Thursday, September 17, 2009

Bonds Versus Silver

Please see the chart of the ETF 'TLT', a proxy for the long T-bond, versus the ETF 'SLV', which tracks the price of silver. SLV began trading early in 2006. Bonds were in a bear market into Q3 the next year, and have been in a bear market the past 9 months; commodities were in a long-run bull market well into 2008 and again for almost a year.
Surprise! Bonds outperformed SLV simply on price. Add in a starting yield on TLT of (say) 4.5%, multiply by 3.5 years, and voila, you have massive bond outperformance of the bond over the commodity. This of course was achieved as well with less volatility.
It is GLD that clobbered the long bond, I would say because gold is a true monetary metal, whereas silver is at best a quasi-monetary metal.
Technically, SLV is about 30% above its 200-day moving average. It went higher than that in 2008, but this is a warning sign. TLT is "trying" to break through its downsloping 150-day moving average on the "strength" of a rising 50-day ma.
Fundamentally, employment continues to lag production; to the extent that transfer payments have been supporting the unemployed, so will a turn in the employment cycle not induce as much additional spending as would have occurred absent these transfer payments.
As the data show a clearly strengthening economy, with David Rosenberg admitting he has been too bearish on the economy this year, the yield gap between the 2-year and the 10-year Treasury issues has been narrowing. This is a negative for economic growth. The markets giveth, and one day they will taketh away.
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