How Much Will Fed Tightening Hurt?

Seth J. Masters (pictured) and Ding Liu A lot of people worry about what will happen when the Federal Reserve lets interest rates rise. Our research suggests that’s not the big risk. 

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Rising Rates? Keep the TIPS, Leave the Duration

Treasury Inflation-Protected Securities (TIPS) have been popular in recent years with investors worried about inflation, and returns have been strong. But TIPS have benefited from a long bull market for bonds and high interest-rate sensitivity. This could be a problem ahead—unless investors do something about it.

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Municipal Bonds: Equipped to Weather Rising Rates

Muni bonds suffered a rout recently when anxiety over the Fed’s taper of bond buying roiled fixed-income markets, leaving many investors wondering where to turn. As it turns out, munis have historically been effective shock absorbers. We believe that, given the right positioning, munis can help weather rising rates.

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Concerned About Rising Rates? Add Ballast by Going Global

A US-only bond investor is affected by one business cycle, one yield curve and a single monetary policy. As long as rates were falling, that seemed like a good thing. Not so these days.

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Last Call to Take Advantage of Ultralow Rates for GRATs?

 Tara Thompson Popernik (in photo) and Stephen S. Schilling US investors interested in establishing a “zeroed-out” Grantor Retained Annuity Trust (GRAT) would benefit from completing their transactions before rising interest rates diminish its potential value—preferably before the end of July.

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Opportunity Knocks for Mortgage Investors

We don’t usually think of rising rates as being good for homeowners. That may be because we’re accustomed to thinking of financing (and refinancing) as the key to reviving sagging housing markets. And it’s true that financing availability remains tight, at least by historical standards, and isn’t going to get looser with rising rates.

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Let the Sunshine In! Benchmarking Brings Clarity to Retirement Plans

What gets measured gets managed. What gets managed…gets better.

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An Odd Decoupling in the
US Private Service Sector

First-quarter US economic growth data were revised downward today by the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA), based on new information suggesting a slower pace of consumer spending on services. The change draws attention to an anomaly between strong private service sector job growth and weak private service sector output.

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Municipals: A Glimpse of What’s to Come?

Federal Reserve Chairman Bernanke reiterated today that a healthier economy would prompt the Fed to end its unprecedented bond-buying program, which has kept yields artificially low. Speculation on this question over the last several weeks has caused a sharp bond sell-off and rising yields. But we don’t see this as the start of a rout [...]

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Detroit Municipal Bonds:
Who’ll Share the Pain?

Joseph Rosenblum (pictured) and Neene Jenkins It could be several weeks or a few months. But before long, the city of Detroit is likely to default on some of its outstanding bonds and possibly file for Chapter 9 bankruptcy protection. It would be a historic bankruptcy and is sure to create uncertainty in the municipal [...]

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