Tags: Patterson | Fed | bond | values

Brandywine's Patterson: Fed 'Destroying' Bond Values

Friday, 16 Aug 2013 08:04 AM

By Dan Weil

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The Federal Reserve's low interest rate policy, while it pushed bond prices higher until May, hasn't done anything positive for the true value of bonds, says David Patterson, CEO of Brandywine Trust Group.

He defines value as the cash flow that investments create.

"The Fed's aggressive suppression of interest rates, while raising the price of bonds, has correspondingly destroyed their value," Patterson writes in The Wall Street Journal.

Editor’s Note:
Forbes Columnist: ‘Who the Hell Cleared This?’ (See Shocking Video)

"A 10-year Treasury bought today at a 2 percent yield would pay 1.2 percent net of tax (top federal rate), for an annual loss of 0.8 percent against the 2 percent rate of inflation that the Fed is aiming for."

The 10-year Treasury stood at 2.76 percent late Thursday. That would produce a loss of 0.34 percent using Patterson's math.

Higher stock prices don't offer a panacea either, Patterson says. "You might think that a draw of, say, 3 percent from a diversified equity portfolio would produce a cash flow that sustained its purchasing power over time," he writes.

"Yet looking at all 10- or 15-year, quarter-to-quarter periods since the start of the S&P index in 1926, this was true only about 60 percent of the time. Unless it is justified by real profit growth, higher price just means lower sustainable draw."

Other investors also are unimpressed with the stock market's four-year rally, but for different reasons. "In some ways, it’s the most detested bull market of all time," Michael Hartnett, chief global equity strategist at Bank of America, tells The New York Times.

"A big part of that comes from what preceded this market: the bursting of two large equity bubbles within a 10-year period, and the terrible trauma that caused."

Editor’s Note: Forbes Columnist: ‘Who the Hell Cleared This?’ (See Shocking Video)

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