NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke speaks on Wednesday, and markets are hoping to get some clarity over the longevity of U.S. monetary stimulus.We now stand hostage to the 24-hour news cycle, which is speculating whether the Fed will tighten policy or keep it unchanged. Articles abound, and with each approaching day, assets continue to trade in tighter ranges. The first chart below is of SPDR Barclays Capital High Yield Bond ETF ( JNK) over Barclays 7-10 Year Treasury Bond Fund ( IEF), which measures the relative strength of U.S. junk debt over intermediate treasuries. As the debate about whether the Fed is close to ending quantitative easing picks up, markets have sold off high-yielding assets. When Treasury prices fall and yields rise, it diminishes the value of assets like junk debt. Similarly, high yielding dividend stocks are losing favor as fixed-income securities become more attractive with their higher coupon payments.
Gold is a common hedge during periods of high volatility and risk-averse environments. This pair has traded in a tight range since late May. As stimulus came into question, volatility became present for the first time in 2013.
At the time of publication the author had no position in any of the stocks mentioned. Follow @AndrewSachais This article is commentary by an independent contributor, separate from TheStreet's regular news coverage.