Focus on rate destination, not timing: Pimco's Mather

Focus on rate destination: Pimco CIO

As the Federal Reserve ended its historic bond-buying program Wednesday, investors speculated about when the central bank would begin to raise interest rates.

But for Pimco's Scott Mather, where rates will land is more important than when those hikes will occur.

"People should be paying attention to what is the destination of Fed policy and there we think it's much more likely that the Fed will neutralize rates and find a resting place around 0 percent real," said Mather, Pimco's CIO for U.S. core strategies and manager of its Total Return Fund.

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That thinking is in line with the firm's "new neutral" outlook, that forecasts interest rates staying lower for longer.

Scott Mather CIO of Pimco
Source: PIMCO

The timing will still be determined by the high-frequency data, Mather told CNBC's "Street Signs." However, he said, the Fed doesn't necessarily stop at neutral.

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"Sometimes if they undershoot they may have to go to the other side."

No matter what the Fed does, or when it does it, Mather said now that quantitative easing is over, the market needs to focus on the fundamentals again.

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"We have to move away from this environment where one just assumes the Fed is very hyper-sensitive about financial market prices," he said.

"It's natural as we move closer to the first Fed rate hike that the Fed will be less sensitive to financial market developments. … That's as it should be. The real economy is much less sensitive to financial asset prices as things have generally improved over the past few years."