The Federal Reserve isn't slowing its bond buying just yet, but the timing of the taper doesn't matter, and there are still smart plays for bond investors regardless of exactly when tapering finally begins, according to one analyst.
"The key here is we know where our starting point is. Today the Fed is buying about $85 billion worth of bonds a month. We know where our ending point is. By mid-2014 they plan on buying zero dollars of bonds per month. So if you take that start and that end, it really doesn't matter all that much whether they start reducing ... purchases in September at a slow pace or purchases in November at a little bit of a faster pace," said Guy LeBas, fixed income strategist at Janney Montgomery Scott.
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"Timing matters, but it's the magnitude of the taper that matters more than the timing," said Diane Swonk, chief economist at Mesirow Financial, who still expects the taper to be gradual. "It's clear that they don't want to go back in and raise purchases after the taper has begun," Swonk added.
While the labor market has improved, the unemployment rate is still high. And while the housing market has strengthened, mortgage rates are up and fiscal policy is restraining economic growth, the Fed said in a statement after its meeting Wednesday.