interest rates

Low Unemployment Yet Declining Interest Rates: Why?

     The Employment report was released today by the BLS. The unemployment rate dropped to a very low percentage of 3.6%, the lowest in 50 years. But factory jobs growth stalled this year. Manufacturing and mining produced the growth of GDP in 2017 and 2018 and now that has stalled. Factory jobs in April declined by 4,000. These good paying jobs are worth more in terms of stimulation and growth than a low wage, entry-level fast food job. The Labor Force Participation Rate has been stuck near 63%, but in 2007 before the crash, it was 66%, which is 4.8% (as a percent of a percent) less than in 2007. If these missing workers reported to the government that they

2019-05-03T15:40:47-07:00May 3rd, 2019|mayflowercapital blog|Comments Off on Low Unemployment Yet Declining Interest Rates: Why?

Will 2020 Be The Year of Investing During Negative Interest Rates?

   Assuming the Fed is going into a major easing cycle and will come close to the rates in the EU and Japan then what should U.S. investors do? Increase bond portfolio duration but only with bonds that offer significant call protection and only with investment grade bonds. Avoid BBB rated corporate or BBB rated Muni bonds. If you own bonds subject to a call provision (mortgage backed bonds, typically) be sure not to own them if they trade over par as they may be called and paid off at par thus depriving you of the bond premium. Be careful not to have too much duration as no one knows what the future will be like; there is no guarantee

2019-03-25T17:19:06-07:00March 25th, 2019|mayflowercapital blog|Comments Off on Will 2020 Be The Year of Investing During Negative Interest Rates?

Dramatic Policy Shifts By The Fed

   The Federal Reserve’s recent dramatic shift from tightening to implied loosening is the fastest shift of Fed behavior in 50 years. Some people have leapt to the conclusion that Fed chief Powell simply caved into pressure from Trump, betraying good hard money policies, and changed to easing because of Trump. The real reason for the easing is because Fed employees have researched and realized that the Fed and other central banks made many mistakes, including being too optimistic about economic recovery since the crash of 2008, so they want to be truly prepared for the coming recession. It is highly likely that economic cycles can’t last more than ten years. The current cycle was modestly extended by Trump’s tax

2019-03-22T19:02:14-07:00March 22nd, 2019|mayflowercapital blog|Comments Off on Dramatic Policy Shifts By The Fed

Big Rate Cut By Marketplace Today Hints At Stock Crash To Come

   Today the Federal Reserve held a two-day meeting and released a statement. They didn’t change their rates but the marketplace changed the rates dramatically downward. The ten year Treasury bond yield dropped from 2.61% to 2.525%, a drop of 8.5 basis points, several times a typical day’s movement. The technical traders who follow chart patterns have felt the rate might never go below 2.62% and would instead go above 3% and stay above that, thus the decline significantly below 2.62% is a shocking technical indicator matter, implying the “Invisible Hand” of the market “knows” that a recession will soon come. The futures market estimates a 50% probability of an eventual Fed easing of the Fed’s official rate. The drop

2019-03-20T18:01:03-07:00March 20th, 2019|mayflowercapital blog|Comments Off on Big Rate Cut By Marketplace Today Hints At Stock Crash To Come

Debt Crisis: Will High Interest Rates Occur?

   Yesterday bond guru Jeff Gundlach gave a scary lecture, warning about the danger of rising federal deficits which in turn could trigger a decline in the value of the dollar and a significant rise in interest rates. I disagree. I lived through the scary inflationary 1970’s when some yields hit 21% in 1981 and inflation hit 14%. Many frightening things happened in the 1970’s where it was common for people to worry that we were doomed, but eventually inflation was brought under control and the economy grew out of its problems. First, the recent contribution to the rising deficit is the Trump tax cut signed on 12-22-2017. But this is a temporary law constrained by the ten year time

2019-03-13T14:24:55-07:00March 13th, 2019|mayflowercapital blog|Comments Off on Debt Crisis: Will High Interest Rates Occur?

Dollar Flash Crash: What Next?

The dollar crashed last night against the Yen in a Flash Crash, dropping 3% (a very significant figure), before settling in to a 1% decline to 107.5 Yen to a dollar. This demonstrates a potential risk that the Yen could appreciate roughly 10% or even 20% to reach fair value. Its price is held down by Japan so that they can encourage exports through devaluation. If global investors get burned by a US stock crash they may decide to withdraw funds from the US, thus making the dollar go down and the Yen to go up. This would force Japan to have even deeper negative interest rates, thus pulling down global interest rates.    If Japan devalues that can cause

2019-01-03T13:54:46-07:00January 3rd, 2019|mayflowercapital blog|Comments Off on Dollar Flash Crash: What Next?

Fed Raises Rates, Market Cuts Them

         The Federal Reserve raised the short term fed funds rate by 0.25% today. The Fed funds rate of 2.5% is higher than the 3 month T-Bills rate of 2.35%, thus inverting part of the yield curve. The 2 year Treasury yield inverted, becoming higher than the 5 year Treasury yield. The difference between the 2 year and 10 year Treasury are only 11 basis points, so they entire yield curve is moving towards inverting. The 30 year Treasury bond’s yield dropped below 3.0%. Stocks crashed hard making new lows for the year. Many stock market charts show technical trading indicators, such as trendlines and momentum, that have been broken, thus leading to a full stock market correction. A plunge

2018-12-19T14:21:37-07:00December 19th, 2018|mayflowercapital blog|Comments Off on Fed Raises Rates, Market Cuts Them

Inflation Still Modest

    Yesterday the bond market priced in a 3 year inflation expectation of 1.4%. Today the CPI data was released: My favorite measure, core inflation, ex-shelter rose to 1.53%, near the 2016 high of 1.6%. I maintain that shelter is measured incorrectly, forcing those who live debt free to calculate a hypothetical cost as if they were paying market rent for their residence – ridiculous! The Fed’s PCE inflation measure tends to reduce this problem which is why PCE is usually 0.25% lower, although it could be even lower. YoY the core rate was 2.1%. Shelter was 3.2% YoY. Core commodities were up 0.2% YoY. The dominant economic paradigm of the past 30 years has been globalization where capitalists constantly

2018-12-12T17:28:56-07:00December 12th, 2018|mayflowercapital blog|Comments Off on Inflation Still Modest

Comparing Today’s Yields to Previous Eras

                Adjusting interest rates for inflation to find real yields is vital to understanding bond markets. But what about taxation adjustments? If an investor during the 1951-1965 and 1990-2008 eras of “normal” inflation rates bought a ten year Treasury bond they might typically get a 5% yield when the CPI was 2.5% and they paid 35% to federal taxes, leaving them with a 0.75% after-tax and after-inflation yield. Today they might find a 3.06% 10 year Treasury yield, less 22% tax, provides 2.39% after-tax and if they subtract CPI of 2.1% then they make about 0.29% net yield.  The housing component of CPI is wrongly constructed and probably will go down when a surplus of newly constructed real estate

2018-11-19T14:06:37-07:00November 19th, 2018|mayflowercapital blog|Comments Off on Comparing Today’s Yields to Previous Eras

Low Inflation Rate May Go Even Lower

   Today the BLS released CPI data showing the core rate was 2.1% year over year and 1.6% for the quarter. If one accepts my theory that Owner’s Equivalent rent needs to adjust the CPI downward by 0.25% (or even more), then the 90 day core CPI would be 1.35%. With oil in the mid-50’s, its dramatic drop will surely put more downward pressure of CPI in the future. I remember when oil went up above $40 in 2004 and it seemed like a big deal, a high price at the time. Adjusting for inflation, a $40 price 14 years ago is like $53 this week (it’s now $56 for WTI oil) so we are almost equivalent now to the

2018-11-14T17:32:05-07:00November 14th, 2018|mayflowercapital blog|Comments Off on Low Inflation Rate May Go Even Lower