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What Fed Move Means for Investors

The Federal Reserve announced Wednesday that it will extend its bond-buying program, Operation Twist, through the end of the year – a move experts say could have far-reaching implications for investors.

Getty Images

Citing slower household spending, weaker job growth and lower inflation, Fed chairman Ben Bernanke said the central bank would continue the program, started last August, which involves selling shorter-dated bonds that mature in less than three years and using the proceeds to buy longer-dated Treasury bonds. In the first round of the program, which was scheduled to end this month, the Fed sold $400  billion of short-term bonds; it will sell another $267 billion in bonds this time around.

Experts say the strategy, which is meant to encourage more borrowing by lowering long-term rates, could have a ripple effect across the markets, affecting everything from bonds to stocks – even gold. In the short term, quantitative easing programs tend to boost investor confidence, leading to a rally in stocks. Longer-term, experts say the program could lower bond yields for corporate bonds and Treasurys. “There are a lot of areas that their policy tends to impact,” says Brian Jacobsen, chief portfolio strategist for Wells Fargo Funds Management.

To be sure, the Fed has swayed markets less and less with each round of quantitative easing, analysts say, meaning the effects of this program could be muted. For instance, while Treasury yields rose following the announcement of QE1, QE2 and Operation Twist, the increase diminished with each round, says Anthony Valeri, a fixed income strategist for LPL Financial. Some other forces, like investors’ concerns over the European debt crisis, may have a larger impact on bond and stock markets, advisers say.

That said, experts say investors should expect some market movements. Here are a few of the likely consequences for investors, and  the strategies experts say may be warranted.

Stocks

Equity markets tend to rally during periods of quantitative easing, but the boost may be short-lived, says George Kiraly, an adviser with LodeStar Advisory Group in Short Hills, N.J.  That’s especially the case if investors believe the Fed’s efforts aren’t enough to substantially help the economy, he says. Indeed, the Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped about 90 points immediately following today’s announcement but bounced back in afternoon trading.

Gold

Precious metals like gold tend to pop following quantitative easing from the Fed since bond-buying programs can lead to higher inflation expectations. But advisers say investors hoping to take advantage of this potential boost should tread carefully. Kiraly only recommends buying gold if it tops $1,640 an ounce. Because gold has been trading in a range between $1,500 and $1,640 an ounce (today it’s near $1,620), if it breaks above that range, it could be a sign of upward momentum for the yellow metal, he says.

High yield bonds

Unlike Treasurys, stocks and gold, high-yield bonds don’t normally get an immediate boost when the Fed starts a bond-purchasing program. Corporate bond yields actually increased – and prices dropped– following the start of QE2 and Operation Twist, a sign that investors viewed the bonds as riskier, says Valeri. But over the intermediate to long term, those corporate bond yields came down after QE1, QE2 and QE3 as investors gained confidence in the economy and became more comfortable taking on risk and prices rose.

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Most popular new iOS emoji? Eye roll, please ...

Jack Dorsey, interim CEO of Twitter and CEO of Square, attends the annual Allen and Co. media conference in Sun Valley, Idaho, in this file photo taken July 8, 2015.   Dorsey is expected to be named as permanent chief executive as early as Thursday, technology website Re/code reported, citing sources. REUTERS/Mike Blake/Files  
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/conga/frontpage.html 367780

Markets »

172.07MDow Volume:
Avg Vol: 132.13M
Unchanged
147
Decliners
4753
Advancers
1612
Price Chg %Chg 1 Day
Range: 1 Day
  • 1 Day
  • 5 Days
  • 1 Month
  • 3 Months
  • 6 Months
  • 1 Year
  • 2 Years
Dow
/quotes/zigman/627449/realtime 15,660 -255 1.60%
Nasdaq
/quotes/zigman/12633936/realtime 4,267 -17 0.39%
S&P 500
/quotes/zigman/3870025/realtime 1,829 -23 1.23%
GlobalDow
/quotes/zigman/629063/realtime 2,035 -12 0.60%
Gold
/quotes/zigman/33772884/delayed 1,244 -4 0.30%
Oil
/quotes/zigman/2260836/delayed 27.33 +1.12 4.27%
FTSE 100
/quotes/zigman/3173262/delayed 5,537 -135 2.39%
DAX
/quotes/zigman/2380246/delayed 8,753 -264 2.93%
CAC 40
/quotes/zigman/3173214/delayed 3,897 -164 4.05%
FTSE MIB
/quotes/zigman/1482176/delayed 15,773 -941 5.63%
IBEX 35
/quotes/zigman/2759620/delayed 7,746 -397 4.88%
Stoxx 600
/quotes/zigman/2380150/delayed 304 -12 3.68%
Asia Dow
/quotes/zigman/6959860/realtime 2,393 -43 1.79%
Nikkei 225
/quotes/zigman/5986735/delayed 14,953 -761 4.84%
Hang Seng
/quotes/zigman/2622475/delayed 18,370 -175 0.95%
Shanghai
/quotes/zigman/1859015/delayed 2,763 -18 0.63%
Sensex
/quotes/zigman/1652085/delayed 22,815 -137 0.60%
Singapore
/quotes/zigman/1709939/delayed 2,540 +2 0.08%
Euro
/quotes/zigman/16008136/realtime/sampled 1.13 0.00 0.16%
Yen
/quotes/zigman/16008150/realtime/sampled 112.20 -0.23 0.20%
Pound
/quotes/zigman/16008140/realtime/sampled 1.45 +0.00 0.13%
Australia$
/quotes/zigman/16008115/realtime/sampled 0.71 0.00 0.01%
DXY Index
/quotes/zigman/1652083/delayed 95.55 -0.06 0.06%
WSJ $ Idx
/quotes/zigman/41508961/realtime 88.77 +0.01 0.01%
U.S. 10yr
/quotes/zigman/15866666/realtime 1.69 +0.03 2.06%
German 10y
/quotes/zigman/15866409/realtime 0.22 +0.03 14.34%
Italy 10yr
/quotes/zigman/15866497/realtime 1.64 -0.07 4.33%
Spain 10yr
/quotes/zigman/15866444/realtime 1.77 0.00 0.00%
U.K. 10yr
/quotes/zigman/15866328/realtime 1.30 0.00 0.00%
Japan 10yr
/quotes/zigman/15866525/realtime 0.08 +0.06 444.60%
Crude Oil
/quotes/zigman/2260836/delayed 27 +1 4.27%
Gold
/quotes/zigman/33772884/delayed 1,244 -4 0.30%
Corn
/quotes/zigman/25518691/delayed 360 0 0.07%
DJIA F
/quotes/zigman/48241424/delayed 15,648 +36 0.23%
S&P F
/quotes/zigman/43106711/delayed 1,831 +6 0.34%
Silver
/quotes/zigman/32655632/delayed 16 0 0.47%

Quotes

Symbol Price Change % Change
FB /quotes/zigman/9962609/composite 101.91 0.91 0.90%
AAPL /quotes/zigman/68270/composite 93.70 -0.57 -0.60%
GOOG /quotes/zigman/59527964/composite 683.11 -1.01 -0.15%
BAC /quotes/zigman/190927/composite 11.16 -0.82 -6.84%
C /quotes/zigman/5065548/composite 34.98 -2.43 -6.50%
F /quotes/zigman/264304/composite 11.17 -0.17 -1.50%
T /quotes/zigman/398198/composite 36.21 -0.22 -0.60%
BP /quotes/zigman/247026/composite 27.64 -0.40 -1.43%
GE /quotes/zigman/227468/composite 27.45 -0.85 -3.00%
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Rates »

5 yr CD
1.3%
2 yr CD
0.7%
1 yr CD
0.6%
MMA $10K+
0.2%
MMA $50K+
0.4%

National averages from Bankrate.com

You Don’t Need Another Credit Card, You Need A Better One.
Avg. APR Last Week 6 Months
Low Interest 11.96% 11.96% 11.62%
Business 13.12% 13.12% 12.85%
Student 13.42% 13.42% 13.14%
Balance Transfer 14.35% 14.35% 14.12%
Airline 15.17% 15.17% 15.10%
Cash Back 15.20% 15.26% 15.27%
Reward 15.25% 15.28% 15.14%
Instant Approval 18.02% 18.21% 18.00%
Bad Credit 22.56% 22.88% 22.73%
Source:CreditCards.com

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