Wall Street’s January ritual is to roll out “new” investment strategies. This year, fund manager Bill Gross has proclaimed the end of a 30-year bull market for bonds. So it’s no great surprise income advisors further down the food chain are pushing investors to adjust portfolios for higher interest rates.
The Conrad’s Utility Investor Portfolios officially launched on July 31, 2013. Since that time, the Dow Jones Utility Average is off -2.3 percent, including dividends paid.
My Aggressive Income Portfolio is up by 9.3 percent, while the Conservative Income Portfolio has returned 3.3 percent.
Ready to lock up money for 54 years at just 3.4 percent annual interest? More than a few investors did this week when their funds bought Enterprise Products Partners’ (NYSE: EPD) 7.034 percent bonds maturing January 15, 2068, a barely investment grade BBB- credit.
Will the Federal Reserve really “taper” off its easy money policy? The stock market has already reacted, with dividend-paying stocks leading the selling: The Dow Jones Utility Average is now flat for the fourth quarter, after being up better than 5 percent through mid-November.
Shares of transmission line operator ITC Holdings (NYSE: ITC) have dropped more than 14 percent from the all-time highs reached in early November. The immediate catalyst: A group of industrial users have demanded the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission cut its allowed returns.
Taper talk is rife again in the financial media. And the all-too-familiar consensus is still that the Federal Reserve will abandon cheap money in the near future, driving up interest rates and sending dividend-paying stocks plummeting.
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