MBS Day Ahead: Most Relevant Economic Data of The Week

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So far this week, economic data has played a subdued, almost meaningless role in motivating bond market movement.  Instead, we’ve seen big picture themes take control as the “risk on” trade (higher stocks and bond yields) returned from its holiday break.

While so much of the focus has been on Trump, the dark horse is arguably Yellen and/or the Fed.  It was the December Fed announcement that prompted the final “blow-off top” in yields in December.  This served as the cue for the lower volume and lighter liquidity of the holiday season to begin.  

Bonds then began to recover as traders capitalized on the lull in momentum.  Some booked profits from the short positions taken out post-election.  Others took advantage of the tactical opportunity (everyone had been waiting for the first noticeable correction to the Nov-Dec trend).  The only question was how deep that correction would go and how long it would last.

The depth of the correction was more difficult to determine, but after repeated attempts (and failures) to break below 2.30% in 10yr yields, it looked like we had our floor.  From there the timing was the only other variable.  Here too, Yellen served to wake bond markets up on January 18th.  Stocks opted to perk up following the inauguration.  Once both forces were at work (aka, this week), bonds moved to their worst levels of the month, and in the highest volumes.  

All of the above has driven trade over the past 43 calendar days, and economic data hasn’t had much of an impact during that time.  Again, we haven’t had to test that theory so far this week because there hasn’t been any data with enough street cred to matter.  If there’s a chance of seeing that change, today is our best shot.

8:30am brings both Durable Goods and the “advance” reading of GDP.  That’s the most relevant GDP release as far as market movement is concerned because it’s the most unpredictable and freshest (subsequent releases will be speaking to economic activity more than 2 months old).  Consumer Sentiment at 10am shouldn’t be overlooked either, largely due to the inflation expectation components.

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