The dovishness from the Fed has been bullish for most of the debt market, with sovereign yields falling and corporate debt getting a boost. However, the riskiest corner of the market, triple C junk bonds, have been left out, with the group falling by 1.5% since May. Triple B bonds, by comparison, were up. The odd part about the losses is that signs of an interest rate cut are usually very bullish for junk bonds because they would mean lower interest burdens for the companies. That said, anxiety about the economy is high enough that such benefits were negated.
FINSUM: This whole situation makes sense in that the downside risk of a sinking economy is greater than the upside of lower interest rates for this subsector. Thus, the bonds are losing. In other parts of the credit spectrum, the risk-reward balance is different.
Gold is doing well, and it is no surprise. Markets are worried about an economic downturn, and yields are falling, both of which are bullish for gold. The metal is up almost 7% in July alone. But what is the best way to play the commodity using ETFs? Owning gold directly is costly, so passive structures are great. Consider the SPDR Gold Shares ETF (0.40% fee), the iShares Gold Trust (0.25%), and the GraniteShares Gold Trust.
FINSUM: Passive is definitely the best way to play gold. We like the outlook for the metal as rates and yields are definitely headed lower, which helps gold in multiple ways.
If you could time travel back to December, it would be hard to find anyone in the world that would have thought that six months later, ten-year Treasury yields would be back under 2%. The turnaround has been so stark and so dramatic, that it is hard to fathom. The yield is now at its lowest level since 2016, with investors fearful of the economy and anticipating several Fed rate cuts.
FINSUM: The big question is what this means. Consider that the yield curve has been inverted for over 90 days. This seems like a very clear recession signal, yet economic data continues to hold up.
There was a lot of anxiety yesterday about what the Fed might do. The big banks were taking the opposite side of markets, saying that the pace of rate cuts that investors expected were unrealistic. Then Fed chief Powell spoke and it became clear that markets were right, the Fed is completely dovish and has fallen in line with investor expectations. Powell signaled that rate cuts were on the immediate horizon, which has led markets to up their odds-making of a rate cut in July to 100%.
FINSUM: Powell was about as dovish as a central banker ever gets short of the middle of a crisis. For us this is quite an unusual situation—an economy doing well with both of the Fed’s dual targets being met, yet there is an undeniable sentiment towards cutting rates.
On paper, right now seems like a great time for dividend stocks. The rate environment is trending downward, which is very beneficial, and dividend stocks tend to provide a safe haven for a possible bear market or recession. But which to choose? You need to be careful to select stocks with sustainable payouts or they will have a high beta in a down market. With that in mind, take a look at these 5 dividend stocks: Exxon Mobil (4.6%), Chevron (3.9%), Excelon (2.9%), Prologis (2.6%), and NextEra Energy (2.4%).
FINSUM: These are pretty energy heavy, but the bigger point here is that it is a good time to buy dividend payers.