Bonds: Total Market

(New York)

Many investors are worried about rising yields, which could wreak havoc on everything from the economy, to income stocks, to all manner of bonds. Well, for what it is worth, Morgan Stanley has just put out a piece arguing that the 3.12% yield seen on the ten-year Treasury recently is it, the peak. Morgan Stanley says that yields will stop rising and they are advising clients to go long Treasury bonds at current yields. The argument stands in contrast to Pimco and JP Morgan, who both see yields moving towards 4%. The one caveat to the call is if trade tensions get settled quickly, as turmoil on that front is one of the bullish drivers they see for Treasuries.

FINSUM: If trade tensions keep flaring we agree that Treasury yields are likely to stay flat or fall as investors flee to safety.


All eyes on the Fed. Not only is the winding down of the Fed’s balance sheet a potentially major issue to Dollar liquidity and emerging markets, but the market has rate worries to deal with. The big question is how low the US jobless rate can go before it sparks big inflation. Currently sitting at 3.8%, the Fed needs to decide how long it can tolerate the hot market before hiking rates quickly. The US jobless rate has only twice been so low. Once in the 1960s, which led to a decade of high inflation, and once in 2000, which was followed by a recession.

FINSUM: There is currently a big disconnect between the rate rises the market is pricing in versus what the Fed is forecasting. The market may lose that gamble very badly.

(New York)

Investors beware, the fundamentals of the junk bond market are looking terrible. The deterioration of the market has been happening for a long time, and thus it makes it easier not to realize it. The junk bond market is now about twice the size it was in 2007, and credit quality is lower. Protections for investors, in the form of covenants, are also much weaker as issuers were able to use the ultra-low rate market to their advantage. Now the big worry is that Libor is rising and many companies have floating rate debt that they cannot cover once it reaches certain levels.

FINSUM: According to the WSJ, the market should expect $500 bn of junk bond defaults over the next three years, and this figure could amplify considerably.

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