Revised Weekly Activity 2 - Weekly Activity #2 (Due...

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Weekly Activity #2 (Due 5/21/2011) Instruction: Respond under each question, cite your work and provide references. A. Discuss interest rates in general in the United States and the affects of rising and falling interest rates. Explain the roles of the Federal Reserve in relation to interest rates (20 Points). Changes in interest rates can have both positive and negative effects on the U.S. markets. When the Federal Reserve Board (the Fed) changes the rate at which banks borrow money, this has a ripple effect across the entire economy. Below, we will examine how interest rates can have an effect on the economy as a whole, the stock and bond markets, inflation and recessions. Rising or falling interest rates also affect consumer and business psychology. When interest rates are rising, both businesses and consumers will cut back on spending. This will cause earnings to fall and stock prices to drop. On the other hand, when interest rates have fallen significantly, consumers and businesses will increase spending, causing stock prices to rise. Interest rates also affect bond prices. There is an inverse relationship between bond prices and interest rates, meaning that as interest rates rise, bond prices fall, and as interest rates fall, bond prices rise. The longer the maturity of the bond, the more it will fluctuate in relation to interest rates. One way that governments and businesses raise money is through the sale of bonds. As interest rates move up, the cost of borrowing becomes more expensive. This means that demand for lower-yield bonds will drop, causing their price to drop. As interest rates fall, it becomes easier to borrow money and many companies will issue new bonds to finance expansion. This will cause the demand for higher-yielding bonds to increase, forcing bond prices higher. Issuers of callable bonds may choose to refinance by calling their existing bonds so they can lock in a lower interest rate. The Federal Reserve influences interest rates which affect key interest-rate sensitive
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Revised Weekly Activity 2 - Weekly Activity #2 (Due...

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