Here is the rule—as our economy gets stronger, rates will rise and so will oil and gas prices. But rules are made to be broken. In mid-March we saw a stark reminder of how the rules don’t always work. Though the news from the economy looked pretty good–from retail sales to first time claims for unemployment, rates dropped. How can that be? We can never tell what will affect the markets. In this case we received some not-so-good economic news coming from China and a growing crisis with regard to the Russian incursion into Crimea.
Therefore, in a week in which we should have seen rates rise, rates actually fell. This does not mean that the rule is now broken forever. It means that intervening events can always make life more interesting for market prognosticators. As a matter of fact, it took about one day for the rate reversal to happen as the Federal Reserve Board met for the first time under Chairman Yellen and announced that they believed employment will continue to grow this year and hinted that the winter doldrums was due to the weather. The Fed cutting back on purchasing Treasuries and Mortgage Backed Securities is one thing that is contributing to the long term rise in rates.
Even assessing our own economy is a difficult task. For example, when we read reports that the better economy is actually increasing the rate of divorces, it does not seem quite right. We understand that a better economy spurs household growth in terms of sons and daughters leaving home and striking out on their own. Certainly, marriages should increase in a better economy. But divorces? Apparently, if you don’t have a job, getting divorced is not an option. For those having a hard time finding a house to buy in areas of tight inventory, you may want to get tips from your local divorce attorney. Yes, following the economy and the markets is tricky at best.