Best of the Week
Most Popular
1. US Housing Market Real Estate Crash The Next Shoe To Drop – Part II - Chris_Vermeulen
2.The Coronavirus Greatest Economic Depression in History? - Nadeem_Walayat
3.US Real Estate Housing Market Crash Is The Next Shoe To Drop - Chris_Vermeulen
4.Coronavirus Stock Market Trend Implications and AI Mega-trend Stocks Buying Levels - Nadeem_Walayat
5. Are Coronavirus Death Statistics Exaggerated? Worse than Seasonal Flu or Not?- Nadeem_Walayat
6.Coronavirus Stock Market Trend Implications, Global Recession and AI Stocks Buying Levels - Nadeem_Walayat
7.US Fourth Turning Accelerating Towards Debt Climax - James_Quinn
8.Dow Stock Market Trend Analysis and Forecast - Nadeem_Walayat
9.Britain's FAKE Coronavirus Death Statistics Exposed - Nadeem_Walayat
10.Commodity Markets Crash Catastrophe Charts - Rambus_Chartology
Last 7 days
AI Mega-trend Tech Stocks Buying Levels Q2 2020 - 1st Jun 20
M2 Velocity Collapses – Could A Bottom In Capital Velocity Be Setting Up? - 1st Jun 20
The Inflation–Deflation Conundrum - 1st Jun 20
AMD 3900XT, 3800XT, 3600XT Refresh Means Zen 3 4000 AMD CPU's Delayed for 5nm Until 2021? - 1st Jun 20
Why Multi-Asset Brokers Like are the Future of Trading - 1st Jun 20
Will Fed‘s Cap On Interest Rates Trigger Gold’s Rally? - 30th May
Is Stock Market Setting Up for a Blow-Off Top? - 29th May 20
Strong Signs In The Mobile Gaming Market - 29th May 20
Last Clap for NHS and Carers, Sheffield UK - 29th May 20
The AI Mega-trend Stocks Investing - When to Sell? - 28th May 20
Trump vs. Biden: What’s at Stake for Precious Metals Investors? - 28th May 20
Stocks: What to Make of the Day-Trading Frenzy - 28th May 20
Why You’ll Never Get Another Stimulus Check - 28th May 20
Implications for Gold – 2007-9 Great Recession vs. 2020 Coronavirus Crisis - 28th May 20
Ray Dalio Suggests USA Is Entering A Period Of Economic Decline And New World Order - 28th May 20
Europe’s Coronavirus Pandemic Dilemma - 28th May 20
I Can't Pay My Payday Loans What Will Happen - 28th May 20
Predictive Modeling Suggests US Stock Markets 12% Over Valued - 27th May 20
Why Stocks Bear Market Rallies Are So Tricky - 27th May 20
Precious Metals Hit Resistance - 27th May 20
Crude Oil Cuts Get Another Saudi Boost as Oil Demand Begins to Show Signs of Life - 27th May 20
Where the Markets are heading after COVID-19? - 27th May 20
Silver Springboards Higher – What’s Next? - 26th May 20
Stock Market Key Resistance Breakout Is Where the Rubber Meets the Road - 26th May 20
5 Ways To Amp Up Your CFD Trading Today - 26th May 20
The Anatomy of a Gold Stock Bull Market - 26th May 20
Stock Market Critical Price Level Could Soon Prompt A Big Move - 25th May 20
Will Powell Decouple Gold from the Stock Market? - 25th May 20
How Muslims Celebrated EID in Lockdown Britain 2020 - UK - 25th May 20
Stock Market Topping Behavior - 24th May 20
Fed Action Accelerates Boom-Bust Cycle; Not A Virus Crisis - 23rd May 20
Gold Silver Miners and Stocks (after a quick drop) Ready to Explode - 23rd May 20
3 Ways to Prepare Financially for Retirement - 23rd May 20
4 Essential Car Trade-In Tips To Get The Best Value - 23rd May 20
Budgie Heaven at Bird Land - 23rd May 20
China’s ‘Two Sessions’ herald Rebound of Economy - 22nd May 20
Signs Of Long Term Devaluation US Real Estate - 22nd May 20
Reading the Tea Leaves of Gold’s Upcoming Move - 22nd May 20
Gold, Silver, Mining Stocks Teeter On The Brink Of A Breakout - 21st May 20
Another Bank Bailout Under Cover of a Virus - 21st May 20
Do No Credit Check Loans Online Instant Approval Options Actually Exist? - 21st May 20
An Eye-Opening Perspective: Emerging Markets and Epidemics - 21st May 20
US Housing Market Covid-19 Crisis - 21st May 20
The Coronavirus Just Hit the “Fast-Forward” Button on These Three Industries - 21st May 20
AMD Zen 3 Ryzen 9 4950x Intel Destroying 24 core 48 thread Processor? - 21st May 20
Dow Stock Market Trend Analysis and Forecast - 20th May 20
The Credit Markets Gave Their Nod to the S&P 500 Upswing - 20th May 20
Where to get proper HGH treatment in USA - 20th May 20
Silver Is Ensured A Prosperous 2020 Thanks To The Fed - 20th May 20
It’s Not Only Palladium That You Better Listen To - 20th May 20
DJIA Stock Market Technical Trend Analysis - 19th May 20
US Real Estate Showing Signs Of Covid19 Collateral Damage - 19th May 20
Gold Stocks Fundamental Indicators - 19th May 20
Why This Wave is Usually a Market Downturn's Most Wicked - 19th May 20
Gold Mining Stocks Flip from Losses to 5x Leveraged Gains! - 19th May 20
Silver Price Begins To Accelerate Higher Faster Than Gold - 19th May 20
Gold Will Soar Soon; World Now Faces 'Monetary Armageddon' - 19th May 20

Market Oracle FREE Newsletter


Where to Put Your Money When the U.S. Treasury Bond Market Bubble Bursts

Interest-Rates / US Bonds Apr 24, 2012 - 06:01 AM GMT

By: Money_Morning


Best Financial Markets Analysis ArticleMartin Hutchinson writes: With interest rates at near-record low levels it appears that the only way for rates to go is up.

As the U.S. economy moderately strengthens, that means the bond bubble will begin to leak. Even darker, the bubble might just burst altogether.

The prospect of yet another bursting bubble makes investing in bonds difficult. The same is true for stocks.

After all, stocks tend to underperform when rates head north, while gold will certainly drop back once interest rates begin to rise ahead of inflation (which may take a considerable time.)

However, there is one strategy that enables you to prosper even in this tough environment.

It is called the bond ladder. It works like this...

Bond investing in a rising rate environment can be a terrific way to lose money.

If you buy short-term bonds, the yields may well be less than inflation, causing you to lose money in real terms.

And if you invest in long-term bonds, your immediate yield will generally be higher, but you run a large risk of losing part of your principal as rates rise and bond prices decline.

These losses can be a large multiple of your interest payments.

For example, if 30-year bond yields rise from their current 3.11% to 5.11% over the next year, your principal loss on a 30-year T-bond will be $30 on every $100, far more than the $3.11 you will have received in interest.

Of course, if you hold the bond for the next 29 years you will get your principal back at maturity.

But meanwhile you will have spent 30 years locked into an investment at interest rates below the market, and probably below the level of inflation. Not a wise choice.

Investing in Bonds: Building a Bond Ladder
The problem of investing in bonds then is one of reinvestment. You really don't know at what rate you will be able to reinvest your money when the time comes.

This problem is solved by buying bonds in a range of maturities, from short to long, and reinvesting the proceeds of each investment as it comes due.

For example, you could invest 10% of your money in each Treasury bond maturity from 1 to 10 years.

Then when the first bond came due in year 1, you would reinvest the proceeds in a 10-year bond, so you would again have 10 equal bond investments coming due in years 2 through 11.

Here's a concrete example.

Suppose you have $100,000 to invest today and you want to invest conservatively, protecting your principal against loss and your income against rising interest rates. You could invest in a 5-year bond ladder with $20,000 in each of 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5-year Treasuries.

Your bond yield would roughly be as follows:

•A 1-year Treasury yield of 0.16%;
•A 2-year Treasury yield of 0.26%;
•A 3-year Treasury yield of 0.40%;
•A 4-year Treasury yield of 0.62%;
•And a 5-year Treasury yield 0.86%.
Altogether, in the first year, your investment would yield 0.46%. Not wonderful, but it is better than many bank deposits.

At the end of the first year, if interest rates had remained flat, you would invest in a 5-year bond, maturing in year 6, again at 0.86%. However, in the second year you would earn 0.60% on your money - because you would have two 5-year yields at 0.86% (one of them a year old) and no 1-year yield.

Yet you would still have investments of 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5-year maturities since all of them bumped down one year.

Of course, if interest rates had risen to 2% for your 5-year bond reinvestment, your second-year yield would be 0.83% -- your initial 0.16% 1-year bond would have been replaced with a 2% 5-year bond.

In the third year, if 5-year yields were still 2%, your yield would rise to 1.18%. That's the beauty of laddering.

After a time, even though you've kept your maturity short and your principal risk small, you're earning a medium-term (normally higher) yield on a shorter-term investment; in this case, a 5-year return on an investment with an average maturity of at most 3 years (and 2 years and 1 day just before a maturity).

If at annual renewal you think interest rates have risen as far as they are going to go, instead of reinvesting in a 5-year bond you could reinvest in a 10-year bond, locking in a higher yield for a longer period.

However that won't happen for a long time yet.

The long-term average yield on 10-year Treasuries is about 2.5% above inflation, so you should not reinvest in 10-year Treasuries until their yield is at that premium above the current inflation rate.

With the consumer price index up 2.7% in the last year, that would imply a 10-year Treasury yield of 5.2% -- a long way above the current yield of 1.93%.

A New Wrinkle: Floating Rate Notes
There's an additional wrinkle. The U.S. Treasury has announced that sometime in 2012 it will begin issuing Floating Rate Notes (FRNs).

These will pay interest at a variable rate, which will be reset every few months, probably at a margin over the prevailing Treasury bill rates. Investors in FRNs will be protected against interest rate increases, because as Treasury-bill rates rise, the interest payable on FRNs will rise along with them.

That means the FRNs will always trade close to par - with one important caveat. If the credit quality of the U.S. Treasury deteriorates, then the FRNs may decline in value, because long-term U.S. Treasury paper will trade at a discount to short-term. You won't get par on a Greek FRN today, for example!

Nevertheless, depending on how they are priced there should be a decent premium of perhaps 0.5% over 3-month bill rates. But the Treasury may always get greedy and issue the first FRNs with a smaller premium.

Even still, FRNs look like they may be a good alternative for some of your money in a rising interest rate environment.

However, for most of your money you're probably better off with a 1-5 year bond ladder. The yield won't be exciting initially, but you'll be well protected if the bond bubble springs a leak.

If it does, the opportunity to get 5-year interest rates on an investment with an average maturity of 2-3 years will suddenly be very attractive.

Source :

Money Morning/The Money Map Report

©2011 Monument Street Publishing. All Rights Reserved. Protected by copyright laws of the United States and international treaties. Any reproduction, copying, or redistribution (electronic or otherwise, including on the world wide web), of content from this website, in whole or in part, is strictly prohibited without the express written permission of Monument Street Publishing. 105 West Monument Street, Baltimore MD 21201, Email:

Disclaimer: Nothing published by Money Morning should be considered personalized investment advice. Although our employees may answer your general customer service questions, they are not licensed under securities laws to address your particular investment situation. No communication by our employees to you should be deemed as personalized investent advice. We expressly forbid our writers from having a financial interest in any security recommended to our readers. All of our employees and agents must wait 24 hours after on-line publication, or after the mailing of printed-only publication prior to following an initial recommendation. Any investments recommended by Money Morning should be made only after consulting with your investment advisor and only after reviewing the prospectus or financial statements of the company.

Money Morning Archive

© 2005-2019 - The Market Oracle is a FREE Daily Financial Markets Analysis & Forecasting online publication.

Post Comment

Only logged in users are allowed to post comments. Register/ Log in

6 Critical Money Making Rules