Yellen’s Not as Hawkish as We Thought, but It Doesn’t Matter for Your Bonds

Steve McDonald By Steve McDonald, Bond Strategist, The Oxford Club

Slap In The Face Award


The “Slap in the Face” Award this week has to go to those in the 24/7 financial media. They consistently get things wrong.

Their most recent debacle – which, by the way, they never claimed any responsibility for – has to do with the Fed’s interest rate hike last week.

For weeks before the March 15 meeting (and the last 10 meetings), we suffered through the usual nonstop screaming heads on TV calling for bonds to collapse and rates to take off.

And they don’t even bother to distinguish between corporate bonds and Treasurys, they just glob them all together and say “bonds will crash!”

Whatever… The Fed increased short-term rates in March. And bond yields, well, they went down.

That’s the opposite of what was supposed to happen.

The yield on the 10-year Treasury dropped to 2.5%, while the two-year yield dropped to 1.3%.

And the yield on the 30-year Treasury bond fell 2.6 basis points to 3.11%.

The explanation for rates dipping and stocks continuing to climb upward? The Fed was not as hawkish as expected.

Is it my imagination, or do the business news networks blow every bad news scenario as far out of proportion as possible?

Explaining away a drop in bond rates with the explanation that the Fed will raise rates three, not four, times this year is just beyond lame.

The fact is, rates have been so low for so long that they’re now associated with a weak and troubled economy.

Any increase by the Fed has been (and will be for some time) an indication of improving economic conditions and reason to buy stocks… and especially corporate bonds.

And improving economic conditions will continue to be a “buy signal” for both because they’re both driven by improving fundamentals.

Eventually, this market will adjust to more reasonable rates. But until we see a solid economic recovery, don’t expect any big changes in yields.

This bond market will move back to about 4% on the 10-year Treasury… but only when speculators believe we’ve returned to a growth-oriented economy.

So as I‘ve said many times before, if you’re serious about making money, turn off the TV.

Good investing,