Now That Rate Hikes Are on Hold, What Changes Should You Make to Your Bond Portfolio? - TheStreet

What Does a Slower Rate Hike Path Mean for Your Bond Portfolio?

The Federal Reserve desire to move interest rates away from crisis-era levels is a double-edged sword for bond investors.
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The Federal Reserve desire to move interest rates away from crisis-era levels is a double-edged sword for bond investors. Bond yields and prices move in opposite directions. Lower rates make bonds more valuable. But a low rate environment, as bond investors are all too familiar with thanks to eight years of record low interest rates, makes it tough to find yield, according to one expert. "There are challenges for pension plans and other institutions to make yield in this kind of environment," said Anne Walsh, assistant chief investment officer, fixed income, at Guggenheim Partners, which manages $150 billion worth of fixed income assets. "Bond investors need to be thinking about managing their portfolio in light of what will come, not necessarily what has already happened - forward looking is very important." Walsh said there's a good chance that the Fed hikes in December 2016. The Fed last raised rates back in December 2015, officially ending the central bank's "zero interest rate policy," which it commenced in December 2008 in the immediate aftermath of the recession. Meanwhile, overseas, government bonds have had yields in negative territory for months, something that helps U.S. investors, Walsh said. Japan's 10-year government bond yields minus 0.064%, while Germany's 10-year bond yields minus 0.116%. The Bank of Japan and the European Central Bank have pushed benchmark interest rates into negative territory. TheStreet's Scott Gamm reports from Wall Street.