Cramer: What's the Right Rate for the 10-Year?
NEW YORK (Real Money) -- What is the right level in interest for the 10-year? What should it be? We spend a huge amount of time -- "we" meaning all the people who write and talk about the markets -- discussing what rate the Fed wants interest rates to be. We spend almost no time trying to figure out what the rate should be if the Fed weren't around.
That's because it is easier and more fun, in a media-led discourse, to play the parlor game of what the Fed is going to do. People have sources in Washington, they have people they talk with close to Fed Reserve governors, and it's become quite in vogue since the Great Recession to elevate all Fed speak above everything else, even as by this time it is pretty obvious that we -- same we as above -- have lost much traction with the everyday investor who just wants to make money and knows that there are plenty of stocks that do well no matter what the Fed does. But they aren't the focus because they take a lot of digging to find.
But not only are stocks not talked about, we hardly ever talk about what rates should be. Take the 10-year. I would have thought it should not have been as low as 1.6%, because I can't imagine a banker who would risk making that loan. Sure, we did get some mortgages priced on it, but for the most part in the last four years the mortgages were priced off of a higher level, perhaps a little bit higher than they are being priced now. So, in other words, we did get to what now looks like absurdly low rates as the Fed seemed to buy all the supply around that wasn't bought by bond funds that, in retrospect, look like they were buying on automatic pilot or were, truly, nothing but bull market players. In some ways, who can blame the latter? We have had nothing but a bull market in bonds for 30 years!
The bond world changed May 22. We know that. But did the real world? We had 10-year rates go in a straight line from 1.6% to 2.6% as the bond market correctly ran ahead of tapering. But did it run too far with or without the Fed? That's what I am trying to get at. If the Fed weren't involved at all would there be enough core demand in the economy to take the 10-year to 3%? To 3.5%?