In a widely expected move yesterday, Jerome Powell announced the first hike of his stint as the head of the Fed. The move was a quarter point higher to between 1.75% and 2%. Powell promised to be more open and transparent about the Fed’s outlook than in former times. Powell presented the rosiest outlook on the US economy in memory, repeatedly expressing strong optimism. He indicated that there were two more hikes planned for this year.

FINSUM: All the optimism comes across as quite hawkish despite Powell’s intentions to seem gradual. We appear to be on definite course higher.

(New York)

Whether you like it or not, the next recession is on its way. The big question is how long until it arrives. Most estimates range from 6-24 months, but most agree we are coming to the close of a very productive economic and market cycle. So what is the best way to prepare your and client’s portfolios for a downturn? The answer may be unconstrained bond funds, such as the Loomis Sayles Bond fund. Unconstrained bond funds, which can invest in any type of fixed income instrument in any geography, have done quite well this year compared to other areas of fixed income. Some funds are focusing much more on shorter term corporate credit, rather than rates, to greatly lower their interest rate risk.

FINSUM: Unconstrained bond funds seem like a good way to get some solid yields while also protecting against big losses. We think short-term Treasuries and investment grade are good choices, but are wary of longer-term sovereign bonds and junk bonds right now.


Investors, be worried about the Fed, and not for the reasons you think. While all the market’s focus has been on how quickly the Fed will raise rates, what could really cause problems is the Fed’s unwinding of its balance sheet. According to the Indian central bank, this unwinding is sucking Dollars out of the system and causing a Dollar liquidity squeeze. According to Urjit Patel, the governor of India’s central bank, this Dollar-squeeze means “a crisis in the rest of the dollar bond markets is inevitable”, with a growing “possibility . . . a ‘sudden stop’ for the global economic recovery”.

FINSUM: It sounds like emerging markets are going to have increasing trouble issuing Dollar bonds, which could definitely throw a wrench into the recovery. Maybe this is how the Fed sparks a global recession and not just an American one.

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