Wootrader.com is moving to https://financeboards.com - sign up for a free account.


According to The Wall Street Journal, the Federal Reserve could raise interest rates as early as September assuming financial markets remain stable and the economy continues on a positive path.

As for the July 26-27 Fed meeting, there is virtually unanimous consensus rates will remain unchanged at that time, thanks in part to public comments and interviews with Fed officials.


One Lump Or Two?

With many experts calling for a modest rate increase in September, others actually wouldn’t be surprised if there were two increases before year’s end.

Atlanta Fed President Dennis Lockhart told reporters last week he thought it was likely the Fed would raise rates this year and added, “I wouldn’t rule out as many as two” (increases).

Lockhart pointed out that markets have been “quite orderly” since Brexit with no signs of any direct harm to the economy as a result of the vote.

Why It Matters

Many people react with alarm when there is talk of the Feds raising (or lowering) interest rates – even though a great number of them don’t actually know what it all means.

When the Fed raises federal funds interest rates, banks raise their prime rate which affects mortgage rates, car loan rates, business loans and consumer loans. Typically, the reverse happens when the Federal Reserve lowers rates.

From an economy-wide perspective, lower interest rates make borrowing money easier and tend to boost economic growth. Higher rates tend to slow down the economy by making borrowing more difficult or costlier.

The Role Of Inflation

The Fed raises and lowers interest rates to help keep inflation under control. Inflation happens when spending outpaces supply and the prices of goods and services go up.

When inflation is low, the Fed lowers rates to encourage spending (and borrowing). When it is high or growing too fast, the Fed raises rates to discourage spending (and borrowing).


Winners And Losers

Rising Fed interest rates affect different entities in different ways. Rising rates help some companies/sectors and hurt others.

Banks typically gain when Fed rates go up. Higher rates increase their net interest margin and profitability. One example – JPMorgan Chase & Co. (NYSE:JPMC).

High-quality stocks or non-volatile stocks with healthy balance sheets, high returns on capital, elevated margins and strong track records and earnings growth stand to benefit when rates are on the rise. An example, Berkshire Hathaway Cl B (NYSE:BRK-BD).

Technology giants also stand to gain as interest rates rise. This includes companies like Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPLC) and Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFTB).

On the negative side, the housing market, while generally not hurt by higher short-term, can be affected by long-term inflation expectations and slower economic growth. In addition, oil and energy can be hurt by higher interest rates, especially in times of high debt held by energy producers.

Others hurt include stocks with high dividend yields in sectors such as consumer staples, telecoms and utilities. Rising interest rates can make bonds more attractive, hurting these stocks.

Get Started For Free