Latest Stories

Will Falling Unemployment Finally Lead to a Pickup in Wages?

By David O'Malley | July 31, 2017

Last week saw strong corporate earnings and continued growth in the U.S. economy. U.S. GDP for the second quarter was 2.6% according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis’ advanced estimate. The strength in the economy was driven by robust business investments for the quarter. Further, the failure of the Republican plan to repeal and/or replace the Affordable Care Act drove headlines last week.

U.S. Corporate Bonds Are Losing Their Appeal to Overseas Investors

By James Faunce | July 27, 2017

For the last several years, we have noted the extremely strong technical backdrop supporting investment grade (IG) corporate credit spreads. With the global rate environment extraordinarily depressed from prolonged accommodative central bank policies around the world, investors have diligently been seeking yield. In fact, with the 2016 launch of the European Central Bank’s (ECB) Corporate Sector Purchase Program (CSPP) for eligible euro-denominated corporate debt, the universe of corporate credit opportunities has become even smaller, keeping spreads very firm globally.

Investors Watching for Clues in the Federal Reserve Meeting and Second Quarter GDP This Week

By David O'Malley | July 24, 2017

Last week, markets traded mainly range bound as economic data and corporate earnings met expectations. In the week ahead, market participants will be closely watching for any clues from the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) statement on Wednesday. The Federal Reserve is widely expected to keep interest rates unchanged, but the meeting could provide important information on future policy.

Credit Markets: Throwing Caution to the Wind

By Scott Ellis | July 20, 2017

Many investors are struggling to find attractive investment opportunities in today’s environment. One can choose from waiting on the sidelines in cash, investing in government bonds (10-year U.S. Treasuries 2.3%), investment grade bonds (+105 basis points (bps) in the U.S.), high yield bonds (+439 bps in the U.S.) or equities (S&P 500 Index is up ~10% year-to-date) and other more esoteric and less liquid investments such as private equity, venture capital and real estate. Central bankers around the world have been using their balance sheets to buy the most liquid and least risky investments, and as a result, bringing the yields down significantly. Because of this, investors have been moving further down the risk spectrum in hopes of attaining the same returns they once were able to achieve. The central bankers’ actions have left other investors to fight for the remaining investable assets.

Earnings Heat Up This Week

By David O'Malley | July 17, 2017

Second quarter earnings will receive significant attention this week, as stocks pushed to new highs on the S&P 500 Index last week. Expectations for solid earnings reports have been growing over the past few weeks and are necessary to keep stocks grinding higher.

Misery Index on Track for New Lows

By Mark Heppenstall | July 13, 2017

The Misery Index, developed in the 1960s by Yale University economist Arthur Okun, has been a widely followed measure of national economic performance. The Index is calculated by simply adding together the trailing 12-month inflation rate and current unemployment rate. This week’s chart shows a 70-year history of the Misery Index in the U.S.

Bond Yields Rise Around the Globe

By David O'Malley | July 10, 2017

Bond yields have been rising around the globe for the last few weeks as central bankers discuss the continued normalization of monetary policy. The unprecedented monetary policy used since the financial crisis in 2008 is slowly being removed. Despite the reduction in stimulus, monetary policy is still accommodative. I expect the trend of rising rates will continue over the next few months as the supply and demand equation for debt is being reevaluated amid less support from central banks.

30-Year Swap Spreads Get a Boost Wider from Capital Relief

By John Swarr | July 6, 2017

Second quarter U.S. dollar (USD) interest rate markets were very unexciting when looking at absolute movements in both swap rates and Treasury yields. However, an interesting development arose concerning the relative movement between the 30-year points of these two curves that will likely have the attention of market participants through the end of the year. The 30-year swap spread – defined as the difference between the 30-year swap rate and 30-year Treasury yield – has widened (or become less negative) significantly since June 13th, when the Treasury released its recommendations for financial industry reform, including a proposal to remove U.S. Treasuries (USTs) from the denominator of the supplementary leverage ratio (SLR) calculation. This proposal would effectively make USTs “cheaper” for banks to hold from a capital requirement perspective.

Happy Fourth of July!

By David O'Malley | July 3, 2017

Wishing you and your family a happy and healthy Fourth of July holiday weekend! We will be back with a Chart of the Week post on Thursday, July 6.