MBS RECAP: Bonds End Weaker as Stocks Threaten a Breakout


It’s hard to fault the bond market for any trading over the past several days.  The data and the movement in other markets have both suggested bond market weakness fairly clearly.  Despite that, the weakness has been reasonably well contained.  For example, 2.75% in 10yr yields has been our best case ceiling–one we began to discuss on the initial bounce last Friday.  As of this afternoon, 10yr yields closed at 2.746%.

All that having been said, being this close to 2.75% makes it that much easier to break.  Whether or not it breaks may be as much a function of the stock market as anything.  Bond yields have been quite willing to reconnect with stocks after the late-2018 disconnect.

Stocks are staging near a ceiling of the their own–essentially the inflection point between the first and second half of December’s trading range (in terms of the SP, anyway).  If stocks move back up into early December territory, it could easily coincide with a break above 2.75% for 10yr yields.

All of the above is splitting hairs for the most part.  In early December, bond yields were moving down from above 3%.  So to be discussing any anxiety about a move above 2.75% is a 1st-world problem for now.  Simply put, bonds are trading well (not like they want to rapidly bounce back to higher yields), but are unavoidably tuned in to the fate of the stock market.  

Stocks presented the key motivation for today’s movement, themselves somewhat interested in comments from Fed Chair Powell.  Government shutdown updates also caused volatility, largely to the benefit of stocks.  It wasn’t that lawmakers moved closer to an agreement.  Rather, the ratings agency Moodys said that the shutdown, in and of itself, wouldn’t have an immediate negative effect on the US’ credit rating.

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