We considered the launch of the QE tapering program in January 2014 as the formal onset of the Fed’s tightening campaign, and that view seemed to be on the mark when High Yield bonds, and then stocks, unraveled over the next couple of years—although the final losses in the DJIA and S&P 500 fell short of what we expected.
We raised most of our twelve month yield targets this month, based on higher inflation expectations and U.S. debt concerns. Extremely low yields at the short end of the curve are the result of a stimulative Fed policy. Rising yields at the long end of the curve reflect rising inflation expectations.
The kneejerk reaction to worries about excessive sovereign debt has been to bail out of the European sovereign debt and pile into U.S. sovereign debt.
Optimists have continuously cited low unemployment and the ever resilient U.S. consumer as two “pillars of strength” that will help keep the economy afloat. It has become considerably more difficult to make this case in recent months, as jobs and spending data have weakened to levels associated with recessions.