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A guaranteed recession




By Michael O’Connor

The bond market has shot back into focus in recent weeks.

For the last 40 years, it has been home to one of the most impressive bull runs in history.

The disinflationary period from the early 1980s saw the structural decline of interest rates. Bizarrely, US Treasury Bonds were offering 16% a year back in 1980, a far cry from the pennies on offer today.

Over the intervening years, continuous interest rate cuts were needed to facilitate GDP growth, but as rates approached zero, the central banks' weapon of choice ran out of ammo. Interest rates are now rising again as inflation persists.

The 10-year treasury has gone from a low of 0.5% in the summer of 2020 to 2.4% as of the end of March.

As the four-decade bull run comes to an end, what's next?

Is the negative correlation between equities and bonds, the cornerstone of a diversified portfolio, now officially dead?

Is a recession imminent?

Recession Rumours

If historical indicators are to be believed, then a recession is on the horizon. At the end of Q1, we saw multiple yield curve inversion, reigniting debates about an imminent recession.

Yield curve inversions between 2- and 10-year bonds have long been regarded as a solid indicator of a recession in the next 12 to 24 months.

In simple terms, a yield curve inversion occurs when the interest rate paid on short-term debt is higher than the interest rate paid on long-term debt of the same quality.

In a healthy economy, the yield curve should be upward sloping (longer-term rates higher than short-term rates). Logically this makes sense as investors seek higher returns as a reward for the greater uncertainty that comes with investing over longer periods.

When short-term interest rates exceed long-term rates, market sentiment suggests that the long-term outlook is poor, and the yields offered by long-term fixed income will continue to fall.

But like everything, it's not quite that simple.

Since 1978 there have been six inversions of the yield curve.

While the above data shows yield curve inversions have accurately predicted recessions in the past, not all instances of yield curve inversions have resulted in recessions.

The 2- and 10-year yield curve has inverted 28 times since 1900, and in 22 of those instances, a recession has followed.

While an indicator that accurately predicts a recession over 75% of the time shouldn't be ignored, some material changes in recent years need to be considered.

Firstly, the Fed's manipulation of the yield curve has been well documented. I will stop short of saying this time is different, but the Feds intervention in the bond market over the prior decade suggests that a yield curve inversion may not be as valuable an indicator as it once was.

For example, we saw a yield curve inversion in August 2019, yet US stocks are up almost 70% since then. A switch to cash over this period would have meant missing out on the fastest bull run in history.

Another issue with inferring asset allocation decisions following a yield curve inversion is, even with this predictive information to hand, the alternative investment options are not as obvious as you might think. At least not across traditional asset classes.

While US stock returns for the one-year period following a yield curve inversion are lower (4.7% vs. 9.0% during all other one-year periods), the data also suggests that US Treasury Bonds will underperform US stocks over this period.

A paper from Eugene Fama and Kenneth French concluded:

"We find no evidence that inverted yield curves predict stocks will underperform Treasury bills for forecast periods of one, two, three and five years"

So, while recent data may suggest that equity markets will experience slowing growth, switching to bonds or cash is not the answer.

Stay the course.

"Far more money has been lost by investors preparing for corrections or trying to anticipate corrections than has been lost in corrections themselves" - Peter Lynch.

To learn how to protect your portfolio in a recession, go to

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American choir to perform in St Mary’s Cathedral

Music lovers are in for a rare treat on Monday night when a top US choir visits Killarney. The Colquitt Accapella choir under the direction of Mr. Jimmy L. Jarvis […]



Music lovers are in for a rare treat on Monday night when a top US choir visits Killarney.

The Colquitt Accapella choir under the direction of Mr. Jimmy L. Jarvis Jr is from the city of Moultie in the state of Georgia in the United States of America.

The choir performs multiple times a year and also produces and performs a large musical every year, with the latest production being ‘The Addams Family’ which was a sold out success.

The Colquitt Choir will be performing at St Mary’s Cathedral thanks to support form the KDYS.

More information is available from the KDYS on 066 71 21674 or

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HeartBeat’s cook off – be early!

This month HeartBeat Killarney has come up with a new slant on safe cooking. A free copy of the cook book ‘101 Square Meals – Easy recipes for everyday life’ […]




This month HeartBeat Killarney has come up with a new slant on safe cooking.

A free copy of the cook book ‘101 Square Meals – Easy recipes for everyday life’ will be available to all those who come early to the May meeting on Tuesday night.

This book from Safefood which is supported by the HSE & MABS will come to life on the night as chefs from The International Hotel Killarney have very kindly volunteered to cook some of the recipes in the book for a tasting session during the meeting.

Nutritionist Paula Duggan will be on hand to discuss the nutritional benefits of each recipe prepared for tasting. She can also advise on any tweaks required to meet individual tastes and needs.

There will be four main recipes available to taste during the course of the evening; Meat Loaf, Baked Stuffed Fish, Chicken Fingers and Spanish Tortillas. There is a fifth recipe for tasting on the night but all that Chairperson Billy O’Sullivan will say about it is “It will be available at the end of the night with a cup of tea and we hope it will send everyone home with a smile on their face.”

This is a night that the HeartBeat group has worked long and hard to make happen.

“It came together because of the amazing generosity of Tracy Coyne, Catriona White and the wonderful Kitchen Team at the International.” said Billy. In these times when the price of foods has risen dramatically it is still possible to eat healthily with the guidance from this book. There are lots of tips also on food storage, freezing food, kitchen hygiene and food allergens.

HeartBeat meetings are FREE and all are welcome to come along on Tuesday May 30th at 8pm at the Parish Centre beside The Church of the Resurrection Park Road V93 WN32.


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