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A near-panic reaction to Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke's comments—that the Fed could consider tapering its debt-buying program as soon as the next several meetings—ignored the Fed's premise that tapering would be dependent on self-sustaining economic growth. Investor overreaction pushed the yield on 10-year U.S. Treasuries temporarily to 2.23%, a rate likely to produce concern at the Fed if it were sustained, according to Bloomberg. Concern because a 10-year U.S. Treasury yield of 2.25-2.50% would push 30-year mortgage rates above 4%, likely stalling both housing and mortgage refinancing, key pillars of the current economic strength.
The Fed has repeatedly reminded investors that quantitative easing can be increased as well as decreased. A mortgage rate spike capable of dampening the economic improvement underway could be precisely the trigger for additional Fed purchases that would limit interest rates increases until self-sustaining growth becomes apparent. The yield on 10-year U.S. Treasuries may rise to 2.25% by year-end, but extrapolating May's yield increase to 2.50% or more in three to six months assumes an economy robust enough to tolerate 4-4.5% mortgage rates. We can only hope that such growth would occur so quickly.
The opinions in the preceding commentary are as of the date of publication and subject to change based on subsequent developments and may not reflect the views of the firm as a whole. This material is not intended to be legal or tax advice and is not to be relied upon as a forecast, or research or investment advice regarding a particular investment or the markets in general, nor is it intended to predict or depict performance of any investment. Investors should not assume that investments in the securities and/or sectors described were or will be profitable. This document is prepared based on information Lord Abbett deems reliable; however, Lord Abbett does not warrant the accuracy or completeness of the information. Investors should consult with a financial advisor prior to making an investment decision.
Investors should carefully consider the investment objectives, risks, charges, and expenses of the Lord Abbett funds. This and other important information is contained in each fund’s summary prospectus and/or prospectus. To obtain a prospectus or summary prospectus on any Lord Abbett mutual fund, contact your investment professional or Lord Abbett Distributor LLC at 888-522-2388 or visit us at www.lordabbett.com. Read the prospectus carefully before you invest.