With Yellen's nomination on Oct. 9, these assets saw sweet relief. In the three weeks since, we have seen a remarkable recovery in the assets that were so hated in the three months prior:
Far-Reaching Effects of QE
Perhaps the more interesting action has been occurring in the left-for-dead Emerging Markets -- economies that benefit directly from lower interest rates here in the United States. We initially pointed to these opportunities back in July and September, when the argument made a lot less sense (but entry points were quite a bit better).
+12.47% -- S&P 500
+16.11% -- Emerging Markets, VWO
The higher the interest rates the United States pays on its debt, the higher rates these smaller and more economically sensitive nations must pay to attract investment in their own governments' debt. The logic is the same as when companies or borrowers with lower credit ratings have to pay higher interest rates to secure loans. Higher cost of funds creates additional headwinds for their growth; the converse is also true.
What if I'm wrong, though? What if Rand Paul filibusters to block Yellen's nomination, or Yellen has a change of heart after accepting her nomination? If rates spike higher again, aren't we going to see the same pain that we endured for the entire month of June? Maybe.
The trouble with that argument is you're not just fighting the Fed, whose primary objective is to see solid improvements in the labor market (specifically, an unemployment rate of 6.5%). You are also fighting retirees, endowments, pension funds, foreign governments and mutual funds who may be infinitely more interested in securing 3% on their fixed income portfolios than they are at 2%. Any increased appetite for our government's debt puts downward pressure on the interest rates we must pay to attract investment. Everything is relative.
Yellen at the helm bodes well not just for our markets which may be getting a bit extended, but also for our small, foreign counterparts whose recovery is much less mature.
As the world's largest economy, the scope of our policies cannot be measured simply by our unemployment rate and GDP growth. In fact, our unemployment and GDP growth depends more on the health of other economies than it ever has before.
At the time of publication the author was long AMJ, VNQ & VWO.
-- Written by Adam B. Scott
This article is commentary by an independent contributor, separate from TheStreet's regular news coverage.