High Stakes Fourth Quarter

Stock traders are trying to use Wednesday’s rally as a launching pad for a better fourth quarter, but the market is looking a bit wobbly.

Money managers, stock traders, and investment bankers have a lot at stake in the fourth quarter. By a lot, I mean their bonuses and maybe their jobs. Although the attitude is there for a turnaround, the facts might not permit it

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What happens this quarter might very well set the stage for the next move in interest rates.

Should the bond bullish crowd be right, Fed tightening will be off the table for quite some time regardless of what Fed chair Janet Yellen has said. After going nowhere for two years, bond yields will likely start trending down again to the all-time lows.

Should the fourth quarter mark a turnaround for global economies and markets, the Fed will tighten and bond yields will start a trend higher that could last for years.

You’ll also see the sort of volatility in bonds the stock market has experienced in the past few months.

But there’s no need to pick sides just yet it’s only day one of the quarter.

Dwight Johnston is the chief economist of the California and Nevada Credit Union Leagues and president of Dwight Johnston Economics. He is the author of a popular commentary site and is a frequent speaker at credit union board planning sessions and industry conferences.

October 1, 2015

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