Train Spotting

My first boss told me something years ago about the bond market that I’ll never forget. He said, “never stand in front of a moving train.” I think about it every time I trade. He meant that if interest rates (the train) start to move quickly in one direction and…

The Pottery Barn Economy

Back in 2002, then U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell had a very blunt and direct way of framing the dilemma over invading Iraq. He called it the Pottery Barn rule: “You break it, you bought it,” he said. Powell’s phraseology ultimately proved prophetic - presaging a painful chapter in American…

Headwinds

The second quarter of 2018 revealed little news in the bond market, as the generally range-bound trading that marked previous quarters remained in place. On May 11th, the yield on the 10-year U.S. Treasury bond reached 3.11 percent, and it appeared that interest rates were headed higher on the back…

The asteroid and the portfolio manager

Fidelity Investments has finally done it. The large Boston-based fund manager recently cut the management fees on two of their index-oriented stock mutual funds to zero—nada—NOTHING. Their arch rival Vanguard Group pioneered cheap, index-based investing in 1974. Forty-four years later, after decades of competitive innovation, fee-cutting and marketing hocus between…

A new interest rate regime

As 2017 began, bond investors speculated on the impact of the new administration’s policies. How inflationary might lower taxes, deregulation and a big infrastructure bill be for the U.S. economy? The first quarter spike in 10-year Treasury rates (shown below) indicated that the bond market was expecting big increases in…

Coaster brakes

Back in September, the U.S. Federal Reserve announced that their massive bond-buying program known as Quantitative Easing (QE) would begin to be reversed on October 1st, 2017. Given this momentous occasion (at least for bond nerds like us), we thought it would be useful to summarize, in laymen’s terms, the…

Same as it ever was…

Reflationary forces dominated the fixed income market as the second quarter ended. A June rate increase (to a range of 1.00% to 1.25% on Fed Funds) by the Federal Reserve, and a rise to the 2.84% level on the 30-year U.S. Treasury led some market participants to believe the long…