Back in mid-October, I launched a new portfolio for income investors because I thought such investors could use some help in a very tough market environment.
At the time, yields weren't very tempting: In fact, if you looked at the 4.5% yield on the 10-year Treasury note, they were downright disappointing. And as if that weren't enough, the Federal Reserve was firmly locked into a series of interest rate hikes well into 2006 that would knock down the price of any bond an income investor bought.
Two months later, a lot has changed. But not for the better.
The 10-year Treasury note still yields a low 4.5% -- 4.52% on Dec. 1, to be exact. But now there's even less reason to go long since, thanks to the Fed, short-term rates have moved up so that two-year and five-year Treasury notes yield almost as much as a 10-year issue. Furthermore, the Fed looks likely to raise rates two or three more times; consensus expectations call for an end to the rate hikes with the fed funds rate at 4.5% or 4.75% vs. the current 4%.