The Bad News is Interest Rates Increased. The Good News is Interest Rates Increased.

Bond prices go down when interest rates rise and vice versa. How is that? Well, think of it this way.

Imagine you bought a 10-year Treasury bond with $1,000,000 at the end of last year when the interest rate was 1.5%. That implies $15,000 of annual interest payments over the next ten years until maturity at which point you also get your $1,000,000 principal back.

However, the interest rate for 10-year treasuries has since risen to ~3.5%. So, who’s going to want the 1.5% bond when they can go buy essentially the same 10-year bond and get 3.5%? Nobody. Therefore, the price of the 1.5% bond must fall to attract buyers so that the yield-to-maturity is aligned with prevailing interest rates. Continue reading “The Bad News is Interest Rates Increased. The Good News is Interest Rates Increased.”

Quarterly Market Update: All That Glitters is Gold…

This has been a strange period in that both traditional bonds AND stocks are down around 7%-8% simultaneously. Historically, if stocks were down like this bonds would at least be holding up, if not appreciating, and vice versa.

A couple months ago I wrote a commentary about why we own treasuries in portfolios referencing the fact that since 1928, treasuries and stocks have only been down simultaneously in the same year three times! Historically, stocks and treasuries have been great complimentary, non-correlated assets. In fact, they have about a negative 0.40% correlation.

At this point, if nothing were to change for the rest of the year, we could have our fourth year in almost a century where both bonds and stocks are down simultaneously. Continue reading “Quarterly Market Update: All That Glitters is Gold…”

BRIEF: Year End Market Returns Summary

What a year.

The widely followed S&P 500 index ended 2020 over 16% higher (18.4% total return w/ dividends) than it began the year even as it experienced one of the sharpest 34% declines in history (mid-February to mid-March).

The U.S. stock market managed a great year even in the midst of a global pandemic that saw businesses shut down, tens of millions of people lose their jobs, spike in corporate defaults, a steep recession (we’re still in BTW) and S&P 500 earnings that declined 13.6% from the prior year.

This means the entire increase in the S&P 500 was from expansion of the Price/Earnings multiple to over 30x, which is a level ONLY seen throughout history in the Dot-Com Bubble and Great Financial Crisis. The long-term average is about 16x. Continue reading “BRIEF: Year End Market Returns Summary”

Wild Ride So Far in 2020

The S&P 500 just logged one of its worst quarters in history and one of its best quarters in history back-to-back in the first half of 2020.

Specifically, the S&P 500 lost 20% in Q1 while making about 20% in Q2. The only other times in history this has happened were both during the Great Depression (Q3 or 1932 and Q2 of 1938) (Source: @Sentimentrader).

I’ve written about the potential for huge price swings in both directions previously.

This puts the S&P 500 down a little over 3% on the year while the global stock market is down over 7%. Meanwhile, gold and bonds are up on the year.

 

Continue reading “Wild Ride So Far in 2020”

What Have the Bond Markets Been Up To?

First of all, I hope this finds you well. We say that a lot, but it has such a deeper, intense meaning today, doesn’t it? In any case, I truly hope you and your families are safe.

As for our family, we’re doing just fine. I actually think our middle child, Lexi (6), is going to go back to school far ahead of where she was when they dismissed! She’s been cranking through the math workbooks that Mom got her.

I’ve got so many things I want to talk about that I think are important right now. Don’t worry, I’m only going to focus on one topic here, but it was a struggle to figure out what I wanted to address tonight.

Ultimately, I’ve decided to talk about the bond markets as the stocks markets have, understandably, been getting all the attention. Other topics you can expect in coming days and weeks are: precious metals and gold miners, big picture overview, coronavirus metrics you may not have seen yet, deflation vs. inflation, my market timing strategies’ performance results through this historic decline (preview: they have fared very well). Continue reading “What Have the Bond Markets Been Up To?”