Thursday, May 14, 2015

Bond Market: Sprechen Sie Deutsch? (excerpt)

Yesterday’s much weaker than expected US retail sales report initially caused the 10-year US Treasury bond yield to fall in the morning. Then it spent the rest of the day moving higher. The comparable pesky German bond yield continued to move higher to 0.73% from its record low of 0.03% on April 17. The US bond yield has been joined at the hip with the German one all year.

While April’s payroll employment report put a Fed rate hike back on the table yet again for June, the retail sales report arguably took it off the table--yet again. That should have been bullish for bonds. Instead, the dollar took a dive on the soft-patch sales report. The weaker dollar lifted the prices of precious metals and oil (before crude oil inventory data depressed them), which also unnerved bonds.

A 2% bond yield looks attractive for the US 10-year Treasury given the subdued outlook for the Fed’s rate hiking. The problem is that if the German yield gets there, the US yield will be closer to 3%. That would make it even more attractive as long as you didn’t buy the bond at 2%.

Today's Morning Briefing: Consumers Not Registering. (1) Less “ka-ching” around the world. (2) A demographic theory of secular stagnation. (3) Older workers can’t depend on broke social welfare states. (4) May you live a long life and have lots of savings. (5) How governments depressed fertility. (6) US retail sales join the soft-patch batch. (7) China’s senior moment? (8) Japan, Italy, and Germany are at the top of median-age ranking. (9) Spotting some shoppers in Europe. (10) Bonds learning to speak Deutsche. (11) Focus on market-weight-rated S&P 500 Retail industry. (More for subscribers.)

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