The Fed Remains Hawkish
- The Fed clearly in a transition phase regarding monetary policy
- The Fed now believes more gradual pace of rate of increases is best for the economy
- The Fed will keep key interest rates higher for longer
The Federal Reserve is clearly in a transition phase regarding monetary policy. It remains very hawkish, but the pace of increasing short-term interest rates to constrict economic growth and curtail the high level of inflation is slowing.
In the second half of last year, the Fed was on a very aggressive path of raising the federal funds rate. At one point, they raised the funds rate by 75 basis points at a record four consecutive meetings (chart 1). At its December meeting, the Fed ratcheted down the hike to 50 bps, and then last week, they increased the rate by just 25 bps.
Looking forward, the Fed has planned a total of 50 bps more rate increases this year to a level of 5.125%. With the pace of inflation moderating and demand for labor slowing, the Fed now believes that the more gradual pace of rate increases is the best policy. It will buy them more time to monitor how the economy is responding to interest rate increases already in place.
The Fed believes the catalyst for the high level of inflation is the imbalance in the labor market. For example, there are 5.7 million more job openings than people looking for a job (chart 2). That works out to be 1.9 jobs available for each person seeking a job, which is about three times the long-term average. That is an enormous imbalance that keeps wage pressures very high, which is leading to higher costs for businesses, which is leading to elevated inflation levels.
The Fed believes keeping interest rates higher for longer will reduce consumer demand and bring the labor demand/supply imbalance back into balance. This is the Fed’s plan for getting the inflation rate back to its target rate of 2.0%.
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Certain statements contained herein may constitute projections, forecasts and other forward-looking statements, which do not reflect actual results and are based primarily upon a hypothetical set of assumptions applied to certain historical financial information. Certain information has been provided by third-party sources and, although believed to be reliable, it has not been independently verified and its accuracy or completeness cannot be guaranteed.
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There are inherent risks with equity investing. These risks include, but are not limited to, stock market, manager or investment style. Stock markets tend to move in cycles, with periods of rising prices and periods of falling prices. Investing in international markets carries risks such as currency fluctuation, regulatory risks, and economic and political instability. Emerging markets involve heightened risks related to the same factors, as well as increased volatility, lower trading volume and less liquidity. Emerging markets can have greater custodial and operational risks and less developed legal and accounting systems than developed markets.
There are inherent risks with fixed-income investing. These risks may include interest rate, call, credit, market, inflation, government policy, liquidity or junk bond. When interest rates rise, bond prices fall. This risk is heightened with investments in longer-duration fixed-income securities and during periods when prevailing interest rates are low or negative. The yields and market values of municipal securities may be more affected by changes in tax rates and policies than similar income-bearing taxable securities. Certain investors’ incomes may be subject to the Federal Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT), and taxable gains are also possible. Investments in below-investment-grade debt securities, which are usually called “high yield” or “junk bonds,” are typically in weaker financial health and such securities can be harder to value and sell, and their prices can be more volatile than more highly rated securities. While these securities generally have higher rates of interest, they also involve greater risk of default than do securities of a higher-quality rating.
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Alternative investments are speculative, entail substantial risks, offer limited or no liquidity and are not suitable for all investors. These investments have limited transparency to the funds’ investments and may involve leverage which magnifies both losses and gains, including the risk of loss of the entire investment. Alternative investments have varying and lengthy lockup provisions.
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S&P 500 Index: The S&P 500 Index, or Standard & Poor’s 500 Index, is a market-capitalization-weighted index of 500 leading publicly traded companies in the U.S. It is not an exact list of the top 500 U.S. companies by market cap because there are other criteria that the index includes.
Bloomberg Barclays US Aggregate Bond Index (LBUSTRUU): The Bloomberg Aggregate Bond Index or “the Agg” is a broad-based fixed-income index used by bond traders and the managers of mutual funds and exchange-traded funds (ETFs) as a benchmark to measure their relative performance.
GT2 Govt, GT3 Govt, GT5 Govt, GT10 Govt, GT30 Govt: US Government Treasury Yields
DXY Index: The U.S. dollar index (USDX) is a measure of the value of the U.S. dollar relative to the value of a basket of curren-cies of the majority of the U.S.’s most significant trading partners.
Dow Jones U.S. Select Dividend Index (DJDVP): The Dow Jones U.S. Select Dividend Index looks to target 100 dividend-paying stocks screened for factors that include the dividend growth rate, the dividend payout ratio and the trading volume. The components are then weighted by the dividend yield.
P/E Ratio: The price-to-earnings ratio (P/E ratio) is the ratio for valuing a company that measures its current share price relative to its earnings per share (EPS).
The Commodity Research Bureau (CRB) Index acts as a representative indicator of today’s global commodity markets. It measures the aggregated price direction of various commodity sectors.
The MSCI indexes are market cap-weighted indexes, which means stocks are weighted according to their market capitalization — calculated as stock price multiplied by the total number of shares outstanding.
Quality Ranking: City National Rochdale Proprietary Quality Ran king is the weighted a verage sum of securities held in
the strategy versus the S&P 500 at the sector le vel using the below formula.
City National Rochdale Proprietary Quality Ranking formula: 40% Dupont Quality (return on equity adjusted b y debt levels), 15% Earnings Stability (v olatility of earnings), 15% Re venue Stability (volatility of revenue), 15% Cash Earnings Quality (cash flow vs. net income of compan y) 15% Balance Sheet Quality (fundamental strength of balance s heet).
*Source: City National Rochdale proprietary r anking system utilizing MSCI and FactSet data. **Rank is a perc entile
ranking approach whereby 100 is the highest possible score and 1 is the lowest. The Ci ty National Rochdale Core compares the weighted average holdings of the str ategy to the companies in the S&P 500 on a sector basis. As of September 30, 2022. City National Rochdale proprietary ranking system utilizing MSCI and FactSet data.
Rank is a percentile ranking approach whereby 100 is the highest possible score and 1 is the lowest. The City National Rochdale Core compares the weighted average holdings of the strategy to the companies in the S&P 500 on a sector basis. As of June 2022.
Bloomberg Barclays US Aggregate Bond Index: The Bloomberg Aggregate Bond Index or “the Agg” is a broad-based fixed-income index used by bond traders and the managers of mutual funds and exchange-traded funds (ETFs) as a benchmark to measure their relative performance.
The Case-Shiller Index, formally known as the S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller U.S. National Home Price NSA Index, is an economic indicator that measures the change in value of U.S. single-family homes on a monthly basis.
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Tax-Exempt Strategies: Michael Taila and William D. Black Q1 2023
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