Bullish

The yield curve is sharply inverted right now.

Normally, if you borrow money for a longer period of time, you have to pay a higher interest rate, like this:

U.S. Treasury Yield Curve, 19 January 2022

However, right now, you pay lower interest for long-term loans than for short term ones:

U.S. Treasury Yield Curve, 19 January 2023

(Both charts from www.ustreasuryyieldcurve.com.)

Inverted yield curves indicate that investors believe interest rates will be lower in the future than they are today. They generally predict difficult economic times ahead. But when I asked a colleague yesterday about the meaning of our current yield curve, he was optimistic. “Economic indicators continue to be stubbornly positive,” he said, and “the world is proving surprisingly resilient.”

We are experiencing a spiritual inverted yield curve too. Prophets have warned us of challenging times in the near future. President Russell M. Nelson has said, “If you and I are to withstand the forthcoming perils and pressures, it is imperative that we each have a firm spiritual foundation built upon the rock of our Redeemer, Jesus Christ” (“The Temple and Your Spiritual Foundation,” General Conference, October 2021, italics in original). He also said, “In coming days, it will not be possible to survive spiritually without the guiding, directing, comforting, and constant influence of the Holy Ghost” (“Revelation for the Church, Revelation for Our Lives,” General Conference, April 2018).

But in spite of those sobering messages, prophets have also encouraged us to be optimistic.

  • John reported that the world had largely rejected Jesus: “He came unto his own, and his own received him not.” But then he adds this hopeful footnote: “As many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God” (John 1:11-12, see also 3 Nephi 9:16-17).
  • Nephi saw that in a future time, multitudes would gather “to fight against the Lamb of God.” But he added, “I…beheld the power of the Lamb of God, that it descended upon the saints of the church of the Lamb,… and they were armed with righteousness and with the power of God in great glory” (1 Nephi 14:13-14).

President Nelson said:

Just think of the excitement and urgency of it all: every prophet commencing with Adam has seen our day. And every prophet has talked about our day, when Israel would be gathered and the world would be prepared for the Second Coming of the Savior. Think of it! Of all the people who have ever lived on planet earth, we are the ones who get to participate in this final, great gathering event. How exciting is that!

Hope of Israel,” Worldwide Youth Devotional, 3 June 2018

And Elder Jeffrey R. Holland asked church teachers:

…to summon full confidence in yourselves and build full confidence in your students by teaching with conviction and optimism that the gospel of Jesus Christ is the most certain, the most secure, the most reliable, and the most rewarding truth on earth and in heaven, in time and in eternity. I ask you to teach that nothing—not anything, not anyone, not any influence—will keep this Church from fulfilling its mission and realizing its destiny set from before the foundation of the world. 

Be Not Afraid, Only Believe,” Address to CES Religious Educators, 6 February 2015

Elder Holland added, “If you haven’t noticed, I am bullish on the latter-days. In nothing could I have more faith than I have in God the Eternal Father; in Jesus Christ, His Son; in their redeeming gospel; and in their divinely guided Church. So, what do we owe our students in this? We owe them a comparable testimony and a life ‘of good cheer.'”

Today, I will be stubbornly optimistic. I will be honest about the challenges facing me and others, but I will also keep a broad perspective and remember God’s promise to endow us with power which we can draw upon in difficult times.

6 thoughts on “Bullish

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  1. Dear Paul:

    When I started reading this post, my first thought was “Oh, drat. Paul’s
    address has been hacked. I’ll have to tell him we’re getting African
    spam.” So I was laughing out loud even before I got to that wonderful
    quotation by Jeff Holland. Way to inject good cheer into a Friday morning!

    And thank you once again for your willingness to volunteer your thoughts
    on Lucy. Now that I’ve tidied up some essential housekeeping on my
    sources, I can begin integrating my 1,696 files into existing chapters
    and drafting some new ones. The integration phase will be followed by
    creation of the “long” version, which is really just stabilizing the
    archive and nailing down the rough drafts. The step after that will be
    creating the short, more polished version. That’s where I can really use
    your critical reading skills. So stand by!

    Affectionately,

    Lavina

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    1. Thanks for the comment, Lavina! I’m glad you enjoyed your journey through that post!
      Thanks for sharing your plan, and I look forward to contributing to the project as soon as I can help.
      Paul

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  2. Thanks Paul. What a fun way to incorporate finance concepts into your blog! It’s interesting that in both of your yield curve charts, the 10 to 20 year rates are positively sloped and the 20 to 30 year rates are inverted.

    I couldn’t tell you why this phenomenon exists. The US treasury regularly issues 10 and 30 year bonds. Often the 20 year rate isn’t informed by a UST issuance, but instead we get that rate when someone sells a 30 year bond that they bought a few years prior. Whereas the UST auctions 10 and 30 year bonds monthly, the 20 year rate is inferred by a bond trade or other “technical” (not “fundamental”) factor.

    Anyways…I guess I don’t have a witty gospel explanation for the inverted 20-30 rate…and I’m just throwing stones at your charts. On the topic of your post, I couldn’t agree more that if we have faith in Christ how can we be anything but bullish about the future?!

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    1. Good point about the end of the yield curve, Aaron. If I had taken the curve from a prior year, the curve would have continued upward from the 20 to the 30 year rate. Good eye, and thanks for the commentary on the 20 year rate!

      Like

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