The Fed Did Nothing—but Bond Investors Can Act Now

The US Federal Reserve surprised the market on September 18 when it announced that it wouldn’t “taper” its monthly US$85 billion asset purchase program until the economy strengthens. Many investors saw this as a reprieve. We see it as a chance to position bond portfolios for rising rates.

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Illinois and California: Similar Challenges, Different Approaches

Joe Rosenblum (pictured), Neene Jenkins and John Ceffalio Every state faces challenges when it comes to balancing the books, but not every state is equally effective at tackling them. The responses of California and Illinois to post-2008 difficulties show how different the approaches can be—and how much is at stake.

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GSE Reform Lumbers Up to the Starting Gate

Momentum is finally building to do something with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. The bipartisan Corker-Warner proposal, now making the rounds on Capitol Hill, aims to dissolve the GSEs and start fresh. Meanwhile, Fannie and Freddie are testing innovative mortgage-security structures that transfer the risk of borrower defaults to the private sector.

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Beware the Dangerous Stretch for Yield

The US Federal Reserve talked in early summer about tapering its quantitative easing plan and raising interest rates—in part to stop investors from chasing yield into the arms of riskier loans. In the high-yield market, however, the conversation had exactly the opposite effect.

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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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To Manage Rising Rates, Consider Benching Your Benchmark

Doug Peebles (pictured) and Michael Mon As we enter a period of rising rates, many bond investors are growing more aware of the risks of benchmark-oriented bond portfolios. It may be time to sit the benchmark down and consider more flexible, unconstrained approaches to fixed income.

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This Rate Cycle Is Different, but Stocks Should Still Do Well

By Chris Marx (pictured) and Alison Martier Stocks have generally performed very well in rising-rate environments. But the current rate cycle is unlike any other of the past 40 years, keeping investors on edge. A lot will depend on how inflation behaves.

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With Rates Going Up, Give Bonds Some Credit

After the bond market’s stumble last quarter, defending against rising rates has moved front and center for many investors. One approach that has been effective over time has been exposure to credit-oriented sectors and strategies.

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China Comes Closer to Convergence

An announcement in late July by the Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) may prove to be a milestone we look back on as the trigger for the next step in the evolution of the offshore renminbi bond market. Effectively, the People’s Bank of China (PBOC) has underwritten liquidity in the offshore renminbi.

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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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