Back on Jun. 20, I argued that the long Treasury price was steaming along up to a major overbought.
With long Treas. yields still near all-time lows, prices are still near highs. Years out and looking back,
these price levels will very well likely be in the top tier of the long term range. Positive sentiment is
still fairly strong, so it could be a stretch to say that the latest run up in TLT from the spring until
recently was a blow off top. TLT
The recent volatility in the bond market appears to be fueled more by expectation than short term
on-the-ground fundamentals. Whatever the Fed does this week with short rates, Fedspeak wants
to keep the issue of eventually raising short rates in the headlines. Players may also be looking
toward 2017 when a slow economy may lead a new president to push for significant fiscal stimulus.
This election year has introduced the political elites to the fact that the silent, primarily white,
majority is angry, vocal and demanding. These folks are leaning in hard on people and programs
which might make their economic lot better and more secure. This all could translate into
incremental deficit financing at the federal level starting next year. Infrastructure repair and
development programs coupled with tax relief and other stimulative measures, if large enough in
scope, could foster somewhat faster real growth, stronger inflation and a larger Treasury bond
calendar. In such an environment, the Fed would support higher higher rates and further upward
pressure on bond yields would ensue.
Now, the hard truth is that the bond market is not comfortable looking out even this far, but with
nearly everyone suspecting that yields are at or near all-time lows, and armed with the additional
knowledge that so many folks are pressing for better and more financially secure times, it is not
unrealistic to think that bond players are looking out past the ends of their noses.
If so, the bond market could be tougher to 'read' than usual in the short run and there could also
be more volatility as a result.
- 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 !!!