Featured StorySince the 1980s, the bond markets have financed a long run of spending beyond our means. That's about to change.
And when it does, bonds will become Darth Vader's Death Star, capable of destroying the world economy with a single beam. And it's most unlikely that the current global economic brain trust will find their secret vulnerability...if they have one.
But there is one investment that will survive...
Should You Be Worried About a Bond Market Crash?
Talk of a bond market crash has been building for months, and not just among obscure financial bloggers.
Articles sounding the alarm about a bond market crash have appeared time and again in many mainstream publications.
Recent headlines like "Danger Lurks Inside the Bond Boom" (The Wall Street Journal), "How Banks Could Get Blown Away by Bond Bubble" (Fortune), and "Beware the Bond Bubble in 2013" (CNNMoney) have raised concern among investors.
Here's the problem: Interest rates are at historic lows. That makes bond prices relatively high.
There's pretty much nowhere left for rates to go but up. That might be good for buyers of bonds in the future, but terrible for those who hold bonds stuck at low rates.Read More...
2013 Bond Market Forecast: Is the Bond Bubble Finally About to Burst?
The Federal Reserve's multi-year prescription of targeting super-low interest rates on federal funds, along with various quantitative easing programs, has pushed yields down on all fixed-income instruments to the benefit of issuers and the detriment of investors.
There is little doubt that the Fed's articulated and executed policies have resulted in a bond-bubble with both short and long-term consequences for investors and the economy.
At some point the bond-bubble will burst. But there is no certainty on when that will happen or what ultimately will cause rates to rise.
What investors need to understand is that while yields and bond prices in 2013 could remain flat relative to closing third quarter 2012 measures, yields are unlikely to fall further and prices are unlikely to rally in 2013, with the possible exception of short-term U.S. treasuries.
However, there is the possibility of what I'm calling a "skyfall."
For fixed-income investors this means there is a chance the bond bubble may finally burst.
To continue reading, please click here...
Jim Rogers: Market Surge from Eurozone Debt Crisis Deal Won't Last
Stock markets around the world soared Friday in reaction to the morning's Eurozone debt crisis deal, but noted investor Jim Rogers wasn't impressed.
"This is no more than just another temporary stopgap to make the market feel good for a few hours, days or even weeks," Rogers, Chairman of Rogers Holdings, told CNBC. "Then everybody's going to wake up and say, "This doesn't solve the problem.'"
Meeting in Brussels, European leaders announced a plan early Friday that would provide struggling banks with money directly from the bloc's bailout fund.
The leaders also said bailout funds could be used to stabilize European bond markets. But they did not tie such use to additional austerity measures, which have angered citizens in debt-troubled nations like Greece and Spain.
The summit is just the latest in a series of high-level attempts to resolve the 2-year-old Eurozone debt crisis, which has required bailouts of Greece, Portugal, Ireland, and most recently the Spanish banking system.
Markets around the world surged on the announcement, with some European indexes rising as much as 4%. In the United States, the Dow Jones Industrial Average shot up 200 points at the open. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index was up about 25 points, or just under 2%.
Don't get used to it, Rogers said.
To continue reading, please click here... Read More...
How to Avoid the Approaching Bond Market Debacle
If you're an income investor, you probably feel like you're in one of those nightmares where you're trying to run like hell - but aren't getting anywhere.
Martin Hutchinson and I were talking about this predicament last week.
As editor of the Permanent Wealth Investor, Martin is our income guru here at Money Map Press. His advice on how to thrive in this lousy-income environment was so good that I had to pass it along to you - along with one of his favorite income plays.
Traditionally, bonds - especially U.S. Treasury bonds - are the favored holding of income-seekers. But bonds face two big challenges right now - and we have the U.S. Federal Reserve to thank for both of them.
First, thanks to the ultra-low-interest-rate policies of the nation's central bank, Treasury bonds are yielding next to nothing. When I looked Friday afternoon, the 10-year was yielding 1.94% and the 30-year 3.12%.
Now, according to the latest federal figures, the U.S. consumer price index (CPI) fell to 2.7% in March from 2.9% in February. The CPI is the "official" gauge of U.S. inflation. But as we explained back on March 2, this is a bogus number.
The American Institute for Economic Research (AIER) says everyday prices - the ones that matter most to working Americans - are up a good 8% over the past year.
So income investors who stick to traditional tactics are actually losing ground to inflation. And you absolutely don't want to outlive your money.
If that were the only problem, it would be pretty bad. But there's a second challenge - and it's a doozy.
You see, the central bank's Federal Funds rate - the benchmark that helps determine most borrowing rates that American consumers and businesses pay - remains down near zero. And while no one can predict with certainty when rates will change, there is one thing you can bank on: When rates do change, they can only go up.
And since bond prices move opposite interest rates (bond prices fall when rates rise, and vice versa), those fixed-income securities will take a beating when rates increase.
And so will the investors who hold them.
To continue reading, please click here... Read More...
Four Ways to Play the Bond Market Bubble
To hear the "bond bubbleistas" tell it, the bond market is poised to collapse the second interest rates start to rise.
But if you're thinking about dumping all of your bonds, you should think again.
Yes, rates will rise - but not as fast as many analysts are forecasting. What's more, even if rates do increase, the price risk is not as bad as you might think.
That's why the more appropriate strategy is to simply reorient your bond portfolio, rather than pull out all together.
Don't get me wrong. I'm not trying to make light of the global financial crisis or our current situation, but people have been calling for an "end" to bond markets, in one form or another, for quite a long time.
Failed ForecastsPIMCO cofounder and fund manager Bill Gross has actually done so twice, most recently dumping all government bonds in early 2011. He's since admitted he was wrong and piled back in. Granted, his business is bonds so he had to, but the point is moot.
PIMCO investors paid through the nose in lost performance, though. The PIMCO Total Return Fund was up just 3.2% as of August, trailing more than 70% of its peers and lagging the 5.6% return of its benchmark index, according to Bloomberg.
Meredith Whitney famously called for the $3 trillion muni-market Armageddon in November 2010. Her clock is about up and she's mentioning nothing about her prediction in recent appearances despite turning the bond markets upside down for months.
Even economist Nouriel Roubini has eaten crow when it comes to bonds. He called for the complete meltdown of everything we knew to be true in 2004, 2005, 2006, and 2007. And while he's since become a media darling, his predictive record is less than stunning. Journalist Charles Gasparino, who investigated Roubini's track record, noted that he couldn't find a "single investor who regularly uses his research."
My point is not that any of these incredibly smart people were wrong - everybody is wrong from time to time - just that investors risk a lot by not "risking" anything.
Let me explain.
No Substitute for StabilityFueled by banking blunders and the European banking crisis, U.S. Treasuries have not only risen this year, they've rocketed so high that in August the benchmark 10-year yield dropped below 2% for the first time since 1950 and traded at around 1.96% yesterday (Thursday).
That means investors who hung in there despite the risks and the hype have enjoyed a nice return from bond appreciation even as they continued to reap the benefits of the yield those bonds kicked off. Those who bailed out did so prematurely and got left behind.
To continue reading, please click here... Read More...
Money Morning's Fitz-Gerald On PIMCO Bond Sell-Off and Stock Market Drop
Bill Gross, manager of the world's largest bond fund at Pacific Investment Management Company (PIMCO), rattled bond investors when he announced yesterday (Wednesday) the fund has eliminated its holdings in U.S. government debt.
PIMCO's $237 billion Total Return Fund said it is increasing its holdings in debt of corporations and of emerging markets like Brazil and Mexico. Gross said it would return to U.S. bond holdings when yields returned to attractive levels.
- World's Largest Bond Investor Sells All Its U.S. Government Holdings ... Read More...
Bond Market Outlook: Four Ways to Hedge the Looming Fixed-Income Fiasco
Many investors are afraid of inflation because they understand the run-up in prices will take a big bite out of their wallets - and their buying power.
While that's a valid concern, I'm much more worried about one of the other possible fallout effects of the expected inflationary surge - the potential for the worst global bond rout in nearly 20 years.
But here's the thing: Even if that happens, it doesn't have to hurt. In fact, you can turn it into such a big profit that even the inflationary pressures will seem like a minor nuisance.
Let me explain...
Global Bond Market Outlook: Three Ways to Dodge the Looming Bear Market in U.S. Bonds
Put 100 investors in a room and most will tell you how worried they are that the still-bullish U.S. stock market is going to betray them for a third time in slightly more than a decade.
But I submit that it's the bonds that these folks are right now holding that should be the real focus of their concern - and for one very good reason: Most investors view the global bond market as a stodgy source of fixed income, when it's actually the largest, most complex and most sensitive capital market in the world today.
To discover the three best bond-related moves to make now, please read on... Read More...
Muni-Bond Market Tumbles As Investors Demand Higher Yields on Shaky Finances
California's efforts to sell $10 billion in short-term bonds last week attracted only tepid interest, adding to concerns that some local governments are on shaky financial ground and may have to pay more to attract investors.
The widely watched sale drew interest from around the country as debate continued over whether the stability of municipal finances has been a factor in market prices. The tax-exempt bond market has been overwhelmed by a deluge of supply that has decreased demand, depressed prices and forced yields higher.
"The tax-exempt municipal bond market is a cold, cold world right now for issuers and taxpayers," Tom Dresslar, a spokesman for the California State Treasurer told The Wall Street Journal. He added that the state decided to cancel another $267.3 million bond sale it planned to price this week "in light of market conditions."