Rising Rates Join Long List of Housing Dilemmas
Homebuyers braving the hot U.S. housing market have run headlong into a striking transition. The average interest rate for a 30-year fixed mortgage jumped from around 3.2% at the beginning of 2022 to 5.3% in mid-May, the highest level since 2009. This rise was sparked by the Federal Reserve's commitment to raise the federal funds rate — a key benchmark for short-term interest rates — to help control the highest inflation in decades.
High Inflation: How Long Will It Last?
When inflation began rising in the spring of 2021, many economists, including policymakers at the Federal Reserve, believed the increase would be transitory and subside over a period of months. One year later, inflation has proven to be more stubborn than expected. It may be helpful to look at some of the forces behind rising prices, the Fed's plan to combat them, and early signs that inflation may be easing.
Tech Sector Turmoil and the Bear Market
During the intensely volatile first 100 trading days of 2022, the stocks of companies in the S&P 500 index delivered their worst performance since 1970.1 The S&P 500 continued to tumble, and the benchmark index descended into a bear market — typically defined as a sustained drop in stock prices of at least 20% — on June 13, 2022. When the market closed, the S&P 500 had dropped 21.8% from its January 3 peak, and the tech-heavy NASDAQ, already in bear territory, had plunged 32.7% from its November 19, 2021 peak.
Managing Bond Risks When Interest Rates Rise
Raising the federal funds rate places upward pressure on a wide range of interest rates, including the costof borrowing through bond issues. Regardless of the rate environment, however, bonds are a mainstay forinvestors who want to generate income or dampen the effects of stock market volatility on their portfolios.You may have questions about how higher rates could affect your fixed-income investments and what youcan do to help mitigate the effect in your portfolio.
Stay Sane in a Crazy Market
Keeping your cool can be hard to do when the marketgoes on one of its periodic roller-coaster rides. It'suseful to have strategies in place that prepare youboth financially and psychologically to handle marketvolatility. Here are 11 ways to help keep yourself frommaking hasty decisions that could have a long-termimpact on your ability to achieve your financial goals.