The Federal Reserve has a problem. At 4.1%, the jobless rate is already well below the 4.6% it thinks unemployment would/could/should average over the long run. We think the unemployment rate should get to 3.5% by the end of 2019 and wouldn't be shocked if it got that low in 2018, either.
Add in extra economic growth from tax cuts and the Fed will be worried that it is "behind the curve." As a result, we think the Fed will raise rates three times next year, on top of this year's three rate hikes, counting the almost certain hike this month. And a fourth rate hike in 2018 is still certainly on the table. By contrast, the futures market is only pricing in one or two rate hikes next year – exactly as it did for 2017. In other words, the futures markets are likely to be wrong for the second year in a row.
And as short-term interest rates head higher, we expect long-term interest rates to head up as well. So, get ready, because the bears will seize on this rising rate environment as one more reason for the bull market in stocks to end.
They'll be wrong again. The bull market, and the US economy, have further to run. Rising rates won't kill the recovery or bull market anytime in the near future.
Higher interest rates reflect a higher after-tax return to capital, a natural result of cutting taxes on corporate investment via a lower tax rate on corporate profits as well as shifting to full expensing of equipment and away from depreciation for tax purposes.
Lower taxes on capital means business will more aggressively pursue investment opportunities, helping boost economic growth and the demand for labor – leading to more jobs and higher wages. Stronger growth means higher rates.