Elon Musk wants the Fed to 'cut interest rates immediately' — but Jerome Powell says inflation 'remains far too high.' These are 3 sectors for safety if costs keep soaring

Elon Musk wants the Fed to 'cut interest rates immediately' — but Jerome Powell says inflation 'remains far too high.' These are 3 sectors for safety if costs keep soaring
Elon Musk wants the Fed to 'cut interest rates immediately' — but Jerome Powell says inflation 'remains far too high.' These are 3 sectors for safety if costs keep soaring

It’s hard to say how effective the U.S. Federal Reserve’s tightening monetary policy has been at taming inflation. But one thing’s for sure: higher borrowing costs do not bode well for the economy.

Unsurprisingly, experts — including Tesla CEO and Twitter owner Elon Musk — are now calling for rate cuts.

“Fed needs to cut interest rates immediately,” Musk says in a recent tweet. “They are massively amplifying the probability of a severe recession.”

But even the richest person in the world doesn’t always get what he wants.

Speaking at the Brookings Institution on Wednesday, Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell says that inflation “remains far too high.”

“Despite some promising developments, we have a long way to go in restoring price stability,” he remarks.

Investors don’t like prolonged rate hikes. The S&P 500 has already tumbled roughly 15% this year. But not all assets are created equal. Some — like the three listed below — might be able to perform well even if rates continue to rise.

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Real estate

It may seem counterintuitive to have real estate on this list. When the Fed raises its benchmark interest rates, mortgage rates tend to go up as well, so shouldn’t that be bad for the real estate market?

While it’s true that mortgage payments have been on the rise, real estate has actually demonstrated its resilience in times of rising interest rates according to investment management company Invesco.

“Between 1978 and 2021 there were 10 distinct years where the Federal Funds rate increased,” Invesco says. “Within these 10 identified years, US private real estate outperformed equities and bonds seven times and US public real estate outperformed six times.”

It also helps that real estate is a well-known hedge against inflation.

Why? Because as the price of raw materials and labor goes up, new properties are more expensive to build. And that drives up the price of existing real estate.

Well-chosen properties can provide more than just price appreciation. Investors also get to earn a steady stream of rental income.

But you don’t need to be a landlord to start investing in real estate. There are plenty of real estate investment trusts (REITs) as well as crowdfunding platforms that can get you started on becoming a real estate mogul.

Banks

Most businesses fear rising interest rates. But for certain financials, like banks, higher rates are a good thing.

Banks lend money at higher rates than they borrow, pocketing the difference. When interest rates increase, the spread of how much a bank earns typically widens.

Banking giants are also well-capitalized right now and have been returning money to shareholders.

Read more: Rich young Americans have lost confidence in the stock market — and are betting on these assets instead. Get in now for strong long-term tailwinds

In July, Bank of America boosted its quarterly dividend by 5% to 22 cents per share. In June, Morgan Stanley announced an 11% increase to its quarterly payout to $0.775 per share — and that’s after it doubled its quarterly dividend to $0.70 per share last year.

Investors can also get exposure to the group through ETFs like the SPDR S&P Bank ETF (KBE) and the Invesco KBW Bank ETF (KBWB).

Consumer staples

Higher interest rates can cool down the economy when it’s running too hot. But the economy is not running too hot, and many fear that more rate hikes could lead to a recession.

That’s why investors may want to check out recession-proof sectors — like consumer staples.

Consumer staples are essential products such as food and drinks, household goods, and hygiene products.

We need these things regardless of how the economy is doing or what the federal funds rates are.

When inflation drives up input costs, consumer staples companies — particularly those with entrenched market positions — are able to pass those higher costs onto consumers.

Even if a recession hits the U.S. economy, we’ll probably still see Quaker Oats and Tropicana orange juice — made by PepsiCo (PEP) — on families’ breakfast tables. Meanwhile, Tide and Bounty — well-known brands from Procter & Gamble (PG) — will likely remain on shopping lists across the nation.

You can gain access to the group through ETFs like the Consumer Staples Select Sector SPDR Fund (XLP) and the Vanguard Consumer Staples ETF (VDC).

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This article provides information only and should not be construed as advice. It is provided without warranty of any kind.