Ah, to be a rentier! Gone are the days when Vladimir Lenin could rail against these “parasitic” capitalists for “clipping coupons” from their bonds while doing no work at all. Nowadays, with 10-year Treasury notes yielding a mere 2.5 percent and junk bonds barely 5 percent, investors who want a decent stream of income have to scramble.
The Federal Reserve has made it clear that short-term rates are on lockdown until the unemployment rate drops from its current 7.6 percent to 6.5 percent. That gives ammo to money managers who say "cash is trash." A federal funds rate stuck near zero means cash will continue to deliver negative real returns for some time.
U.S. investors are increasingly buying structured notes tied to European stocks in preference to domestic equities as the area emerges from recession while the Federal Reserve prepares to slow asset purchases.
U.S. stocks rose, briefly sending the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index to a record, after health-care shares jumped on a smaller-than-forecast cut in Medicare rates and EBay Inc. climbed as Carl Icahn urged the spinoff of PayPal.
U.S. equities rallied, with the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index touching an intraday record and all but erasing its 2014 decline, amid confidence the economy is strong enough to weather cuts to monetary stimulus. Commodities gained while Ukrainian shares jumped the most since 2010.