Ratings Agencies and Economists Opine on Rising Interest Rates After the Election

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This might not be a high over the past year, but the post-election moves just made a 10-year Treasury yield hit a high not seen since January. This is also a monumental high for bond investors as the 10-year U.S. Treasury yield just hit 2.00% on Wednesday.

Investors might not think as much about the move as they should. What they have to consider now is that the yield of the 10-year was 2.25% to 2.30% right at the end of 2015. The post-Brexit low seen this summer was in July and the 10-year yield was under 1.40%.

What also stands out for the 10-year yield is that this was just 1.78% last Friday. Generally it requires major economic shifts and events for such a move in such a short time. Obviously, the surprise victory was a major economic shift.

24/7 Wall St. has seen some commentary out of ratings agencies that are more keen around bond yields than equity investors.

Fitch Ratings has issued a view that Trump’s policies would be negative for U.S. public finance, but it does not see that as a risk for the AAA rating for the United States. The agency started its report as follows:

Donald Trump’s victory in the US presidential election does not have near-term implications for the US’s ‘AAA’/Stable sovereign rating, which still benefits from unique strengths, Fitch Ratings says. The medium-term impact of president-elect Trump’s economic and fiscal policies would be negative for US sovereign creditworthiness if they were implemented in full.

S&P Investment Advisory Services has said that it continues to expect sustained moderate economic growth leading to improving corporate earnings. This should also support the case for continued modest and measured policy normalization adjustments by the Federal Reserve. The agency said:

In the short-term we are understandably witnessing an emotional investor response to uncertainty surrounding domestic and foreign public policy, which is driving market volatility higher. As witnessed following the counter conventional wisdom U.K. Brexit referendum results, the dust will eventually settle and calmer heads will prevail. Beyond near-term considerations, risk asset security prices, and thus valuations, have been inflated over the past halfdecade by extreme monetary accommodation. Investors have been indifferent to the influence that low interest rates have had on their portfolios, so long as the end result was rewarding. Part of the backstory of the 2016 election cycle may be that the electorate is now indicating their clear preference for a stock market that will once again be driven by traditional fundamental factors such as healthy revenue and profit growth, as opposed to large scale financial engineering. Investors would once again prefer to be buying stocks for their healthy earnings growth, as opposed to just because interest rates are marginally above zero. At this time it appears that sound investment decisions should be based more on the anticipated direction of economic policy, market valuation, and GDP growth, and not on post-election political rhetoric.

Also seen was a note from Michael Arone, who is chief investment strategist for SSGA’s SPDR ETF Business from October. His note said:

While the consensus view is that the sky will fall if Trump wins, I think those expectations are grossly exaggerated. How would the financial markets react to a Trump victory in November? Most market soothsayers are predicting a massive increase in volatility and a flight to perceived safe-havens should Trump prevail. … Investors believe that we will observe a spike in volatility which may lead to US Treasury yields falling further in the short term, a rising US dollar, the Japanese yen climbing higher and gold prices increasing. In short, a classic flight-to-safety overreaction by investors during a time of rising market volatility. I believe investors’ expectations are far worse than the potential reality of a Trump presidency. In fact, after the initial gut reaction, we could get a relief rally.