What role do bondsA financial instrument representing an IOU from the borrower to the lender. Bond issuers promise to pay bond holders a given amount of interest for a pre-determined amount of time until the loan is repaid in full (otherwise known as the maturity date). Bonds can have a fixed or floating interest rate. Fixed-rate bonds pay out a pre-determined amount of interest each year, while floating-rate bonds can pay higher or lower interest each year depending on prevailing market interest rates. play in a portfolio, and how do we approach a decision on shifting portfolios more heavily into stocksA financial instrument giving the holder a proportion of the ownership and earnings of a company.? Vice President Steve Johnson discussed our allocation process in our recent quarterly webinar*—Take Your Pick: Recession or Recovery?
Please enjoy the excerpt below and click here for the full webinar replay to hear more.
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Jim Lowell: While fundamental data, earnings, interest rates and economic data are going to be key, to better be able to gauge the pace of the recovery and its trajectory, it all depends ultimately upon medical data. We’re hopeful that a vaccine will in fact come down the pike maybe as soon as the end of this year, maybe as soon as early next year.
That would certainly be great news, almost unprecedented in terms of speed to market, but then there are all kinds of issues relating to the vaccine that we have to be cognizant of, not the least of which are reactions to it, but also it’s a manufacturing issue.
The scope, scale and the ability to distribute [a vaccine] on a domestic and global scale is going to be nothing short of problematic. So we’re going to be keeping our eyes very focused on medical data. It’s one of the key quadrants where riskThe probability that an investment will decline in value in the short term, along with the magnitude of that decline. Stocks are often considered riskier than bonds because they have a higher probability of losing money, and they tend to lose more than bonds when they do decline. is likely to continue as we move through the end of this year into next year.
And has the economy ever depended so much on medical predictions? Not in my lifetime of managing money, which is almost three decades long. Throughout history, there have been periods where medical data has mattered, but I think it is safe to say that, “No, it’s never depended so much on medical data,” which is clear and distinct, by the way, from medical predictions.
*Webinar recorded after the market closed on Wednesday, July 22, 2020.
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