Banks across the country are under pressure, and it is starting to show. Four US banks have failed already this year (three in the last month) compared to zero last year. The reasons why are many, but low interest rates and strong competition have been impacting the space. The four bank failures do not seem to be due to a particular asset class, but particular idiosyncratic circumstances. Still, as mortgages have seen lower rates, banks are more and more likely to move into more risky areas to boost yields.
FINSUM: In 2006 there were zero bank failures, in 2007 there were three, in 2008 it was very ugly. We do not think we are going down the same rode, but it is a sign worth noting.
After what was a great run for much of this year, ETFs investors are fleeing bonds. After yields fell sharply for most of 2019, investors have been stung this month as yields have shot higher. Ten-year Treasuries have gone from 1.7% to 1.9% yields, causing over half of all bonds to lose value. Investors have been pulling billions out of funds as a result. The iShares 20-year Treasury ETF has lost 7.8% since August 28th. One of the areas that has been more durable is high yield, where average prices have risen a little over 1% in the same time frame.
FINSUM: Bonds losing is a sign that investors are getting less worried about a recession, which in our view is an optimistic sign.
Bank of America has just made a bold call on the direction of yields. The bank has sharply increased its forecasts for where bond yields will be at the end of the year. Its previous forecast for the ten-year was 1.25%, but it has just moved that up to 2%. It made similar adjustments to its forecast for German and British bonds. “Relative to our more pessimistic revision in August, the US and China are working to de-escalate trade tensions, no-deal Brexit risks have been banished for now, global data have started to stabilize, and central banks have shifted from dovish to neutral policy stances”.
FINSUM: Based on the change in mood amongst investors and central banks, this forecasted change makes total sense to us.
Are you looking for a group of high-paying and stable income stocks? We’ve got a great list for you. All five in this group yield over 5% and all seem to have a stable outlook—which is not typical once dividends get to this level. Take a look at AT&T (5.3%), Schlumberger (6.1%,) AbbVie (5.4%), Simon Property Group (5.6%), and Iron Mountain (7.5%).
FINSUM: This is a highly diversified group of picks, which makes it quite interesting. AT&T seems like a good bet. Some runners-up include Macy’s (10% (!)) and Victoria’s Secret (7.1%).
Ray Dalio, one of the most famous hedge fund managers in the world, and the founder of the world’s largest hedge fund, Bridgewater, says that the world has lost its mind. The eccentric hedge fund founder recently published a blog post entitled “The World Has Gone Mad and the System Is Broken” in which he argues that zero rates, weak returns, and growing inequality are leading to something bad. What exactly that “bad” was remained unclear.
FINSUM: We agree that these are issues, but we are pretty tired of vague doom and gloom prognostications. We like a highly specific catalyst for such forecasts.