Tag Archives: interest rates

The New Fed! Yellen’ About Commodities

As we all know by now, Ben Bernanke is gone. He was focused on not having a depression on his watch so he pulled out all kinds of never-before-tried policy tools. Consequently, Janet Yellen will have to cope with the unintended consequences of QE — namely big unrealized losses in the Fed’s bond portfolio.  Recently, I had Read more […]

Bond Funds Unbound

Yesterday’s Wall Street Journal offered a profile of fixed income investors who aim to “break [the] chains” by which they are supposedly confined by index benchmarks. As the bond market falters, investors are seeking shelter in funds that aren’t tied to indexes.  These bonds funds are known as “unconstrained,” “go-anywhere,” “absolute return” or “flexible” funds, Read more […]

The (Exponential) Power of Interest Rates on Commodities

Literally – or at least mathematically – there are two equations that tell the tale of interest rate impacts on commodities. As my colleagues Fei Mei Chan and Craig Lazzara pointed out in a recent paper they authored, Much Ado About Interest Rates, “Since yields peaked in 1981, the three subsequent decades have witnessed a remarkable bull Read more […]

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 […]

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 […]

Tapering Away

Next week the Federal Open Market Committee, meeting for the first time since July, is widely expected to announce the tapering of its quantitative easing program.  Whether the Fed begins to reduce its bond purchases now or later this year, most observers recognize its inevitability.  Indeed, as we’ve noted before, even the anticipation of tapering Read more […]

Holding Bonds As Rates Rise

This week’s FOMC minutes revealed that almost all the members of the committee agreed that it was not yet time to begin tapering the Fed’s asset purchases. Many committee members urged additional caution, and advocated waiting until more concrete evidence about the economy’s recovery was available. The report continued to explain that the members generally Read more […]

Income Beyond Bonds

With both short- and long-term interest rates in the basement, income-sensitive investors have naturally begun to look to equities.  Significantly, the yield on the S&P 500 now exceeds that of the 10-year U.S. Treasury bond – a relationship last seen in approximately 1958.  But if some equity yield is good, does that mean that more Read more […]