Bonds: Total Market

(New York)

Pay attention, the yield curve just inverted. And we are not talking about some esoteric swap rate most have never heard of. Yesterday the spread between two-and five-year Treasuries fell below zero, the first major inversion of this bull market. The 2- and 10-year spread is the most typical benchmark for gauging an inversion, but the 2- and 5-year is significant. Yield curve inversions are one of the most accurate predictors of recession, with one preceding the previous several recessions.

FINSUM: One very important thing to remember is that it often takes many months (or years) for a recession to begin once a yield curve starts, so there is still plenty of room for the economy (and markets) to run.

(New York)

This is a day where investors need to take a deep breath. Markets are plunging, the yield curve just inverted, and there are major fears about the durability of the US-China “truce”. One thing to take heart in is that even though they are good predictors, a yield curve inversion doesn’t mean everything. It is important to note that it is the two and five-year Treasuries that have inverted, not the two and ten, which could mean this is just a temporary kink. For instance, in 1998, this pair turned negative without the rest of the curve following suit.

FINSUM: On top of the last point there, remember that inversions don’t cause recessions, they are just the market predicting slower long-term growth. That said, they seem to create self-fulfilling prophecies.

(New York)

Those worried about rate hikes will be happy to hear this news. Ever-hawkish Jerome Powell is finally starting to sound just a bit more dovish. Powell says the economy is strong, but could face “headwinds”. He says the Fed is discussing how much and how fast to raise rates and acknowledged that the Fed’s actions could inhibit the economy. He said the Fed’s goal is to “extend the recovery, expansion, and to keep unemployment low, to keep inflation low”.

FINSUM: It is good to hear some public consideration that rates might get in the way of the economy. While we would not exactly say this is dovish, it is certainly less aggressive than previously.

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