The low rates that propelled the stock market’s boom are starting to rise, putting investors in a precarious position.
By Jeff Sommer
The stock market’s rally during the pandemic has been nothing short of amazing. But rising interest rates are raising the question of how long this bull market can last.
In the 12 months through March, the average general stock mutual fund tracked by Morningstar returned nearly 66 percent — a remarkable rebound after a three-month loss of nearly 22 percent at the start of last year.
The turnaround came after the Federal Reserve stepped in with support for financial markets and the economy, fueling much of the stock market’s exuberance with low interest rates.
But with the economy taking off, rates have begun to rise. At the start of a new quarter, it is a propitious moment to ask, how long can these strangely prosperous times last?
My crystal ball is no clearer now than it has ever been, alas, and I can’t time the market’s movements any better than anyone else. But this certainly a good time to assess whether you are well positioned for a possible downward shift.
As always, the best approach for long-term investors is to set up a portfolio with a reasonable, diversified asset allocation of stocks and bonds and then live with it, come what may.
Our quarterly report on investing is intended to help. If you haven’t been an investor before, we’ve included tips on how to get started. Here you will find broad coverage of recent trends, guidance for the future and reflections on personal finance in a challenging era.
An Uneasy Exuberance in the Stock Market
It’s been a long, fine run for the stock market but a great deal of the upswing has depended on low interest rates, and in the bond market rates have been rising. Investment strategists are taking a wide array of approaches to deal with this difficult problem. For now, the bull market rides on.
Finding Safety Through Global Diversity
Bonds provide ballast in diversified portfolios, damping the swings of the stock market and sometimes providing solid returns. Because bond yields have been rising — and yields and prices move in opposite directions — bond returns have been suffering lately. But adding a diversified selection of international bonds to domestic holdings can reduce the risk in the bond side of your investments.
It’s Not Really All That Complicated
Yes, the markets and the economy are complicated. That often puts people off, and stops them from taking action that can help them and their families immeasurably: investing.
But investing need not be complicated. A succinct article gives pointers on how to get started, and on how to navigate the markets for the long haul.
NFTs Are Great but the Real Money Is in Dollars
After a piece of virtual art known as a nonfungible token — an NFT — sold at auction for $70 million recently, NFTs have suddenly became an asset that you can invest in. Our columnist prefers real dollars.
Fossil Fuel Prices Recovered, But for How Long?
Short-term demand for oil and gas is rising, but if climate change is to be reversed, consumption of fossil fuels will have to diminish. This leaves investors in a tough spot.
For other perspectives on finance, take a deeper look at our report:
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