Running Out the Clock

Among the unlikelier events of this post-election season – other than the consideration of former World Wrestling Entertainment executive, Linda McMahon, to be head of the Small Business Administration – has been the confidence with which institutional investors have rotated into leveraged credit. This despite the uncertainty surrounding the future of all sorts of policy matters, from healthcare to immigration to China.

To some extent, this has been predictable. The incoming administration has at least made it clear that the domestic economy, particularly jobs and growth, will be front and center of their short-term considerations. That has helped spur a 1000 point Dow climb in the past month and a commensurate rise in interest rates.

That exuberance has raised inflation concerns and triggered speculation that the Fed will not only hike rates as predicted at their December meeting next week, but will do so multiple times during 2017. Analysts suggest such moves will chill investor interest in fixed income instruments and fuel that of floating rate loans.

Some have suggested the view that Trump policies will buoy GDP and re-energize what has been a listless recovery could represent the triumph of hope over reality. However, it is acknowledged by even the most sober market observers that sustained investor optimism across markets might make stimulus a self-fulfilling prophecy.