PIMCO investment chief Bill Gross said today he expects the Federal Reserve to put a halt to interest-rate increases after its August meeting.
   He also feels the Feds will start easing back on interest rates at the end of the year.
   Gross, speaking at Morningstar's annual mutual fund conference in Chicago, said he also feels 10-year treasury bonds will yield between 3% and 4.5% over the next three to five years.
   Several leading equity managers, including Ron Muhlenkamp of the Muhlenkamp Funds and Vanguard chief investment officer Gus Sauter, said it would be boon for stocks if the projection turns out to be true-making equities with 2% returns and increased dividends attractive to bond holders.
   Inflation is now in the 2.5% area and he sees it moving down to the 1.0% area in the next three years.
   Gross said he and his fixed equity team concluded in May that "disinflation will ultimately triumph over reflation." He also said, "The leverage inherent in housing frightens me and others, but we need the housing market to stay above water and support ongoing consumption."

-Evan Simonoff