Wednesday, August 5, 2009

5 Months of Strong Returns

The Standard & Poor's 500 Index returned over 44% in less than 5 months between March 9, 2009 and July 31, 2009. Interest rates, although higher than 6 months ago, remain at historically low levels. Unprecedented amounts of cash are being pumped into the economy by the US Government. Corporate bond spreads have tightened, and municipal bond yields in relation to Treasuries are returning to more normal times. What's ahead? Possibly inflation. How does one mitigate the effects of inflation on one's portfolio? Maintain some exposure to commodities through broad based inexpensive commodity index etfs, and make sure your bonds have enough coupon that they can weather the storm.

There are still enough inefficiencies in the bond market that one can occasionally shorten maturity and pick up yield and still hold the same credit. Maturities can be shortened, coupons can be increased, and some preparation can be made for the upcoming inflationary times.

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