Where do you invest your money today for safety and income? That is the question of the moment. So far this year, no investment has been...
Where do you invest your money today for safety and income?
That is the question of the moment.
So far this year, no investment has been safe.
Recently, 17 of the 20 domestic stock-fund categories tracked by Morningstar showed losses for the year. Five of the 14 international stock-fund categories showed losses for the period. And seven of the 12 bond-fund categories showed losses.
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Places that are usually considered “safe” aren’t. The average short-term government-bond fund has lost money so far this year.
We can always explain it by pointing to fear and uncertainty. But the more likely cause is less emotional. If you track interest rates closely, it’s now clear interest rates are rising — all interest rates.
According to the constant maturity Treasury index series maintained by the Federal Reserve, three- and six-month Treasury-bill yields bottomed in late December 2003 and January 2004, respectively.
The one-year Treasury index bottomed in June 2003. The two-year, three-year and five-year indexes bottomed in March 2004.
Finally, the 20-year Treasury index bottomed at 4.49 percent this February. Where long-term interest rates once declined while short-term rates rose, now all rates are rising.
The long bull market in bonds — the bull market that lasted from 1981 until early this year — is over.
Unless you think a major recession is coming, this is not a good time to make long-term fixed-income commitments.
Questions about personal finance and investments may be sent to Scott Burns at The Dallas Morning News, P.O. Box 655237, Dallas, TX 75265; by fax at 214-977-8776; or by e-mail at email@example.com. Questions of general interest will be answered in future columns.