Perspectives Blog

Interest rates in a highly indebted economy

Zach Pandl, Portfolio Manager and Strategist | October 13, 2014

In a highly indebted economy, there is no fixed cap on the level of interest rates. Any increase in interest rates must be consistent with tolerable debt service ratios, the existing stock of debt and private sector savings. It’s in this context where Fed officials’ delicate approach to the exit process looks most understandable. The deleveraging constraint Last week the Federal Reserve reported that U.S. households’ mortgage debt service rati…

Global market mid-year outlook

Mark Burgess, Chief Investment Officer, Threadneedle Investments | June 16, 2014

Overall macroeconomic picture in U.S. should push bond yields higher, particularly if the Fed stops its QE program later this year. We remain positive on emerging market debt while maintaining a bias against emerging market equities. Overall equity markets have been strong and current index levels suggest that investors still have confidence in the outlook for profits. Global equities and global bonds made progress in May with the former outpa…

Half-time report on the U.S. consumer

Marie M. Schofield, CFA, Chief Economist and Senior Portfolio Manager | July 28, 2014

U.S. consumers have taken a more cautious attitude toward debt and been more selective about using it for discretionary purchases. With consumers using credit cards less and using debit cards much more, the supports for higher discretionary spending are keyed off income and wages and also employment. With low debt use and income growth holding back consumption and demand, households will require stronger job growth and real wage gains to accele…

ECB asset purchases — Bazooka or damp squib?

Martin Harvey, Fund Manager, Threadneedle International Ltd | September 22, 2014

With inflation expectations declining to the levels that preceded the recent shift in policy, should the ECB and the financial markets be worried? In our view, the ECB probably won’t be wholly impressed by the reaction of inflation expectations to recently announced measures, and will be keeping a close eye on favored measures. We believe that we would need to see a further significant deterioration in growth and inflation expectations to kick…

The perils and pitfalls of buying individual municipal bonds

James Dearborn, Head of Municipal Bonds | February 27, 2014

Volatile ratings leave retail investors at risk Retail investors could pay higher prices Deck is stacked against retail investors With an increasing focus on the benefits of owning municipal bonds — attractive after-tax yields, low historical default rates and relatively low volatility — investors are again considering purchasing individual muni bonds. But the deck may be stacked against the retail investor. The allure of owning individual bon…

2015 Outlook — Same song, slightly different arrangement

Jeffrey Knight, CFA, Global Head of Investment Solutions and Asset Allocation | December 15, 2014

We are as convinced as ever that equities have a significant advantage over other asset classes based on valuation. Managing the risk of simultaneous drawdown across asset classes requires a process to actively de-risk portfolios and a methodology for diagnosing the conditions to trigger such a step. To manage risk and stabilize portfolio values in case equities do not perform well, we favor non-traditional diversifiers, explicit downside hedge…

Three reasons why REITs can continue to rally

Arthur Hurley, CFA, Senior Portfolio Manager | May 19, 2014

REITs have produced attractive returns YTD being up 13.60% through April (up 16% as of May 12) Fundamentals remain solid, demand for commercial real estate remains strong and companies continue to increase dividends. We remain positive on REITs given the relative safety of their income stream and continued prospects for growth. The REIT market shook off the cold of the “polar vortex” with both solid share price performance and continued positi…