Jason Zweig on Why Interest Rates Matter

When shopping for sale items, it’s customary to look at the price tag and see how much an item has been “marked-down”. You’d rather browse the “30% off” rack than the racks with lower discounts. Why? Because it affects the item’s value. On a much more sophisticated level, stock values and interest rates have a similar relationship. In a recent Wall Street Journal article, Jason Zweig describes how interest rates are an important factor when… Read More

The Only Fed Voice that Matters – Listen to Yellen

James Grant of Grant’s Interest Rate Observer recently weighed in on Federal Monetary Policy in a Bloomberg Report video. Grant believes the Fed “conceives its principal work to be suppressing or distorting the free play of interest rates or prices.” Asked what the Fed should do or not do to make the prices rule, Grant said the Fed has missed its mark, explaining that it had six or seven years to orchestrate a return to… Read More

Paulsen: Three Possible Economic Outcomes for the Markets

Jim Paulsen, chief investment strategist at Wells Capital Management, told CNBC last week that the current situation “lends itself to a market that’s vulnerable to kind of bouncing around a lot but not really going too far.” He thinks that ultimately, what the Fed does “is going to be determined by the economy” and he sees “three major outcomes possible: One is that the global and the U.S. economy just simply roll over here; that’s… Read More

DoubleLine’s Gundlach Identifies Downward Pressures, Warns Against Fed Rate Hike

Jeffrey Gundlach, CEO of DoubleLine Capital, delivered a fairly grim assessment in a recent webcast, Financial Advisor reports. Characterizing the recent bump in stocks as a bear-market rally, Gundlach pointed to a combination of factors that will put downward pressure on markets, expressed concern about the impact a Fed rate increase would have, and described positive market sentiment as perplexing. He identified valuation as one problem: “The S&P charts look horrific,” he said, “when you… Read More

GMO’s James Montier on Fed-Induced Bubbles, Alpha, and More

James Montier of Grantham Mayo van Otterloo’s (GMO’s) Asset Allocation team spoke with Advisor Perspectives recently about interest rates, behavioral biases, and other key factors affecting markets. He said that unlike the longest-serving Fed governor William McChesney Martin, who said the central bank’s job is to “take the punch bowl away just when the party was getting interesting,” recently the Fed governors “are more like teenagers at prom night . . . spiking the punch… Read More

Dollar Could Weaken Even As Fed Embarks on Rate Hiking Cycle

The rationale for predictions of continuing strength in the dollar are well-known but may be wrong, writes Ben Levisohn for Barron’s. Fundstrat strategist Thomas Lee looked at the last 11 tightening cycles (when the Fed began raising rates) and found that five involved “divergence” from European central banks (meaning that they were easing), which lasted a median of 17 months. During such times, according to Lee, the dollar has typically weakened a median 6.6% during… Read More

Getting Harder to Make Money, Gundlach Says

  “It’s getting harder and harder to make money,” says Jeffrey Gundlach, founder of Doubleline Capital. “There are plenty of markets that are falling apart and freaking out,” he observes. He describes U.S. stocks as “whistling through the graveyard,” says the bond market is in trouble, and notes that emerging markets and commodities are particularly worrisome.  In this environment, Gundlach thinks it would be a mistake for the Fed to raise rates, as they are… Read More

Dan Fuss, the “Four Ps” and the Bond Market

Dan Fuss, vice-chairman of Loomis Sayles and manager of the Loomis Sales Bond Fund, has been in the fixed-income markets more than half a century. Over the last ten years, his fund has outperformed 92% of its peers, although it’s near the bottom for this year. Fuss says, “In the fixed-income markets, we have to deal with low rates and low inflation,” continuing, “both will rise. That is not a good combination.” More broadly, he… Read More

Value Stocks Could Start to Outperform Once Fed Starts Increasing Rates

Roger Mortimer, senior vice-president of CI Investments in Toronto, predicts that market sentiment will begin to favor value stocks once the Fed raises rates. He notes historical data suggesting that following a period in which growth investing outperforms value investing, “value comes back strongly.” From 1975 to present, value outperformed growth by a 2.9% compound annual growth rate (CAGR), according to Mortimer. In five of the eight five-year periods since 1975, value has outperformed. Mortimer… Read More

Bull Markets Dominate Bear Markets in Length & Returns

Putnam Investments put out a chart showing the bull and bear markets since 1949 (hat tip to Barry Ritholtz over at the Big Picture blog). The chart below highlights a few important things all long term investors should realize. On average, bull markets have returned 145% and lasted nearly 4 years. The longest bull market was during the 1990s, when the S&P 500 returned 526%. Unlike bull markets, bear markets, on average, are much shorter.… Read More