MBS RECAP: 3/9/2012


The post-NFP trading continues to be about as uneventful and disappointing as it gets… Fortunately, that’s just the way MBS likes it and Fannie 3.5’s continue to trade in a tight range, several ticks improved from yesterday’s latest levels (keep in mind, that refers to “latest levels in April coupons, which went out at 103-03), currently up 4 ticks at 103-07.

As for the “uneventful and disappointing,” we note the utter lack of conviction that continues to dominate Treasury trading. It’s not that we’d want higher mortgage rates, but it is disappointing to see that 10yr yields are still unwilling to break higher than their March 1st highs even after the combined impact of the Greek bond swap and today’s NFP. What’s the point of economic data and ostensibly important headlines if markets aren’t going to do anything with them anyway?

Even volume is much lower than normal for NFP Friday’s, yet another symptom of a disturbingly quiet and noncommittal bond market. It’s scary because past precedent has groomed us to expect a big move in one direction or another following such bouts of tenaciously sideways price action. So we’re left wondering–uncomfortably–are things different this time? The fact that we can answer “yeah… probably they’re different” feels like scarcely enough to extinguish the instinctive anxiety that heretofore, has served to protect the savvy market watcher from being caught on the wrong side of bigger moves.

The compensation for this increased blood pressure is some moderate outperformance by MBS, which tend to appreciate stability in benchmarks such as 10yr yields. So we’ll take the small victories when we can. Case in point: a few reprices have already been reported, and further gains in MBS, or even simply more time spent holding current levels, could result in a few more this afternoon.

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