Displaying items by tag: yields
Municipal bond market returns remain low, but nonetheless investors seem willing to keep demanding low yield munis. This rise in demand...view the full story on our partner Magnifi's site.
Most people don’t think about annuities much when rates tumble, but those who are in the market for them sure see a difference. For example, when rates plunged at the start of the pandemic many annuities providers had to significantly scale back the payouts they were offering. Since annuities payouts are highly dependent on rates, insurers need to adjust their offers as yields move. With that in mind, if you are thinking about annuities, it might be a good time to buy. For example, Prudential just announced it was eliminating all its variable annuities with guaranteed income benefits because of super-low rates and volatility. Other major insurers are likely to follow suit as the market environment makes offering these products difficult.
FINSUM: Despite the fact that yields are rising, it is starting to feel like annuities providers are throwing in the towel on some products because of the ultra-low income they can provide and the potential volatility in yields.
The market has been doing great. So great in fact, that many are nervous about a swift correction. Despite this, the market continues to push for new all-time highs each week. Credit Suisse weighed in on the market in a big way this week. To be clear, the bank is not exactly bearish on the market. Their overall position is “We have remained overweight equities on the back of highly supportive policy, a high ERP [equity risk premium], the start of a bond-for-equity switch and huge excess liquidity, while tactical indicators are not yet sending a sell signal”. That said, the bank warned that there was one very “high” risk to the market: the Fed. Credit Suisse thinks there is a good chance that the Fed suddenly gets less dovish in the second half of the year after some good growth in 1H. This would be a dramatic turn for investors and could risk a sharp reversal.
FINSUM: We have to agree with this risk. The huge stimulus and excess liquidity which are flooding the market are major tailwinds, so if they reversed, it would be a shock. The whole set up reminds of us what occurred in Q4 2018.
If there is a product that looks like it has a great ten-year horizon ahead of it, it might just be annuities. Just like eSports and electric vehicles seem to have a great demographic trend behind them, annuities will ride a wave of retirees into great success. However, that is not the only tailwind. The other is ultra-low interest rates, which have completely upended the role of bonds in a portfolio. They yield very little and have a great deal of risk. Understanding that, annuities have a very interesting role to play, as between the three major types: fixed, variable, and fixed index, they offer a range of options that can help replace bonds. Fixed annuities offer set guaranteed income, variable give banded income but offer some upside, and fixed index work as a hybrid between the two.
FINSUM: Annuities have gotten a bad reputation over the years because of some high fees and bad actors, but product suites have gotten better. They can really round out a client’s need for low volatility income.
Yellen, former chairmen of the Federal Reserve, was confirmed by the Senate in her nomination for secretary of the treasury. The 84-15 vote reflects both Republicans willingness to work with the Biden administration on economic issues, and Democrats desire to brand their own economic reactions to the covid crisis. Yellen, previously at Brookings Institution, has a decorated history in public service working for Clinton administrations council of economic advisors, CEO of San Francisco regional federal reserve bank, and chair of the Federal reserve. Yellen faces many challenges in her role as treasurer both with the current state of the economy and the looming U.S. debt. Yellen plans to work closely with current Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell to address the U.S. economy.
FINSUM: Yellen historically is known for reading the economy through the lens of the labor market, so expect her policy guidance to be especially informed through a variety of labor market indicators. Additionally expect Yellen’s policy to be more expansionary than a previous administration, but she is weary of the U.S. current debt and has denounced the large deficits supported by Modern Monetary Theory.