For years after the 2008-09 financial crisis, interest rates were so low that many investors argued that to get a decent return, you had to put a hefty chunk of your portfolio in the stock market. That conviction was so popular that Wall Street gave it a name: TINA, short for “there is no alternative” to stocks. Sure, the stock market was riskier than, say, government bonds that are guaranteed to pay out coupons every year. But returns on stocks were so much better than practically everything else in the markets that investors saw few viable alternatives for where to put their money.
The Federal Reserve has turned that dynamic on its head. The central bank, determined to rein in inflation, has begun what could be its most aggressive campaign of interest-rate increases since the 1980s. Investors expect the Fed to bring rates to around 3% by early 2023 from near zero at the start of 2022. Once-loved stocks, as a result, have tumbled to multiyear lows.