- The Global Credit Market Is Now A Lit Powderkeg. And Markets Are Totally Unprepared.
by Brian Pretti, http://www.peakprosperity.com/
The financial markets have had a bit of a tough time going anywhere this year. The S&P 500 has been caught in a 6% trading band all year, capped on the upside by a 3% gain and on the downside by a 3% price loss. It has been a back-and-forth flurry while the stock market up to this point has simply marked time.
We’ve seen a bit of the same in the bond market: after rising 3.5% in the first month of the year, the ten year Treasury bond has given away its year-to-date gains and then some.
2015 stands in relative contrast to largely upward stock and bond market movement over the past three years. What’s different this year and what are the risks to investment outcomes ahead?
Higher Interest Rates Ahead
As I have suggested in recent discussions, the probabilities are very high the US Federal Reserve will raise interest rates this year. Yes, Ms. Yellen intimated it may come later, but remember she also canceled her appearance at the Fed’s annual Jackson Hole soiree this year, a meeting that takes place just a bit before the September Fed FOMC meeting. I think the markets are attempting to “price in” the first interest rate increase in close to a decade.
Importantly, we’re talking about the re-pricing of credit in the US financial system and economy broadly. We all know how important credit has been to underpinning the US economy for literally decades now. I believe this is a key part of the story of why markets are acting as they are in 2015. However, there are much larger longer term issues facing investors lurking well beyond the short term Fed interest rate increase to come: bond yields (interest rates) rest at generational lows and prices at generational highs – levels never seen before by investors. Let’s set the stage a bit, because the origins of this secular issue reach back over three decades.