Markets

(New York)

The general understanding of markets is that bond investors are signaling that there is going to be a recession. Treasury yields have tumbled, and the Treasury yield curve has inverted, both signs of a coming downturn. However, the corporate bond market is sending a different signal, and it is worth paying attention to. The big sign of economic worry in the corporate bond markets is widening spreads between investment grade bonds and junk, but that is exactly the opposite of what is happening. The market is sanguine, and showing little of the concern that Treasury markets are. “Corporate spreads are extraordinarily narrow”, says Dan Fuss, vice chairman of Loomis Sayles.


FINSUM: This is a very good sign in our opinion. While it could turn out to be wrong, we do think this signals that Treasury investors may simply be overreacting.

(New York)

For the last year all the fear in bond markets was about inflation and how the Fed would handle it. Were we going to be hiked into a recession? Now all of that has shifted and fixed income gurus are concerned over an entirely different beast—recession. In many ways the fears of recession have become so strong that they are intimidating the market as a whole, making the term “bond vigilante” more than appropriate here.


FINSUM: The speed with which the bond market has reversed since December is pretty alarming. We do wonder if this inversion might be a false signal.

(New York)

The professor who first identified yield curve inversions has written an article explaining what the development really means. First identified in 1986, a yield curve inversion is considered the most widely accurate indicator of recession. Since it was first identified and back tested, it has accurately predicted a further 3 out of 3 recessions. This is a point its “discoverer” Campbell Harvey hammers home in his article. He explains that an inversion is usually followed by a recession within 12-18 months. The yield curve has not been inverted since before the Crisis, but just did so on Friday.


FINSUM: One of the important points Harvey makes is that in order for the inversion to really indicate a recession, it needs to remain in place for at least three months. We are only at one day.

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