Don't Bet On Crises To Keep Bond Rates Lower

Despite the recent dip in the 10-year Treasury note yield back below 3%, don’t count on it staying there. Lately, it seems, the only thing keeping the rate below that level is some sort of international crisis – Italy, North Korea, trade wars, etc. But the basic fundamentals determining that rate – economic growth and supply and demand, in other words – are calling for even higher rates, well above 3%.

On the supply side, more Treasury debt is coming to market all the time, like an incoming tide in the Pacific Ocean. On the demand side, there are fewer buyers – and I mean big buyers. More about that in a minute. At the same time, the economy is growing stronger, which by itself is going to put upward pressure on rates.

In other words, if you’re betting that the 10-year yield is going lower, or will stay around or below 3%, you’re really only holding it as a safe haven. Nothing wrong with that, lots of investors do that. But if you’re hoping to profit when something in the world goes wrong, you may be playing a losing game.

First the economy. Last week on CNBC’s Squawk Box, the gold dust twins, Warren Buffett and Jamie Dimon, tried to outdo themselves in how great the U.S. economy is performing. Continue reading "Don't Bet On Crises To Keep Bond Rates Lower"

Uncle Sam's Bargain Bonds

George Yacik - INO.com Contributor - Fed & Interest Rates - Uncle Sam's Bargain Bonds


According to a widely reprinted and circulated report in the Wall Street Journal, for the first time since 2000, U.S. government bonds now yield more than all of their developed world counterparts. Looking just at the 10-year security, the yield on the benchmark Treasury note now yields more compared to a record number of countries, and the yield differential between the U.S. government note and its German bund counterpart is its widest in almost 30 years.

Basically, this means that the arguably safest investment available anywhere in the world – the one American business schools still hold up as a “riskless” benchmark – yields way more than most other sovereign debt, including Italy’s, Canada’s and Australia’s – but no, not Greece’s, although they’re not too far off.

Let’s look at the numbers. Continue reading "Uncle Sam's Bargain Bonds"

That Elusive 3 Percent Yield

George Yacik - INO.com Contributor - Fed & Interest Rates - 3 Percent Yield


On Wednesday morning, the yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury note moved back over 3%. In just the past five years, though, that has only happened twice before, but then only for a day or so. Is this the time the yield breaks 3% and stays there?

The most recent time before Wednesday, of course, was just two weeks ago. On April 24 the yield moved a hair above 3.0%%, then hit 3.03% the next day. It then quickly retreated below the magic number and hasn’t gone above it until now.

Before then, the last time the yield hit 3% – and I mean just – was at the very end of 2013 and the very beginning of 2014. It hovered right at 3% for a few days and then subsequently dropped sharply, eventually falling to well below 2.0% over the next year. The last time the note has been comfortably over 3% and remained there, was back in the summer of 2011.

What is it about that 3% mark that fixates investors – or rather, attracts them? Just like in 2013, that 3% figure seems to serve as a buy signal for investors.

Are they making a mistake? Is it really a buying opportunity, or just a bond market head fake? Continue reading "That Elusive 3 Percent Yield"

Will The 10-year Treasury Crack 3% This Week?

George Yacik - INO.com Contributor - Fed & Interest Rates - 10-year Treasury


In case you hadn’t noticed, the yield on the benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury note is this close to hitting the psychologically important 3% level. Is this the sign of still higher rates to come, or another buying opportunity, meaning rates are going to fall back again?

While most of the market seemed not to notice, seeing as it was fixated on corporate earnings and what’s going on in the tech sector, the yield on the T-note surged by 14 basis points last week to close Friday at 2.96%. That’s up nearly 25 bps since the beginning of this month and 55 bps year to date. It’s also the highest level since the beginning of 2014.

If you recall, we got close to hitting 3% two months ago, when the yield spiked to 2.95% on February 21, surging 25 bps in just two weeks before retreating quickly back to about 2.80% by the end of the month. The note then traded in a fairly narrow band between 2.80% and 2.90% over the next month before dropping sharply to 2.73% at the end of March and early April, after which it surged to Friday’s level.

Are we going to repeat the pattern of late February, meaning that this represents a buying opportuning in the Treasury market, or is this the signal that we are going to finally blow past 3% following February’s false start? Continue reading "Will The 10-year Treasury Crack 3% This Week?"

Inflation - Getting Back To Normal

George Yacik - INO.com Contributor - Fed & Interest Rates -
 inflation


So now, suddenly, out of nowhere, inflation has reared its ugly head, and the financial markets are starting to believe it.

On Wednesday the Labor Department reported that the consumer price index rose a higher than expected 0.5% in January, 2.1% compared to the year-earlier period. The all-important core rate, which excludes food and energy prices, rose 0.3% for the month, 1.8% versus a year ago. While not exactly hitting the Federal Reserve’s revered 2.0% annual inflation target, it was apparently close enough to create more jitters in the bond market, with the yield on the U.S. Treasury’s benchmark 10-year note immediately climbing seven basis points to 2.91%, its highest level in more than four years.

The very next day, Labor reported that the core producer price index rose 0.4% for the month and 2.2% year-on-year, which pushed up the yield on the 10-year another basis point, to 2.92%.

I’m not exactly sure why this recent surge in inflation should come as such a big surprise to anyone, but it surely has, witness the tremendous amount of volatility in the financial markets in just the past two weeks. The tipping point seems to have been the release of the January jobs report, the highlight of which wasn’t the change in nonfarm payrolls and the unemployment rate, which they usually are, but the 0.3% (2.9% annualized) growth in wages, which was the strongest year-over-year gain since June 2009.

That seemed to finally catch everyone’s attention that yes, contrary to what the Fed has been telling us for the past four years, inflation really does exist. Now we have more verification. And it’s probably only going to exacerbate.

And who do we have to thank for this new-found inflation? Continue reading "Inflation - Getting Back To Normal"