When Interest Rates Rise, What Should You Do with Bonds?

August 8, 2022
Bonds can play an important role in your portfolio, but how do rising interest rates affect fixed income?

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After you listen

  • Check out resources for fixed-income investors at Schwab.com/FixedIncome.
  • Stay informed about moves at the Federal Reserve and other topics with Schwab Insights & Education—visit Schwab.com/Learn.
  • Check out resources for fixed-income investors at Schwab.com/FixedIncome.
  • Stay informed about moves at the Federal Reserve and other topics with Schwab Insights & Education—visit Schwab.com/Learn.

The Fed is hiking short-term interest rates to slow the economy. Now the bond market is starting to expect less inflation longer term, and so yields on Treasury bonds have declined from their peak. What should bond investors do?

In this episode, Mark Riepe speaks with Kathy Jones, Schwab's chief fixed income strategist. Kathy has analyzed global bond, foreign currency, and commodity markets extensively throughout her career as an investment analyst and strategist, working with both institutional and individual clients. Kathy makes regular broadcast appearances on CNBC, Yahoo Finance, Bloomberg TV, and many other networks and is often quoted by The Wall Street JournalThe New York TimesFinancial Times, and Reuters.

Kathy and Mark discuss the reasons why investors typically hold bonds in a portfolio, how the yield curve tends to function, quantitative tightening, and many other topics related to bonds and the current interest-rate environment.

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Important Disclosures

The information provided here is for general informational purposes only and should not be considered an individualized recommendation or personalized investment advice. The investment strategies mentioned here may not be suitable for everyone. Each investor needs to review an investment strategy for his or her own particular situation before making any investment decision.

All expressions of opinion are subject to change without notice in reaction to shifting market conditions. Data contained herein from third-party providers is obtained from what are considered reliable sources. However, its accuracy, completeness or reliability cannot be guaranteed. Supporting documentation for any claims or statistical information is available upon request.

Examples provided are for illustrative purposes only and not intended to be reflective of results you can expect to achieve.

Investing involves risk including loss of principal.

Please note that this content was created as of the specific date indicated and reflects the author's views as of that date. It will be kept solely for historical purposes, and the author's opinions may change, without notice, in reaction to shifting economic, business, and other conditions.

Diversification does not eliminate the risk of investment losses.

Fixed income securities are subject to increased loss of principal during periods of rising interest rates. Fixed-income investments are subject to various other risks including changes in credit quality, market valuations, liquidity, prepayments, early redemption, corporate events, tax ramifications and other factors. Lower-rated securities are subject to greater credit risk, default risk, and liquidity risk.

Tax-exempt bonds are not necessarily suitable for all investors. Information related to a security's tax-exempt status (federal and in-state) is obtained from third parties, and Schwab does not guarantee its accuracy. Tax-exempt income may be subject to the alternative minimum tax. Capital appreciation from bond funds and discounted bonds may be subject to state or local taxes. Capital gains are not exempt from federal income tax.

Preferred securities are often callable, meaning the issuing company may redeem the security at a certain price after a certain date. Such call features may affect yield. Preferred securities generally have lower credit ratings and a lower claim to assets than the issuer's individual bonds. Like bonds, prices of preferred securities tend to move inversely with interest rates, so they are subject to increased loss of principal during periods of rising interest rates. Investment value will fluctuate, and preferred securities, when sold before maturity, may be worth more or less than original cost. Preferred securities are subject to various other risks including changes in interest rates and credit quality, default risks, market valuations, liquidity, prepayments, early redemption, deferral risk, corporate events, tax ramifications, and other factors.

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