In The Short Term
The TLT fund has been an excellent performer so far in 2014, rising from support at 100 to
115 recently before settling down some. TLT Weekly It has been my oft stated view that the
weakness in the stock last year was way overdone and that strength this year was a positive
reaction to a deep oversold that developed as last year wore on. There is a mild downtrend line
in price dating from mid - 2012 which is being tested now as traders ponder whether a new
bull leg is underway or whether we have seen an appealingly strong counter - trend rally that
is about to run its course.
I have a caution light for the TLT price now. My shorter term yield directional indicator
(industrial output + sensitive materials prices) has been trending gently up since the middle
of 2012 and has reached all - time peaks seen in 2007 and 2011. This means that the industrial
economy may finally be ready to lift out of a lengthy period of consolidation which has favored
the bond market into a more advanced cyclical stage of expansion which may be less friendly
to the fixed income sectors. That will be so if industrial production continues to expand at a
In The Longer Run
The TLT fund fell to a price of 90 at points over both 2010 and 2011 when long Treasury
spiked well over 4%. When a broad range of monthly economic and financial data is reviewed,
it turns out that there are no basic numerical differences between now and the 2010 and 2011
periods when rates spiked. What is different, and this may be crucial if the economy can keep
expanding at a rate fast enough to use idle resources, is that unlike both 2010 and 11, confidence
in the maintainance of the ZIRP policy by the Fed is much stronger now. In short, TLT may
have substantial downside price risk if the economy progresses to the point when the Fed
decides to raise short term interest rates.
There has yet to be a decisive breakout in my yield directional indicator. But a test is ahead
and, since the Fed is already suppressing short rates, it is appropriate to recognize the major
downside price risk to TLT even if the Fed continues ZIRP in the months just ahead.
- Peter Richardson
- Retired chief investment officer and former NYSE firm partner with 50 plus years experience in field as analyst / economist, portfolio manager / trader, and CIO who has superb track record with multi $billion equities and fixed income portfolios. Advanced degrees, CFA. Having done much professional writing as a young guy, I now have a cryptic style. 40 years down on and around The Street confirms: CAVEAT EMPTOR IN SPADES !!!