Displaying items by tag: Treasuries

Friday, 01 March 2024 04:30

Treasuries Continue Losing Streak

US Treasuries continue to move lower as hopes for a pivot in Fed policy are eroding. From the start of the year, the yield on the 10-year has climbed from 3.9% to above 4.3% to reach their highest levels since November. In total, it has retraced nearly half of the rally that began in October of last year. 


Over this period, the number of rate cuts expected in 2024 has declined from 6 to 3 as has the timing. Primarily, this is due to the economy remaining strong as evidenced by the labor market and inflation that has proven to be more entrenched than expected. All in all, the narrative has certainly changed as some now believe the Fed may actually hike rates further especially as there are indications that the steady decline in inflation has ended. 


Minutes from the last FOMC meeting also showed that committee members are concerned about the risk of inflation re-igniting if it begins to cut too soon. Overall, it remains ‘data-dependent’. However, all the recent data has undermined the case for immediate or aggressive cuts. According to Rich Familetti, CIO of US fixed income at SLC Management, the current Fed stance "is going to make it very hard for rates to fall much further from here… The pain trade is at higher rates and we will likely experience that."

Finsum: Treasuries continued their losing streak as higher interest rates have weighed on the entire fixed income complex. The market is now expecting 3 cuts in 2024 down from 6 at the start of the year.


Published in Bonds: Treasuries
Sunday, 18 February 2024 04:27

Bond Gains Since Fed Pivot Wiped Out

The rally in bonds since Fed Chair Powell’s pivot at the December FOMC meeting has been fully wiped out following recent economic data and a more hawkish than expected FOMC at the February meeting. 

Over the last month, forecasts for the timing and number of rate cuts in 2024 have been severely curtailed. Entering the year, many were looking for 6 rate cuts with the first one in spring. Now, the consensus forecast is for 3 cuts, starting in July. This is consistent with FOMC members’ dot plot at its last meeting.

The narrative is clearly changing with some chatter that the Fed may not cut at all. Prashant Newnaha, senior rates strategist at TD Securities Inc., noted that “January CPI is a game changer — the narrative that Fed disinflation provided scope for insurance cuts is clearly now on the chopping board. There is now a real risk that price pressures will begin to shift higher. The Fed can’t cut into this. This should provide momentum for further bond declines.”

Given these developments, Amy Xie Patrick, the head of income strategies at Pendal Group, favors corporate credit over Treasuries. She views the strong US economy as providing a tailwind to risky assets, while making Treasuries less attractive. 

Finsum: Bonds have erased their rally following the December FOMC meeting when Chair Powell signaled that rate cuts win 2024. Here are some of the drivers and thoughts from strategists. 

Published in Wealth Management

Bonds and stocks weakened following a stronger than expected January CPI report which led traders to reduce bets on the number of rate cuts in 2024. The 10Y Treasury yield climbed 15 basis points, while the 2Y yield was up 19 basis points. 


On a monthly basis, prices were up 0.3% vs expectations of 0.2%. Annually, there was an uptick at 3.1% vs expectations of 2.9%. Food and shelter prices were major contributors with gains of 0.4% and 0.6%, respectively. Along with the recent jobs report, the data undermined the notion that the Fed would be turning dovish later this year. The anticipation of a Fed pivot has been a major catalyst, fueling strength in equities and fixed income over the last couple of months. 


Instead, the status quo of ‘higher for longer’ remains. Some investors are now anticipating that the 10Y yield will rise further. According to Skyler Weinand, chief investment officer at Regan Capital, “Bond yields have not peaked, and we believe that a 10-year Treasury yield with a 5-handle is more likely than a 3-handle in 2024. Persistent inflation, full employment and strong growth may delay the Fed’s rate cuts.”

Finsum: Stocks and bonds declined as the January CPI came in hotter than expected. Fed futures showed traders reduced estimates for the number of rate cuts in 2024.


Published in Wealth Management
Friday, 09 February 2024 05:32

Time to Be Fully Invested in Fixed Income?

AllianceBernstein believes that the rally in fixed income will continue due to central banks cutting rates. Thus, investors should take advantage of the opportunity to lock in yields at these levels. 


The firm sees the Fed as remaining on hold until the second-half of the year. It sees the current environment as opportune given that rates will decline over the intermediate-term, while yields remain historically attractive in the interim. 


Despite expectations of slowing economic growth in the second-half of the year, AllianceBernstein isn’t concerned of a major downturn in the credit cycle as earnings remain robust, while household finances remain in strong shape despite some stress in recent months. 


Overall, the firm recommends that investors consider getting fully invested into fixed income especially given that many investors are in cash or short-duration bonds. This strategy made sense over the last couple of years but no longer does given where we are in the cycle. 


Instead, investors need to increase duration given its base case expectation of slowing economic growth and materially lower rates over the next 12 to 18 months. It also recommends corporate credit and securitized debt given attractive yields and solid fundamentals.

Finsum: AllianceBernstein is bullish on fixed income in 2024 due to its expectations that the Fed will cut and the economy will slow. It recommends taking advantage of yields while they remain high and extending duration.  


Published in Wealth Management
Friday, 02 February 2024 07:27

Bonds Rally, Stocks Fall Following FOMC Meeting

Stocks were lower, while Treasuries caught a bid following the latest FOMC meeting which was deemed hawkish despite the Fed holding rates as expected. In essence, Chair Powell’s remarks during the press conference made it clear that the central bank is not willing to cut yet.


In response, markets were in a risk-off mood. Fed futures showed that the odds of a rate cut at the next meeting declined from 40% to 36%, while the odds of the first cut happening in May increased to 59% from 54%. 


Overall, the policy statement and Powell’s press conference underscored that the Fed is moving in a more dovish direction, just not as fast as the market’s desired pace. The policy statement expressed that there is a better balance in terms of employment and inflation goals. However, before cutting rates, it wants to see even more progress on the inflation front. In essence, the resilient economy and labor market mean that the Fed has more latitude to continue its battle against inflation before pivoting to support the economy and risk re-igniting inflationary pressures.


Rather than hawkish or dovish, its current stance can be characterized as ‘data-dependent’. Some of the important releases, prior to the March FOMC meeting, will be the January and February employment data and consumer price indexes. 

Finsum: The Fed held rates steady but came out slightly more hawkish than expected. This led to the odds of a rate cut in March slightly dropping, but the bigger takeaway is that the Fed sees inflation and employment risks as being balanced and remains data dependent. 


Published in Bonds: Total Market
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