Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Is the Hated Long Bond Ready to Rally?

The 10-year Treasury bond's yield advantage over the 2-year and the 3-month T-bill is at or near record amounts in absolute terms. Other similar spreads were seen in spring 1992, August 2003, and June 2009. All cases were positive for the bond market as well as the stock market.

What matters is not only the absolute yield differential but the ratio of yields. In 1992, Treasuries were yielding almost 7%, so the ratio of the 10-year to a short-term yield was not nearly so great as now. Taking this to an absurd case, what if the short term rate were 100% and the 10-year were 105%? That would be an even greater spread, but the yield curve would be flat.

Contrarians can once again buy long bonds for a trade. The Gallup hiring/not hiring difference just went to negative 6. This is consistent with a jobless recovery and is of a piece with recent non-seasonally adjusted unemployment claims (rising) and Q3 GDP downward revisions X 2 (old "news" of limited importance to be sure).

Whatever complacency about the course of this recovery exists-- with some very high GDP numbers for the quarter just now ending and early next year in the ether-- and with the VIX under 20, a lot of fear is for certain out of the market, any excuse to take profits may do. A weak jobs report next month could be that excuse.

Copright (C) Long Lake LLC 2009

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