Category Archives: Fixed Income

The Fed’s QE Dilemma

The US does not have any measurable inflation pressure now nor has it had any over the last 20 years.  The core personal consumption price index, used as the benchmark for inflation by the Federal Reserve (Fed) has been in the 1.25% to 2.5% zone since 1994, averaging about 1.75% for the last 20 years, Read more […]

3 Reasons Companies Issue Preferreds

Companies may issue preferred stocks for a variety of reasons.  The three reasons below are the most common. Preferred stock issuances give companies a relatively cheap way to acquire additional capital.  The preferred market is dominated by banks and related financial institutions, which are required by regulators to have adequate Tier 1 capital to support Read more […]

No Tricks, Just Treats From The Fed This Halloween

It recently struck me that the announcement day for the Federal Reserve’s policy meeting would coincide with what is known locally as “Mischief Night”. Mischief Night is the night before Halloween when kids play trick on neighbors by hanging toilet paper in the trees or soaping car windows. If anyone was positioned to play a Read more […]

The Hunt For Red October

In the iconic film The Hunt for Red October, released in 1990, the cold war standoff between the U.S. and the Soviet Union is taken new to heights. Based on a novel of the same title written by the recently deceased author Tom Clancy, a CIA analyst finds himself in over his head in the Read more […]

Sukuk – Let’s Do the Profit Sharing!

It all started with the Quran, the religious book of Islam, which guides all aspects of Muslim’s life. It is one of the fundamental sources of the Islamic (Shariah) law. The Shariah law has strict rules on finance; it forbids both interest “Riba” and uncertainty “Ghara”. It also prohibits a number of practices, such as Read more […]

High Yield Munis Burned by Tobacco Bonds

Tobacco settlement  bonds tracked by the S&P Municipal Bond Tobacco Index are down nearly 9% year to date as yields have risen by over 255bps as the credit risk of these long duration bonds is questioned.  Recent arbitration results have been positive but uncertainty over future disputes and tobacco consumption are pulling these long duration Read more […]

Welcome Janet Yellen

Today’s nomination by President Obama of Janet Yellen as the next chairman of the Federal Reserve is very welcome.  Yellen’s knowledge of the Fed, the banking system and the economy is second to none.  No one, except possibly Ben Bernanke, has more experience on the job. While Janet Yellen’s nomination is very likely to be Read more […]

The Tactical Case for Bond Ladder ETFs

Bond Ladder ETFs are providing a unique solution for managing duration risk. These ETFs, now available for the municipal, corporate and high yield sectors, enable more precise control over duration risk than previous fixed income ETF offerings. Moreover, they have performance benefits relative to traditional fixed income index funds and ETFs if the rising rate Read more […]

High Quality Munis Held Back by Puerto Rico Storm

The S&P Municipal Bond Puerto Rico Index is down over 16% since mid-year and over 20% for the last 12 months.  The ‘storm’ has continued into October as the index is down 2% month to date. The Puerto Rico bond market debacle weighs on the rest of the municipal bond market despite its relative high Read more […]

Jekyll & Hyde: The U.S. Preferred Stock Market

Preferred stocks have a split personality, part equity and part bond. The bond characteristics of preferred stock has, at least for the time being, become the ‘Mr. Hyde’ of the asset class.  The high dividends that preferred stock owners enjoy can be compared to future interest payments of bonds. Like bonds, the prospect of the Read more […]