Displaying items by tag: Treasuries

Treasury yields jumped higher following the hotter than expected March CPI report. The 10-year Treasury yield moved above 4.5%. It has now retraced more than 50% of its decline from its previous high in late October above 5%, which took it to a low of 3.8% in late December, when dovish hopes of aggressive rate cuts by the Fed peaked.

Clearly, recent labor market and inflation data have not been consistent with this narrative. In March, prices rose by 3.5% annually and 0.4% monthly, above expectations of a 3.4% annual increase and 0.3% monthly gain. Core CPI also came in above expectations. 

Instead of trending lower, inflation is accelerating. Now, some believe that the Fed may not be able to cut rates given the stickiness of inflation. Additionally, economic data remains robust, which also means the Fed can be patient before it actually starts lowering the policy rate. 

Some of the major contributors to the inflation report were shelter and energy costs. Both were up 0.4% and 2.2% on a monthly basis and 5.7% and 2.7% on an annual basis. Shelter, in particular, is interesting because its expected deceleration was central to the thesis that falling inflation falling would compel the Fed to cut.


Finsum: The March CPI came in stronger than expected, leading to an increase in Treasury yields. As a result, we are seeing increasing chatter that the Fed may not cut at all. 

Published in Bonds: Total Market

Following the better than expected March jobs report showing a gain of 303,000 jobs, Treasury yields moved higher across the curve. The 10-year yield initially rose 14 basis points to a new 2024 high of 4.43% before backing off a bit. Overall, the jobs report reduces the urgency of the Federal Reserve to cut rates given the labor market’s resilience.

Going into the report, consensus expectations were for an increase of 200,000 jobs, which would be a softening from the 270,000 jobs added in February. It adds to the data showing inflation moving sideways rather than lower over the past couple of months. 

Yields also rose on Thursday following comments from Neel Kashkari, President of the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, questioning the likelihood of rate cuts if inflation continues to linger above 2%. As a result, the odds of the Fed not cutting rates at the May and June meetings have increased. 

Some other positives from the report were the unemployment rate declining to 3.8%, despite an increase in the labor force participation rate to 62.7%. Average hourly wages increased by 0.3% on a monthly basis and by 4.1% annually. Both figures were in line with expectations. Job gains were strong across the board, with the biggest contributors being healthcare, government, leisure and hospitality, and construction. 


Finsum: Treasury yields moved higher following a stronger than expected March jobs report. Overall, the report led to a decrease in the odds of a rate cut at upcoming Fed meetings.

Published in Bonds: Total Market
Thursday, 28 March 2024 06:19

The Bond ETFs Offering an Efficiency Advantage

In today's interest rate climate, holding a significant cash reserve is a prudent strategy. While long-term investors may benefit from stock investments, individuals requiring immediate access to funds or building emergency savings find value in holding cash. With high-yield savings accounts offering rates of 5% or more, real returns on cash savings are attractive. However, for those seeking to optimize returns while maintaining liquidity, there are two fixed income ETFs that offer advantages. 

Two ETFs, iShares 0-3 Month Treasury Bond ETF (SGOV) and JPMorgan Ultra-Short Municipal Income ETF (JMST), offer different tax strategies to potentially enhance after-tax returns without significant additional risk.

Short-term Treasury bonds provide state tax exemption on interest earnings, making them appealing for residents of high-tax states, while municipal bonds offer federal tax exemption and may also be exempt from state and local taxes. Investors should assess the trade-offs between tax advantages and lower yields to determine the best fit for their financial situation.


Finsum; When accounting for tax advantages, fixed income ETFs could provide a more secure and efficient outlet for mitigating risk. 

Published in Bonds: Total Market
Friday, 15 March 2024 04:04

Bonds Weaken Following February CPI Data

Bond yields modestly rose following the February consumer price index (CPI) report which came in slightly hotter than expected. Overall, it confirms the status quo of the Fed continuing to hold rates ‘higher for longer’. Yields on the 10-year Treasury rose by 5.1 basis points to close at 4.16%, while the 2-Year note yield was up 5 basis points to close at 4.58%. 

 

The report showed that the CPI rose by 0.4% on a monthly basis and 3.2% annually. Economists were looking for a 0.4% monthly increase and 3.1% annual. While the headline figure was mostly in-line with expectations, Core CPI was hotter than expected at 3.8% vs 3.6% and 0.4% vs 0.3%. The largest contributors were energy which was up 2.6% and shelter at 0.4% which comprised 60% of the gain.

 

Based on recent comments by Chair Powell and other FOMC members, the Fed is unlikely to begin cutting unless inflation resumes dropping or there are signs of the labor market starting to crack. Current probabilities indicate that the Federal Reserve is likely to hold rates steady at the upcoming FOMC meeting, especially with no major economic data expected that could shift their thinking. 


 

Finsum: The February jobs report resulted in a slight rally for bonds as it increased the odds of a rate cut in June. Most strength was concentrated on the short-end of the curve.

 

Published in Bonds: Total Market

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that the US added 275,000 jobs in February which was slightly higher than expectations. However, the report indicated some softening in the labor market as job gains in January and December were revised lower by a collective 167,000, and the unemployment rate inched higher to 3.9%. 

 

It resulted in bonds moving higher as odds increased that the Fed would cut rates in June. Additionally, the number of hikes expected in 2024 also rose from 3 to 4. Most strength was concentrated on the short-end, which is more sensitive to Fed policy as yields on the 2-Year Treasury note declined by 10 basis points. There was much less movement on the long-end as the 10-year Treasury yield was lower by 3 basis points. Earlier this week, bonds also caught a bid as Chair Powell’s testimony to Congress was interpreted as being dovish. 

 

Overall, the jobs report perpetuates the status quo in terms of the Fed remaining data-dependent, while the path of the economy and inflation remain ambiguous. On one hand, wages and the labor market have defied skeptics who were anticipating a downturn. But there has been acute weakness in areas like manufacturing and services which have historically coincided with a weakening economy. 


Finsum: The February jobs report resulted in a slight rally for bonds as it increased the odds of a rate cut in June. Most strength was concentrated on the short end of the curve.

 

Published in Bonds: Total Market
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