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“Bond investors are the vampires of the investment world. They love decay, recession – anything that leads to low inflation and the protection of the real value of their loans.” – Bill Gross
It’s looking like it’s going to be one of those days. Futures were just modestly negative overnight but then started to really weaken as Europe opened for trading and things haven’t stabilized since. The S&P 500 faces losses of around 1% at the open with the Nasdaq down over 1.5%. If equities were looking to rally coming into the week, yesterday’s Fed commentary put at least a temporary stop to that. Interest rates are higher across the curve and the 2s10s yield curve has steepened well out of inverted territory, but that comes along with yields on the 10-year above 2.6% to its highest level in just over three years.
The economic calendar is light today as weekly mortgage applications were the only release, and they fell 6.3% following a 6.8% last week and an 8.1% decline the week before that. Besides that, Energy inventories will be released at 10:30 and the Minutes from March’s FOMC meeting will be released at 2 PM. Philly Fed President Harker and Richmond Fed President Barkin will also be speaking this morning.
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For bond investors, these days are tough indeed. With inflation rampant around the world and central banks finally putting the brakes on the gravy train of liquidity, the increase in interest rates has been relentless with bond prices seeing some of their largest declines in years. A case in point is the iShares 20+ Year US Treasury Bond ETF (TLT). It’s already down 13% YTD and indicated to open lower today by another 1%. The chart below shows historical drawdowns from record closing highs in TLT since its inception in late 2002. Based on where the ETF is trading this morning, it has now declined 26% from its last record closing high back in early August 2020. Throughout its history, there have only been a handful of other periods where TLT ever experienced a peak to trough decline of more than 20%, and the only other time it dropped more was coming out of the Financial Crisis.
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