May Study Question of the Month

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Congratulations to Diane K., this month’s Study Question of the Month winner! 

See the answer below!

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Question (Relevant to the Series 7, Series 52, Series 65, Series 66, Series 79)

When the yield curve inverts, that is, when short-term interest rates are higher than long-term interest rates, all of the following are true EXCEPT: 

A. It indicates low or no inflation expectations.

B. It indicates higher demand for long-term bonds and lower demand for short-term bonds.

C. It indicates an economic recession.

D. It indicates an economic expansion.

Answer: D. A yield curve plots the yields of similar bonds based on the term of the bond (maturity) and the yield of the bonds, with term on the x-axis and yield on the y-axis.  A normal yield curve is upward sloping, indicating that the longer the term of the bond, the higher yield (interest rate).  This is because in normal economic conditions, the longer the term of the investment, the greater the risk that interest rates or the economy will change. Thus investors require greater compensation for uncertainties and risks associated with committing their money for longer time periods. This is called the risk premium.  When the yield curve is inverted, however, it slopes downward instead of upward. This means that there is higher demand for long-term bonds compared to short-term bonds because investors believe that interest rates will fall in the future.  Also, it means that investors are not concerned about inflation. These conditions are associated with a future economic recession.

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