Jessica Noviskis, CFA
Rising inflation and interest rates have not been real issues for investors for several years, but both have remained popular topics of concern. While inflation does not appear to be an immediate risk given still depressed GDP and elevated unemployment, the size of the latest proposed $1.9 trillion COVID relief package has many thinking about future implications. Stimulus did not lead to inflation following the Global Financial Crisis, but there are a number of reasons, beyond the sheer size of this effort, that we could see greater inflationary pressures this time: more pent-up consumer demand, well-capitalized banks and healthy consumer balance sheets, de-globalization, and higher operational costs associated with the virus. And while the Federal Reserve has committed to maintaining its ultra-accommodative monetary policy until long-term inflation hits 2% (with shorter-term inflation allowed to rise moderately above 2% for some time), unless the Fed changes its stance on negative rates, rates can only go in one direction from here: up.
Like all things market-related, we do not recommend trying to time inflation or interest rates. In this newsletter, we analyze equity long/short hedge funds as an option for investors to potentially optimize their portfolio for this dynamic environment.
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