All posts tagged: Stock Market

What happens when interest rates rise?

2021 Q2 Commentary…
Can stocks and interest rates go up at the same time? Yes, they can, and they often do. Right now, we are in a period of recovery from economic shutdowns across the globe. As companies are forced to raise prices in 2021 and meet a return in consumer demand, we are watching inflation like a hawk. Specifically, we pay very close attention to the 10-year treasury note yield as our sentiment barometer.

First, a quick education on why the 10-year treasury yield matters…
▪ Treasury securities are loans to the federal government. Maturities range from weeks to as many as 30 years.
▪ Because they are backed by the U.S. government, Treasury securities are seen as a safer investment relative to stocks.
▪ Bond prices and yields move in opposite directions—falling prices boost yields, while rising prices lower yields.
▪ The 10-year yield is used as a proxy for mortgage rates. It’s also seen as a sign of investor sentiment about the economy.

How high can the 10-year treasury yield go before we do see it adversely affect the performance of the stock market? Some economists predict it’s 3%. Others say it’s 2.5%. The truth is that their predictions don’t really matter. What matters to us is the rate of change in inflation data that typically drives the change in interest rates. If the rate of change of inflation is increasing quarter over quarter, it signals a robust recovery is afoot, assuming job growth and GDP are accelerating, as well.

When inflation becomes too large of a problem to ignore, we typically see it unfold. Take the current housing market, for example. There are hot pockets in this country where new and existing home prices have been climbing double-digits for three years running. The FOMO on low interest rates coupled with tight supply and rapidly rising prices on homebuilding materials are creating a perfect storm for a severe housing price correction, or worse yet, a crash. Translate that to the rapid rise in prices of technology stocks or “Covid-Friendly” stocks, and there is similar risk. We don’t see it in the data right now, but the risk is always present because the data can change quickly.

All signs are pointing to a strong economy in Q2. As quarterly earnings start getting released in mid-April, we’ll likely see the companies negatively affected by COVID at this time last year crush their prior years’ results. Will that recovery strength be broad enough and strong enough to fight the inflationary price wave coming? Again, we don’t know until the data shows us. What we do have to go on is the data in hand (GDP accelerating, Inflation accelerating), and we’ll continue to maintain positions we deem as favorable to own under those conditions, knowing it could turn on a dime at any time.

Future BrightWhat happens when interest rates rise?
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What a Difference!

Wow, what a difference a year makes. Last year at this time, there was a fear that the economy was overheating and in need of continued interest rate hikes from the Federal Reserve. The 10-year U.S. Treasury note had just hit 3.25% and the service sector strength as measured by the ISM (Institute for Supply Management) measured its highest read in history.

Fast forward one year, and here we sit with the 10-year note sitting at 1.54% and growing fears of a recession. With a yield curve inversion, a trade war with China and other countries, and overall investor exhaustion from the daily deluge of news that moves markets some days and falls on deaf ears on others, it’s pretty remarkable that the market has maintained these levels.

Ross AlmlieWhat a Difference!
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Stock Market Volatility… How do you cope?

Stock Market Volatility
How do you cope?

It’s no secret that the sustained generational low levels in interest rates have helped the stock market climb to near record highs over the past decade. Many would assert that the record rise in stock prices is artificially propped up under monetary policy decisions that have forced savers to take on more risk in order to find more acceptable returns. Nevertheless, for those of you who have not let volatility of stocks shake you into making bad decisions, you have been rewarded for sticking with stocks despite the general public’s irreverence towards them. Low interest rates have certainly played a part in your success, but not all of it.

Many people view stocks in the context of “how long will the party last?” It’s a rational thought, especially if you’ve lived through some vicious downturns like 1987, 2001, and 2008. Yet, underneath the shadows of some pretty dreary market conditions, transformative technologies still emerged amidst the wreckage, and they don’t get enough credit for the role played in the economic recovery and subsequent rise of the stock market. Apple, Google, Facebook, Netflix, and Amazon are the sexy names that grabbed the headlines, but what about the likes of Nvidia, Intuitive Surgical, Lululemon, and Regeneron? They are just a few lesser known names that have played a part in the market’s rise, and I could name several more!

Ross AlmlieStock Market Volatility… How do you cope?
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