Too Early for a Victory Lap, but…

I’d like to review my comments on bonds over the last couple years. The financial media, and retail investors along with their advisors, tend to focus a lot on stocks as stock markets are perceived as “sexier” while the bond markets often receive the cold shoulder.

Honestly, this is largely the reason that bond and credit markets are “smarter” than the stock markets. After all, how many retail investors do you know that open a brokerage account so they can trade bonds? Almost none (I’ve never known a single retail investor to do this actually).

In other words, there’s a lot more retail money “investing” in the stock markets than in the bond markets.

With that being said, let me summarize some comments I’ve made regarding the bond markets over the last couple years and include a chart to see how those comments have stacked up. Continue reading “Too Early for a Victory Lap, but…”

Bull Case and Bear Case for Investing in Treasury Bonds Right Now

Today, I wanted to provide two opposing views of the merits of investing in U.S. Treasuries in today’s environment.

Whenever I make investment decisions for clients, I always try to consider arguments both in favor and against the investment. It’s important to understand both sides of any issue and do our best to remove our own personal biases and emotions from the decision. In this particular case, with regards to U.S. Treasuries, both sides of the argument contain valid points causing stark disagreement among even the most respected managers and pundits. Continue reading “Bull Case and Bear Case for Investing in Treasury Bonds Right Now”

Bond and Stock Behavior Throughout History

I think it’s important for investors to understand the historical behavior of the investments they hold in their portfolios. This understanding helps investors maintain realistic expectations of their investments going forward (both good and bad), invest more appropriately, and remain disciplined through up and down years. “Remaining disciplined” means not chasing returns in good years while not fleeing your strategy in bad years. Continue reading “Bond and Stock Behavior Throughout History”

Question I Was Asked In Several Quarterly Client Meetings

In my Q1 market review, I mentioned that both U.S. bonds and stocks were down together for the quarter, and that was a relatively rare occurrence. I mentioned that only happened 8 other times in the previous 30 years. This was concerning for a few clients.

The primary reason it was concerning for some clients is that I generally have portfolios positioned more conservatively than I would in a more “neutral” environment. In other words, I have a targeted range to which I am bound for each client and am currently positioned on the conservative end of that range for most clients. The reason for the relatively conservative positioning is that I am concerned about stock market valuations (i.e. stocks are about as, or more, expensive as they were in 1929 and 2000…depending on the metric).

So when both bonds and stocks decline together it makes folks nervous. After all, isn’t the idea that bonds will hold up when stocks are declining? To add insult to injury, bonds actually declined MORE than stocks in the first quarter. As a result, several clients asked me, “Why did that happen?” “Will it continue?” “Is this still the right strategy?” Continue reading “Question I Was Asked In Several Quarterly Client Meetings”