What the Heck Just Happened?

What the heck happened?  Stocks were rolling along, picking up steam even, when all of a sudden, out of the blue, ‘POW!’, the index hit a wall. In reality though, while the move lower was a surprise, it wasn’t really all that surprising.  It’s true that I couldn’t have told you the week before that stocks would have fallen sharply last week, but a move like this really isn’t out… Read More

31 Jan 2018

Tax Reform’s Impact on the Value of Muni’s

The new 2018 tax laws are already having a major impact on investment portfolios. Lower tax rates, especially the decline in corporate rates, has boosted optimism for economic growth and higher wages which has manifested itself in higher stock multiples and higher prices. The opposite has happened with interest rates. Higher growth and wages would be expected to bring higher inflation too. Increased inflation expectations along with an expectation for… Read More

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22 Nov 2017

The Curve is Falling… The Curve is Falling!

The yield curve has been a very hot topic lately in the financial news media.  Multiple times a day, there are commentators pointing to the yield curve as a sign that markets are on the verge of imploding.  Is it time to panic? The Federal Reserve has continued to push short term rates higher throughout 2017.  Long term rates have responded by falling 10 bps.  This has led to a… Read More

13 Nov 2017

The Canary in the Bond Market?

The recent poor performance of junk bonds received a lot of attention last week, culminating in an article in the Wall Street Journal that asked, ‘Are High Yield Bonds the Canary in the Coal Mine?’ The two largest junk bond ETFs, HYG and JNK, saw their largest weekly pullbacks since August, falling just short of a percent each on unusually large volume. There are several reasons for the selloff: Barron’s… Read More

29 Aug 2017

Forecasting Expected Returns

“Price is what you pay.  Value is what you get.”  -Warren Buffet How can investors know the value of an investment?  Bond yields remain very low and stocks continue to climb higher across the globe.  Using typical valuation measures, markets everywhere look very expensive.  However, investors continue to pour money into them, so they must see value.  The value of an investment is subject to an uncertain future, so how… Read More

30 May 2017

Bond Market Views on Growth and Inflation Today

Almost a year ago, the yield on the 10-year US Treasury hit an all-time low, falling to 1.36 percent, just below the previous all-time low of 1.39 percent, set in 2012. After the yield on the 10-year bottomed last summer, the yield drifted slowly higher until the election when, boom, it shot dramatically higher overnight.  Investors were optimistic that the Trump administration might bring faster economic growth through a combination of… Read More

17 Apr 2017

The Fed’s Next Move

During the 2008 financial crisis, the Federal Reserved used a variety of tactics to stabilize the economy and financial system.  First they cut interest rates, but when they got to zero and couldn’t cut anymore, they started buying bonds in the open market in a process call quantitative easing (QE). The program was controversial because a lot of people thought that it would stoke inflation.  While that didn’t come to… Read More

2 Mar 2017

What About The Bonds?

Almost all of the focus on the Federal Reserve lately has been concentrated on the future path for the fed funds target rate. After the false start in December of 2015, the FOMC hiked rates again in December of last year and now stands poised to actually turn things into a steady campaign of rate hikes. However, the other piece of their emergency level of monetary policy accommodation – the… Read More