Entering the year, there was considerable optimism that the Fed could begin cutting rates as soon as March. However, the February FOMC meeting, recent inflation data, and the January jobs report have made it clear that the status quo of a data-dependent Fed, prevails. It’s clear that the Fed’s next move is to cut, but timing is the mystery.
This state of affairs means that the window for bond investors, seeking value, remains open. While recent developments have been bearish for bonds, investors have a chance to take advantage of higher yields if they are willing to live through near-term volatility. This is especially if they believe the Fed will cut rates later this year which will lift the whole asset class higher.
According to Bloomberg, “The US economy is testing bond traders’ faith that the Federal Reserve will deliver a series of interest-rate cuts this year.” Investors can buy the dip with a broad bond fund like the Vanguard Total Bond Market Index Fund ETF, or they can search for more yield by taking on more credit risk with the Vanguard Short-Term Corporate Bond Index Fund ETF. Both have low expense ratios at 0.04% and 0.03%, respectively, and have dividend yields of 3.2%.
Finsum: Bonds are experiencing a bout of weakness due to uncertainty about the timing and extent of the Fed’s rate cuts. Here’s why investors should consider buying the dip.