For some time now, the consensus has been that the Federal Reserve will finally start raising interest rates this September. Don’t count on it, says bond guru Jeffrey Gundlach.
Speaking at the HighTower Apex conference in Chicago, Gundlach said that economic data isn’t good enough to support an interest rate increase, Financial Advisor magazine reports.
“When hourly earnings are rising, it’s a good signal the Fed will raise rates,” Gundlach said. “It’s one of the most important indicators. If it goes higher, I think the Fed will have a clearance to tighten, but we’re not there yet.”
“The Fed is in a tough spot,” Gundlach added. “At this meeting coming up this month, I think the Fed has to say something that’s different. They’ve been incredibly incremental on how they talk about things.”
Gundlach thinks interest rates bottomed around July 2012 and are now gradually increasing. He disputed the conventional wisdom that investors should hold junk bonds instead of Treasury bonds when monetary policy is tightening, saying the data shows otherwise. “When the Fed hikes, on that day, sell junk bonds and buy Treasuries, which is the opposite of what you hear day after day on CNBC. It’s exactly wrong,” he said. “I’m not predicting a collapse in junk bonds. I own more than is typical, because the problem isn’t imminent. You have time to act on it. But watch out in 2019, 2020, when these maturities are coming up,” he said.