Interest Rates

Bank of Japan Beefs Up Policy With Three More Letters


The Bank of Japan’s latest monetary gimmick doesn’t change much.

Low Bond Rates Don’t Yield Low Stock Returns


Historically low global bond yields don’t mean stocks are in trouble.

Do Rate Hikes Spell Trouble for Bonds?


Assessing the impact of rate hike cycles on fixed income investments.

Hip-Hip Hooray! The Fed Hiked


The US Federal Reserve announced a 0.25 percentage point rate hike Wednesday, the first since 2006.

Junk Bonds’ Funk Does Not Mean Stocks Are Sunk


Recent weakness in high-yield bonds doesn’t necessarily mean stocks are destined for a fall.

The US Can Afford Its Debt


US deficits and debt are not problematic for the economy.

Big Theories, Small Moves


Pundits offer plenty of explanations for bond market volatility, but bond markets aren’t very volatile by historical standards.

What Does This Messy Chart Say About Rate Hike Fears?


Here is the history of market action pre- and post-initial rate hike, in a very messy line graph.

Diverging to Normal


Do diverging global central bank policies really spell trouble for the bull market?

Cloudy, With a Chance of Rate Cuts?


Trying to guess what central bankers will do next is a fruitless endeavor. 

What to Glean From Contradictory Coverage


When all news is bad, it's a sign stocks have more wall of worry to climb. 

Considerable Wrangling Over Considerable Time


Did the Fed just tell you when short-term rates will rise?

Fun With Mark and Janet


The punditry has taken to diagramming central bank chiefs’ sentences to figure out their next move. We do the same to show you why it’s all poppycock.

The FOMC’s Rorschach Test


It was a Fed-filled week, here’s a look back.

Words, Words, Words


Don’t waste your time overthinking Fed forward guidance—it is merely marketing spin. 

The Magic of Rising Rates


Interest rates are up, but so is household lending.

Will Rising Rates Ding Demand?


Will rising long-term interest rates choke the US economy?

Rising Rates, Stocks and the Myth of the Yield Chaser


What do rising interest rates mean for stocks?

Much Ado About Bonds


Some headlines say a bond bear market is in the offing. What should long-term investors do?

Thinking About Bonds


As the Fed eyes QE tapering, how should investors think about bonds?

Piquing Interest in US Debt


Interest rates may be up a bit, but the US’s debt is still plenty affordable.

Interest-ingly Rising Rates


Though interest rates have been rising lately, we don’t see this as cause for concern.

Rational Rates


Lower rates at Portugal’s bond auction seem the rational response to improving conditions.

Moody’s Muddled French Markets


Economic reality doesn’t seem to have influenced Moody’s downgrade of France as much as political pressures likely did.

Behind Global Bond Yield Gyrations


Amid rising rates globally, recently elevated Spanish and Italian yields Thursday might not mean what many folks think.

Behind the Fed Curtain


The Fed’s increased transparency is an incremental positive, but we reserve judgment on whether it has any material impact.

Forecasting Fed Forecasting


The Fed announced it will begin releasing its forecasts and longer-term plans for interest rates starting this month—but is this move positive, negative or somewhere in between?

Bonds and Banks


Spanish yields, the ECB and Hungarian politics dominated European news on Tuesday.

Weighing Italy’s Debt


An alternate perspective of Italy’s debt costs shows today’s levels are low by historical standards.

Molto Mario?


A look at what’s in store for Italy’s new Prime Minister, Mario Monti.

Jawboning, Speculation and Hot Air


With the Fed holding its annual Jackson Hole symposium, talk of QE3 is escalating.

Corrective Action


Understanding and separating the negatives from the positive realities can help guide your investing decisions.

Half Full or Half Empty?


Debt ceiling dramatics came to a conclusion Tuesday, leaving many frustrated in its wake. Here’s a look around the news at what’s poking that frustration—and largely unnoticed remedies.

New Lunar Year, Same Rising Inflation


China increased interest rates again in its ongoing battle with rising inflation.

Eyeing the Exit

Inflation was up in 2010, but 2011 shouldn't bring materially higher prices.

Winter Credit Thaw

US bank lending to smaller and medium-sized firms is on the rise.

Indian Infrastructure

China continued tightening economic policy Monday. But Chinese growth should continue even as other Emerging Markets increasingly realize their potential.

A Flight from Safety?

Recent bond yield bumps allude to investors wanting more bang for their bucks.

LIBOR and TED’s Bogus Journey

Upticks in interbank borrowing rates are alarming some—but rates remain near historic lows.

Little Inflation in Big China

Does an April uptick in Chinese inflation mean its explosive growth is unsustainable? Not just yet.

Greece Got Your Goat?

Greece is once again making headlines, with government bond yields hitting historical highs this week.

Bonds in Red

Bonds can lose value too. 2009 was an example.

Charge It, Please!

Credit card interest rates are rising in advance of a new law—a good example of regulation gone awry.

Yields Signs

The US yield curve steepened to its biggest spread in decades last week—bullish for economic growth.

The Name Is Bond

The 10-year US Treasury bond yield recently spiked to a six-month high. Rather than cause for concern, it could be a sign of improving conditions ahead.

The Crooked Road to Recovery

Don't be discouraged if the market takes a breather after two months of climbing. Many underappreciated positives can move markets higher in the months ahead.

It Was No Grilled Cheese

Members of Congress grilled top bank executives Wednesday on why their institutions haven't been lending.

Deep Into the Playbook

In yet another attempt to address housing market concerns, the feds announced a plan hoping to aid new homebuyers and support housing prices.

Fighting the Financial Crisis

Central banks and governments around the world have taken up the call to arms.

Too Hot, Too Cold, or Just About Right?

Folks generally associate steep yield curves with inflation—should they?

Surveying Lending

The recent Loan Officer Survey paints a dour picture on lending, but a closer look reveals far different results.

But Wait, There’s More

America's and Europe's central banks have coordinated in an innovative way to make capital available to troubled banks, which highlights the variety of liquidity sources available today for banks.

Super Ben, Part Deux

As the FOMC prepares to meet, the media predicts they'll drop rates again to help "save” the economy from a credit crunch. We continue to view credit crisis fears as overblown and largely psychological.

The Real Credit Story

Long-term rates have been moving lower lately, a remarkable story almost entirely ignored by the media.

Chinese Inflation

China's inflation rate is soaring. While that's unlikely to derail China's economy in the near term or infect the global economy with higher prices, the problem underscores a still fragile and developing nation fraught with peril for investors.

Ben to the Fake Rescue!

Yesterday's Fed action won't have much impact, which is good news, since our healthy economy requires no rescuing.

Saving the Day (And Not Much Else)

Today's semi-surprise rate cut of 0.5% by the Federal Reserve featured some bewildering messages, but on balance the move will probably do little to bolster or hinder the economy other than provide a short-term psychological boost.

Small Cuts Don’t Much Matter

Expectations for a Fed interest rate cut to "save” the economy next week are overblown. Cut or no cut, it makes little economic difference—today's fervor over Fed meetings is more about psychology than reality.

Are We There Yet?

What do corrections and family vacations have in common? Way too much.

The Fed’s Talisman

Today's rate cut from the Fed is more symbolic than it is potent…but it may prove to be just the antidote for today's skittish investor sentiment.

Blood in the Alleys

The freak-outs continue. Dread that credit blood is flowing in the streets of the global economy received another seeming affirmation today.

Debt Disambiguation


News of a faltering credit environment persists, but fundamentals still appear conducive to a robust cash-based M&A market. This week's equity sell-off is likely normal turbulence and not a harbinger of a credit crunch, or a new bear market.

Befuddled Bond Bears

Today's bond market is not what the bears would have you believe.

Runaway Rates?

The 10-year US Treasury has hit a five-year high.

Yield Mandala

For millennia, yogis, sages, Buddhas, and general seekers of wisdom have contemplated the labyrinthine passages of life's mysteries through meditation with mandalas.

When You Get to the Fork in the Road…

Yogi Berra made this quote famous: "When you get to the fork in the road, take it.

Critical Invasion

The scramble has begun! More art than science, more augury than empiricism, the pundits and pinheads are dissecting the Fed's newest statement, fresh off the presses.

Fight the Fed

FOMC meetings are some of the most closely watched market events.

When Normal Feels Weird

The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage in the United States is 6.

A Hawkish ECB

The European Central Bank (ECB) is a strange animal.

Oh Fools, Where Art Thou?

Here's a familiar refrain among our investing peers (tell us if you've heard this one before): The number of outstanding high-risk loans (specifically in the mortgage arena) will eventually lead to an unprecedented number of defaults once we hit the next recession.


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